Get your best black beret out and pop your Breton top on because it’s about to get seriously chic up in here.
Paris, to me, is a seductive mixture of devastatingly inspiring architecture, nostalgic old shop fronts and effortless style topped with the heady scent of romance. There is nowhere more charming than Paris. There’s just one catch. You’ve got to get there first…!
If you don’t have time to do the whole Eurostar thing, are short on time or budget or if you just want to unleash your inner Parisian, then let’s make Paris come to you in true N.O.W style!
I’ve scoured London to give you guys the best interpretation of Paris through some amazing places that have taken French style interiors to the max and hopefully, make you come over all “ooh la la”! If you’re looking for a beautiful, inspiring Parisian experience in London, look no further.
Like every hard-nosed Parisian, you’ll want your morning coffee and some form of pastry toute suite. For an all-out French interior (and exterior) to get your morning caffeine hit, head to Balthazar’s Boulangerie, attached to the main restaurant. As an artisan bakery, it’s gone maximalist on nostalgic, old-world charm – I’d go for those coffee cups alone.
Peckish? Colbert in Sloane Square is everything you could hope for in a Parisian style lunchtime spot. Designed in the style of an old boulevard café in Paris, you can stop by for just a glass of champagne or a while away the time over an enviably long lunch watching the super cars go by. Full of retro Parisian memorabilia, classic hardwood bistro chairs and scarlet banquet seating it’s got all the ingredients for that bohemian feeling. On a glorious Spring-like day or on a crisp Winter one, you can sit outside in true Parisian style and be the ultimate voyeur from behind your shades.
For an afternoon sugar hit, for the glamourous madamoiselles, La Duree in Harrods (or their smaller concession inside the Burlington Arcade) is the hallmark for grand patisseries the world over. On the ground floor of Harrods, La Duree’s front counter could be straight out of a Wes Anderson film; intimidating and grand whilst being charming and sweet (literally) at the same time. The rest of the café is maximalist heaven; opulent, tactile and decadent.
For the kind of gal who wants more rustic charm, Maison Betraux is a cute classic. I prefer sitting outside as the timeless French exterior is picture perfect with its awning and retro typeface. Chain eating chocolate éclairs here has been known to happen. (No judgement here).
If you need to walk off those ten éclairs (I’m still not judging), head to Marylebone High Street where you can smell your way through Diptique’s fine fragrances. Whilst you’re there, be sure to swing by The Conran Shop and head straight to Astier de Villate’s concession, stick your nose in their Rue de Saint Honore’s scented candle to whisk you away to Old Paris. The packaging alone is enough to sucker me in.
After all that shopping, you’ll need a drink (if you really want to take the French thing seriously, you’ll have started drinking hours ago but I know all too well the dangers of shopping tanked on a few glasses of rouge!).
For a pre-dinner aperitif, the Bar Americain at Brasserie Zedel is a pretty sexy choice. The authentic interior is all-out 1930s art deco, old school glamour. Be sure to dress up as this place is full of character, low lighting, dark wood, gilded gold details and is sure to make you feel like one very glamourous madame ou monsieur.
If you don’t stay for dinner at Brasserie Zedel or instead want classic, full-scale Parisian romance, dinner can’t be any better (or any more French) than Clos Maggiore. This is one of my favourite restaurants in London. It’s refined and restrained with its starched white linen tablecloths and completely maximalist in bringing the outdoors, indoors. The cascading branches overhead with their twinkling lights and flower-filled conservatory creates a beautiful, intimate ambience. Maximalist, experiential interiors heaven.
Often voted one of London’s most romantic restaurants, it’s easy to see why. Be sure to book ahead for this one and heads up, the wine list is a tome.
Have you guys tried any of these out? If you would recommend any other French places in London or anywhere else, please let me know in the comments – would love to hear your other suggestions!