[by Marjolein] Paris is always a good idea. An introduction to the city of lights is not needed for the well-travelled Chapter Fifty followers. Don’t we all share a passion for Paris?
There is so much to do in Paris that I need to focus during my stay. This short break my focus will be on the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area – where we stay at Hôtel Baume – and focus on art & shopping & food. The holy travel trinity. We all know that Saint-Germain on the Rive Gauche (Left Bank) has lovely boutiques and cafés such as the famous Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots.
But there’s more to discover, on-y-va.
Where to sleep in Paris’ Left Bank?
Hôtel Baume is located in a quiet street off the Odeon Theatre right in Saint Germain. Our elongated balcony suite has a lounge area, a private terrace and jewelry themed 1930s decorations. And funky 3D wall paper in gold and silver hues.
I like our bed: the linen is soft and the cushions are fine. The room has this French je ne sais quoi vibe, which I adore. The big sunburst lamp above the bed gives the room extra charm. As in most Parisian hotels, the bathroom is small but has all one needs, signature amenities included.
The buffet style breakfast is on the ground floor in a colorful décor. 4 * Hôtel Baume is part of the family-owned group Hôtels Paris Rive Gauche, all with their own decoration themes. So, if the Baume is fully booked, sister ‘Hôtel & Spa La Belle Juliette’ is at least as good an alternative.
Where to shop in Saint Germain?
I wander around Rue de Sèvres and spot the Hermès logo at number 17. It turns out this ‘underground’ Hermès boutique – open since 2011 – is located in the former swimming club Lutetia from the 1930s. I walk down the main staircase to find that this boutique is so different from the Hermès store on Faubourg, that it is almost a shock. Imagine clean lines, cool tiles, light wooden structures and an enormous collection. Not just ties and leather goods, but home decoration, games, a book store and much more. I fall in love with silver wall paper. Or shall I go for gold? I must have developed a sudden wall paper obsession.
Don’t forget to visit the nearby Ines de la Fressange flagship store at 24 Rue de Grenelle. Parisian-chic Ines has a “joyful bazar”, as she herself likes to call it. For the classic type with a cheerful taste.
Where to have coffee (or dinner) in Paris?
Time to move on. For that typical Parisian experience, I have a petit café at Au Savignon, close by the Hermès store. This bar has small round tables and rickety chairs under the canopy for the smoking crowd. I go inside and talk to the owner: she is the granddaughter of the couple who started the place back in the 1950s. And from the looks of it, nothing changed since then (apart from the great coffee machine).
After a quick shower & change, we go out for a casual dinner. Yet again a Parisian classic. We take a taxi to go to Au Petit Riche on Rue de Peletier number 25 (in the 9th arrondissement). This brasserie started in 1854 and ticks all the right boxes. Old fashioned interior: check. Oyster man outside: check. Locals present: check. Old fashioned menu: check. No need to dress up here, it’s a very relaxed vibe.
What to see in Paris? LV!
Next up is a visit to Fondation Louis Vuitton. Frank Gehry designed the spectacular glass and steel building – with an eye for sustainability. Rainwater is recovered and used to water the plants, clean the façade and the glass roofs.
The current exhibition (till 5 March, so hurry!) is ‘Being Modern: MoMA in Paris’. A journey through the best art of the 20th and 21st century. Some name dropping: Cézanne, Picasso, Hopper, Pollock and De Kooning in a variety of art forms. The over 200 works from MoMA New York are almost too much to take in during one visit. System overload: let’s have lunch!
There’s a line for lunch at brasserie Le Frank: usually a good sign. We hear nothing but French: second good sign. ‘Le Frank’ Michelin * Chef Jean-Louis Nomicos offers an interesting menu. I choose the Caesar salad and get a delicious – stacked – French take on this all American classic.
Before we head home, I buy chef Nomicos’ book from the in-house gift shop. I want more of this food and bring a touch of Paris’ culinary passion home.
discover more city breaks
My stay in Paris was by invitation of Hôtel Baume on behalf of Chapter Fifty. Chapter Fifty only accepts items or collaborations that answer positive to the question: “does it match our lifestyle?”. We will not promote anything that we would not wear, where we would not eat, sleep or see ourselves. Authenticity is very important to us. Words, photos and opinions are our own.