Travel

5 MINUTE READ

Seven secret spots in Paris

Words by Georgie Young

23 April 2024

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Dior’s Mathilde Favier reveals the chicest – and most under-the-radar – shops, galleries, and bakeries in the City of Lights.

Go on, then. We’ll say it. ‘Paris is always a good idea’ – but, we hasten to add, it’s an even better one with the Olympics on the horizon. An estimated 15 million visitors are expected to descend on the French capital this summer – meaning an estimated 30 million feet will head to the hotspots.

So, finding secret spots in the city has never been higher on our agenda. And that’s where Mathilde Favier’s new book, Living Beautifully in Paris, comes in. Released next month, the book is an exquisite guide to the Parisian art de vivre, filled with chic places and creative spaces recommended by Mathilde (herself Head of PR at Dior Couture) and her network of glamorous friends.

Here, she shares seven of her favourite secret places in Paris – from elegant stores and bakeries to galleries and weekend markets.

Shop for African arts and crafts at CSAO

This boutique gallery was founded by owner Ondine Saglio’s mother, Valerie Schlumberger – a French pioneer in ethical and fair trade. ‘Ondine Saglio is deeply committed to craftsmanship and to supporting the women of Gorée through her association CSAO (Compagnie du Senegal et de l’Afrique de l’Ouest),’ says Mathilde. ‘Ondine has added two embroidery workshops in Senegal and established the Association du Senegal et de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (ASAO). Parisians love her wax or Liberty-print cushions with gold embroidery.’

9 Rue Elzevir, 75003 Paris

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(L) © Pascal Chevallier, from Living Beautifully in Paris, Flammarion | (R) CSAO

Find collectibles at Galerie du Passage

‘Collectors can always be sure to find something original at Galerie du Passage,’ says Mathilde. Opened in 1991 by Pierre Passebon – a man with ‘bold, confident taste’ – this gallery offers furniture and objets from the twentieth century to the present day. ‘He has a very sure eye and a wicked sense of humour, and he is unshockable,’ says Mathilde. He was the first to show Jean Royere, Alexandre Noll, and Gio Ponti. He has a particular passion for ceramics and exhibits the work of Giuseppe Ducrot, Bela Silva, and Clementine de Chabaneix.’

20 Gal Véro-Dodat, 75001 Paris

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(L) © Pascal Chevallier, from Living Beautifully in Paris, Flammarion | (R) Galerie du Passage

Purchase charcuterie at Caractère de Cochon

Want to buy Parisian meats? Head to Caractère de Cochon – the first store of its kind in Paris dedicated to hams and charcuterie (but also offering pâtés, terrines, wines, and cheeses). ‘Pure temptation is available in the form of your own customised ham sandwich,’ says Mathilde. ‘You can choose your ham – Tuscan with pepper, Ibérico Cebo de Campo, Burgundian jambon persillé, hay-smoked from the Vosges, Provencal with rosemary – and your butter, whether unsalted, semi-salted, or salted. It’s impossible to resist!’

42 Rue Charlot, 75003 Paris

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(L) Caractère de Cochon | (R) © Pascal Chevallier, from Living Beautifully in Paris, Flammarion

Explore all-in wellness at Muse et Heroine

This is not just a boutique. This is an avant-garde, holistic space centred around beauty, well-being, longevity, science, and spirituality. ‘Muse et Heroine was the brainchild of founder Janine Knizia, at that time already head of Europe’s first clean beauty showroom for professionals, based in Paris and specialising in the launch of green, luxury, and niche beauty brands,’ says Mathilde. ‘In autumn 2022, she opened this sanctuary in the heart of the Marais, where she offers “clean-ical” brands.’

10, Rue Charlot 75003 Paris

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(L) © Pascal Chevallier, from Living Beautifully in Paris, Flammarion | (R) Muse et Heroine

Find your new signature scent at Officine Universelle Buly

Buly has technically been in operation since 1803, when perfumer Jean-Vincent Bully (the inspiration for the eponymous protagonist in Balzac’s César Birotteau) launched an aromatic vinegar invented by his father. But in 2014, the brand was taken over by Victoire de Taillac and her husband, Ramdane Touhami. ‘Their beautifully packaged products promising universal and enduring beauty secrets are irresistible,’ says Mathilde. ‘Buly assistants, with their training in the arts of calligraphy, engraving, and embossing, ensure that here beauty is a truly personal affair. A visit to Buly is a timeless experience.’

6 rue Bonaparte 75006 Paris

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© Pascal Chevallier, from Living Beautifully in Paris, Flammarion

Explore Marché des Puces (The President Wilson Market)

‘Twice a week, on Wednesday and Saturday, Avenue du President-Wilson hosts one of the best of all Paris markets, an epicurean culinary promenade flanked by amazing museums: the Musee Guimet, Palais Galliera, the Musee d’Art Moderne, and the Palais de Tokyo,’ says Mathilde. ‘A favourite with Michelin-starred chefs, the market brings together organic growers and smallholders, excellent fishmongers, and charcutiers, as well as dishes from around the world to take away.’

Rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint Ouen

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(L) © Pascal Chevallier, from Living Beautifully in Paris, Flammarion | (R) Marché des Puces

Discover Paris’s best tarte aux pommes at Boulangerie Poilâne

You might find Poilâne bread in stores around the world, but Apollonia Poilâne herself still bakes in the historic bakery founded by her grandfather in the 6th arrondissement. ‘Following the sudden death of her father, Lionel, in 2002, Apollonia found herself at the head of the family business at the age of just eighteen,’ explains Mathilde. ‘So, she carried on the work that her parents had started: turning their neighbourhood bakery into a business of international renown. Whilst their bread and cookies are available throughout the world, only the five Parisian boulangeries offer their famous tarte aux pommes, flan, and pain d’épices.’

8 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris

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© Pascal Chevallier, from Living Beautifully in Paris, Flammarion

Living Beautifully in Paris by Mathilde Favier & Frédérique Dedet is published by Flammarion on 7th May. Want to live your own beautiful adventure in Paris? Our global network of dedicated travel specialists plans one-of-a-kind, tailor-made travel experiences to make every trip your best yet. Find out more about Quintessentially Travel here. 

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Georgie Young

As our Digital Editor, Georgie writes about all types of luxury – whether that’s deep dives into London restaurant trends, interviews with famous faces, or travelogues from all over the world.

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