Bonjour! I recently returned from a magical trip to Paris and am feeling très inspired, and had to share some of the highlights. I went to explore Maison Objet -- the premier lifestyle trade show that features incredible furniture, accessories, textiles, fragrances, tableware and more from around the world -- but as one does in the City of Lights, got to experience so much more.
Let’s start with my adorable hotel, Fauchon l’Hôtel. Not only is this hotel super chic, it is covered in one of my favorite colors...pink! From the closet to the custom credenza to the Dyson hair dryer, it was as if I had entered a Parisian pink fantasy land! I also love the Grand Hotel du Palais Royal because of its central location and impeccable 5-star concierge service. And, of course, Hôtel de Crillon for a quintessential Parisian bar experience.
One can’t go to Paris and not indulge...and I certainly got my fill of croissants and champagne this time around! Beyond the cuisine, though, the entire dining experience in French restaurants is truly memorable and special.
I was blown away by Alain Ducasse at Plaza Athénée. It’s fine dining in the purest form where food is art and ingredients are perfectly fresh and flavorful. Plus the decor is to die! Another favorite is Pink Mama (are we noticing a color theme?!), a charming and bustling Italian eatery. The interiors are stunning and the food even better. I guess that’s why there was a line around the corner at lunch.
I can’t go to Paris and not dine at Monsieur Bleu. The meal is consistently good and the interiors are effortlessly modern, but it’s the direct Eiffel Tower views that make it incomparable. A real treat on this trip was Balagan. All the dishes are superb, but the “Crashed Snickers” dessert was unlike anything I’ve ever had. The Snickers is literally “crashed” tableside and satiates that sweet tooth! And, you can’t go to Paris and not be a tourist alongside locals at Café de Flore during the day and Hotel Costas at night. Both offer the best people-watching in Paris!
In addition to Maison Objet, I charged my creative batteries at Paris Deco Off, an event in which showrooms, exhibitions and pop-ups across the city showcase their newest collections. I especially enjoyed seeing the Adam Hunter x StudioArt leather collaboration, having lunch with Jonathan Browning at Les Climats hosted by Ligne Group, boating down the Seine with Holland & Sherry, and having a private luncheon and tour of the Paris flea market hosted by Jobi Blachy-Quintus and Roger Thomas.
When not working, I made the most of leisure time, strolling through the charming streets and soaking up the city. I took in some art at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, which had a Jean-Michel Basquiat exposition, checked out the new Chanel boutique at 31 Rue Cambon (one of everything, s'il vous plaît!), and connected with some of my fellow LA designers at the American Party in Paris at the College des Bernardins.
One of the highlights of this trip was meeting and connecting with so many wonderful people. From beginning to end, I feel like Paris played the ultimate networking matchmaker. For starters, when my flight from San Francisco to Paris was delayed by a day, I met and had dinner with Deb Spofford of Made On 23rd, a super talented textile designer. When it came time for our flight, we were serendipitously seated next to one another! Tony Forte was on that flight, as well, and I found out he’s a Barry’s Bootcamp instructor in the Bay Area (and, we all know I love my Barry’s!). Interior designer extraordinaire Roux MacNeil and I were randomly seated next to each other at a dinner and realized we worked on the same project (at different times) in Cary, NC. I’ve known Thomas Lavin, a creative mastermind, for years, but we really bonded over veggies and rooftop decks at the Jonathan Browning luncheon. Dynamic Chicago designer Donna Mondi and I bumped into each other at the Adam Hunter presentation and discovered we share the same PR firm (guess our agency has great taste in clients!). And, I met one of the sweetest people, Maryna Gulevskaya, a hair and makeup artist who has an enviable Parisian flat that I’ll continue to draw inspiration from.
As the saying goes, “Paris is always a good idea,” and this trip proved that more than ever. Until next time...