Since opening in 1856, the Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville (BHV) has been a one-stop destination for stylish Parisians in search of everything from fashion to food, and this year is no exception. Le BHV is turning it up for summer with a seasonal programme that evokes the romance of the Parisian way of life. From a new rooftop dining space and riverside pop-ups to one-off speciality goods and gardening workshops, the summer line-up will give out-of-towners the chance to live like a local and experience the unique flavour of the Marais.
Le BHV is the second oldest department store in Paris and offers unparalleled diversity with more than 2000 brands across its eight floors. While the brands and products inside are sourced from across the world, the iconic store draws its cultural and creative energy from its surroundings, which includes the newly opened Italian dining concept store Eataly and the neighbouring Lafayette Anticipations arts foundation. On any visit, you’ll find internationally renowned names such as Gucci, Givenchy and Moncler, alongside independent fashion labels and locally handcrafted homewares.
After exploring the boutiques, rooftop bar Le Perchoir Marais is a destination in its own right offering panoramic city views to savour with your aperitif and charcuterie platter. Spot the Seine and the Eiffel Tower from your plush cushioned banquette and toast ‘sante’ to a truly local experience in the City of Light.
THE MARAIS / FIND YOUR WAY
Cosmopolitan, rich in history and constantly evolving, the Marais is a thriving ecosystem of fashion, food, arts and culture, with Le BHV department store at its heart. Follow our guide to the neighbourhood.
POMPIDOU CENTRE (5 minutes)
The radical architecture has long made Paris’ most iconic contemporary arts centre a talking point. It’s a short stroll from Le BHV, but you will need hours to explore the exhibitions, events and permanent collections totalling more than 100,000 pieces from the early 20th century onwards. centrepompidou.fr
EATALY (around the corner)
The latest outpost of this sprawling Slow Food-inspired temple to pasta, pizza and Prosecco opened in April, comprising Italian-accented market stalls, a butcher, a baker, cheesemonger, culinary classes and the most extensive cellar of Italian wines in Paris. eataly.net
LAFAYETTE ANTICIPATIONS (4 minutes)
Contemporary artworks, design and fashion are showcased in this new arts foundation centre, which opened its doors last year. Browse the displays, shop for limited-edition glassware, ceramics and decorative homewares at À Rebours, then graze at Wild & The Moon, the on-site casual eatery offering organic, seasonally driven vegan fare. lafayetteanticipations.com
RUE DES ROSIERS (8 minutes)
This bustling strip in the Jewish Quarter is ground zero for the city’s best falafel and vintage clothing stores. Join the eager crowd queuing at the turquoise façade or l’As du Falafel, which has cult status for its hefty pita sandwiches loaded with smoky roasted aubergine, golden falafel, salad, pickles and lashings of tahini. l-as-du-fallafel.zenchef.com
From July to August, you can climb the 300 steps of this striking pale Gothic tower, accompanied by an official guide, to one of the oldest viewing platforms in Paris. Built in the early 16th century and set in gardens of the same name, it’s a medieval masterpiece. en.parisinfo.com
LA MAISON PLISSON (15 minutes)
Reimagining a traditional general store, here you’ll find France’s best regional products – more than 3,000 – under one roof. Peruse the deli, market and wine cellar, then take a seat at the coy 60-seat restaurant where seasonal comfort food comes via small snack plates, substantial dishes and classic desserts. lamaisonplisson.com
LONDON TO PARIS / BONS VOYAGES
There’s more than one way to find your way to the French capital.
Pick your own adventure and choose a mode of transport to suit.
With so many budget airline carriers competing for routes,
if you’ve got an eye for a good deal, you could nab a one-way plane fare for as low as £14 one way. Of course, you will have to contend with airport queues, but ‘c’est la vie’ as they say.
The glory days of train travel live on with the high-speed Eurostar train that spirits you from London St Pancras to Paris’ Gare du Nord in just over two hours. Look out for your chance to win a trip for two on the Eurostar in the next issue.
If you are inclined to take the scenic route, options abound onboard the ferry. The closest port to Paris is Le Havre, but you might choose to disembark at Roscoff to explore Brittany, or perhaps Saint-Malo to arrive in Paris via the Loire.
Are you a fan of icy water? Have a strong breaststroke? Prefer the road less travelled? If you answered ‘yes’, why not set yourself an endurance goal, smother yourself in goose fat and give the 21-mile cross-Channel swim a go?
For a more achievable (and drier) fitness feat, grab a mate or two and cycle to the French capital – could there be a better carbon-free way to travel? If you’re pushing it, pedal power will get you there in 24 hours.
Get ready for lift-off! While strapping on your jetpack may not be possible right now, the 2008 Calais-to-Dover crossing by Swiss ‘Jetman’ Yves Rossy inspires a new way to cross the Channel, complete with bird’s-eye views.
Discover Le BHV Marais this summer: bhv.fr