Elements of Style Goes to Paris!

(these pictures by Jen Gotch are exactly what I hope and dream Paris is really like)

I watched Vicky Christina Barcelona last night (fabulous- a must see) and felt a pull towards Europe. Good thing Andrew and I have decided to go to Paris for my first visit this summer for my 30th birthday (30? Really? WOW…) I had originally said I wanted this, but in an effort to comply with my new years resolution to spend money on experiences rather than things, I changed my mind. The watch will always be there- Paris without children will not be…
So I have been perusing Tablet Hotels’ website (my favorite) looking for fabulous boutique hotels and marveling at the variety of design styles. Here are some favorites-

Hotel Keppler

Hotel Therese

LUMEN Paris Louvre

Hotel Montalembert

Hotel le A

Hotel de la Tremoille

Hotel Costes K.

Hospes Lancaster

Any recommendations from readers who have special and much loved places to stay, eat or see in Paris would be very welcome!


  1. The best restaurant in Paris is L’Entrecote. It is *the* place to be for steak frites!

    You would probably enjoy Buddha Bar as well! Galleries Lafayette is my favorite for shopping.

    My sister is going to Paris for her 30th, too. You’ll have the best time! There is no better place on earth. :)

  2. The last time I was there was in college and from what I remember the hotel was not fancy by any means so I am of no help in suggestions. I am very jealous of your upcoming trip though, Paris is an amazing city with so much to see and do- you are going to have a fabulous time!

  3. My brother went there for his honeymoon. They hit up Buddha Bar and loved it.

    Note to self – upon seeing “sweetbreads” listed on any menu, it really means the pancreas or thalmus of a young animal, usually calf or lamb.

  4. How exciting!! I haven’t been to Paris in about 10 years, so my recommendations may be somewhat out of date, but I definitely recommend you watch “Paris J’taime”–it’s not so much a movie, but 20 short vignettes that take place all over the city. Each one is shot by a different director and there are some amazing cameo appearances. A must see for anyone who loves Paris!

    It looks like you’ve found some amazing hotel choices. I don’t go anywhere without consulting hotel reviews on TripAdvisor.com, so I’d check that out, too, to read what others have found.

    Happy Early Birthday!

  5. Congrats on going to Paris! I studied there for many summers during college, and really love it there. My husband and I went back a few years ago and stayed in the Hotel Therese that you have pictured. It is in a great location and is impeccably designed. HOWEVER: the rooms are ridiculously small and the beds are very very firm; if you are particular about your pillows, you might take your own. Two people in that one room was really tight.

    You will love Paris, though! One of my favorite museums is the Musee Cognac-Jay. It’s in an old townhouse over in the Marais. Lots of interesting furniture, etc.

  6. Looks as though you have already found a great selection of beautiful places to stay.
    I have stayed at Le Meurice and The Four Seasons George V. Both places are incredible and packed with history. If you can, go for a drink or coffee at George V…The flowers in the place are incredible.
    Happy Birthday.

  7. It’s been forever since I was in Paris, you will love it. Be a tourist. Take a day trip to Versailles. I loved the gardens. That is my dream watch but there are other birthdays.

  8. You will get lots of recommendations, but I would suggest staying in the 6th arr. Great shopping, cafes, perfect side streets to wander down.

    Buy macaroons from Lauderee and I second the recommendation for L’Entrecote.

  9. I love the Hotel Lotti. It is right near the Tuileries and Place Vendome and the service is wonderful. http://www.hotel-lotti-paris.com Hotel Costes is close for a drink. For restaurants I find that going into the less touristy arrondissments and finding one is the best! In the 18th is the largest flea market in Europe with tons of antiques. Have a great trip!

  10. You should throw yourself a party. That’s what I did for my 30th back in the summer. Invites, decorations, food. I’ve decided to do it for all major birthdays from now on. It was my attempt to stimulate the economy as well!

  11. Erin, if you have time to venture out of Paris then I highly recommend visiting the little hilltop towns of Provence including Gordes (stay at La Bastide), Menerbes (my favorite), Lacoste, and Bonnieux. It’s quiet out there (perhaps not what you are looking for) and the scenery is absolutely spectacular.

    While you are in Paris you MUST go to the Rodin museum. His sculptures are incredible and set throughout the gardens of his old home.

    Have fun planning!


  12. I have also stayed at the Hotel Therese, and though stylish, the rooms are incredibly SMALL … your luggage probably won’t fit.

    I have been lucky enough to go to Paris 3 out of the last 5 years, and I have a few places to recommend, but overall – also think about renting an apt in a great location instead of staying in a hotel. You will probably save $$ and get much more room. Just a thought.

    Off the top of my head, a place where their men’s (and women’s tailored) shirts are AMAZING – you must go here…
    http://www.alain-figaret.com/. They also have very cute shirtdresses – very well cut.

  13. The good news is that those pictures by Jen Gotch are EXACTLY what Paris looks like. Only the flowers are even brighter than they look in that picture! I went Easter weekend two springs ago and can still picture the flowers. I’ve never seen anything like it.

    Paris is by far my favorite city (close tie with London), and you’ll love it seeing as you appreciate beautiful things. I would just walk around with my jaw open staring at the architecture. I was just a college student staying in a hostel so I didn’t shop much, but my favorite thing to do there was to sit outside a cafe with a croissant and tea and just people watch. The people make the city.

    And of course, visit the artists in Montmartre and buy a painting. It’s just a magical place in a magical city.

    Enjoy and congratulations!

  14. AH! thank you so much for posting this! I’m going to Paris (for the first time – and I’m super excited) in less than two weeks….
    Talk about the right help at the right time!

