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While everything feels very 1984 in the U.S., it’s a brave new world in France. And December is the perfect time to escape: The French have made their rentrée after a socially acceptable month of summer vacation (yes, we’re jealous too), and Paris comes alive with a buzzy energy well suited for long days and even longer nights.
Here's an exciting daytime itinerary to get the most out of these short, winter days.
Sasha Velour street art
OUT ALL DAY:
Style mavens unite at this storied palace hotel transformed by Philippe Starck into a repository of accoutrements dedicated to the art of living. The Raffles property rises above the rest with its dedicated concierge service that gets guests into the most exclusive galleries and museum exhibits in town. Fun fact: Madonna shot her racy “Justify My Love” video here.
All of your cozy brunch dreams will come true at this veritable butler’s pantry practically plucked from the Tuscan hills. Bulbous burrata and parma ham confetti adorn every wooden table as diners guzzle their fluorescent Aperol spritzes. It’s well worth braving the lines for even a single bite of the truffle pasta.
The name refers to a medieval open-air market that once stood in the “little fields” of the area; the modern iteration sees diners sipping their Moët beneath the plexiglass sine wave swooshing over Les Halles’ restored public spaces. The menu — Alain Ducasse’s take on modern brasserie fare—is announced on a retro split-flap display at the back of the restaurant. The lobster soufflé and cod with pea purée won’t disappoint.
After you’ve checked off the requisite Orsay stop, school yourself in Paris’s most modern oeuvres with a captioned stroll through some of its less obvious neighborhoods like les Buttes aux Cailles, where urban canvases alternate between the stones of village-like abodes and Soviet-style concrete towers.
Visiting the Marché aux Puces is like sifting through your great auntie’s storage space—purchasable surplus runs the gamut from Dutch porcelain ware to secondhand Vuitton luggage. After ogling the objets, retreat to Mob, a new hotel concept attempting to alter the city’s gravity beyond its 20 arrondissements. Another Starckian project, the soon-to-be chain of properties is angling for a hip crowd, with slender rooms and a veggie-forward restaurant adorned with framed photos of celebrity miscellany.
The massive creative space was constructed in the 1800s to house Paris’s funerary services, but today it’s alive with exhibition spaces, theaters, and workshops that showcase the city’s ever-evolving talent. Wander through the grand hall to watch dancers and buskers practice their craft in front of movable mirrors before tucking into a chocolate fondant at the on-site restaurant.
The 13th Arrondissement