What every girl's trip to paris should include ....

(Painting by Bridget Baylin)

(Painting by Bridget Baylin)

 

I love Paris.  I know that sounds like a cliche, but I can't help myself.  It just feels like home when I there.  I went to school at the Sorbonne between my junior and senior year, and met one of my closest and dearest friends there.  We were in the same classes -- advanced French with some very interesting characters.  I remember the cowboy American with his thick Southern accent and the ice skater who said she was a quarter Filipino and related to Prince.  

After classes we would hang out at the place de la Sorbonne or Le Jardin du Luxembourg across the street from campus.  She and her boyfriend were kicked out of their dormitory and they had to rent an apartment.  I loved climbing the spiral case to her room, pressing the button at the beginning of each stair case to illuminate our walk up to the 4th floor.  

I have been back several times with boyfriends and girlfriends.  While Paris is for lovers, it's also for a place to spend time with the girls you love and the girls who love Paris.  

There is so much to see, do and eat.  There are the obvious must-see sights - Eiffel Tower (I recommend going at night!),  The Louvre, Notre Dame, Galleries Lafayette and so on .... (I recommend Goop's Guide to Paris.)  But below is the list of some of my recent favorite things that you may not  have on your check list:

  1. Cooking Class - Seriously, cooking on a girl's trip?  Aren't you suppose to be getting away from all that?  But this was actually fun, even when I was assigned carrot peeling.  We learned to cook Coq au Vin, which by the way, I still haven't tried at home. Come to think of it, I haven't tried any of the dishes we learned to cook, but it was still a great time with my girlfriends, even if we were a tad hungover.
    Try: Le Foodist.  I want to try their croissant class next time.
  2. Souffle - My best friend Melissa got us hooked on souffle.  We even started dreaming about opening a souffle restaurant back home!   Try Le Souffle, 36 Rue du Mont Thabor or Le Cigale Recaimer, 4 Rue Récamier. 
    Tip:  One person should order a savory souffle, the other sweet.  
  3. Dancing until 3 A.M, may 4 A.M. - Leave the Minnie Mouse looking flats at home and go dancing! Sure the electric dance music will still be beating inside you the next morning, but how often do you just go dancing  (weddings don't count!) It is annoying that you have to go through what is literally called "face control" a.k.a. the velvet rope, but it's like your 20 again -- especially if you just put on the pharmacist recommended toner (see below).  
    Try: Chez Castel, 15 Rue Princesse  So when we went here in 2014, we had no idea that it was one of the hardest dance clubs to get into.  Maybe because it wasn't Fashion Week, but they waved us right in.  
    Tip: Don't show up before midnight. Again, It's like reliving your 20s.
  4. Dinner in the 10th and the 11th- Take your pick -Verre Vole, Septime, Le Dauphin, Le Chateaubriand -- it's not hard to find a yummy place to eat and drink wine.  But I have to give a shout out to my Filipina sisters, the Levhas.  Bloomberg named their restaurant, Le Servan, 32 Rue Saint-Maur, one of the best in Paris.  The sisters Filipino French inspired dishes are amazing. 
     Tip:  Make you reservations in advance! 
  5. Lunch and Tea at Yam T'cha (1st Arrondissement) - This place is a tiny gem in Paris serving French and Chinese inspired dishes, with a variety of teas --  it also happens to have a Michelin star. They opened a new restaurant on 121 rue St. Honore, just around the corner from their old spot, which is now a tea store. 
    Tip:  Sometimes it's easier to get lunch reservations
  6. Shop the second hand stores -  The shopping in Paris is amazing, especially when the dollar is strong, but I also love browsing the second half stores to see what the cool French girls are giving away.  I snagged a Chloe wool military jacket and a cute denim skirt for $50 US dollars.  Or go to Les 3 Marches for vintage Hermes and Chanel.
  7. Shop the French pharmacies - The green neon lights are a beacon to better looking skin.   (Also, if you are sick, you'll find any medication to cure your ailments, no prescription needed, just make sure you know the right French phrases) 
  8. Hang out at Le Bon Marche's food market ... just because.
  9. Thai Massage - I'm glad we ended our week of walking, shopping, sightseeing and eating  with a massage!  Try Chok Monkkon, 57, rue de Rochechouart, Paris 9e (M) Cadet-Anvers.  

My favorite cafes:  Cool and fun: Verre Vole, Le Servan; Traditional: Caffe Lippe and any cafe where they serve Aperol spritz and frites. 

For my next visit, I'm dying to go to the ballet, Sezane's apartment,  take a Spin Class (apparently fitness is trending in Paris and my OB/Gyn just invested in a spin studio there)   and did I mention any cafe where they serve Aperol spritz?