When traveling, we always want to know about the posh places to explore, whether it’s a cool hotel, must-try restaurant or amazing shop. If Paris is on your list, you probably already know it can be tough to navigate beyond the city’s top-rated tourism spots and experience the locals’ inside track. Thus, we tapped an It girl who’s very familiar with the City of Light: Claire Distenfeld, founder of New York’s Fivestory, a curated boutique offering luxury apparel and accessories in a gorgeous Upper East Side townhouse setting. While not a Parisian herself, the native New Yorker travels there all the time to find the latest in French luxury and emerging designers—making her the perfect source when seeking a memorable and less obvious trip fit for a fashion girl. Here, Claire shares her must-know haunts.
Cool Things To Do In Paris
"My favorite restaurants in Paris are polar opposites! One is Chez Georges on Rue du Mail. It's super-French and cozy. The menu never changes, and it's always filled with true Parisians sprinkled with fashion folk. My other favorite restaurant is Takara, which claims to be the oldest sushi restaurant in all of Europe. It’s so beyond delicious and also has a great crowd. I also love Le Petit Lutetia. It's owned by the Costes brothers and is a great alternative to the Hôtel Costes bar, which can sometimes have too many fashion people. And last but not least: Ferdi. A small little gem with the most delicious food."
Images: Bottom left and top right courtesy of Claire Distenfeld. Bottom right, courtesy of Ferdi.
"I love the Water Bar at Colette for coffee and a snack. It's perfectly located and is one of the only restaurants in Paris that has dairy-free and gluten-free pastries. Bar Hemingway is, and has always been, chic de la chic. It's small, so it's not exactly easy to find a great spot if you're with a group—but it’s always worth a try!"
Images: Bottom left and top right courtesy of Claire Distenfeld. Bottom right, courtesy of Colette.
"I loved this hotel I stayed at called Le Roch. The lobby and bar area are very cool and have a great vibe. The rooms were extremely well-designed, and I had a perfectly pink tiled hamam in my room! There is also a pool, a fitness room and a spa if you need some relaxation after all the hustle and bustle."
Images: All courtesy of Claire Distenfeld.
"My go-to every single freaking time I go to Paris is the Dries Van Noten store. The decor is spectacular and the florals are to-die-for. He is by far my favorite designer. Laulhère is the most adorable beret store. Fivestory is actually doing a collaboration with them, coming out for pre-fall (pictured above, bottom left)! They make the berets for the French Army."