Soho House

IS IT EVER a bad idea to visit Paris? No matter what time of the year you might find yourself in the city of lights, love and luxury, Paris never disappoints. And why would it? The allure of world-class museums, designer shopping, delectable dining, and romanticism at every corner is enough to make the most experienced traveller weak at the knees!

But getting around the busy city of Paris—and knowing exactly how to make the most of your time—can be a tricky (and often daunting) task, for the glitz and glamour of Paris indeed has a facade that can mislead those into common tourist traps.

Here to steer you in the right direction upon your next Parisian jaunt, Esquire has scoured France’s capital to find the city’s best offerings—from the most delicieux buttery croissants worthy of traversing the arrondissements for, to the bistros to frequent, the museum’s to marvel at and much, much more.

1). Live like a local (and stay at Soho House Paris)

Find solace and refuge from the hustle and bustle of the streets of Paris at Soho House Paris, a Parisian-chic hideout that marries traditional French design with a contemporary Art Deco twist. As a result, it has been the place for those in the know to frequent since its opening in 2021; but don’t be surprised to find it buzzing with some form of activity every day of the week. Housed in a former 19th-century apartment building that was once the family home of renowned French poet and artist, Jean Cocteau, the house spans over five floors that pay homage to the design codes of the time; you’ll find curved lines, painted murals, and rattan and bamboo touches used throughout.

At Soho House Paris, you don’t actually need to leave the house to find a great Parisian meal, either. The members-only restaurant (available to guests of the hotel, also) is a quaint space that offers traditional French and European dishes with the signature Soho House flair. If you’re looking for something to do, the Cabaret Room located in the basement regularly hosts members’ events, screenings and performances that are often inspired by the can-can and the Moulin Rouge (which is located only a short walk from the hotel, in fact).

Rooms at Soho House Paris range from “Tiny” to “Big Boudoir”, with each room offering a unique design perspective reflective of the area of the building that it is housed in. For example, in the 19th century part of the House, bedrooms are inspired by French boudoir design and have included the original wooden wall panelling and fireplaces in each room. Each room features the signature Soho House ammenities and hospitality touches, like Cowshed bathing goods and a collection of Soho Skin beauty products for you to use throughout your stay.

The Soho House model has always done an incredible job of bringing together local creative communities in unique and fun ways, and this Parisian house is no exception. If it’s a local’s perspective you’re looking for during your visit to Paris—with a touch of cheek and adventure—you will surely find it here at Soho House Paris.

Book here

Soho House Paris
Soho House Paris

2). Looking to shop? Maybe stay away from the Champs-Elysées

One of the most visited sites of Paris is arguably the Champs-Elysées. And sure, you should definitely see it once; the Arc de Triomphe is a sight to behold, and most international luxury designer stores can be found along this iconic shopping strip, too. But it’s also one of the world’s biggest tourist traps. Honestly, if shopping is on the agenda for you, there are much better districts of Paris to explore.

If you do find yourself near the Champs-Elysées, start with the newly-opened Galeries Lafayette Champs Elysees. It’s a stunning fit out, and the detailed selection of urban and modern designers—along with high-end bands—make it great for “faire les boutiques”.

Le Bon Marche, the crown jewel of Saint-Germain and an institution for fashion lovers, is another shopping experience not to miss. The offering of local and international menswear and womenswear has been meticulously curated, so much so that if you don’t walk out with an item in hand, you’re probably doing it wrong.

Elsewhere, the newly revamped La Samaritaine—a project 16 years in the making and the latest department store to be acquired by luxury French conglomerate LVMH—is a beautiful setting for shopping and dining. Set in its beautiful original Art Nouveau building, Samaritaine boasts seven floors of modern fashion, jewellery and beauty products. Best of all, head to its rooftop to enjoy a drink with stunning views of Paris to aid the shopping fatigue.

Merci in Le Marais, the fashionable district in the 4th arrondissement, is an iconic establishment that anyone serious about fashion should experience. Merci offers everything from contemporary fashion to vintage furniture and homewares, all carefully chosen and curated to match its specific function and appearance.

Galeries Lafayette
Galeries Lafayette

3). Michelin-Starred dining can be overrated

Hear us out: of course, Michelin-starred dining can be quite the gastronomical experience, and Paris is full of awarded restaurants. But often, the true charm lies within Paris’ lesser-known haunts. It’s always a good idea to dine where the locals dine, and most of the time, laidback bistros are the place to go.