  15. We were in Paris for about 72 hours – the finale to Hubby and my’s 1st Anniversary Malta/Italy/France trip. Since we didn’t have much time to see everything, we did the “whirlwind” tour given by Fat Tire Bicycle company – it was a blast! We got the fly-by view of lots of places, and afterwards, knew exactly which ones we’ll go back to see more thoroughly one day when we visit again. I highly recommend them for bike tours. Passez un merveilleux voyage!

  16. Great hotels! I’m sure you’ll be happy at any one of them. Paris is huge, so make sure the one you select is in close proximity to the sites you’d like to visit. You are absolutely going to fall in love with Paris. It is even more beautiful than you have probably imagined.

    If you like art, The Louvre is a must-see, but quite frankly, I enjoyed The Musee D’Orsay a lot more. They have an amazing collection and the building itself (an old train station) is spectacular. If you like Picasso, I highly suggest visiting the Picasso museum in the Marais District. It is incredible!

  17. I am dying to go to Paris, but for now I will have to live vicariously through you. I can’t wait to see you trip recap (I know I have a few months to wait). While I do LOVE the watch, I really like your resolution to spend money on experiences instead of things.

  18. My husband and I stayed at the Hotel de Banville on our honeymoon. It’s so chic and in a great quiet neighborhood (very close to two metro stops as well). The service was amazing and the breakfast was to die for…

    All the rooms are just SO charming and each one is different!


    We stayed in the room “Amelie” (superior room) – it was just so amazing!

  19. “spend more money on experiences rather than things”


    Paris will not disappoint. When I first laid eyes on the Eiffel Tower I teared up.

    Have a ball!


    p.s. stop by my blog for your chance to win a free one year subscription to House Beautiful OR Country Living magazine. :)

  20. Hotel L’Hotel! http://www.l-hotel.com/

    It’s by the same people who did Hotel Costes, but it’s smaller and has a more neighborhood feel. Hotel Costes K is not in a great part of town – it’s in the business district, so it’s like going to NY and staying in Wall Street. Hotel L’Hotel has charming markets and stores right out their door.

  21. Oh my gosh!!! How terribly romantic and fabulous. Waaaayy better than a watch (although it was gorge). A momentous trip to remember your 30th! Priceless.

    P.S. You’ll LOVE your 30’s. Much better than your 20’s. You’ll see. :-)

  22. The best way to start my day was to see all of these beautiful Paris rooms. Simply gorgeous. Love your blog.

    I vote for you getting out of the hotel rat race. It requires you to always eat at restaurants–and one should never steer away from eating cheese and bread directly from the Paris markets.

    Try http://www.vacationinparis.com/. Amazing rental places in Paris. If you are adventurous and head outside of Paris, here is where my parents are renting: http://thewisteriahouse.blogspot.com/2009/01/you-win.html

  23. PAris IS that wonderful and so much more! It is pure magic! I lived there for a number of years and dream of moving back daily! :) I do so hope you enjoy it! When booking your hotel, make sure the location is great, they are so fun to look at online but the location means more than all of that. Great idea to go before you have children! I just had my first and although we’ll take him it will never be the same. It’s so romantic and fun! I’m a tad bit jealous! Let me know if you have any questions or need any help planning! :)
    Best wishes!

  24. Try Cafe Marly for either lunch or dinner. Also Les Deux Magots! Do touristy things like the Musee d’Orsay, Eiffel Tower (go all the way to the top – take your camera and go at night-the view of the city lights is great!), Rodin Museum, Opera House, Les Invalides and Musee de l’Orangerie-my favorite! Definitely make the trip to Versailles. Eat a crepe nutella on the street. Take a walk along the Seine – or even a boatride so you can see the city from a different vantage point.

    Depending on how long you’re in France, I’d also take the chunnel to London if you’ve never been. See as much as you can and soak it all in!

  25. Thank you so much for all your input everyone! I am taking copious notes for my planning!!! We are only going for 4 nights so I think we’ll stick to the city and not really venture out (someday we will) but think it’s going to be so memorable. I’ve heard many people say I’ll want to move there, and it just happens that my hubby’s company is headquartered there, so you never know!

  26. I have to second L’Entrecote–excellent– and also recommend the restaurant Georges on top of the Pompidou–very fun and the view is unbelievable

    Have a great trip!

  27. Eek! So fun. Now that I am on the west coast Europe just seems sooo far away. Take lots of pictures and let us live vicariously through you.

    I also saw V.C.B. this week and I loved the passion. The husband wasn’t as down with it but he has been very sweet all week so maybe he subconsciously picked up on a thing or two.

    I think life without Domino will somehow go on. So sad though. Lets pick up our chin’s and be the future of design! Dare you….

  28. I would completely recommend walking along the Seine, visiting the Luxembourg gardens, and having a chocolat africain at the cafe angelina (rumored to be Audrey Hepburn's favorite cafe). I also highly recommend the Shakespeare & Co. Bookshop where Hemingway was a frequent guest, it's right across from Notre Dame. The cathedrals are not to be missed either. Soak in Paris, I'd say take tons of pictures and leave the shopping for home.

  29. Erin, your blog is amazing, I just stumbled upon it last night and I am hooked!

    You will love everything about Paris, my one suggestion is to save a day to wander around the city and perhaps not go to any of the popular tourist sights, just soak up the atmosphere, and do like the locals, get breakfast or lunch from the sidewalk markets, shop the boutiques, have dinner in a little known cafe, and of course people watch!

    Have a wonderful time, and welcome to your 30's!


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