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By Kasia Dietz
Visitors to Paris have a long list of ‘must sees’ to enjoy – the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, dozens of museums, iconic shops and historical districts. But once you’ve ticked off all the typical touristy sites, why not try something off the beaten path – 24 eco hours in the City of Light?
I know just the right addresses. Follow me…
Skip the traditional French breakfast of croissants and cafe crème and opt for something a bit healthier, like a refreshing breakfast bowl packed with acai, or a gluten-free pastry, fruit smoothie or fresh pressed juice at vegetarian hotspot Lula, run by style maven Luciana and her team in the trendy 10th arrondissement. After breakfast, stroll around the shops lining the Canal Saint Martin, where you’ll find everything from antiques to organic coffee shops and eclectic boutiques like Made by Moi. Here, you can discover what latest home and personal accessories their collection of artisanal designers has come up with. I always leave inspired and with plenty of ideas for my own made in Paris designs.
Now time for a little pampering! The first stop is at Espace Weleda in the 8th arrondissement to pick up a few natural products. With a trusted reputation dating back to 1921, and main ingredients being flowers, herbs, fruit extracts, roots and minerals, what better to aid in eternal youth? I love their organic pomegranate seed oil and organic argan oil night cream and a re-densifying elixir. You can also get an organic facial, massage or other beauty treatment here, but we’ll try something more exotic…
Let’s get one of my favourite treatments: a reflexology foot massage, organic of course. I recommend Ban Sabaà¯ where your jeans and sweater will be swapped for traditional Thai pajamas, to ensure you’re comfy before your ritual to begins. Your feet will be cleansed softly but thoroughly. Using an all natural oil with the sweet scent of jasmine, Thai attendants will then expertly massage your feet, enveloping you in a deep state of relaxation and a feeling of bliss. When I visited this place, I quickly learned that reflexology not only feels heavenly but also benefits the body by stimulating internal organs via reflex zones on the feet.
Now practically floating on air, head down to what is arguably Paris’s loveliest district, Saint-Germain, to check out my favourite place to dream: Les Trois Marches de Catherine B. Here, you’ll find some of the rarest vintage Chanel and Hermes pieces on the planet, including Coco Chanel’s bicycle, complete with quilted stitch saddlebags, and the first ever Birkin bag, given to Catherine B by Jane Birkin herself.
Feeling peckish? Let’s go to the wonderful ‘farm-to-table’ restaurant, Treize. Greeted by the always cheery owner and chef Laurel at this convivial cafe, we can order their signature quinoa salad and a pressed juice. Their freshly baked carrot cakes are impossible to resist!
Foodies will also want to pop into the famous epicerie at Le Bon Marche (pictured below). Enticed by their fresh produce section, I came here to buy kale and carrots, inspired to make my own juice. Maybe this will become a daily habit? But this foodie heaven has so, so much more than just fresh produce! They offer freshly ground coffees, a bakery, organic chocolate, a foreign/exotic foods section, confectionary, and even a section with cook books. The book Très Green, Très Clean, Très Chic by Rebecca Leffler caught my eye. I scrolled through these plant-based, gluten-free recipes with a French twist, eager to learn more. Just the reading I needed for my green year ahead.
Ready for a cup of tea and a pedicure? Let’s go to the nearby day spa Free Persephone. Sink into a comfy floral pedi chair in this homey space which as owner Lauren would say, evokes ‘Spring every day’. Choose from a selection of gorgeous shades from 5-free nail brand Priti NYC polishes to brighten a gray winter day. If you absolutley love your shade, you can sit at their ‘kitchen table’ and get a manicure with it, too!
Let’s return to the Rive Droite – but by one of the city’s many Velib public bicycles, so we don’t ruin our pedis. If we’re lucky, we may find one of Ethipop’s amazing pop up shops – they feature fashion from all natural and ethical labels like La Petite Morte, Juste and Luhmen. If there’s no pop up running, no worries – we can always head to Le Marais to hit some of the amazing vintage shops there. If only we had time, we could go to the Marche aux Puces de Saint Ouen, the world’s oldest flea market just on the outer ring of Paris – but in reality, you could spend a whole day there! Next time…
To end what I’d consider a close to perfect day, let’s visit one of the city’s healthiest eateries, Season. The question of what to order is never easy: the season bowl with spinach and kale or a veggie burger with comte? It all depends on which better complements a nice glass of bio wine.
Evenings in Paris are all about meeting friends for small events, like art gallery openings, or to chat over coffee in one of the city’s many splendid cafes. If it’s the first Thursday of the month, we can go back to Saint Germain to walk into any one of the dozens of galleries that open their doors to the public, and enjoy a glass of wine whilst we peruse the latest collections on the walls. Catherine Houard’s modern art, the Laurence Esnol Gallery and the Lefebre ceramic galleries are a few favourites. If not, we can go somewhere gorgeous, like the rooftop bar of the Shangri-La hotel (main pic), or somewhere historical, like Cafe de Flore, to have a drink.
Later, we’ll go to the Hidden Hotel, the chicest, greenest hotel in Paris, and have a few tapas at their bar – before heading upstairs to bed for a bath in one of their incredible stone tubs, and a much needed rest after our 24 hours in Paris, the eco way.
All images provided by the brands or Wikicommons except image of Kasia Dietz