The stereotype that fashion people don’t eat has been disproven many times, but when the flocks descend for Paris Fashion Week, we have to wonder. The capital of France is not short on great restaurants. But when you take a tally of the perennial fashion power lunch spots, it’s majority mediocrity. We understand that proximity to major show venues like the Tuileries, Ecole des Beaux Arts and Carrousel du Louvre is a factor. But fashion people, you deserve better! Here, a list of the usual haunts, supplemented by places they should consider instead. Assistants, start your booking.
Courtesy of Ralph’s Ralph’s Courtesy of Café de Flore Café de Flore Getty Images L’Avenue Courtesy of Café Ruc Café Ruc Ferdi Ferdi, 32 Rue du Mont Thabor, 75001, 01 42 60 82 52 Corbis Images Brasserie Lipp Brasserie Lipp, 151 Blvd Saint-Germain, 75006, groupe-bertrand.com
We get it, the terrace dining and convenience to the Ecole des Beaux Arts, almost makes the underdressed €29 burger worth it. But why are people coming to Paris to eat American food that’s far better back home? There’s just as much swag, upholstery and sunshine underneath the giant skylight at the in-house restaurant at L’Hotel, around the corner, plus a much-deserved Michelin star for dishes like Breton monkfish in vinegared bouillon, white beans and red pepper.
OK, this is the Saint-Germain spot where you’re most likely to run into Karl Lagerfeld or perennial scenester Olivier Zahm, of Purple magazine, but there is seriously nothing edible here except runny scrambled eggs and oddly good hot chocolate. Sneak off around the corner to Le Relais de l’Entrecote and eat the tender steak frites you came to Paris to have. They don’t take reservations but the line at the door moves so quickly, you’ll be in and out in time to go back to the Flore for a drink, which is all you really need to justify a table during off hours.
This very upscale bistro is part of the Costes empire, which means anyone who’s stayed at the Hotel Costes will recognize a menu that includes a wan version of a Thai beef dish called “Le tigre qui pleure,” or “crying tiger.” Your hidden dragon is a €42 price tag for what is basically a marinated hangar steak and some cilantro. With its Avenue Montaigne address, L’Avenue is near to the offices of Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and other heavy-hitting French houses, which explains the presence of fashion editors and publicists in between studio visits. At other times of year, however, your fellow diners are usually socialites of vague European provenance, arms dealers and call girls. Right down the street is Maison Blanche, which has the same nouveau riche feeling, but far more inventive, carefully cooked food, and one of the best views in town.
Another Costes outpost across the street from the Carrousel du Louvre, it’s a revolving door of junior editors, stylists and models taking advantage of a relatively late lunch service (for Paris) that extends until 3:30 pm. Just on the other side of the museum, though, is the cozy yet extra-large Le Fumoir, with similarly flexible service hours (the bar menu of sandwiches and salads is available all day) and clientele, as well as Scandinavian-influenced fare for lunch and dinner that always includes skinny-pants-friendly fresh fish.
What passes for guacamole here would make anyone who’s set foot in Los Angeles, much less Mexico, impossibly triste. The crumbly cheeseburger used to be one of the better ones in town but now that Paris has stepped up its burger game, potential Kimye sightings are the only reason to eat at this clubby nook around the corner from the Tuileries. Flottes O Trement, the more creative little sister of Flottes Brasserie, tucked away upstairs off the street, has the same loungey vibe, with an eclectic menu that’s actually believable. The offer is seasonal but you could stumble onto crab and lobster squid ink lasagne, marrow with caviar or roasted veal au jus with purple smashed potatoes.
Flottes O Trement, 2 Rue Cambon, 75001, 01 42 61 31 15
Sonia Rykiel has had a corner table here since long before you were born, and its Belle Epoque ceramics and mosaics are harder to look away from than her flame red hair. The venue is so beautiful and convenient, with its all-day menu, that frankly, you know what? Go ahead and eat here. Just know that the only dish that isn’t tough, flabby, overcooked or gristly is the roast chicken, which is served in wonderful brown gravy with a big plate of fries alongside. For dessert it’s the millefeuille or the profiteroles.
Courtesy of Ralph’s
Courtesy of Café de Flore
Café de Flore
Courtesy of Café Ruc
Ferdi, 32 Rue du Mont Thabor, 75001, 01 42 60 82 52
Brasserie Lipp, 151 Blvd Saint-Germain, 75006, groupe-bertrand.com