With Paris fashion week now upon us, I’m sure many of you have caught yourselves daydreaming about jetting off to the City of Light. While it sounds tempting to drop everything for the land that brought us Balmain, Dior and Chanel, it remains but a fantasy for a working girl entangled in the daily rousing of the city that never sleeps. Wouldn’t it be nice to fly to Paris, shop along Avenue Montaigne and walk away adapting the effortless chic French style that women like Emmanuelle Alt and the Roitfelds are born with? While the high-energy, taxi-cab filled streets of NYC are undoubtedly lovable, there’s a sense of peace and pleasure only Paris can pull off.
For those of you who, like me, are infatuated by La Ville-Lumire but don’t have the luxury to fly off,we give you 8 ways to experience Paris in New York. Eat macarons at cafes, sip Bordeaux outdoors and shop in quaint boutiques, all without having to cross the Atlantic. Nothing is as good as getting the genuine experience in Paris, but a girl can dream, right?
Parisians eat macarons, New Yorkers eat cupcakes.
1. Find a unique accessory at Cecile et Jeanne, 1100 Madison Avenue
As one of only two Cecile et Jeanne stores in the U.S, we're lucky to have this little gem right in NYC. The company originates from Paris, so the store is filled with authentic collections of bags and jewelry both catering to high fashion and possessing the charm of a lucky find that may well be from the Saint-Ouen.
2. Invest in Isabel Marant, 469 Broome Street
Isabel Marant is showing this Friday in Paris, and while you ogle at her fall designs, get your hands on the feminine, boho-chic she put on for spring at her New York store, which just opened less than a year ago. The shop was designed by Nicholas Andre, who also designed her three boutiques in Paris, so the gallery-like space literally brings in a little Paris charm to Soho.
3. Get street-style chic at Zadig et Voltaire, 831 Washington Street
If you're a fan of Parisian girls' innate mastery of sartorial-worthy casual dress, Zadig et Voltaire brings to you denim distressed just enough and easy pieces in cashmere for luxury that doesn't look like you're trying too hard. Nestled in the Meatpacking District, the cobblestone streets just evoke the feeling of a small shopping district in Paris, no?
4. Light candles from Dyptique Boutique , 377 Bleeker Street | 971 Madison Avenue
Not too far from Cecile et Jeanne is another Parisian import, Dyptique Boutique. The French have a talent for seduction, so it's no surprise they'd be experts at creating some of the most allure scents with their famous candles and fragrant body products.
5. Indulge in pastries at Francois Payard Bakery, 116 West Houston St
While New Yorkers are no strangers to indulgences with their cupcake fetish courtesy of Magnolia's and Crumb's, the Francois Payard Bakery in The Village offers the French equivalent of guilty pleasures. With the baking of an established pastry chef, the custom chocolates and petit-fours will surely transport you to the sweetness of Paris.
6. Experience LHeure Bleue at Jean Claude Restaurant, 137 Sullivan Street
Something Parisians do that New Yorkers never entertain in their constant busy rush is a little something called "LHeure Bleue", an hour of sitting, observing, or thinking and embracing the nothingness. You could do this at Jean Claude Restaurant, where the waiters won't rush you out to stuff in another reservation, but will instead let you linger long after your entrées de la mer is done. I know, it's crazy.
7. Visit a Parisian Main Street at Cafe Charbon-Epicerie, 170 Orchard Street
Cafe Charbon-Epicerie's outdoor decor mimics an old French street with crèmerie (dairy), tabac (newsstand), and épicerie (grocery) store signs lining the sidewalk. Within the realistic facade, however, is a quaint restaurant that offers classic French cuisine, like escargots and beef tartare, for reasonable prices.
8. Watch a movie at the Paris Theatre, 4 W 58 street
Located right across the street from the Plaza Hotel, there's already an air of luxury at the Paris Theatre. The true luxury, however, is the feeling of an old French theatre within with its plush seats, decorative balcony, intimate space, and policy of showing only one movie at a time, minus advertisements (so don't show up fifteen minutes late thinking "oh, the previews will show first!") Since opening in 1948, the Paris Theatre traditionally showed French flicks, but has lately been screening independent films as well. French or not, the charming movie house is worth a visit for much-needed, slowed down alone time---the true secret to our favorite city across the sea.