When I moved to Paris, I focused so much on visas and language and things that I forgot about what was really important- namely, finding a cheap place to rip the hair off my body. It took me two years to get a doctor, three years to finally take an appointment at a salon. Simple tasks, like dropping shoes off at the cobbler, filled me with unremitting anxiety- not the "anxious delicacy" of Jane Austen letters but cold sweat, break-into-hives, stomach-churning anxiety. I was the definition of white people problems, and I'm not even white! "Will they judge me because I'm foreign?" I wondered. "What if they ruin my stuff?" Record Pressing scorched my favorite dress. Baechler ripped my coat sleeves to pieces. Only a year ago, the receptionist at Clarins looked at my face, yelled, "We don't treat spots here!"and shooed me out the door. I know how important it is when you move to a new city to find your "people," so here's a petit tour des trustworthy adresses parisiennes. For my Paris arrondissement guide, click here.
Les Petits Soins
I have yet to get a facial in Paris, but friends swear by the chain's outposts in Oberkampf and the 7ème. Full-service spa treatments for a decent price.
Pretty hammam offering Oriental sugar waxes and zero-waste hair and skin treatments. Book an appointment online for a henna sunless tan, traditional massage, or clay mask with natural ingredients like pure argan oil, gram flour, and rassoul. If they're booked, L'Institut d'Artois can take care of all your waxing needs. Ask for an Américain or intégral if you prefer a Brazilian; maillot échancré if you just want a trim.
My favorite Korean salon for sleek blowouts and rejuvenating scalp massage. Offers lissage Japonais (rebonding).
One of Paris' only Aveda salons, a favorite of ELLE and Vogue magazine editors. Read about my Saravy experience here.
La Clé du Barbier
My husband's regular place in the 5éme- they use old school methods of shaving, including zero waste-friendly straight and safety razors.
Living Room Paris
Looking for a non-toxic balayage? Paris' original dry cut salon is as zero-waste friendly as it gets, offering ammonia-free color enriched with grapeseed oil.
Nothing short of legendary, the Centre de Beauté Indienne is the best place to get your eyebrows threaded for only 7 euro.
Cordonnerie des Belles Feuilles
Express work from a master- shoes look new in two or three days. He'll chastise you gently for not taking care of your stuff, a song-and-dance dynamic I find reassuring.
Minuit Moins 7
The official cobbler of Christian Louboutin. I didn't trust MM7 at first, because all the girls at the desk are young and pretty. I prefer my cobblers elderly and wizened. Nevertheless, they do an amazing job on all shoes, including other designers- see below for their price list.
Imprimerie du Marais
Emboss or silkscreen anything at the go-to printery for Paris' best fashion houses- I'm probably wrong, but I think this is the house Raf Simons used for the Sterling Ruby fabric in Dior and I! Someone told me that and I can't remember who.
Accidentally bleach your favorite shirt? Want to change a pastel dress into something jewel-toned? Hidden in the 20ème, this maître teinturier will refresh or repair cherished items. The impressive roster of designer clients includes none other than Dior.
Seamless repair work and alterations; quick turnaround. For a great embroiderer, though, go to Linge Au Coeur.
Grand Opticien is the worst. When it comes to your eyesight, you need the personal touch of this charming opticien lunetier, owned by our nice neighbor. Instead of overloading clients with a litany of options, they tell you flat-out what looks good, and what makes you look like Mark Mothersbaugh.
La Clinique du Jean
Repair beloved jeans, or get a not quite right pair tailored, shrank, or enlarged for a bespoke fit at this legendary Paris institution. Pickup and delivery offered with an unbeatable one week turnaround.
C'est Ma Robe
Got an invitation to a formal event, but don't want to disrupt the sanctity of a faux-capsule wardrobe? Every amazing vintage and designer dress from this rental service looks like it came from Natalie Joos' closet. If that's not your style, try L'Habibliothèque.
If you must dry clean, this perchloroethylene-free "pressing ecologique" (they use silicone instead) will return garments to you in your own garment bag, with your own hangers.
TOUT LE RESTE
Tea and inexpensive massages in a clean, calming environment next to the Eiffel Tower (Charme d'Orient and Maison Caulières- I saw Isabel Marant there once- also do great massages).
Ostéo / Kiné
Anne Ziegler and my friend Jo are the best osteopathe and kinésithérapeute in Paris, respectively. Jo won awards all over the world, and Anne was featured in French Vogue. I broke my toe recently and Jo had me walking around Paris in heels in no time.
01 46 36 66 26
Cat slaves, here is the kindest and most brilliant veterinarian in Paris. He put skittish Kar at ease, and though he claims not to speak English, I suspect he speaks perfectly- stacks of American veterinary journals line his shelves. He reads them for fun!
It sounds weird, but this butcher always loved animals, even as a kid. Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec oversees every aspect of the farm-to-block supply chain for the most sustainably raised meats possible. Specializing in aged cuts, the quality is unparalleled (and the reason Blend burgers taste so good). Le Bourdonnec's Rue du Cherche-Midi boutique is like Galerie Perrotin for meat! For all other food, including cheese and organic produce, click here for my Paris market guide and here for the zero-waste shopping guide.
Submission (my husband's recommendation)
French people are impressed when you work these titles into conversation, even more so if you read them on the Métro. I like the bookshops Ofr Galerie and Le Monte en l'Air, but not Shakespeare and Company because interactions with the staff lead me to believe they only hire pretentious, self-aggrandizing blowhards. I don't recommend How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are, which I finally read and found demeaning. It's like the family (not the grandmother) from Mulan wrote it to teach her how best to catch a man. I haven't lived here long, but I'm pretty sure most Parisienne lives' don’t revolve around men and clothes.
Full disclosure, I haven't had a massage or wax or facial or anything in years, but well-groomed friends assure me these addresses are still reliable. In general, if you ask a French woman where she gets her hair / nails / massages done, and she recommends a hotel, you should never trust anything she says. The jacket my coolest French friends are wearing is the custom monogrammed one from Côme Editions, and everyone is crazy for Majestic Filatures t-shirts and Self Portrait dresses right now, along with classic popovers, tunics, flap pocket blouses, tucked shirts of any kind, overalls, collarless jackets, and 7/8 lengths. Also, it's not beauty or style related, but if you need the best plumber in Paris, it's Hugo Clemens. Email me for his contact information! For the best of Paris' gluten-free, click here.