There is a certain sensation that comes from stepping out of a barbershop completely refreshed and tailored, a feeling that, for the gents, doesn’t quite seem possible when leaving a regular hair salon. Like many cities around the world, Paris has experienced a revival of traditional barbering methods in recent years. Hand razors, shears, hot towel wraps, and aromatic oils are all creeping back into the grooming routine of the everyday man.
Whether you are a traditional gentleman sporting a slick back style, a modern man with a classic fade, a proud bearer of a full beard, or a younger dude pulling off something a little bolder, Paris has a great selection of barbershops to suit your style. Here are my top three picks.
Alain Maître Barbier Coiffeur – For the classic gent
Alain, “the only master barber,” welcomes you into his little museum dedicated to the art of barbering. Solid timber cabinetry, stone countertops, and basins line the walls of this charming salon in Le Marais, which is too filled with vintage portraits and traditional tools of the trade. Since opening in 1936, Alain has resisted the march of technology, remaining faithful to the true heritage of barbering. Step inside and feel part of an institution that goes back decades.
Specialising in rasage à l’ancienne, this is a must-stop spot for the gentlemen amongst you looking for a tidy-up of your beard/moustache, or anyone looking for a precise cut-throat shave. If you are also seeking a top-quality haircut, Alain or one of his passionate disciples can certainly give you the quintessential treatment with something truly timeless.
V.B.S. – For the modern man
One of the newest additions to the barber scene, opened just last year, V.B.S. moves away from the traditional aesthetic of a barbershop. A full front glass façade on rue du Faubourg-Poissonnière in the hip 9ème means you can’t miss this trendy, white and light barbershop-clothing store. The concept for the space is to offer a full experience, catering to the needs of the modern man. On the barber side, relax into a Koch barbering chair, straight from the 20s, for a full range of cuts and shaving services with hot towel treatment included.
Head to the clothing store side to finish the overall look which stocks quality, hand-selected pieces that offer an eclectic yet classic style. Mix staple, workwear-style articles from brands like Gitman Vintage and Vetra with contemporary collections such as Aimé Leon Dore. You can also grab a selection of oils and treatments to keep your hair fresh and healthy between visits.
With only two barber chairs, jumping in on the spot can be tricky, so give the friendly crew a buzz, or book directly online.
La Clé du Barbier – For the experimental guy
Led by the young and talented Alex Boulom, this modern take on a traditional New York barbershop offers a comprehensive suite of services to keep you looking your most dapper. Beyond standard treatments, La Clé du Barbier also offers hair removal solutions such as waxing and vapor shaving.
Attracting a younger clientele, here you will find dudes stepping out with reshapes anywhere from a classic flat top, to high and tight fades with disconnected part lines. A working relationship with American Crew also means all your day-to-day hair product needs are at hand.
La Clé du Barbier now has two salons in Paris: one on the busy rue Saint-Honoré, the other next to the beautiful Jardin des Plantes in the 5ème arrondissement.
Alain Maître Barbier Coiffeur – 8 rue Saint Claude, 75003. Métro: Saint-Sébastien – Froissart. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 77 55 80
V.B.S – 96 rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, 75009. Métro: Poissonnière. Tel: +33 (0)1 40 16 40 20
La Clé du Barbier – 3 rue Linné, 75005. Métro: Jussieu. Tel: +33 (0)9 67 32 67 60; 70 rue Saint-Honoré, 75001. Métro: Louvre – Rivoli. Tel: +33 (0)9 67 32 67 60
- Need some tips on Paris’ top menswear brands? Check out our favorites here.
- After treating yourself to a shape-up, why not seek out a great craft beer from one of Paris’ best new addresses for a hoppy brew.
- For the ladies, David Mallett is one of Paris’ most famed hair stylists. He talks French hair with The Cut here.