Here are our editor-in-chief’s finest recommendations to tackle Paris.

This week, KHAMSA visits Paris with our very own co-founder and editor-in-chief, Aya Mechelany-Arab (@ayamechelany on Instagram). Meet Aya, a proud Lebanese woman who was born and grew up in Paris. Her Middle Eastern roots, combined with a charming French touch, deeply influence her identity, and style.

A Parisian at heart – Fashion has always been central to Aya’s life. She has a knack for vintage pieces, often borrowing items from her mother’s closet. And her bag collection? It’s simply to die for. But Aya is more than just a fashion aficionado; she is also an exceptional travel guide.

Despite her residence in the UAE, Paris remains important to her. She frequently travels back for work, fashion weeks, and to reconnect with friends and family, always staying attuned to the latest trends.

Curious about her top spots in the city of Love? Scroll down.


Top must-visit food spots in Paris?

For Coffee

If you like niche coffee shops with an amazing selection of beans and tastes, I’d recommend Terres de Café and Noir coffee shop. Both have shops across Paris.

Terres De Café

@terresdecafe

Noir Coffee Shop

@noircoffeeshop

For Lunch

Les Antiquaires on Rue du Bac – I love going there. The address is super central, it’s a French bistro, so the service is fast and the food is good. It also has a nice retro vibe.

source: Les Antiquaires
source: Les Antiquaires

Toraya on Rue Saint-Florentin – Japanese, very healthy, perfect for a quick lunch break too. I highly recommend giving it a try!

Source: Toraya

Le Petit Céléstin

On Sundays, an all-time favorite and iconic spot for Parisians is Le Petit Céléstin. I always visit when I’m in Paris and have a special affection for the place, as I had my civil wedding party there! Big thanks to Jais, the chef and a good friend—he’s a star.

@lepetitcelestin

Le Bar de La Croix Rouge


On Sundays as well, I love going to Bar de la Croix rouge with my family – it’s a typical French style café serving toasts and salads. It’s a perfect spot on a sunny day. 

@bardelacroixrouge


For more fancy lunch experiences you can check out Loulou Restaurant, L’Esplanade or book a nice lunch at the bar of Pavyllon on the Champs-Élysées. Be sure to try the cordon bleu if you go!

For Dinner

Sugaar is my favorite restaurant. It was founded by my childhood friend Joachim and his business partner Alexis. They have done exceptionally well! The space, the food, the atmosphere—such an experience. Make sure to book a table well in advance, as they’re always full!

Ojji Perronet – a must try Japanese fusion. Be curious, try the entire menu. You won’t regret it!

La Farnesina is a delightful, small, intimate Italian restaurant near Faubourg Saint-Honoré. With just a few tables, it offers a laid-back dining experience. Try it out on a chill evening.

On a more casual note, I love Le Relais de L’Entrecote! I’ve been going since I was a kid. Definitely a must-try if you’ve never been. Here’s a tip: don’t be scared of the line and trust the process

So many more addresses I could recommend… Hotel Costes feels cliché but I love it. Always a good idea for late dinners and drinks. Also, you should check out Chez Jais and Bar des Prés for night outs with friends in Paris!

Best places for shopping?

It depends on what you like. Of course, for vintage shopping, Paris has plenty of amazing addresses. My favorite one would be Merci C’est Vintage. They have the most beautiful vintage accessories and jackets. I also got a beautiful Fendi baguette from there. Mariana, the founder, has a true creative vision and finds amazing stuff!

Fashion brands that I go to when I’m in Paris – my absolute favorite is Antik Batik. Gabriella, the founder, is a friend of my mother’s, so I grew up with the brand. It’s qualitative, fresh, young, and colorful. My entire summer wardrobe is from there.

For leathers, Stouls is my go-to. Definitely the most stylish leather pieces you can find on the market. Rumor has it that Karl Lagerfeld used to get his leather pants there!

Must-visit cultural spots?

In Paris, you have plenty! It’s difficult to pick, but I’d say my two favorites are the Musée Galliera; they always curate amazing fashion exhibitions. Second would be the Musée de l’Orangerie, located in the heart of the Tuileries, which has the most breathtaking Nymphéas by Claude Monet.

Musee de L’Orangerie

If you actually like Monet and have a bit of time on your hands, I recommend a day trip to the house of Claude Monet in Giverny. It’s such a beautiful place to see

Otherwise, Paris is filled with stunning art galleries that must be checked out. You can stroll in St Germain and visit a few. One that I particularly love is Galerie Camille Pouyfaucon in the 6th district – Camille is doing an incredible job focusing on emerging artists and finding new talents.

Best place to stay in?

My favorite would be Le Montalembert – I love the address. It’s a small hotel that was renovated a few years ago. It’s perfect to stay for a few days on a trip to Paris.

La Fantaisie Paris

Otherwise, for a full-on Parisian experience, I’d say La Fantaise is a super cute, and fun place to stay at. Or hotel Les Bains, which is a mythical address in Paris.

@lafantaisieparis

Underrated places?

I feel like Les Puces is underrated. It’s such a cool place to visit – It is the largest antiques and second-hand market in the world. If you’ve never been, find the time and go! It’s a 20 minutes drive from central Paris, and plan to spend at least 2 hours there. You won’t regret it. You should check it out online before you go – just to make sure it’s open, etc.

Source: Les Puces de Saint-Ouen
Source: Les Puces de Saint-Ouen
Source: Les Puces de Saint-Ouen

What should you avoid?

The Eiffel Tower.

Any tips to tackling Paris?

Forget Ubers – download the G7 taxi app or take a bike. 

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