Wow, 2 group trips in less than 5 months! When I told my girls Danielle, Jenee, Kéla and Rose that I’d definitely be doing Paris Fashion Week this year, they all were down for the ride. We recently went to Tulum, Mexico together and you can read all about that here. Mind you we did way more eating, shopping and laughing than we did attending showroom visits and fashion shows. But I definitely wanted to put the Guide to Paris together for you all with all the tips on where to stay, eat, shop and buy in Paris. 

WHERE TO STAY

If you want to be where all the action is it’s best to stay in the 1st or 2nd Arrondissement simply because that’s where are the people and a lot of the shows and events will be for Paris Fashion Week. It’s also a very central area close to the best shops, restaurants and sights. You can find the Tuileries, the Louvre, Place Vendome and tons of the high end designer stores along Rue Saint-Honore. Hotels in this area can be very expensive but if you got it like that go for La Meurice, The Westin Paris Vendome, Grand Hotel du Palais Royal or Hotel de Castiglione.

Otherwise I go for Airbnbs located in the 1st, 2nd or 8th Arrondissements. My Airbnb was located in the 2nd Arrondissement and was perfect for the 6 of us who came on this trip. There was also a Monoprix really close to the apartment for buying inexpensive groceries and toiletries. 

WHERE TO EAT

Chez Prune 36 Rue Beaurepaire

My all time favorite place to eat in Paris right on the bank of Canal Saint Martin is Chez Prune. It’s an unassuming, no frills, place with a menu that changes daily based on what’s purchased from the market that morning. They only serve hot food from 12-3pm, so get there on time! The menu usually consist of 5 entres and they are all always super delicious and so is the dessert. I love how affordable this place is and the service is always stellar. 

Le Colibri 8 Place de la Madeleine

We had one of the best meals here in the Madeleine area after a day of shooting in the Tuileries and shopping along Rue Saint-Honore. What I loved about this place was the service. Every whim was attended to. Please get the Truffle Pizza because it is delicious. I got the steak and fries with pepper sauce on the side and it was the best pepper sauce I’ve ever tasted. We got more for the table to dip our french fries into. Also get the Saint Germaine if you’re in the mood for a cocktail. They are delicious and deadly in the best way possible. Beware though, smokers love sitting out in front and it can waft into the restaurant.

Angélina Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann

I love this location because it’s already in one of the best shopping malls in Paris. The service at this location is great too. Angelina is known for their delicious pastries and hot chocolate which is by far the best I’ve ever had in my entire life. There is another location at 226 Rue de Rivoli that I have yet to check out but I heard it was equally as good. In addition to their amazing desserts I loved their food. I had a 3 Cheese Mushroom Ravioli that was life changing. It’s also pretty affordable. 

Pink Mamma 20bis Rue de Douai

Rose and I visited this restaurant the last time we were in Paris and fell in love with it. It has amazing Italian food and the decor is an instagrammers dream. I planned a lovely black girl magic dinner here on one of our last nights up on the top floor. For a group of 10, who drank copious delicious cocktails, pizzas (get the Regina) and lobster, the bill came up to just $50 a person. It’s such a great price! Definitely plan to eat dinner here but do make a reservation. It’s one of the hot spots in Paris especially during fashion week. 

WHERE TO SHOP

Reciproque 95 Rue de la Pompe Luxury Consignment

This is one of my go-to’s every time I visit Paris. They literally have the best collection of bags, shoes and designer labels for consignment prices. We found a pair of camel Chanel boots for $200. Beautiful Chanel brooches, bags and belts that were in pristine condition. It’s a must for those who love designer and are willing to pay a little more for pristine vintage. 

Zara 2 Rue Halévu Opera Region

This was by far the biggest and best Zara we found during our trip and trust us we went to at least 4 of them! Everything I wanted to find was found at this Zara. It is massive with 3-4 floors and everything is impeccably styled and easy to find. 

Chanel Original Store 31 Rue Cambon

We frequented this Chanel so many times they knew us by name. I was Mademoiselle Steele. I finally bought my dream Chanel Mules here after searching for them for 2 years. They were also $300 cheaper than in the states. Kela walked away with a new Chanel wallet and Danielle with a pair of Chanel loafers. Rose and I got the same pair of mules and we love them. The great thing about this Chanel is that it’s the only one that will give you the 13% discount off the product instead of you filing the tax at the airport and waiting up to a month for the 13% refund. It’s pretty amazing. We were also treated like royalty, consuming countless coffees, champagnes and Coca-Colas. We also got a tour of the famed Coco Chanel Stairs. 

