Where to Stay in Paris
High fashion places to stay is something of a theme in Paris, from Christian Lacroix’s three visually maximalist boutique hotels - Hotel du Petit Moulin, Hotel Bellechasse and Notre Dame (1 quai Saint Michel, 75005; +33 1 43 54 20 43) - to Alaia’s 3 Rooms (5, rue de Moussy, 75004; +33 1 44 78 92 00) apartments next door to his studio (where Naomi and Linda are regulars) and the gorgeous Hotel Particulier up in Montmartre.
For their Paris Fashion Week hotels, the fashion aristocracy might head to the Ritz (Chanel muse Amanda Harlech's home from home) or the Hotel de Crillon (where Alber Elbaz escapes to work on his collections), while VIPs with matching wallets are checking into the first Mandarin Oriental in France opened this summer. Perfectly situated on the rue Saint Honore, it boasts some of the largest and most luxurious hotel rooms in Paris. For Martin Margiela acolytes, the new Hotel La Maison des Champs-Elysees (8, rue Jean Goujon, 75008; +33 1 40 74 64 65) is a must, created by the ever-cool design house, with poetic, surreal interiors and trompe l’oeil wallpaper. For under-the-radar glamour head to the St James Hotel (43, avenue Bugeaud, 75116; +33 1 44 05 81 81), the only hotel in Paris located in a chateau – and home to an exclusive gentlemen’s club – recently redecorated by ‘eccentric chic’ designer Bambi Sloan.
Where to Eat in Paris
It’s hard to beat the Mini Palais (Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008; +33 1 42 56 42 42) , with its stunning terrace featuring huge columns, airy interiors inspired by an artist’s studio and menu with waif-friendly snacking options. It’s a fashion favourite for power lunches, battery charging between shows and avenue Montaigne shopping. Legendary restaurant Thoumieux (79, rue Saint-Dominique 75007; +33 1 47 05 79 00) is undergoing a renaissance courtesy of the Costes family. With the addition of 15 hotel rooms and an opulent redesign by hot Parisian designers M&M, India Mahdavi and set designer Gerard Cholot, it’s a popular spot with Kanye West when he’s in town.
One of the city’s most talked-about new openings is also the most low-key – Septime (80, rue de Charonne, 75011; +33 1 43 67 38 29) in the 11th arrondissement has great food, a pared-back interior, a very reasonable fixed price menu and a waiting list longer than the leggiest Belorussian belle.
Where to Go Out in Paris
A slew of new openings in amazing old buildings is currently wowing the city’s cool set. Start with a drink in the spectacular second floor bar of La Gaite-Lyrique (3 bis, rue Papin, 75003; +33 1 53 01 52 00), a new venue dedicated to digital arts and music, in a previously abandoned 19th-century theatre. Have dinner or listen to the likes of LCD Soundsystem at Le Trianon (80, boulevard Rochechouart, 75008; +33 1 44 92 78 00), an old music hall lovingly restored by Julien Labrousse, the brains behind Canal St Martin hipster hangout, Hotel du Nord. YSL, Maison Martin Margiela and APC have hosted catwalks and parties here. Party at Café Carmen (22, rue de Douai, 75009; +33 1 45 26 50 00), where Mario Testino recently celebrated his birthday; a sumptuous mansion that would not look out of place as an annex at Versailles, where you can catch underground bands and DJs.
The most talked about club opening meanwhile is David Lynch’s Silencio (142, rue de Montmartre, 75002; +33 1 40 28 05 55), opened in September and inspired by the creepy nightclub in Mulholland Drive. Developed in collaboration with local electro club-land maestros, Social Club, it’s the first private member’s club in Paris. Open to non-members after midnight.
Where to Shop in Paris
Once you’ve ‘done’ avenue Montaigne and the rue Saint-Honore, discover Paris’s smallest boutique, Miss Bibi (145 Jardins du Palais Royal, 75001; +33 1 42 60 17 04), in the Jardins du Palais Royal, whose fans include Lou Doillon and Gemma Arterton. St Martin’s graduate Brigitte Giraudi has created a doll’s house setting for her surrealist jewellery featuring false eyelashes and miniature chairs. Check out L’Eclaireur’s latest concept store, Le Royal Eclaireur (39/41, avenue Hoche, 75008; +33 1 56 68 10 47) within a suite of the Royal Monceau Hotel. It’s been designed by Philippe Starck as an apartment, complete with fantasy dressing room, where everything is for sale. Or head to Carven’s first store (34 rue Saint Sulpice Paris 75006; +33 1 43 54 78 72), opened this year, for one of the hottest labels in Paris thanks to designer Guillaume Henry, who counts Alexa Chung among his fans.
What to Wear in Paris
A Breton-striped top may be a sartorial cliché, but it’s also effortlessly chic. Add a pair of red Isabel Marant jeans, and the result is the most Parisian thing you can wear short of a beret and baguette. For other staples with French flair, look to easy dressing specialists Comptoir des Cotonniers (home to the best rust-red and aubergine midi-skirts this side of A/W), tailoring hub The Kooples, and sleek nightwear source Maje. Top off all of the above with a looped scarf, and you’re set - just as long as you don’t forget to leave breathing room for all of the croissants, macarons and café au laits.
Don’t Leave Paris Without…
...getting yourself some mannish, elegant basics in beautiful materials and rich colours from new designer Laurence Dolige. Stockists include Merci and Galeries Lafayette. French ski brand, Look, which dates from the 1950s, has ‘done a Moncler’ and hired a talented young team to create a high fashion range of clothing. Its flagship store opens (on 217 rue Saint-Honore, 75001), on October 17th. Prior to that, a capsule range is on sale at Colette (213 rue Saint-Honore, 75001; +33 1 55 35 33 90). While you’re there, snap up a DVD of The Shoe, a film by Parisian nightlife legend and fashion mainstay André, starring his girlfriend, Annabelle Dexter Jones. It’s inspired by J.M. Weston moccasins, two versions of which you can also buy at the store.
Where to Go for Pampering in Paris
Nuxe skincare products are a favourite in the ELLE offices, with the Dry Oil spray being a staple in our holiday holdalls. While we can enjoy the products over here, it's in Paris where the Nuxe spas can be found. With vaulted spaces, bare brick and a winning blend of natural and modern design, the Spa Nuxe on rue Montorgueil (+33 1 5580 7150) is a joy to visit. The treatment list is long, from massages and facials to manicures and pedicures, while there's a small pool and plenty of Nuxe scented candles dotted around to add to the blissfully calming ambience.
After an obviously unsuccessful stint in the UK, Sephora retreated from our shores back to Europe and America. But don't let that put you off, because for beauty fanatics it's true nirvana. Paris is now the nearest Sephora pit-stop we have, and with exclusive launches (nail guru Sophy Robson recently collaborated with the store on a nail range) and a huge range of brands sitting alongside its own affordable products it's well worth the train journey. (Followed by some frantic stock-piling...)
To keep on top of what's happening at Paris Fashion Week - from the latest show reviews to the front row scenes - check out ELLEuk's catwalk section.