11:20 am

THIS IS MY CITY | Elise's Paris

We loved putting together our Wanderlust - five well-travelled friends of Benah (Anna, Giselle, Linlee, Alice and Natalie) sharing their holiday secrets - that we thought we'd do something similar this month. This time, we're putting together the ultimate insider's guide to some of the best cities around the world, from London to New York, with Bogota, Auckland, Tokyo and even some Australian cities thrown in for good measure. We can't wait to share these with you, and hope you pick up some tips for your next holiday. First city stepping up to the plate? The city of light and love and lemon tarts all of that good stuff - Paris, by Elise Pioch.

Image of Elise by Adrian Mesko

one. Best thing about Paris? High heels on bicycles.

two. Worst thing about Paris? The French attitude (I hope I can say this, because I really mean it!)  (Benah note: Elise is actually French, so she is allowed to say things like this!)

 three. Favourite secret spot? The tea salon hidden inside La Musee de la Vie Romantique, 16 rue Chaptal, Paris 9th.

Garden at the musee de la vie romantique: source
four. Favourite everyone-knows-it-but-it's-still-good spot? Place des Vosges...

 five. What is your newest discovery in Paris? What about somewhere you've been going since forever but can't quite give up? My newest discovery in Paris is this delicious restaurant called Le Chateaubriand on 131 avenue Parmentier in the 11th. Interior designed by Rem Koolhaas!! Also I have been going to the same patisserie, Arnaud del Montel on rue des Martyrs in the 9th for the last 20 years, picking the same cake called Le Madras (coconut mousse and pineapple chutney, yum).

 six. Where is the best place for.... morning coffee? meal with friends? romantic rendez-vous? late night drink? even later-night boogie? I don't drink coffee but the best hot chocolate is at Angelina's at 226 rue de Rivoli. A meal with friends has to be at any classic brasserie for a tartare steak, french fries and glass of red wine. The ideal romantic rendez vous is on the grass in front of the Basilic of Sacre Coeur at Montmartre, with some fresh figs, a small bit of cheese, a skinny baguette and a bottle of champagne (I am about to marry the man who shared just that with me once). A last boogie is great at the Favela Chic, 18 rue du faubourg du temple in the 11th.

seven. Where are Paris's style spots? Where is the best shopping? Merci (111 bd beaumarchais, paris 3rd) is a great fashion and home temple. The little streets around Merci are amazing, it is part of the Marais and is full of established and unknown cool boutiques.

 Merci: designboom

eight. What is something you can get/read/experience/eat that you can only do in Paris? Get a Velib' for the day (parisian bikes for rent in the street), dine on top of Pompidou museum with breathtaking view over the city, get the most delicious Nutella crepe for 2 euros in any "creperie" van on the street, watch parisian eclectic fashion in the metro.

nine. You can tell a lot about a city from their airport. Describe Paris's. Brand new architecture, small gates, high ceiling, very stylish airport magazine (air france magazine is almost as good as french vogue), delicious cheap and healthy food options, huge waiting list for a manicure and a Laduree booth to stock up on macaroons before the flight. Incredible!

ten. How would you describe Paris to someone who has never been there before? A beautiful mess.

 Paris: Grayzine

 We love this guide from one of the world's chic-est Parisienne expats! Elise has worked at Hermes, The Corner Shop and Belinda and now she has branched out on her own to start her own candle and essential oil label - named Maison.Balzac after her heritage (Elise is the great great granddaughter of French novelist Honore Balzac). As scented candle connoisseurs, we love the simple labelling and the pure fragrances of her beautiful candles (see more on Style Me Romy) and we can't wait for the label to launch. Keep your eyes on Maison.Balzac! And keep checking back for more of our city guides coming soon...
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