La Vallée Village Parisian Outlet 3 Cours de la Garonne

If you have a day, grab your girls and split an Uber 30 minutes away from Paris to La Vallée Village. It’s an amazing outlet with all the designer brands where you can find current pieces for up to 75% Off. It’s a dream and definitely worth it if you’re looking for designer for less. 

Pharmacie Rue de Mogador

Paris is known for amazing beauty products. Skip Sephora and head to the best Pharmacie I’ve found in Paris. It’s right across the street from Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann. You’ll notice a green plus sign outside. It’s simply amazing. I’d recommend getting some Embryolisse which is an amazing moisturizer and some Caudalie Thé des Vignes products including the Body & Hair Nourishing Oil, Perfume and lotion. 

Luxury Shopping at Galeries Lafayette

The Galeries Lafayette stores are so beautiful and well curated and if you want a luxury shopping experience I’d frequent them both. Galeries Lafayette Champs Elysses currently has a Fenty popup which we visited. I’d say this Galeries is a little more young and hip. They even had a restaurant curated by Jaquemus and everything was delicious. They have tons of up and coming designer brands. I even found Miaou pieces there! For a more upscale feel I’d head to Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussaman. It is absolutely stunning with it’s stunningg dome glass ceiling and rooftop restaurant. 

PARIS TIPS

Racism

As a Black woman traveling in Paris with a group of other Black women, I must mention that we experienced more than a few instances of blatant racism. Things I haven’t experienced previously during my 5 visits here. We were kicked out of Jardin du Palais Royale for taking photos. Mind you, this place in KNOWN for people taking photos and there were atleast 30 people within a 100 ft radius also taking photos. It was a very traumatic experience and I will go in-depth soon and share exactly what happened in the Paris Vlog 2. We also had an issue getting into VIP night club. I honestly can’t believe that it happened. It feels like those things happened to someone else and I was outside my body watching. Racism does exist here and it’s way more blatant than it is even in the states but at least in America you have a say. Here in a foreign country you don’t. A grown man literally lunged at me and tried to take my phone from my hand for recording the situation at the Jardin.

Packing 

Don’t pack too much. I’d say 3-4 all weather outfits if you plan on visiting in September/October. The weather can be warm, rainy or cold. You will do a ton of shopping and trust me you don’t want your suitcase to be overweight. Oh and go ahead and buy an umbrella the first day of your trip. You’ll definitely need it at some point. Here’s what I Packed for Paris.

Shopping + Tax Refunds

Don’t forget when shopping to take your passport with you. For larger purchases it is required to get your tax documents back. When you get to the airport you files that tax paperwork to get your refund. Taxes are included in the price of products and since you’re not a Parisian citizen you aren’t required to pay taxes. That’s why you get money back.

Paris Fashion Week Information

We didn’t attend many shows, or any for that matter. We went to one showroom visit. We did have a few invitations to shows but just didn’t make it to many. It was more about the trip and content creation for us than shows. But if you’re interested in how to get invitations it’s the exact same process as New York. They even give you all the press contacts on the PFW website. Or you can just buy my Pitch Template on Pitching for Fashion Weeks for in depth information.

Look out for the first Paris Vlog to go live soon on my Youtube Channel. Until then, here’s a look at what I Packed for Paris and a few things I wore that I bought while in Paris as well. You can also check out all of my previous Paris blog posts and content here. If you have any other questions pertaining to where to Stay, where to Eat or where to Shop drop them below in the comments. 

xx

Monroe

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32 Comments

  1. September 30, 2019 / 9:44 am

    Amazing! Great content and so sorry you all had to experience that. Please give the deets soon and the establishment.

    • Egc150
      September 30, 2019 / 2:36 pm

      As always Thank you for an informative blog. Looked like an amazing memorable time for you all. Will be waiting for you to spill the tea on the Jardin incident . Would you say you’ve experienced racism on past trips ? Overt or subtle ? And do you think that being in a group made a difference versus being alone or when you went with just Rose ?

      • monroesteele
        Author
        October 3, 2019 / 8:09 pm

        For the previous trips I was mostly alone or with someone who spoke French. So I would say I never experienced it. It was more apparent when there was a group of us.

