Sonja's Paris

Sonja's Paris

After years of exploring Paris, Sonja unveils her favourite spots in the city, spanning gastronomy, art, shopping, and her favourite neighbourhoods.

27.03.24 Travel

Best Neighbourhood

Le Marais in the 3rd is filled with hip boutiques and has been my hood for the last 10 years. Situated on the Right Bank, it’s close to all the new restaurants which are mainly in the neighbouring 11th arrondissement.

In the Marais, you'll find notable museums such as the Musée Victor Hugo located in the grassy Place des Vosges, where the esteemed writer once resided. Additionally, the Musée Picasso houses the world's most extensive collection of Picasso paintings, a donation from his family for tax purposes.

The nearby Hotel de Ville, Paris’s Town Hall, has provided an impressive venue for Dries Van Noten and other designer shows. Also, the Musee Carnevalet nearby is worth seeing.

Previously, the Jewish quarter, the Marais is one of the most charming neighbourhoods in Paris and home to Martin Grant, one of the designers we carry.

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Best Restaurant

Le Chateaubriand, 129 Parmentier Ave, Paris 11 is a firm favourite. Described by the Michelin Guide:

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“Basque chef Iñaki Aizpitarte attracts an international clientele of food lovers with his unadulterated French bistro in this institution that wholeheartedly embraces the bistronomy movement, of which he was one of the initiators. The place has retained its original interior decor, the likes of which you would have come across in the 1930s, which it juxtaposes with a neo-retro mix of zinc, slate, high ceilings and narrow tables. Their winning formula is a single-set menu with original marriages of flavours. Ingredients and wines are carefully selected from independent producers. Reservations are essential.”

Despite not having a Michelin star, it was for many years the top-ranked French restaurant on The World 50 Best Restaurants list. The set menu never fails to deliver but make sure you book at least 3 weeks in advance.

Best Fashion Store

Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, the world's first department store, opened in 1852 under the
visionary leadership of Aristide Boucicaut and his wife, Marguerite. Their groundbreaking concept aimed to captivate all the senses—a mission it continues to fulfil today. Now owned by LVMH, Le Bon Marché remains a Parisian icon.

Start your day at Le Bon Marché, where you can explore exceptional exhibitions, indulge in makeup and nail salons, shop for clothing and books, and visit the exquisite food hall. Don't miss the Truffle Bar, perfect for a bite to eat paired with a chilled glass of Chablis.

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Best Facial

Biologique Recherche, located at 32 Av. des Champs-Élysées in Paris 8, is my go-to destination for an incredible facial whenever I'm in Paris. I always make sure to book my appointment from home.

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Best Hair Dresser

David Mallett, located at 14 Rue Notre Dame des Victoires in Paris 2, is where I go for an amazing colour and cut. I book my appointment 4 weeks in advance for this special treat. David also has salons at The Ritz and in New York.

Best Massage

Officine Universelle Buly, 45 Rue Saintonge, Paris 3. Also the perfect spot to find a gift and coffee/tea break.

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Best Croissant

Boulangerie Moderne Thierry Rabineau. 16 Rue des Fosses Saint-Jacques, Paris 5.

Best Cafe

Café Charlot, a classic yet trendy spot, sits on the corner of Rue Charlot—the street I've called home in Paris for the past five years. It's very busy during Fashion Week and serves an excellent Pornstar Martini.

Best Hotel

Hotel Pavillion De La Reine, 28 Place des Vosges, Paris 3. We stayed here when we started going to Paris to do the buying in the 1990’s. Charming but not excessively expensive in one of the most beautiful squares in Paris. Full of fashion people, the likes of Issey Miyake in its heyday.

Best Park

Parc des Buttes Chaument in the 19th.

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Best Gallery

The Louis Vuitton Foundation is a must-visit. Designed by Frank Gehry at the invitation of Bernard Arnault, this stunning art museum opened in 2014 in the Bois de Boulogne. Gehry’s bold creativity makes the building itself a masterpiece.

I loved the latest exhibition by my favourite artist, Mark Rothko, and have also enjoyed remarkable shows by Warhol, Basquiat, and Richter.