How to be a Fashionista in Paris during Fashion Week

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Written By Athina Antarakis

Paris Fashion Week comes but once a year. Ah wait, no, that’s Christmas. There are actually six Fashion Weeks a year, when fashion houses present their collections for Women, Men or Haute Couture.

The next Fashion Week will be from February 27 until March 6 2018 and showcases Womenswear. Buyers and magazine editors, celebrities, Instagram influencers and street style photographers will all be arriving in their well-heeled droves, eager to see what the trends are for next Winter.

If you don’t have an invitation to a show, it can be lots of fun just to stroll around and soak up the atmosphere. So where should you go to check out the action? Here are five ideas to help you get in the fashion know…

  1. Check out the fashion outside the shows

The first modern Paris Fashion Week was at the grand Palace of Versailles, about an hour’s train ride from the centre of Paris. These days, you don’t have to travel so far. Most of the shows happen in one of the 20 arrondissements of Paris, all very easy to get to by public transport, on foot, or by taxi or Uber.

For great people-watching, head to the stunning Jardin des Tuileries. There you can catch the crowds on their way to the Place du Carrousel outside the Louvre, or the Palais Royal. There is always something to see over at le Grand Palais, where the Chanel collection is the most highly-anticipated show of the week. Espace Eiffel is a newer addition to the circuit and proving to be a popular venue.

So why these venues? Well Fashion Week isn’t only about what’s happening on the runway, it has become quite the show outside as well. It’s the perfect opportunity to join street style photographers and passers-by as they admire people arriving in their sartorial splendour.

  1. Hang out with the industry insiders

You could go for cocktails at one of the trendy – and pricier – bars like Jacques’ Bar at The Hoxtonor the elegant Bar du Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme.

Or, you could stroll up to the unassuming Café La Perle, where the people who actually work in the industry go to drink. It was John Galliano’s regular haunt before he left Dior. It may not look like much, but it has a great vibe and feels truly Parisian.

  1. Be inspired at a Paris fashion exhibition

In this age of mass-produced fashion and global chain stores, it’s a real treat to see the work of a genius up close. The great couturier, Azzedine Alaïa, sadly left us last November aged 82, but there is currently an exhibition of his beautiful and impeccably-crafted clothes on display in the gallery next door to his atelier in le Marais.

  1. Go shopping at ‘les grands magasins’

There are department stores, and then there are Parisian department stores, or ‘les grands magasins’. Le Bon Marché was the first in the world which makes it worth a visit for that fact alone if you are into fashion. IMHO it is the best of them all, and you will find it on the stylish Rive Gauche, or Left Bank, of Paris.

Les Galeries Lafayette & Printemps are beautiful stores in grand old buildings. They stock the latest fashions and have recently opened gourmet food halls stocked with delectable goodies from some of the most famous chefs in France. Oh yes, and they both have rooftop terraces boasting amazing – and free! – views of the City of Light.

  1. Visit the Eiffel Tower

Because it’s beautiful, stylish – and so photogenic! Come on, do I need to convince you?