I can’t sleep in when in Paris, no matter how many hours I’ve stayed out the night before (or flutes of champagne I’ve gone through) — there’s just too much to miss! But I always make sure to spend extra time on, and care with, my skincare and makeup routines (it seems disrespectful not to in such a beautiful city!). I do, however, leave my hair a little messy, to create that effortlessly-chic style of Parisiennes, who never like to look too obviously done.
It’s a cliché, I know, but I can’t be in Paris without at least one breakfast at Angelina, the golden-aired Belle Époque tearoom on Rue de Rivoli. The hot chocolate à l’ancienne is thick and luscious and decadent and totally worth the kilojoules.
Paris is for walking, and not just for walking off all the pastries, because every step reveals something new to swoon over or photograph. I love to take a good hour to amble around the paths and parterres of the Tuileries Garden, and then through the cobbled Louvre courtyard over to the islands. On the western tip of Île de la Cité is my favourite ‘square’ — the triangular Place Dauphine, a delight of a nook dotted with chestnut trees. I make sure to trace all the streets of the other island, the Île Saint-Louis, which has been mostly preserved in its 17th-Century stone splendour.
The main strip here is becoming quite touristy but there are still some gorgeous local-favoured food stores; I love to buy a baguette and wedge of cheese, and picnic down on the quai, as the swans glide by. Then I head back up to the main street, to the legendary Berthillon, for a scoop of sorbet in a cone, which I’ll proceed to eat on the south side, sighing over the breathtaking back view of Notre-Dame.
I walk over to the Left Bank, winding through the old skinny streets of the Latin Quarter, and through to Saint-Germain, where it’s easy to spend a few hours in serious shopping mode. I always pop into Vanessa Bruno to check out her latest signature, sequin-trimmed tote designs, and into Bensimon for a new pair of canvas tennis shoes.
If I need a pick-me-up, I disappear into the olde-worlde Mariage Frères salon, and inhale a steaming pot of tea; I usually default to my favourite spiced-chai brew, as I tend to be too overwhelmed by the menu of 500-plus concoctions to choose otherwise. I’ve been known to also sneak in a slice of tarte tatin if I can find the room in my stomach.
I walk along Rue Bonaparte, stopping at Ladurée and then Pierre Hermé — fierce rivals in the macaron wars — to buy a selection of their seasonal flavours, which I’ll then taste-test in the Luxembourg Garden. I could actually spend all day in this lovely park, watching the various walks of Parisian life criss-cross one another’s paths. I especially love watching the perfectly dressed (and faultlessly behaved) Parisian kids sailing old-fashioned boats on the pond, and twirling around the ye-olde merry-go-round.
This is going to sound like another cliché but… when you’re a writer and you find yourself in Paris, you can’t help but take your laptop or notebook to Café de Flore, the former haunt of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre. I could happily tap or jot away here for hours, breathing in the fabled air, and a rosé or two along the way.
I always love a fancy Parisian dinner, but if I’m on my own I’ll just settle into any classic French bistro I like the look of — as long as it has goat’s cheese salad on the menu. I adore Rue de Buci — the street is always lively and lined with good food options. After a day of eating, I exert all my willpower to say ‘non’ to dessert — and go for one final wander, usually along the Seine to soak in the beautiful golden hour light, or see the Eiffel Tower twinkle.
About Katrina Lawrence
A beauty journalist for 20 years, Katrina Lawrence has mused on makeup, perfume and more for a wide range of women’s magazines and online publications. She is one of Australia’s most awarded beauty writers, having won a number of industry accolades, including two esteemed Jasmine Awards for fragrance journalism. Katrina lives in Bondi Beach with her husband and two sons, but her spiritual home will always be Paris, a city she has visited countless times (seriously: she has lost count) since the age of five.
About “Paris Dreaming”
How the City of Light gave her lessons in life: an Australian beauty journalist shares her obsession with Paris – the city that has been her guide through a lifelong journey of self-discovery.