    • monroesteele
      Author
      October 3, 2019 / 8:13 pm

      Will do! Thank you for reading!

      Best,
      Monroe

  2. September 30, 2019 / 10:05 am

    Oh this is so good Monroe. You ladies just killed it. BUT the cowhide outfit, YESSSS, that was my favorite. The food recommendations are much appreciated, had Pink Mama on my list. So sorry you had that bad experience but of course we are seeds, and can’t be buried!!! Going to Paris with my girls in 23 days and SUPER excited. Welcome back and thanks for sharing!

    • monroesteele
      Author
      October 3, 2019 / 8:13 pm

      Thank you! Yes! I hope you ladies have an amazing time on your trip.

      x
      Monroe

  3. Faith
    September 30, 2019 / 10:20 am

    I’m sorry you had to deal with racism while in Paris, ugh. You know it exists everywhere but it just is upsetting when it happens in a place that you love visiting especially when you’ve never experience that ugly side before. I’m sure you all took it in stride but still … very upsetting to read.

    Besides that it looks like it was such a great trip. I enjoyed watching all your fun stories!

    • monroesteele
      Author
      October 3, 2019 / 8:13 pm

      Thats exactly how I felt about it. Thank you so much for watching!

  4. fylo
    September 30, 2019 / 11:22 am

    I Monroe!
    I’m a black Parisian girl and I was afraid that your group experienced racism. Please give deets so I can understand exactly what happened. But Paris/France is a bit racist I can confirmed.

    • monroesteele
      Author
      October 3, 2019 / 8:12 pm

      Thank you so much for reaching out. It’s gonna be live tomorrow on my Youtube. Stay tuned and thank you for confirming!

      Monroe

  5. September 30, 2019 / 11:58 am

    Paris tips – Racism this topic is why I love your blog because you share the things others will not. Fantastic job on this post.

    • monroesteele
      Author
      October 3, 2019 / 8:11 pm

      Thank you so much. Look I have to be real and I don’t want anyone going with Rose Colored Glasses on!

      x
      Monroe

  6. Candace W
    September 30, 2019 / 1:06 pm

    Stunning photos! One of my best friends visited Paris years ago and swore to never return due to the racism she experienced. Another friend of mine (white) tell me how horrible it was and that they got thrown out of a restaurant for not speaking French. She said the waiter was shouting at them and mocking them. Glad you were still able to make the most of the trip despite these experiences.

    • monroesteele
      Author
      October 3, 2019 / 8:11 pm

      Wow thats insane. I’ve heard so many stories but never experienced it first hand until now. Thank you for sharing.

  7. September 30, 2019 / 1:13 pm

    Wow that crazy you all had to experience that. I’m definitely interested in knowing this establishment. Glad you all are ok. Glad you got some good content though. Loved the blog post

    • monroesteele
      Author
      October 3, 2019 / 8:10 pm

      Thank you so much! I appreciate your support!

  8. Joy
    September 30, 2019 / 2:28 pm

    I have been watching “you and the girls” all week!!! I’ve planned a birthday trip March 2020. I had no idea where to start but this helped a ton. Coupled with what the other ladies blogged and IG’d I’d say I’m at a good start. Thanks!!❤️

    • monroesteele
      Author
      October 3, 2019 / 8:10 pm

      Yay! I’m so glad this helped! Enjoy your trip!

      x

  9. 8ty4vintage
    September 30, 2019 / 10:21 pm

    You all look stunning!

    • monroesteele
      Author
      October 3, 2019 / 8:08 pm

      Thank you love!

  10. Sarafina
    October 1, 2019 / 9:46 am

    All of you looked absolutely like Royal Queens. I am shocked with you at your experience in the Jardins du Palais Royale. I have been there to do street photography a few times. Alone and with other people. Never was I told I couldn’t photograph there. Especially considering it is a super popular place to take picture on any given day. As a sistah girl traveling alone I am hyper-aware of the possibility of racism while abroad and it’s not the same as being here and asserting your rights. It’s good to tell people not to be complacent and remember where you are. But the good outweighs the bad.

    • monroesteele
      Author
      October 3, 2019 / 8:08 pm

      Wow thats an amazing compliment Sarafina. Thank you so much. I totally agree. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.

