As the fashion crowd leaves another Paris Fashion Week, Swedish writer and fashion editor Petra Dokken reports on the spots she always returns for. Nevermind what's hopelessly trendy; she's after the small corners of chic.
PARIS – I had always been enamored with the fashion world and could think of nowhere better to be than Paris, sitting in a Haussmann-façade balcony, smoking cigarettes, wearing red lipstick, gazing over the rive gauche. So I took my red lips, left Sweden, and moved to Paris when I was 19 to study French (the language). During that year I did study French, but in a very non-grammatical way. Now, almost twenty years later, I attend every Paris fashion week for work and for inspiration, but mostly to let the Frenchness wash over me. These are the places I keep coming back to, and the places that inspire my Parisian fashion crowd.
WHERE TO GET INSPIRED
Palais de Tokyo
The view is so Paris; the restaurant is great for meeting people. "A huge venue with a good variety of exhibitions. Next door is Musée d'Art Moderne, which has a fantastic book shop." - Sofia Hedman, fashion curator and founder of Headmankling, who worked on the Palais de Tokyo exhibition "Chloé Attitudes"
Le Musée de la Chasse et da la Nature
"My favorite museum in Paris. It's a private collection of trophies displayed in an old hôtel particulier with lavish and somewhat eccentric rooms where old and new are joined. A lovely mix of brocade, trophies, rifles, and contemporary art" - Dr. Ane Lynge-Jorlén, fashion lecturer and editor of Vestoj, the Journal of Sartorial Matters
The Rose Garden
Rue de Turenne and Blvd. Beaumarchais
"I don't know if this has a name, but I call it the rose garden. It's a secret garden, quiet and pretty, without any tourists." - Ane (who is also a Marais local)
Marché aux Puces Saint-Ouen de Clignancourt
Something traditional that keeps changing. Yes, there are cheap flea market finds and antique stalls at Marché Serpette, but everything is gleaming and modern at the new Philippe Starck-designed restaurant, Ma Cocotte.
WHERE TO EAT
This place is a legend, and sometimes we forget to visit those. "For Sunday brunch between nightclubs, or when the parents are visiting. Order a plateau de fruit de mer. You will see people celebrate the birthday, the staff will line up and sing. It's so much fun" – Cicci Svanh, fashion hair stylist
Parisians love to brunch, lunch, dine, and wine at hotels, so the hotels always update themselves and surprise visitors. Costes manages to stay especially chic. The baroque interior is fantastic, as is the swimming pool.
"Amazing marble interior designed by Rem Koolhaas, and above all a feast for the palate. Incredible small, tapas-like meals." Ane
WHERE TO SHOP
Le Marché aux Puces de Vanves
"For us who live in the south of the city, this is our Sunday market for anqtiques and other great stuff. Get here early; they close at 1 p.m." – Cicci
Le Bon Marché
Paris has so many big and beautiful shops, but Le Bon Marché is a smaller and selective warehouse. "It's calm, quiet, and not too big. I buy my Chloé bags and Tom Ford make-up here." – Cicci
The world's best window shopping may be along rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and rue Saint-Honoré in the 1st arrondissemenat, but Le Marais is the place for chic, small, and quirky boutiques. Swedish designer Acne's conceptual venue is a recent addition to the neighborhood that is not to be missed.
WHERE TO PARTY
28 Rue Saint-Benoît
Incredibly hyped and trendy nightclub for the usual suspects: young models, actresses, artists, and the rest of the beautiful elite. Decadent and fun, run by Purple fashion magazine’s Olivier Zahm and André Saraiva of Le Baron, another It club of the moment.
"Underground touch. Different artists playing. Known for house and electronica. Yes!" - Jessica
WHERE TO DRINK
Boulangerie du Moulin De La Galette
Always popular, genuine coffee hangout in Montmartre. "The best croissants. And extremely beautiful." Sofia
Le Comptoir General
Bar and restaurant in a memorable building. Come Sunday for the African Sunday brunch and evening buffet and Bush Cinema movie projections from 6:30-11:30 p.m. Truly inspiring.
If cocktails and sweet music can make a bar, this is it. The audience is hand-picked and the bar is located behind what appears to be a Mexican restaurant.
WHERE TO STAY
A hotel with a heart. Strictly for the modern urban traveller. No room service, no shower caps. But a good bed, a cosmopolitan quartier, and staff that looks you in the eye. The restaurant is a perfect place for meeting new and old friends.
Luxurious to some, exotic to others. Whether it's silly or wonderful is up to you.
MORE PARIS ON FATHOM
Photos, from top: Courtesy of Le Musée de la Chasse et da la Nature; courtesy of Le Marché aux Puces de Vanves; courtesy of Rex Club.