There’s nothing like being in Paris during Fashion Week. Not only is the city flooded with some of the best designers in the world, but the French destination is booming with parties, events and plenty of opportunities to hobnob the industry’s most notable names. If you’re headed to the City of Lights next year for any of its fashion weeks, here’s an insider guide to navigating one of its most distinguished affairs.
When staying for fashion week, many prefer to stay in the chic and charming 6th arrondissement or the posh and opulent 8th arrondissement. The two districts are quite distinct, with the 6th arrondissement housing many quaint cafés, bars and small boutiques. On the other hand, the 8th boasts many high-end chain stores and luxury hotels. Situated on the left bank, St.-Germain-des-Pres is perhaps the most notable of the four quarters that make up the 6th district and is home to the famed Café Flore, Les Deux Magots and Brasserie Lipp. If vintage bookstores, galleries, museums and sitting around in cozy cafés discussing your country’s current political climate is your sort of thing, St.-Germain-des-Pres is a perfect fit for you.
Located right off of Boulevard St. Germain, the Belloy St. Germain is within walking distance to Odéon, the Luxembourg Gardens and the Pantheon of Paris. The warm, charm accommodations come with an enormous bathroom and small balcony overlooking the city. During the week, guests can enjoy complimentary macarons and Champagne during the daily Happy Time.
Across the Seine lies the bustling and stylish 8th arrondissement where you can switch gears at the uber stylish and artsy Hotel Vernet. The Haussmann-styled Hotel Vernet is one block away from the Champs Elysees between the Golden Triangle and the Place de l’Etoile, as well as a few minutes’ walk to Paris’ best shopping. The five-star property was entirely renovated and refurbished in 2014 by its new owners who enlisted famed interior designer François Champsaur to give it the perfect touch of Parisian elegance and French craftsmanship. The spacious rooms and suites are decorated with a contemporary Parisian style, featuring king size or twin beds, cutting-edge technology and spacious bathrooms with His and Hers sinks, Carrere marble touches and brass finishes.
When you’re in need of a great cocktail, head to the bar at Hotel Costes. Set among the designer boutiques in the 1st arrondissement, the Hotel Costes attracts an impossibly fashionable and international crowd. The bar located is dimly-lit with rich woods and velvet furnishings. The bar menu is simple, focusing on a few select wine offerings and even fewer signature cocktails. If you opt to go to Bar Costes, just be reminded that you are not there for the service. The wait staff is notoriously rude but this just adds to the allure of the uber French vibe. The bar is open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. with DJ sets from 9 p.m. to midnight Sunday to Wednesday and from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.
Dining out during Paris Fashion Week is all about seeing and being seen. Situated smack dab in the center of famed Avenue Montaigne, it’s no wonder L’Avenue remains to be the “it” spot to showcase your fanciest garb since you’ll most likely be surrounded by celebrities. The menu is fairly basic, and we highly recommend the spicy and fragrant Tuna Tartare. A seat can be tough to swing on any given day, so be sure to have a backup option for dining in case the restaurant is sold out for the evening.
In between shows you usually have a limited time to do some shopping of your own. But if you can sneak away for a bit, head to Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Nearly every fashion house in the world has its flagship store on this very long and winding street. It is located near the Élysée Palace (official residence of the President) and the Louvre. But whatever you do and wherever you go, make sure to get cozy at a sidewalk café and snap photos of all the amazing outfits you’ll see passing by. Fashion is what Parisians do best.