  11. SLJ
    October 1, 2019 / 10:49 am

    Thank You So Much for Sharing. I am trying to plan a Long Weekend for my first trip to Paris with my Boo but then another Longer stay with my Girlfriend in 2020. Of Course the pictures of you Ladies are GORGEOUS!!!! I would love some great shots too but I have to ask….. Did you ladies do a lot of Walking? I notice that there are a lot of Cobblestone streets and most of your pics are in Fabulous Heels. Should I pack Cute Flats and Sneaks to really get my tourist site seeing on?

    • monroesteele
      Author
      October 3, 2019 / 8:07 pm

      Yes we did A TON of walking! We all had flats or walking shoes and carried our heels for photo ops.

      xx
      Monroe

  12. Alison
    October 2, 2019 / 8:03 pm

    You and your girls were so cute it made me cry. It really helps to see you, feeling as low as I do these days. Awesome energy and inspiration to keep going til my next day in the sun.

    • monroesteele
      Author
      October 3, 2019 / 8:07 pm

      Oh wow thank you so much! I really hope you feel better soon Alison. Thank you for watching xx

  13. Zena
    October 3, 2019 / 7:42 am

    I smiled the entire time while watching your vlog.. #blackgirlmagic in da building!!! I also marveled at how y’all got so much content and it’s all so bomb. I sent the video to my friend with title, “Do over 2020” cuz we hardly captured anything good annnnnd hired a photographer that was TRASH.. most of our pics look like lesbians on honeymoon, not fashion-y and lifestyle as I had in mind.

    So sorry to read about the blatant racism you and the ladies experienced. So traumatic!! I hate that you had to experience that.

    Ok I’m about to watch the video again.. it gives me all the feels.

    • monroesteele
      Author
      October 3, 2019 / 8:06 pm

      Wow thank you so much for reading and watching! I appreciate the support. LOL you’re hilarious describing your trip.

      x
      Monroe

  14. Joesy Anacoura
    October 3, 2019 / 9:15 am

    First of all I love your support network, the girls you travelled with are super lovely and haute couture. I am not surprised to hear of the bad experience in Paris , I often travel there for Maison & Objet Fair , but normally with a large group of white Europeans colleagues . But I have in the past witnessed French people burning tents with immigrant families in it on the high street , the racism there is actually very threatening. This was when there was an influx of refugees trying to flee the war in Syria and Iraq. As you walked the streets you could also see some scorch marks of other tents or sleeping bags burnt, why kick someone more when they are down. You have to be safe there , and read peoples body language hard, I speak broken French (seychelles) so it helps abit.

    • monroesteele
      Author
      October 3, 2019 / 8:05 pm

      Wow thats really insane. Thanks for sharing this information and taking the time to read and watch the video!

      Best,
      Monroe

  15. karina guibert
    October 7, 2019 / 4:22 pm

    Hi
    couldn’t find the link to your airb&b in Paris
    great vlog … loved watching it on youtube

  16. 2the9z
    October 7, 2019 / 4:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing your travels, Monroe. The fashion, the food and photo moments were EVERYTHING. I thoroughly enjoyed all of your content. I also follow the other ladies, so it was nice to see the trip from different POVs. Keep doing what you’re doing, it’s inspiring! And you’re Essence famous, woot!

    I’ve worked in Paris quite a few times over the past 10 years for extended periods at a time. I recall having a fondness for the city because of its seemingly kind treatment of African Americans from historic accounts of the 20th Century during the Harlem Renaissance period and WWII. And like you, I had not experienced any first-hand racism as I was mostly alone or with small groups of (mostly white) colleagues, a mix of Americans and locals. I really was not cognizant of the modern day racial tensions that have sprung up as Europe has become more diverse. The sights and sounds of your unfortunate encounters were eye opening and disheartening. It’s a sad reminder of how global this racism disease has become.

    And don’t get me started with those people at the Jardin du Palais Royal. They were definitely up to something, you all were targets no doubt! So glad you all were able to get out of harm’s way. Did you ever think of contacting the American consulate or embassy? As bad as things can be at home, I’d like to think we still have some refuge there. I make sure I know where it is wherever I travel.

    Black excellence is tough for a lot of people to swallow. When things like this temporarily take the wind out of my sails, I reflect on a favorite quote. So, I leave you with this from writer Zora Neale Hurston:

    “Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.”

    Press on and show up with a squad a dozen deep next time! 🙂

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