Here are some of our favourite dining spots in Paris right now:

  • Elmer, for a contemporary French dining experience with mouthwatering dishes to savour, especially from the use of its grill.
  • Caché, hidden in an unassuming alley of Paris, go for creative Mediterranean cuisine that offers smaller plates with sharing in mind.
  • Bistro Paul Bert, for traditional steak frites in an iconic bistro setting – French dining at its finest!
  • Pink Mamma, for an Italian trattoria-style dining experience with an underground speakeasy bar that locals flock to.
  • L’As du Fallafel, for France’s best falafel restaurant and arguably the best falafel in pita you’re likely to consume (even Leonardo Di Caprio is a fan)… street food at its best, folks.
  • Bonnie, for an exquisite fine-dining experience with some of the best views of the Eiffel Tower.
  • Soho House Paris, for easy-going French lunches and dinners (and to overhear the latest gossip in town).
  • Café de Flore, for exceptional cocktails and people-watching.
Bonnie Paris

4). Take the city by foot

If there is one thing you will come to learn about Paris after spending more than a few days in the city, it’s that all drivers are a little manic, and the city traffic is the stuff of nightmares—Paris and its famously snarled traffic is a thing. So, the best way to get around the city can sometime be by foot.

Walking around Paris is actually a fascinating experience, for you’ll come to experience first hand just how diverse each arrondissement is. If walking isn’t your style, there are Uber-backed Lime bicycles scattered throughout the city that make getting from one location to another super easy. The metro is also a good option, but recent reports of a bed-bug infestation may deter you from taking the sub.

Josh Bozin

5). Find a good bakery for your daily croissant

What’s a visit to Paris without consuming copious amounts of croissants (and other buttery goods)? You’ll find Parisian bakeries located on almost every corner of the city, and almost all of them will claim to bake the best croissants in town. However, there’s a considerable difference between a good croissant and a great croissant.

Take our word and head to Du Pain et Des Idées, an authentic Parisian bakery that dates back to 1875. It’s also the very same bakery that the late Anthony Bourdain said was the best in the world.

If you’re happy to wait in line, the traditional croissants at Farine&O are also worthy of your attention and time. Using traditional practices that generations of French bakers have mastered, you’ll find each croissant to be a mix of nutty and sweet, rich and fluffy.

Courtesy Du Pain et Des Idées

6). Do a Rick Steves audio museum tour

Naturally, the Louvre should be on your bucket list, but the largest museum in the world calls for a day or two to explore it in all its glory. If time isn’t on your side, consider one of the smaller—yet equally impressive—museums around Paris.

And if time permits, pop on a Rick Steves audio tour. The celebrated travel writer and author will take you on a personalised, intimate, walking audio tour of some of the most popular museums in Paris, like The Louvre, The Orsay, Versailles Palace, Père Lachaise Cemetery and Rue Cler Walk.

Palais de Tokyo is a smaller museum to conquer on your Parisian travels. The centre is dedicated to modern and contemporary art and offers some of Europe’s largest contemporary artwork creations.

Palais de Tokyo
Josh Bozin

7). Invest in sport…

…because Paris sure is. Besides hosting some of the world’s biggest annual sporting events like Roland-Garros and the Tour de France, Paris has also recently hosted the 2023 Rugby World Cup, and in 2024, will be the official host of the Summer Olympic Games. For sporting fans, it really is the city to be in right now.

Rugby World Cup
Rugby World Cup

8). Hide your (nice) watches and jewellery

As beautiful and enchanting Paris is, it can also be somewhat dangerous for travellers carrying expensive goods. In recent years, Paris has become home to some of the world’s most advanced watch and jewellery thieves, who target and steal luxury watches in some of Paris’ wealthiest neighbourhoods.

Sadly, it’s a reality that you need to be cautious and mindful of the timepieces and jewellery you flaunt when visiting Paris. It’s better right now to leave your precious items at home or locked in your hotel room.

9). You should visit Paris during certain months

To experience a little bit of everything Paris has to offer, March to May and September to October are the best times to visit. During these periods (Spring and Autumn), you’ll find crowds are considerably less than the summer period, the weather is temperate and enjoyable and lining up for literally anything isn’t really an issue.

Josh Bozin


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