On Location, Paris II

ParisII_Neighborhood.jpgby Cassi Bryn Michalik
QUARTIER: ST-GERMAIN-DES-PRÉS
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Covering the 6th and 7th arrondissements, St. Germain des Prés embodies every sweet Parisian cliché. With lavish boutiques, antiques shops, and a café culture dating back to the 17th century, it is the center of Rive Gauche intellectualism where rarified chic churns with history.
Couples like Sartre and de Beauvoir, Gainsbourg and Birkin claimed St. Germain as their own stomping grounds, and Picasso finished "Guernica" in his atelier on rue des Grands Augustins. You can stroll the stalls of the rue de Baci market, or just kick back and take it all in at La Place Furstenburg—Paris' smallest, most precious public square. For refreshment, drop by historic literati haunts Café de Flor and Les Deux Magots, or return to Paris' belle époque at the Alsacian institution, Brasserie LIPP.
St. Germain is a labyrinth of who's-who designer shops, making it the ideal place to shop if you're short on time. By day, be sure to check out the quartier's eponymous church—it's the oldest in Paris. By night, tuck into the grotto clubs where Paris was introduced to jazz.
Here is a roundup of our favorite shops of St. Germain:
ParisII_Store_MarantjpgIsabel Marant, 1, rue Jacob, 75006 Paris, +33 (0)1 43 26 04 12
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The creaky wood floors and antique décor of this idyllic must-stop is a sweet complement to Ms. Marant's ethnically inflected, vintage-inspired womenswear. Whether you are looking for the perfect brushed-silk camisole or leather tasseled ballerina flats, Isabel's designs are both flattering and of the moment. In addition to her own line, she designs and carries the equally wearable but slightly less expensive Etoile. Check out her children's wares for stylish expat enfants.
Paul & Joe, 64/66, rue des Saints-Peres, 75007 Paris, +33 (0)1 42 22 47 01, www.paulandjoe.com
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Sophie Albou proves there is something to be said for keeping it all in the family. Her label, Paul & Joe, is named after her sons and is run with the help of her husband and mother. After working with Azzedine Alaia, Albou took over her family's store in Paris until she started P&J in 1995. Initially only menswear, the label has blossomed with women's and children's clothing, accessories, even fragrances. This new boutique with sweet floral wallpaper and shabby chic vanities exudes a cool boudoir femininity. Whether it's a kelly-green velvet blazer or that irresistible cable-knit cashmere, P&J designs evoke boarding school charm, but with a bit of an edge.
Mona, 17, rue Bonaparte 75006 Paris, +33 (0)1 44 07 07 27
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Tucked away on rue Bonaparte, Mona is a designer treasure-trove featuring Missoni, Bottega Veneta, and Alexander Mcqueen to name a few, as well as shoes by Pierre Hardy and Chloé. Given the luxe collections, Mona's decadent décor—pristine white punctuated by plush red carpeting—will make you feel like a VIP just from browsing. Note: clothing à la gauche, accessories à la droite.
Onward, 147 blvd. St. Germain, 75006 Paris, +33 (0)1 55 42 77 55
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Three floors of fashion-forward clothing and avant-garde accessories by the likes of Ann Demeulemeester, Martin Margiela, Martine Sitbon, Véronique Branquinho, and A. F. Vandevorst. Onward is committed to innovative design and carries different labels each season so you will never see the same thing twice.
Other staples of St. Germain des Pres:
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SHOPS—LES CLASSIQUES:
Sonia Rykiel, (Men & Women), 194 blvd. St. Germain, +33 (0)1 45 44 83 19
& 175 blvd. St. Germain, +33 (0)1 49 54 60 60
Known for her theatrical style and fantastical window displays, Rykiel's shops are veritable style institutions of not only the neighborhood, but of Paris as a whole.
Lucien Pellat-Finet, 1, rue Montalembert, +33 (0)1 42 22 22 77
The finest cashmere contrasted with rock-and-roll designs, this shop is just off the beaten path but well worth the detour.
A.P.C. Stock, (discounted surplus stock), 45, rue Madame, +33 (0)1 42 22 12 77
For the label's discounted surplus stock...it's like a year-round A.P.C. sample-sale just down the street from the area's men's and women's shops.
Sabbia Rosa, 73, rue des Sts-Pères, +33 (0)1 45 48 88 37
For those in search of some famous French lingerie, Rosa's tiny shop lives up to the hype and is a favorite of fashion editors around the globe.
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Les Prairies de Paris, 6, rue Pre aux Clercs, +33 (0)1 40 20 44 12
Perfect patent-leather flats, champagne-colored heels, and frocks of understated Parisian sensibility.
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L'Hôtel, 13, rue des Beaux-Arts, +33 (0)1 44 41 99 00
A boutique hotel designed by Jacques Garcia with 20 rooms based on distinctive legends of history such as Oscar Wilde, Marco Polo, and Louis XVI.
DINE. DRINK:
Comptoir du Relais, 9, Carrefour de l'Odeon, +33 (0)1 43 29 12 05
Witness Yves Camdeborde's faultless little bistro, where an unpretentious wine list and colorful clientele are satisfying sides for the excellent French fare. For lunch, go for the tuna nicoise salad or one of their seasonal specials at dinner.
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Coffee Parisienne, 4, rue Princesse, +33 (0)1 43 54 18 18
A New York-style diner with 6th arrondissement attitude...satisfy a craving for a classic American burger in the company of chic locals. Quite possibly the only place in Paris where the word "brunch" means exactly what you would expect.
Café de Flore, 172 blvd. St. Germain, +33 (0)1 45 48 55 26
The iconic Parisian café where literary greats came—and still come—to pen their novels over café noir and Pastis.
Brasserie LIPP, 151 blvd. St. Germain, +33 (0)1 45 48 72 93
Founded in 1880, La Brasserie LIPP is the quintessential meeting place for artistic, political, and literary figures in Paris. The Ministry of Culture classes it as a place of "important heritage" in recognition of its notable clientele.
Laduré
Bonaparte
, 21, rue Bonaparte, +33 (0)1 44 07 64 87
No trip to Paris is complete without a taste of one of Laduré's famous macaroons. As elegant as they are delicious and, like everything else in this neighborhood, these little treats have a rich background.
Les Etages Saint-Germain, 5, rue de Buci, +33 (0)1 46 34 26 26
A simple setting with a friendly vibe...the terrace is a good perch for a post-shopping people-watching rendez-vous.
In this installment of our recurring column, Refinery29 heads to the Left Bank to discover all the neighborhood haunts, shops, and vintage Parisian charm of St-Germain-des-Pres.
By Cassi Bryn Michalik
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