You've read the elite guides, scoured the reviews, and gleaned a few reliable tips through the usual trendy sources. Still, that elusive off-the-beaten-path address – the one you can't put your finger on but know it when you see it – escapes you. It's cool, stylish, sophisticated, not the flavour of the minute, it draws a discrete crowd that's got just the right vibe and that certain je ne sais quoi.
We wanted to share six addresses that offer just the right experience: chic, authentic, offbeat and Parisian to the core.
Pétrelle for dinner
Long before Pigalle's emergence as Paris's newest destination, there was Pétrelle. Tucked away on a tiny street, this intimate ten-table restaurant's Cocteauesque murals, eclectic antiques, oriental rugs, snowy linens and candlelight set the stage for a dining experience out of time but entirely of the moment. Five nights a week, owner and chef Jean-Luc André creates his ‘cuisine d'emotion,’ a small, ever-changing menu of dishes that mix French delicacies with the freshest produce of the season. Pétrelle's loyal word-of-mouth clientele comes for the feeling of being honoured guests almost as much as for the delicious food and ambiance.
34 rue Pétrelle, 9th arrondissement
Tel. +33 (0)1 42 82 11 02
Cocktails at Maison Souquet
Once the establishment of one Madame Souquet, the gorgeous new Maison Souquet hotel channels its past life as an upscale Belle Époque brothel in its voluptuous decor with delightfully naughty touches. Mood lighting, exotic antiques, extravagant wallpapers and miles of velvet muffle any sign of the 21st century. And that's just fine with the sophisticated crowd that convenes on the hotel's sultry lounge – complete with library and fireplace – on any given night of the week to imbibe a selection of imaginative cocktails as luscious as the surroundings.
10 rue de Bruxelles, 10th arrondissement
Tel. +33 (0)1 48 78 55 55
A film at Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé
In a spectacular transformation by starchitect Renzo Piano, the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé – housed in the 19th-century Gobelins Theatre, one of
73 Avenue des Gobelins, 13th arrondissement
Tel. +33 (0)1 83 79 18 96
Verbreuil for a spot of shopping
Catnip for Parisians who don't rely on a logo to advertise their fashion creds, these sleek refined handbags in six glamorous styles speak eloquently for themselves. At once classic and contemporary, all the bags here are meticulously handcrafted in
4 rue de Fleurus, 6th arrondissement
Tel. +33 (0)1 45 49 22 69
Get pampered at L'Appartement
One of the city's best-kept secrets, this luxurious fantasy of a Parisian apartment off the Champs-Élysées is your ticket to that unfussy Parisian look that seems unattainable to mere mortals. Beauty expert and stylist to the stars Christophe Nicholas Biot offers personalised hair and beauty treatments guaranteed to give you that relaxed glow that seems to be every chic Parisian's birth right. Surrender to the experts, who will take your hair and skin profile and concoct just the right customised programme, whether it's as simple as Biot's famous chignon, a spot of touch-up colour or a restorative Japanese massage.
64 rue Pierre Charron, 8th arrondissement
Tel. +33 (0)1 44 13 88 88
Shake it at Elephant Paname
Unique in Paris, Elephant Paname is at once a dance studio, performance space, concert and lecture hall, and the city's most glamorous dance-fitness club. Housed in a Napoleon III-era mansion, each of the four floors has a unique character – modern with skylights or clad in elegant wood-panelling with lavish 19th-century motifs. Whether you're in the mood for an avant-garde dance performance, learn any kind of dance under the sun, do some yoga, or just want to shake your booty like Beyonce, you've come to the right place. Walk-ins welcome.
10 rue Volney, 2nd arrondissement
Tel. +33 (0)1 49 27 83 33