Petit Paris

Table of Contents
  1. Friday
  2. Saturday
  3. Sunday

Spend a long weekend indulging in fine wine, cheese and strolls along the Seine in the City of Light

Written by Michelle Lyn
Photography by Michelle Lyn and courtesy of Hôtel Plaza Athénée

There’s a reason why artists and writers have flocked to Paris to find inspiration for hundreds of years. The regal architecture, the rich tapestry of art blanketing the metropolis, the sense of grandeur and history that envelopes the entire city, and least not, the enviable culture revolving around food, wine and romance.

If on a first visit to Paris, visiting certain sights is requisite: the Eiffel Tower; museums like the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay; the Palace of Versailles; the Avenue des Champs-Élysées; and Notre Dame. On subsequent visits, divert from the guidebook and, with an elementary grasp of the metro system, allow yourself to simply wander through the arrondissements (the 20 districts that collectively make up the city of Paris).

The Seine River, which cuts through the heart of Paris, serves as both a compass when navigating the streets and the most serene place to walk and take in the splendor of the city. The boquinistes—booksellers who line the banks of the river— hawk antique books, artwork and postcards, perfect for those wishing to bring home something authentically Parisian.

Cafes, also lining the river, are ideal spots for people watching and letting creativity percolate while pondering one’s own destiny. It isn’t hard to fall in love with Paris.

Here, a long weekend worth of reasons why.



Friday

The best way to arrive fresh for a long weekend in Paris is to take a red eye, flying in style—United Airlines’ Business First Class has flat beds and down comforters that will make you feel like you’ve woken up at a five-star hotel. 

Live like a Parisian for a few days and rent a luxury apartment from A la Carte Paris. The outfit will pick you up at the airport, and then whisk you away to an elegantly restored hideaway in a desirable location.

Spend your morning perusing the local markets of Montmartre with a private chef from Cook’n with Class. Learn the nuances between French cheeses, breads and wines and fill a shopping cart with seasonal provisions that you will prepare together for a four-course meal.

Walk off lunch with a stroll along the Seine and dip into Saint-Germain-des-Prés’ Rue de Buci in the 6th arrondissement. The pedestrian-only street and alleyways are full of flower shops, chocolatiers and brasseries, perfect for an afternoon pint or glass of wine.

While further exploring the 6th, get lost in the labyrinthian Flamant, Paris’ version of Restoration Hardware, where you can find something unique for nearly every room in your house. Exit out of Flamant’s back door and onto a quiet street that leads to La Maison du Chou, a tiny pâtisserie that makes light-as-air cream puffs, filled to order with decadent fillings like salted caramel crème fraîche.

Continue your journey by exploring the Latin Quarter, winding through streets where maîtres d’s competitively try to lure you in for dinner. End the night with a nightcap at cozy jazz club Le Caveau de la Huchette.

Saturday

After such a full day, sleep in a bit and then rub elbows with locals over a traditional petit déjeuner at Bar du Central, in the non-touristy 7th arrondissement. 

Dedicate the day to shopping at the world’s first department store, Le Bon Marché, on the corner of rue du Bac and rue de Sèvres Le Bon Marché. The store, along with its culinary counterpart, La Grande Epicerie de Paris, are the cornerstones of shopping on  La Rive Gauche, or The Left Bank.

Once you’ve bought more than you’d like to carry, seek out the Jardin des Tuileries and rest your weary legs with a picnic—or a nap—in the garden. One of the most expansive public gardens in Paris, it has been a special place for Parisians to celebrate, meet, stroll and relax for centuries.

Then, treat yourself to a Michelin-starred evening of indulgence at one of Alain Ducasse’s restaurants. At the newly refurbished Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée is a dazzling space, dripping with crystal chandeliers, serving contemporary French cuisine at its very best. Select delicate items like Refreshed Brittany Langoustines with Golden Caviar or Contentin Blue Lobster with Sea Potatoes and Homardine Sauce. At Le Jules Verne, snag a coveted seat overlooking Paris from the center of the Eiffel Tower.

Retire to Ô Chateau, Paris’ largest wine bar that offers 40 rotating unique French wines by the glass—it’s so unique that they don’t even share their wine list online. Test your wine knowledge with owner Olivier Magny in the underground wine cave.



Sunday

Sundays are quiet in Paris, as many shops and restaurants are closed. The artsy Marais, however, is an exception. Sink into an armchair at Le Café Livres, while surrounded by shelves of books and enjoy a three-course brunch among the locals.

Venture out and explore the eclectic shops, and don’t be surprised if an impromptu costume parade stops you in your tracks. The Marais is full of artists, after all.

Leave the afternoon open for a few hours of relaxation at a world-class spa. The renowned Dior Institute at Hôtel Plaza Athénée touts a two-hour Dior Escape that is guaranteed to melt away your tensions. The spa at the Four Seasons Hotel George V features A Stroll Through Versailles massage—or, two-and-a-half hours of orange blossom scented indulgence.

Finally, cap off your weekend in true Parisian style with dinner at Le Violon d’Ingres, sampling some of their cult dishes like Foie Gras Seared Duck or Farmer Pigeon with Fondant Garlic Cloves for a classic French culinary experience.

All suggestions of course, but the reality is, every corner and alley in Paris surprises, and offers a treat for all the senses.

Photo captions:

Brasserie in Saint-Germain-des-Prés (outdoor eating)

Dining room at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée (silver booths)

Cheese lesson at Cook’n with Class (cheese spread)

Bar du Central

La Maison du Chou (creme puffs)

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