Paris’ cultural calendar may be bursting with fairs, salons and auctions, but nothing can quite compete with the Biennale des Antiquaires (www.sna-france.com), from Sept. 14 to 23. Now celebrating its 50th year, the 10-day event features over 120 exhibitors presenting some $50 million worth of art, antiques, fine jewelry and archaeological relics. Held in the famous Beaux Arts exhibition complex, the Grand Palais, the event is overseen by Biennale “scenographer”—and Chanel designer—Karl Lagerfeld, who has transformed this hallowed hall into an early 20th century–style fairground. In between visits to displays by the likes of Bulgari, Chanel and Chaumet, follow the suggestions of these three stylish Parisians for a superchic getaway.
(LIST: 10 Things to Do in Paris)
Thierry Oriez, CEO, Christofle
My perfect Paris day would begin by waking up at Hotel Le Meurice (www.lemeurice.com). It’s the kind of hotel where you always enjoy an interesting blend of culture and art with friendly service.
On sunny autumn mornings, I’d stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries, which offers an incomparable array of important landmarks, from the Pyramide du Louvre to La Grande Arche de la Défense, in the distance. After that, I’d head, of course, to the Christofle boutique (www.christofle.com) on rue Royale for a look at our new September global spoon collection by Parisian gallerist Serge Le Guennan. More shopping, for sure, would follow, including a visit to Lanvin (www.lanvin.com) for men’s fashion, and the charming Astier de Villatte (www.astierdevillatte.com) for notebooks or candles, which I love to give to friends.
I like to take advantage of Paris’ Velib bike-sharing system (www.velib.paris.fr), which has 1,200 stations across the city. I’d hop on one of the bikes and head for the Carpenters Workshop Gallery, tel: (33-1) 4278 8092, to browse what I consider to be the crème de la crème of contemporary design and art. Nearby is designer Hervé Van Der Straeten’s gallery (www.vanderstraeten.fr), where he showcases his furniture and accessories for the home.
Lunch would be at the newly opened restaurant in the Palais de Tokyo (palaisdetokyo.com), a 1930s-era architectural gem that’s now an arts center. Then I’d make the 10-minute stroll to Carette patisserie (www.carette-paris.com) at the Place du Trocadéro for an afternoon tea and one of Paris’ best Eiffel Tower views.
Dinner might be at Georges (www.maisonthierrycostes.com), at the top of the Centre Georges Pompidou, if only for the stunning views over the rooftops of Paris. Finally, if I still have the energy to meet friends, the rendezvous would have to be the bar at the Plaza Athénée (www.plaza-athenee-paris.com).
Claire Choisne, head of design, Boucheron
I love mornings at the Jardin des Tuileries, sitting next to one of its fountains and taking in the view up the Champs-Élysées. If I had time, I would admire Monet’s Nymphéas in the Musée de l’Orangerie (www.musee-orangerie.fr). Then I would head for Galignani (www.galignani.com), a beautiful old bookstore with a large selection of art books. One always finds surprises there, even if you’re not looking for anything in particular.
(PHOTOS: Looking Up to the Eiffel Tower)
Next it’s time for lunch, which would be pastries at the Hotel Scribe (www.sofitel.com). I like to take a table in the tranquil library on the hotel’s mezzanine level. Afterward, it’s time for a walk and a dose of shopping under the arcades at the Palais Royal (www.palaisroyal.com). It has a historic connection for me: Frédéric Boucheron opened his first boutique there in 1858. While in the area, I’d indulge in one of the new colorful bags from Stella McCartney (www.stellamccartney.com) or a vintage little black dress. So Parisian!
I would finish the day with dinner at Jean-François Piège’s restaurant Thoumieux (www.thoumieux.fr), which was recently renovated by the minimalist designer India Mahdavi. I love Piège’s innovative cuisine. After dinner I would walk home through the Place Vendôme. I can’t say exactly what this square and its beauty evoke in me, but I love admiring it and I love the strong emotions it elicits.
Dominique Lévy, partner, L&M Arts
My ideal Parisian day would include ample doses of fine food and excellent shopping. Librairie 7L (www.librairie7l.com), for instance, is an excellent bookshop in the historic seventh arrondissement, owned by Lagerfeld and located next to his photo studio. There he stocks an expertly edited collection of books devoted to photography, architecture and French fiction. Then, on the edge of the Marais, is Azzedine Alaïa’s boutique, tel: (33-1) 4272 1919, which I love to visit. Alaïa is his generation’s most gifted and timeless fashion designer and craftsman. Occasionally, he converts the shop into an exhibition space for photography or design.
If it’s Sunday, I might visit the new restaurant designed by Philippe Starck at the St.-Ouen flea market, Ma Cocotte, tel: (33-1) 4951 7000. It’s a warm space in the heart of the flea market, making it a good break from bargain hunting. Then I’d head to the Bastille neighborhood and visit the concept store Merci (www.merci-merci.com). Owned by the founders of Bonpoint, the children’s clothing chain, Merci is a sophisticated bazaar for clothing, jewelry, furniture and decorative objects. The shop also includes an elegant florist, restaurant and bookstore. Up next would be a visit to the newly popular New Athens neighborhood in the ninth arrondissement. It’s home to the wonderful Musée de la Vie Romantique, tel: (33-1) 5531 9567. This tiny museum of paintings and sculpture is particularly pleasant in late summer and early fall. It’s set in a Parisian town house built in 1830 and is dedicated to the Romantic movement. The garden is also a peaceful haven.
Finally, for dinner, I’d visit L’Ami Louis, tel: (33-1) 4887 7748. This bistro is a tiny culinary retreat that’s as immune today from dining fads as it was when it opened back in 1924.
PHOTOS: Paris Expands