Coco Chanel’s Modern-Day Paris
Everybody knows Paris’ most famous designer left her stylish mark on the City of Light, but where would the visionary fashionista spend her time today? Here, we imagine which modern-day hot spots would have made it into the grand Mademoiselle’s little black book.
Coco Chanel may have been born in the modest medieval town of Saumur, but her name and legacy are synonymous with Paris. Her fashionable influence on the City of Light endures today, on Rue de Cambon — where she first took up residence in the 1920s and where the House of Chanel still exists to this day — and well beyond. Many of her favorite haunts can still be visited today, from the Hotel Ritz, where she lived for more than 30 years, to Le Grand Véfour, which remains one of the city’s most exquisite places to dine. But we like to think that, were Mademoiselle Chanel still around today, she would have evolved with the times too: shopping in the trendy Marais, sipping cocktails at the hottest new rooftops. Here, we take the liberty of imagining the spots Coco would frequent in present-day Paris.
Of course, Coco was a Ritz Paris devotee, but we can’t help but imagine The Peninsula Paris' blush-pink, rose-covered rooftop would have enticed the great fashionista for a sip of summer rosé. The seasonal spot offers expansive panoramas of the city, including unfettered views of the Eiffel Tower, and serves top vintages from Château d'Esclans along with gourmet tapas using ingredients from the hotel’s organic garden.
Musée des Arts Décoratifs
A lover of all things beautiful, Coco was an avid museumgoer and art collector, and we have no doubt this private institution, which showcases decorative arts spanning 14th-century Gothic all the way to 21st-century Philippe Starck, would have been a favorite spot to while away an afternoon. She would have especially found inspiration in Shocking! The Surreal World of Elsa Schiaparelli, an exploration of the Italian designer’s colorful and audacious personal collection, on exhibit now through January.
Maison de Beauté Carita
We’re convinced Coco would have been a big fan of the modern-day self-care movement — and the new five-story House of Beauty from heritage luxury skincare brand Carita. Set within its historic maison on Faubourg Saint-Honoré, the new flagship features 11 suites where the latest anti-aging facials and relaxing body treatments are performed amid white and black marble and pink onyx. Chanel would have surely been a regular in the beauty apartment — a private suite with its own salon, lounge, and dining room — if not the restaurant serving healthy dishes (after all, she was far more partial to champagne and caviar than salads and juice).
Coco would have been a fan of — and might have even been a mentor to — French-Peruvian designer Cinthya Guerrero’s beloved label known for its sustainable handmade clothes. Pardo’s first brick-and-mortar boutique opened in the Marais in 2020, showcasing puffy alpaca sweaters (ethically sourced from a community of weavers in Lima), chic crocheted dresses, and bags, and vintage furniture throughout.
Madame Rêve Café
Coco was known for her casual looks, taking women out of uncomfortable corsets and constrictive clothing to create a new image of femininity, liberated by minimal, and more casual, silhouettes and shapes. Her laidback-elegant look would have been perfectly at home in this sultry café, where we imagine the designer would have spent hours on end smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. It’s a modern interpretation of her old-school haunt, Angelina, which is still open today, and worth a visit in its own right.
Coco’s preference for gastronomic delights would have no doubt led her to this Michelin-three-star restaurant at the Cheval Blanc Paris hotel. Tradition pervades throughout the dishes — rich with sauces, veloutés, and broths; exquisite with fresh ingredients and aromatic herbs — and it’s all served with an appropriate measure of theatricality that pairs perfectly with a Chanel suit.
This concept shop in the trendy Marais is a playground for Paris’s tastemakers and aesthetes — and Coco would have certainly joined them for weekly sprees among its three stories of vendors selling everything from up-and-coming designer fashions to gourmet confections. We imagine she’d be a big fan of the luxurious blush-pink and crème linens for which Merci is especially well known.
Photos courtesy of Jackie Caradonio.