What Do You Love About Paris?

Notable Parisians tell us why they can't get enough of the City of Light, revealing local treasures along the way.

by Ellise Pierce

Want to explore Paris like a local? Tailor your itinerary based on the recommendations of an artist, a top chef, a spirits maker and others.

What do I love about Paris? There’s a particular kind of soft, persistent rain here called bruine, and when it falls, it covers all that it touches with a fine mist. Wipe it away and it comes right back. It’s everywhere. You can’t escape it, and you wouldn’t want to.

The magic of Paris is simple like that. It’s subtle but impossible to miss. But what my beloved rain is to me, a summer picnic on the Pont des Arts may be to you.

I asked Parisians what they loved most about the French capital, and got different answers from each one, but all with a common theme: a deep passion for the city, and for sharing it with the rest of us.

The Art Director: Chloe Perrin

Chloe Perrin is an art director at Perrin Paris, a luxury handbag company founded by her family in 1893, and also designs made-to-order marabou feather jackets. Photo By Carol Sachs
Le Nemours: “There’s always some man reading Molière or Proust, and actors from the Comédie-Française. The waiters haven’t changed in the past 20 years – they’ve become the soul of the café.” Photo By Carol Sachs
Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen:  “I love going to Marché Vernaison or Paul Bert Serpette for vintage clothes. I recently bought a great long suede trench coat from the 1970s.” Photo Courtesy of Alamy Stock Images
Musée National Gustave Moreau: “Moreau was a 19th-century symbolist painter who inspired Baudelaire. This is his apartment – such a poetic place.” Photo By Stuart D Robertson

“I’m half-American, half-French—my parents moved to France when I was 4—but Paris feels like my home turf. After being in New York for two years, I returned to Paris three years ago. I think I’ll always come back. Besides the beautiful aesthetics of the city and the food, the quality of conversations I have with people here is what I love most. This is a very intellectual city.”

Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris

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The Cognac Master: Alexandre Gabriel

Alexandre Gabriel makes award-winning cognac and other spirits under the Maison Ferrand label. Each week, he takes a 3.5-hour train ride from Cognac to spend the weekend in Paris with his wife, Debbie, and their three children. Photo By Carol Sachs
Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature“It’s all about the outdoors and hunting. Even if that’s not usually for you, it’s so beautifully decorated. There’s wildlife artwork, furniture and tapestries.” Photo By Carol Sachs
Drouot auction house: “They sell entire estates every weekend. I collect anything related to cognac-making, and I’ve bought cognac here that was bottled in the 1800s.” Photo Courtesy of Alamy Stock Images
Danico“Not big, but a great bar. It’s owned by Nico de Soto, one of the first star bartenders here. Try the Peanut Butter Jelly With a Baseball Bat, made with cognac, peanut butter, smoked pineapple and chipotle.” Photo By Benoit Linero

“Paris is magic. I love its architecture. There’s beauty everywhere, as much as you can take in. You just turn around and look and fill your eyes. I see it especially when I’m gone for a long time and I come back. All the cities in the world have a soul, but Paris’ is particularly beautiful.”

Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris

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The Chef: Christian Le Squer

Christian Le Squer first arrived in Paris at age 18, and stayed because he loved the food. Since 2014 he’s been Executive Chef at Le Cinq – now one of three Michelin-starred restaurants at Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris. Photo By Carol Sachs
Passy “Christophe”: “This is a great market, where a lot of two– and three–Michelin–starred chefs buy their fish for the weekend. After you do your shopping, you can sit and eat oysters for lunch.” Photo By Carol Sachs
Bois de Boulogne: “I go running every morning in the Bois and make a lap around the lake. When I see the swans and ducks, it reminds me of the wild spaces of Brittany.” Photo Courtesy of Alamy Stock Images

“As a chef, finding high-quality ingredients here is easy. There are little markets throughout the city with artisans who still make their cheeses and breads in small batches. And everything here serves as inspiration for creating new dishes. Every day, I ride my bicycle past Fondation Louis Vuitton, designed by architect Frank Gehry. It looks like a giant ship – and it inspired me to create my signature dessert at Le Cinq, givré later.”

Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris

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The Artist: Sujata Bajaj

Sujata Bajaj is a contemporary artist who lives in Paris’ Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter with her husband, whom she met when he bought one of her paintings at her first gallery show. Photo By Carol Sachs
Jardin du Luxembourg: “In the autumn, I love to sit and watch the yellow, orange and red leaves fall from the chestnut trees into the water of the Medici fountain.” Photo By Carol Sachs
Musée Rodin: “Don’t just visit the museum—take the time to visit the café connected to the sculpture garden and have a coffee or lunch outside.” Photo Courtesy of Alamy Stock Images

“When I arrived in Paris in 1988, it was love at first sight. As an artist, I found inspiration everywhere, and 29 years later, I still do. This is a city where you can be fully with others, and also be fully in your own space and time. I wear what I wear, I eat what I eat – keeping aspects of my Indian heritage – and then I take good things from the French culture. Paris lets you live the way you are.”

Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris

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The Photographer: Kia Naddermier

Kia Naddermier moved to Paris to work as a fashion photographer. A decade and a half later, she’s still here, with her husband, two children and the yoga studio she founded, Mysore Yoga Paris. Photo By Carol Sachs
La Fontaine de Belleville: “It’s just across the canal from my yoga shala, and is my favourite after-yoga hangout for coffee and tartines.” Photo By Carol Sachs
Parc des Buttes-Chaumont: “I love it because you have ladies who work out to ’80s music in the morning, and in the afternoon all the kids come and play. It’s a park that changes all day.” Photo By Carol Sachs
OFR Librairie: “A fashion and art bookshop with a gallery—it’s amazing. There’s a cantine that serves organic vegetarian lunches.” Photo By Carol Sachs

“When I moved to Paris, the first thing that hit me was the light – as a photographer, it was like being in a candy store. Because of the sandstone buildings, there’s all of this reflective light, and you can photograph anyone, anywhere. I couldn’t stop. I stayed, though, not just for that, but for the strong sense of community. There’s a specific energy you don’t find anywhere else. It’s something my children have benefited from: To speak all of these languages and to have friends from all of these different cultures, it makes them open-minded.”

Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris

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