Umbert has just landed in Paris on the Air France 65 flight from Los Angeles, having spent a weekend in the Californian desert at the Coachella festival, a must-see moment of music shared by people from all walks of life.
The month of May in Paris allows you to enjoy the cafes and terraces, but also to stroll in the French capital, in search of the most unusual shops, the best hairdressers or spas, the most beautiful cultural events, without forgetting to savor the French gastronomy and its joie de vivre.
Umbert will share with you this glamorous-chic weekend, and will not forget to share the perfect advice on French etiquette.
Umbert wishes you the most wonderful stay in Paris.
Umbert choses to stay in an old 18th century mansion, a new hotel designed by Dorothée Meilichzon. The entrance is through the porch which preserves the calm of the residence, and allows one to admire this magical place which represents all the charm of Paris, in the pure style of the Age of Enlightenment. Hotel des Grands Boulevards 17 Boulevard Poissonnière 75002 Paris
Etiquette: when arriving at the hotel until 6pm say « Bonjour Madame or Monsieur", and after 6pm "Bonsoir Madame or Monsieur », in French, it is not difficult.
Directions to the Grand Palais, 10 minutes by taxi, for an exceptional event : Taste of Paris. About twenty famous Parisian chefs wait for you, in their small restaurants, installed in a prestigious setting. The idea is to taste many small dishes (prices between 5 and 12 € each) to discover the specialties of each. This year, for the first time, 9 pastry chefs will be present. Do not miss this unique gourmet appointment … From May 17 to 20 2018. Lunch from 11:30 to 16:00. Taste of Paris at Grand Palais 3 Avenue General Eisenhower 75008 Paris
Etiquette: On your way out, thank all the employees saying it was delicious.
It’s time to get ready for the evening. Umbert is going to one of his favorite hairdressers. Guests come from all over the world to discover, in an apartment of a 17th century mansion, a luxurious and relaxing hair / beauty area, where David Mallet presides. He has worked with the greatest creators and photographers, before opening this living room decorated with antiques and retro furniture. The appointment lasts 1 hour for an exceptional service. It is strongly recommend to book in advance. David Mallet 14 rue Notre Dame des Victoires 75002 Paris
Etiquette : the tip for the staff is usually 10 to 15% of the bill.
Umbert likes to go out and taste all the pleasures of Paris. After having dressed for the evening at the hotel, direction L’Oiseau Blanc. Near the Arc de Triomphe, located on the rooftop of The Peninsula Hotel, this elegant restaurant offers breathtaking views of the Eiffel Tower, featuring fine French cuisine, original dishes and famous menu “The Black Truffle”. The White Bird celebrates the pilots of the First World War with a unique collection of aviation-related memorabilia. In the heart of the city of light, an exceptional gastronomic moment. L’oiseau Blanc at Hotel Peninsula 19 Avenue Kléber 75116 Paris
Etiquette: the man always enters first to hold the door, and the woman passes before to follow the butler.
What would Paris be without a night out ? Hopefully the roof-top of Hotel National Des Arts et Métiers will be open, otherwise it’s time for cocktails at The Herbarium. A new place of life, very Parisian. The idea is to mix smell and taste, to try a totally personalized cocktail, that can combine herbs, flowers and spices. A captivating place with these subtle and unknown flavors, in a sublime setting that involves an eclectic clientele. L’herbarium at Hotel National des Arts et Métiers 243 Rue Saint Martin 75003 Paris
Etiquette: crisps, peanuts or canapés are to be enjoyed with the fingers, and one by one.
Umbert only travels by taxi to enjoy the architecture of the most beautiful city in the world. Tonight, on the way home, the illuminated spectacle of the city, leaves him dreaming … will he return to live in Paris … he does not know …
Coffee & croissants 10:00
Umbert likes to get up early to enjoy Paris. So coffee and hot croissants await at the Grand Café Tortoni. “The dandy world, shaved and combed, lunch up to 2 hours with a big noise, then flies in patent boots” So Alfred de Musset, French poet, in 1830, described the Café Tortoni. Now, in the Marais district, enjoy a tasty coffee as part of an old-fashioned boutique. Café Tortoni 45 rue de Saintonge 75003 Paris.
Etiquette : in France, you can dip the croissants in the coffee.
The shopping begins at the Officine Universelle Buly in the Marais district. This “house of care, beauty and perfume” created in 1803 is a pure moment of happiness. Rare products are presented in a precious wood decor, Italian marble and antique tiles. Body creams, facial oils (baobab, mimosa, rose), alcohol-free perfumes, incense from the monks of Mount Tabor in Greece, everything will be explained to you in detail. Accessory items : boar hair brushes, horn combs or sandalwood. A magical place for aristocrats … Officine Universelle Buly 45 rue de Saintonge 75003 Paris
Etiquette: if you do not want the advice of the sellers, you can decline nicely.
