L’Institut du Luxembourg
19 Rue de Tournon, 6th
American friends who flock to Paris in the summer months swear by this discreet Saint-Germain spa. A session in the Iyashi Dôme after a long-haul flight feels like a reset and somehow really helps with the jet lag. The long, tubelike structure is inspired by the Japanese purification ritual of burying oneself in the sands of hot springs and is said to stimulate the metabolism and accelerate the removal of toxins with infrared rays. The firming facials—using Carita products—help depuff dehydrated skin (so symptomatic of too much time up in the air).
13 Rue des Beaux-Arts, 6th
Having “The smallest five-star hotel in Paris” for a tagline is pretty attractive, especially to the guest who prefers an under-the-radar, bespoke experience. With only twenty rooms, a Michelin-starred restaurant, and one of our favorite, hammam-style subterranean pools hidden beneath the building (for guests only), L’Hotel nails the bohemian vibe of the Left Bank. Guest rooms are what could be described as “intimate”, but the décor is so beautiful that you forget the square footage. With rich brocade wallpaper that looks like patterned velvet, antique furnishings, soft lamps, and supremely comfortable beds, no two rooms are the same. Book into the Oscar Wilde suite (the hotel’s most famous visitor was actually staying on the premises when he died) for the bathroom alone. The yellow and green tiles, emerald marble tub, and mahogany wall panels make a nightly bath mandatory, while the antique writing desk and private terrace ooze old-world allure.
16 Rue de la Grande Chaumiere, 6th
Yoga, Gyrotonic, spinning, Reformer Pilates, and Xtend Barre all under one roof make Studio Rituel a popular wellness destination. And the location, a stone’s throw from the Luxembourg Gardens, doesn’t hurt. The Gyrotonic classes, which involve fluid movement and targeted stretches utilizing the seven natural elements of spinal movement, are particularly helpful if you plan to do a lot of walking. As the class ramps up, these stretches are more like a dance, and over time they dramatically increase your flexibility. The studio also offers holistic treatments like massage, reflexology, and Qigong.
6 Rue du Sabot, 6th
Travelers missing their sushi fix usually slink over to Blueberry on night three in Paris, when the capacity to consume another plate of steak-frites is officially no more. Purists be warned: The maki are on the innovative side, imbued with tropical, citrusy flavors like mango and yuzu (trust us: These rolls are next-level good). The atmosphere is more disco than serene. Whitewashed stone walls are illuminated electric blue and neon pink, while dozens of low-hanging lamps dispel any notions of a romantic dinner. Come at lunch for value, but dinnertime is when the ambiance reaches a celebratory fever pitch, when the lighting is most dramatic. Somehow, those perfect, umami-rich mouthfuls just taste better after dark.
Librairie Alain Brieux
48 Rue Jacob, 6th
A bookshop and antiquarian for over a century, Librairie Alain Brieux specializes in rare scientific and sometimes esoteric titles, though the real allure is its cabinet-of-curiosities vibe. The windows and interior displays are continually refreshed with weird and wonderful assortments of vintage anatomical models, glass eyes, unusual toys, and the like.
6 Rue Bonaparte, 6th
The husband-and-wife team behind revamped cosmetics line Buly added a couple degrees of fantasy when furnishing their flagship shop—modeled after a nineteenth-century apothecary—with Tuscan tiled floors, Italian marble counters, intricately carved wooden cupboards, and prettily painted beams. And then there are the products: alcohol-free scents and modern, paraben-free formulations, beautifully packaged in old-fashioned vials and glass jars. Whether you’re in the market or not, this shop is a treat just to look at.
21 Quai Malaquais, 6th
From cofounder Jeanne Signoles comes this new must-have bag brand—done in canvas, and with a utilitarian, slightly nautical aesthetic. It’s hard not to fall for the simplicity of the concept: Choose the color for the bag, trims, and handles and add your initials in Futura. Stop by the small, sleek, Masamichi Katayama-designed space to specify your bag, suitcase, tote, or pencil case.
Le Relais de l’Entrecôte
20 Rue Saint-Benoît, 6th
You know exactly what to expect at this kind-of kitschy, family-owned establishment, and that's the best steak-frites in town, topped with buttery, herby secret sauce. That’s it, and it’s worth lining up for—this is a no-reservations locale. Touristy as it is—locations have opened in London and New York—it remains a local’s mainstay, proof of its excellent quality. There are now locations in the 8th and 6th, too.
Le Relais de l’Entrecôte
101 Blvd Du Montparnasse, 6th
You know exactly what to expect at this, kitschy, family-owned establishment and that is the best steak frites in town topped with buttery, herby “secret” sauce. That’s it, and it’s worth lining up for at this is a no-reservations locale. Touristy though it may be—they’ve since opened locations in London and New York—it remains a local’s mainstay, too, as proof of its great quality. There are now locations in the 6th and 8th as well.
La Crêperie du Comptoir St-Germain
9 Carrefour de l’Odéon, 6th
Weather permitting, there’s nothing better than grabbing a crepe from a street vendor to eat while wandering through the Luxembourg Gardens—and chef Yves Camdeborde’s takeaway stand is the place to do it. If a more substantial meal is in order, his celebrated brasserie, Le Comptoir du Relais Saint-Germain, is right next door.
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