I was once told by an American living in London that the best part about living in London is Paris. While it's true that for a design lover living in London is amazing, even better is being able to hop on a 2-hour train ride to Paris. Here are just a few places that make this city a design mecca.
• Musee d'Orsay: Across the Seine from the Louvre is this museum built inside the old Orsay railway station — the building itself is a thing of beauty.
• Musee Rodin: The perfect place to stroll through picturesque gardens on a sunny day and marvel at some of Rodin's finest creations.
• Grand Palais: There is always a great art exhibition on view in one of Paris' most palatial buildings.
• Musuem of Decorative Arts:
Located on the famous Rue de Rivoli. This summer's exhibition comparing Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton is currently one of the most popular shows in Paris.
• Le Marais: Quaint, narrow streets make this neighborhood, with its its numerous art galleries and design shops, the perfect walking destination. The Picasso Museum is also located in the Marais, but unfortunately is closed this summer for renovation.
• Marche aux Puces: Every Saturday and Sunday antique furniture and objects fill stalls manned by Parisian characters.
• Jardin du Luxembourg: One of hundreds of gorgeous gardens that make you forget about the grime of city life.
This neighborhood surrounds the hill of the Basilica Sacre-Coeur. Climb to the top of Sacre-Coeur for sweeping views of the city, and explore the streets where Moulin Rouge was set. Although this neighborhood can feel like a tourist trap, there are many unique shops and restaurants still to be found.
• Merci: A design concept store where trends are born and shopping is philanthropic. The profits from this shop are donated to charity, so definitely stop in when you see the famous red car out in front.
• Diptyque: Legendary purveyors of fragrances and candles well-known for their creative use of typography in their packaging.
• Colette: A fashion concept store with a cult following.
• Mariage Freres: A tea emporium with hundreds of blends from around the world lining the walls.
• Patrick Roger: Famous turquoise boxes are filled with some of the finest chocolates that Paris has to offer.
• Pierre Hermes:
A macaron shop unlike any other with creations such as vanilla and basil or green tea, chanterelle mushroom, and lemon.
• Market: Stop in for a lengthy lunch of small plates to really appreciate the various contemporary dishes this Jean Georges restaurant has to offer.
• Benoit: This is a classic French fine dining experience where the escargot and the meille feuille are not to be missed. They recently celebrated their 100th anniversary, so this place is here to stay.
• Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots: Both of these cafes are a part of the Paris that you imagine. Pop in any time day or night for a snack and some amazing people watching in the fashionable 6th Arrondisement St. Germain.
• Relais de L'Entrecote: Famous steak frites that are worth the wait in line, and a meal that will fit in with most travel budgets as well.
• Mon Vieil Ami: This restaurant will fast become your old friend for its innovative menu and modern interiors.
• Hotel Montalembert: Amazing customer service, which can be hard to find as an American in Paris, located in the heart of Saint-Germain.
• La Tour D'Auvergne, located in the Opera district, is a boutique hotel filled with eclectic furnishings. You may end up sleeping under the hood of a Fiat, as pictured above.
• Kube Hotel is perfect if you are popping into Paris via the Eurostar, as it is a 5 minute walk from Gare du Nord. You aren't forfeiting style for convenience, however, as surfaces are made up of sleek Plexiglass and stainless steel.
• Hotel des Academies et des Arts: A luxury boutique hotel combining modern and classic designs and dedicating itself to the creative arts through the promotion of local artists and exhibitions.
(Images: 1, 2, 4, 6. Claire Bock, 3. Shutterstock, 5. Shutterstock )