Surviving Fashion Week in Paris

by Tory Hoen

Brace yourself, Parisians! The Jet Set is about to  descend upon the city for yet another fashion week. This year’s Ready-to-Wear shows run from March 2-10, but as we all know, fashion week is about much more than just the shows themselves. It’s about exclusive parties, insider meetings, an endless flow of champagne, and looking ultra-stylish at all times. In other words, c’est trop fashion. (Yes, in Paris, we actually use the word “fashion” as an adjective).

For those of us not directly involved in the fashion industry, Fashion Week can inspire one of two reactions: 1) dress to the nines and try to get in on the action by talking your way past the velvet ropes (good luck!). Or 2) hunker down and keep a low profile until the mayhem subsides. Whether you’re an action-chaser or an action-avoider, we have some tips for you.

Fashion Week Paris 2010Photos: Photo Agency;; L’

Where the Action Is

During the day, head to the Tuileries, where many of the shows take place in tents (near Metro Louvre-Rivoli). There are always fashion-y types milling around (or stumbling around in their 6-inch heels), and it’s a good place to gawk and potentially catch a glimpse of some industry heavyweights.

For coffee and people-watching, hit up Café de Flore. It’s always a scene, but during Fashion Week, it’s a super scene. 5 € is pretty steep for an espresso, but for an espresso next to Karl Lagerfeld? Maybe worth it. (Note: Lagerfeld sighting not guaranteed).  For a cheaper and more mellow option, head to La Perle, where the fashion set congregates in the evening hours for low-key apéritifs.

Later, the action moves to various establishments run by the uber-trendy Costes brothers (Hotel CostesL’Avenue), and other nighttime hotspots like Le MontanaLe Baron and Le Régine. Disclaimer: If you’re not a fashion insider, it’s safe to say you probably won’t get into many of these establishments (at least, not this week). But if you’re determined, it’s worth a try. Bon courage!

Where the Action Isn’t

Everything from reservations at trendy restaurants to unoccupied taxis can be in short supply during Fashion Week. This makes it a good time to explore lesser-known spots, quiet bistros in your quartier, or that hole-in-the-wall café you’ve been eye-ing. You may make some unexpected discoveries.

Alternatively, throw an anti-fashion party chez vous (or in a fabulous vacation apartment)! Stock up on supplies from your local market, pick up some macarons and champagne, invite some friends over, and bask in the pleasure of being decidedly un-fashion.

To follow the action online, check out our friend Didier’s blog, and some of the big ones: The Sartorialist, Garance Doré, and Style Rookie.

Written by Tory Hoen for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

Written By

Tory Hoen

After attending Brown University and spending two years in New York, Tory bought a one-way ticket to Paris to pursue her dream of becoming a writer (and of drinking wine at lunch). During her time in the City of Light, she chronicled the euphoric highs and the laughable lows of ex-pat life on her blog, A Moveable Beast. Though she's now based in New York, she travels frequently to Montreal and Brazil, and she'll use just about any excuse to jet to Paris ("I ran out of fleur de sel"). A regular contributor to Hip Paris, Tory also writes for New York Magazine, Time Out New York, and she is a co-author of's Guide To Life After College. View Tory Hoen's Website

2 comments on “Surviving Fashion Week in Paris

I guess I will be even more intimidated by Parisian Fashionistas…especially as I wear my puffy winter coat!

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