The Holidays in Paris are filled with delights, from the lights on the Champs Elysees to the store windows that are like miniature theatrical performances. The Left Bank remains my favorite during this period as I prefer walking around to the smaller shops rather than spending my time in a large department stores. But if you’re a “one stop shop” kind of person you’ll appreciate the department stores on the Right Bank that are filled to the brim with ultra chic merchandise. I also suggest the perfect hotel to stay in nearby is the HOTEL BANKE with its elegant doorways just around the corner from those of Galerie Lafayette and Printemps. No need to get in and out of cabs with too many packages its just around the corner. Once you step inside the doorway of the Banke you’ll discover that the grand lobby and skylight echo the grand skylights at the Galerie Lafayette, as they were built at the same period of late 19th century Paris. With unique architecture and luxurious baroque modern decor, the hotel sports an elegant bar and two restaurants and its most recent decoration, its 5th Star. (www.derbyhotels.com)
The Left Bank is a different experience, but I do suggest that you start in the Saint Germain de Pres area. I have many favorite hotels, but my recent stay at the RELAIS CHRISTINE was a delightful experience. It is just around the corner from just about everything you could want in Paris’ Left Bank. (see my review on the hotel) I love the garden, the people and rumor has it that in 2015 they will do an entire renovation of the spa and the lobby area so a treat is in store for next year. If you are booked there over the holidays, its the perfect time to “cozy up” in to the lobby near the fireplace or order breakfast in your room, take a hot bath in one of their amazing deep French Bathtubs…well, I could go on! (www.relaischristine.com)
The Saint Germain area is famous for the array of designer boutiques dotted around the main street, Rue de Rennes and Boulevard Saint Germain de Pres. Every designer in Paris has a store in the area, so you can go from YSL to Ralph Lauren, to Agnes B and then to the grandmother of them all BON MARCHE another personal favorite. This boutique department store is truly luxurious and does beautiful store windows (I happened to be there when they unveiled them last year) so I know the windows this year will be just as magical. A shopping service is also available there for those of you who want an expert to help. Indeed, all the department stores in Paris offer this personalized service so its worth taking advantage of it. Across from the Bon Marche just up the street you’ll find Guerlain fragrance boutique, a Zara store and many other shops that bask in the glory of this storied corner.
Now, on to very important matters: Chocolate. Our picks for Chocolate in France range from the small town (Chef Nicolas Bernarde) to Patrick Roger, whose shop is on the Boulevard Saint Germaine and the Rue de Rennes. His artistic and mouthwatering chocolates are considered a true art form and his almost ‘boho’ chic sensibility is a Left Bank classic. How can you miss the large chocolate sculptures that grace each boutique? His chocolate animals are truly engaging and rae meant to honor his love of the lands where he sources his chocolate. (www.patrickroger.com)