When we're planning a trip, there are a few people we turn to for their recommendations. One is our friend Victoria Smith, Curator of Super Marché and editor of SF Girl by Bay. Victoria has a cool, bohemian style that we love. And she knows how to get the most out of a quick trip or a long holiday. Read on for Victoria's Paris list.
What hotels would you recommend to someone who is traveling to Paris for the first time?
I love the Hoxton Paris. It's very affordable for all they offer, beautiful, stylish rooms, comfortable, duvet-covered beds, wifi, and breakfast service if you want it, plus in-room dining. Downstairs is a large beautiful atrium with food and cocktail service, and then there's another restaurant and quiet bar lounge upstairs. The decor is sublime, and it's a great neighborhood to walk from or take the Metro. Also lovely and in the same neighborhood is Hotel Grand Boulevards, and it's equally as beautiful, and the rooms are charming.
Do you have a favorite arrondissement?
I just explored the 10th near Canal Saint-Martin for the first time, and I fell in love with it. Tons of shopping and charming cafes, and you can picnic on the Canal, as well. It's charming and unpretentious but very up-and-coming and a short walk from Le Marais, also a favorite neighborhood of mine.
In a perfect world, I'd arrive when the Brocante de la Rue de Bretagne is happening in Le Marais (it's held twice a year). They close off blocks and blocks of streets for a huge flea market with over 500 vendors, and I'd wander and shop for a few hours. Then I'd head to lunch with friends at Mokonuts and have a lovely, long 4-course dejeuner with them.
After lunch, we'd head to the Jardin de Tuileries and take a turn on my favorite ride there. It takes you way up into the air and spins you around with a 360-degree view of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.
The next day, I'd have croissants and a cafe au lait in bed and then make a trip to Merci for some shopping and a late lunch in their Used Book Store Cafe. Then I'd stop into Bonton to take a photo in their old-fashioned photo booth - the perfect Parisian souvenir.
If you have 90 minutes to take a walk through Paris, what is your route?
I never leave without stopping into my favorite bakery Stohrer for a strawberry tart or an eclair.
Then, to walk off all those calories, I'd head over to Shakespeare & Company, one of the few English-language bookshops in Paris, founded by George Whitman, an American in 1951. It's right on the banks of the Seine, opposite Notre-Dame and a lovely place to walk to.
I actually haven't been yet, but some friends just loved the Yves Saint Laurent studio tour.
We think there are some things you just must see and do on your first visit to Paris, but share the least touristy recommendation for someone visiting Paris for the first time.
Just walk. Don't take Ubers, don't take the Metro, just walk and walk and see Paris slowly. I've logged 7-10 miles on a good day in Paris, and there's nothing better. Plus, you walk off all the croissants, baguettes, and pastries you've consumed throughout the day!
Share your favorite vintage shops in Paris.
NUXE Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil, Bioderma Sensibio Foaming Gel Cleanser, Caudalie Beauty Elixir Face Mist Toner, and the one that always flies off the shelves and is hard to find: Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré, Face Cream & Makeup Primer - hunt that one down!