I'm here with my second installment of my favorite things to do in Paris (you can find the first part here). The more I think about Paris, the more things I love about this city come to my mind. I would love to know: do you also have one city in the world that you truly love and where you feel most yourself? Why? I can't wait to read your answers!
(A little side note: photos don't necessarily correspond to the places and activities described. They're just pictures I snapped throughout the years).
6. Spend a lot of money. I'm not that shallow to claim that shopping is my absolutely favorite thing to do in Paris. But it definitely has its place in my top 10. My love for Printemps and Galeries Lafayette (there went my rent money while I was living there!) knows no boundaries, especially around Christmas when their windows, decorated by the most prestigious brands (Louis Vuitton at Galeries, Christian Dior at Printemps) shine with thousand lights. It's like an exquisite fairytale that you can relive over and over. Another thing I'm really excited about is taking a stroll down les Champs Elysées, admiring the legendary Christmas illuminations and peeking into beautiful windows of Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Lancel or Miu Miu, getting my caffeine fix at Nespresso boutique, and stocking up on sparkling jewelry at Forever 21. Tres chic!
7. Hunt for vintage treasures. Paris is sans hesitation a paradise for vintage lovers. My very first encounter with vintage happened in the City of Lights, courtesy of the famous bouquinistes along the Seine. Their small green boxes that can be transformed into full-fledged stalls overflowing with vintage items in a blink of an eye, are as typical for Paris as the river itself. I love rummaging through their treasures, searching for vintage postcards (which I collect), art deco prints, old issues of Vogue Paris and French Elle, and all those ubiquitous souvenirs like little Eiffel Tcowers. Then, of course, there are all those famous flea markets that hold everything from antique furniture, vintage jewelry, old books and cutlery to little trinkets that have seemingly no other purpose than delight you an make you happy. I'm so looking forward to visiting Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen on Sunday morning!
8. Wander around Montmartre. Montmartre has always had a very special atmosphere, being the home of an eclectic mix of artists, immigrants from all around the world, and cabaret dancers. The artistic spirit floats all around this area and it's a huge source of inspiration to whomever loves paintwork and music. Whenever I'm in Paris, I make a point of climbing the hill of Montmartre, get a crêpe in one of the numerous cafés, applaud artists who sing, dance and declaim verses on the stairs in front of Sacre Coeur, drink my café au lait while people watching and saunter among the artist who will paint your portrait or caricature in less than 10 minutes (I had my portrait painted the first time I ever visited Montmartre, and it's still hanging at my parents' place).
9. Spend the Sunday afternoon in Marais. Le Marais is one of the most charming and adorable neighborhoods in Paris. Perfectly symmetric Place des Vosges, built by Henry IV., once a place of medieval tournaments is today a perfect spot for an afternoon picnic, or a hot cup of coffee. Musée de Carnavalet, dedicated to Paris itself, holds so many snippets of the city's very rich history, as well as original occasional exhibitions (I saw Kiraz's Parisiennes, the Parisian equivalent of girls from Sex and the City, a few years back, and it was such a pleasant, funny and glamorous experience!).
Of course, Marais wouldn't be Marais without all the hip boutiques: Maje and Sandro are the current favorites. Diptyque is the place where dreams come true and Annick Goutal's perfumes provide a much needed escape from the daily reality. I'm equally excited to visit MAC and Kiehl's boutiques and stock up on new beauty miracles. And I couldn't leave Paris without at least one new tea concoction from Mariage Frères.
10. Stock up on pharmacy beauty essentials. To say that French women are obsessed with pharmacy beauty products would be a serious understatement. Whether it's the perfect moisturizer for sensitive skin, favorite makeup remover (Bioderma Sensibio H2O), or the secret weapon of every Parisienne Huile Prodigieuse by Nuxe, French women hand down their pharmacy beauty secrets from mother to daughter. I have discovered so many fantastic beauty products in French pharmacies (some of them literally changed my life), and I have my favorite secret spot on the Left Bank, where I stock up on all these miracles whenever I'm in the city. This time around I'm determined to try on a bunch of new products to switch up my beauty routines a little bit.