Umbert then strolls through historic the Parisian streets in search of treasures : clothes, décoration, architecture …
Like any Parisian dandy, Umbert loves culture. Today he chose Mary Cassatt : « An American in Paris ». Considered the greatest American artist in her lifetime, Mary Cassatt lived 60 years in France. Spotted by Degas, she exhibited with the group of French impressionists. Traveling between France and the United States, her work reflects the dualism of cultures. The exhibition brings together an exceptional selection of works loaned by the largest American and French museums. From March 9 to July 23 2018. Mary Cassat at Jacquemart-André Museum 158 Bd Haussmann 75008 Paris
Etiquette : the works are made to last, it is not necessary to touch them, nor to photograph if it is forbidden.
Traditional French cuisine, how chic! This afternoon it will be Brasserie Thoumieux. Classic of French cuisine since 1923, it is a very Parisian moment, in a typical early 20th century setting : red velvet benches, Lalique crystal. Brasserie Thoumieux 79 rue Saint Dominique 75007 Paris
Etiquette : an omelet is cut and eaten only with the fork.
Town tour 16:00
Umbert has now chosen to stroll, but with an original ride aboard, a mythical French car, the 2CV, driven by a driver-guide in pure Parisian style. « 4 Roues Sous Un Parapluie », « 4 Wheels Under An Umbrella » is a company specialized in the discovery of Paris. It is strongly recommended to book in advance. 4 Roues Sous 1 Parapluie
Etiquette : remember to tip, 10 € looks good.
Tonight Umbert is having dinner early, because the show is at 20:00. He choses Le Grand Café Capucines, close to the theater. Created in 1875, it is the legendary Parisian brasserie, in a unique “art nouveau” setting, with oysters, lobster, seafood platters and traditional French dishes. Le Grand Café Capucines 4 boulevard des Capucines 75009 Paris
Etiquette : the woman sits on the bench, and the man on the opposite chair.
Time for the show ! Tonight Umbert embarks for Chicago … 1950 : We are at Rydell High School where Sandy, a new student, finds her summer love Danny. On a background of rock music, their emotions have touched thousands of spectators since its creation in 1971. The troupe is excellent. All in a theater that belongs to the Parisian heritage. From September 17 2017 to July 08 2018. GREASE at the Mogador Theater 25 rue de Mogador 75009 Paris
Etiquette: during the show, it is impolite to speak, comment or sing.
Umbert now joins a lively neighborhood in the evening, near Montorgueil. Especially a place, Experimental Cocktail Club, a very Parisian atmosphere with its exposed beams and stone walls. This is one of the best cocktail menus in the city. A must-see place. Experimental Cocktail Club 37 rue Saint Sauveur 75002 Paris
Etiquette : eat the olives with the finger or a spade. The core is to be deposited in a cup or ashtray.
Sunday morning Umbert wakes up late, the French are well known for their evenings that end in the early morning … so it is a late brunch that awaits him at the Café de Flore. A legendary café in Saint Germain des Près, in an elegant and elitist atmosphere. An unavoidable place where Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir came to philosophize. “We were home at The Flore” said Sartre. This café remains one of the most famous in the world. The perfect place to be an actor and spectator on the terrace. Café de Flore 172 boulevard Saint Germain 75006 Paris
Etiquette : the flutes or champagne glasses are held by the foot, to not warm it.
Town tour 13:00
Place Vendôme : King Louis 14 wanted a grandiose place to symbolize royalty. The Emperor Napoleon 3 made it a jewel of classical architecture. Umbert takes advantage of his last Parisian moments to visit the high place of creation in the world. After having admired the facades of the mansions of the Place Vendôme, Umbert admires the elegant jewelry showcases of the rue de la Paix in the direction of the Opera Garnier. What beautiful memories … Place Vendôme 75001 Paris
Etiquette: If you meet a celebrity, do not stare at her, and take a picture only with her permission, especially if she has a bodyguard !!
High tea 15:00
The weekend ends in his favorite place in Paris. Ideal moment before taking the plane, the Proust Salon of the Ritz Hotel. “The Ritz is the ultimate step before paradise,” said E. Hemingway. French Tea Time, in the luxurious setting of a library stocked with Marcel Proust’s books. On a superb central table, hold the famous Madeleines, a typical French pastry, served before the Melba Peach, and the plateau of 3 floors filled with old-fashioned biscuits. Not to mention the “exceptional tea”. A pure moment of happiness “in search of lost time”. Advance reservations required. Salon Proust at Hotel Ritz 15 Place Vendome 75001 Paris
Etiquette : do not blow on tea to cool.
This amazing weekend is ending, full of wonderful souvenirs, heading to Orly airport and the French Riviera. Fortunately, Umbert will return to Paris next month, for one more unforgettable weekend.
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Bon voyage !
Umbert de Paris