Fashionistas everywhere will be descending on the city from 27 September to 5 October to attend Paris Fashion Week: Ready to Wear spring/summer 2017, stepping out in style to soak up the atmosphere, hoping to see Dior, Givenchy, Valentino et al.
While we’re waiting to find out who will be showing collections and when (the schedule is either a closely guarded secret or organisers are simply laissez-faire about getting names on the list), we’ve uncovered what you should do and see in between the catwalk shows.
See our review of Paris Fashion Week FW16
Paris – what to see and do
Paris is one of those cities where even the most touristy attractions are chic, sophisticated and have to be done, and while you might not want to queue with hundreds of school children and loved-up couples, there are ways to enjoy the main sights with some style.
You can buy fast-track tickets for the Eiffel Tower, but really, what’s the point? You want to see the landmark, preferably with a glass of champagne in your hand. One of the best places to do this is the terrace at the Hôtel Raphael. Views from the roof top garden are simply heavenly. Order the signature cocktail, Le Raphael, which blends strawberry puree, apple liqueur and lime with Lanson Black Label Champagne.
For another view of the Eiffel Tower, take a private tour of the Seine in a River Limousine. Cruise in comfort in a Venetian water taxi, enjoying the contents of a mini-bar, soothing music and the jewels of Paris. Even better at night when the city is lit.
You can’t come to Paris and not peruse its designer fashion boutiques. Head to the Triangle d’Or, Paris’ famous fashion district, which is strewn with your favourite high-end names: Yves Saint Laurent, Prada, Nina Ricci, Chanel – you name it, it’s there. Flex those gold cards or merely people watch; you can’t fail but admire the style which oozes from every inch of this place.
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Where to eat in Paris
Dine in the footsteps of designers, models, rock stars and Hollywood glitterati at Davé – an inconspicuous restaurant on Rue de Richelieu in the 1e arrondissement (there’s no website). Thought the frontage is unassuming, don’t be fooled, this Chinese restaurant is legendary, as is owner, Dave (really). Patrons – as evidenced in the photos that adorn the dark walls - include Kate Moss, Helmut Lang, Cindy Crawford, David Bowie, Leonardo diCaprio, Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfield. You never know who you might see.
One of the best coffees in town can be found at Honor, according to Vogue. The independent café in Rue du Faubourg is situated between Moschino and Burberry and serves the kind of coffee that Paris ‘should be known for’. Designed to celebrate the process of coffee-making as much as the taste, the kiosk can be changed and reconfigured each season – perfect for a Fashion week visit, then.
For dinner, try and get a table at L’Avenue on Avenue Montaigne. The food suits its Triangle d’Or location; desserts are especially indulgent. However, it’s the clientele, not just the food, which makes L’Avenue stand out. Opt for an outside table, that’s what Jude Law, Beyonce and Jean Paul Gaultier like to do.
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The chicest bars in Paris
After an exhausting day admiring spring/summer 2017’s ready to wear trends, the Parisian night beckons and for exclusivity head to L’Arc – a favourite with megastars from stage, screen and catwalk. Located in Rue de Presbourg, this ultimate hotspot combines luxury and playfulness, often hosting fashion week launching parties.
Another nightspot which is steeped in myth and mystery (set up by a relative of Al Capone), is La Calvados. The bar-restaurant, near the Champs-Elysées, had a reputation of being ‘a den of decadent aristocrats and notorious rogues’ and has recently re-opened after a revamp. That dangerous vibe still circulates, while the international elite sip cocktails and dance until the early hours.
While not a club or bar, the iconic Café de Flore is open until 1:30am, perfect for that last coffee of the night. An established Parisian landmark, since 1887 it’s attracted the in-crowd: Sartre, Hemingway, Capote, plus fashion royalty: Givenchy, Rochas and Lagerfield. To be chic, order a ‘Ladoucette’ of house wine or a ‘pot’ of coffee.
Discover more of Paris's best night spots
Where to stay
In Paris, you’ll want a room with a view and at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, the view is breath-taking. The Eiffel Suites, which either French Regency or Art Deco design, are fit for a (fashion) king or queen and each beautifully appointed room offers a clear panorama of Le Tour Eiffel itself. Makes the suite’s piano really pale into insignificance…
Another is the earlier-mentioned Hotel Raphael, which also offers views of the Tower from suites decorated in an opulent, traditional Parisian style. If it’s possible to tire of the Eiffel Tower, try the luxurious Arc de Triomphe suite, which features a stunning private terrace.
More hotel options in Paris