Coco Chanel’s Favorite Places in Paris

Gabrielle Chanel

Discover Coco Chanel’s favorite places in Paris: From her first ever store to her beloved restaurant and cafe.


Angelina’s, the well-beloved Parisian tearoom, was founded in 1903 by Antoine Rumpelmayer and was named after his daughter-in-law.  The Belle Epoque interior, designed by the architect Edouard-Jean Niermans, hasn’t changed since the opening in 1903.

For over a century now, Angelina’s has built a reputation of sophistication and gourmandise. Since its opening, it has become the place to be seen for the Parisian aristocracy and celebrities.  Proust was a frequent visitor and Coco Chanel had her official table. Today it’s a must-do for the tourists, and a favorite brunch rendez-vous for the Parisians.


Herminie Cadolle created the very first bra, presented at the World’s Fair in 1889 and In 1925, Marguerite Cadolle created the first ‘flatten bra’, aka the Boyish Form, for Mlle Chanel.  

The very first shop was located at 24 rue de la Chaussée d’Antin, fortunately near the popular department stores, and relocated to rue Cambon in 1911 . Other designers moved to the area which became a mecca for fashion and sophistication.

21 rue Cambon

Gabrielle Chanel opened her very first millinery shop at 21 rue Cambon in 1909 with the help of her lover, the Englishman Boy Capel.  At first she only did simple hats. revolutionary at a time when the hats of the day were highly decorated. Soon after, she opened a second store in Deauville, and then a third in Biarritz.

Today the 21 rue Cambon store is owned by the bag and accessories store Fauré le Page, created in 1717.

31 rue Cambon

The 31 rue Cambon is an institution, the historic headquarters of the House of Chanel, and it has barely changed since Gabrielle Chanel died in 1971. Today, the House of Chanel owns a good part of the street from No. 23 to No. 31, mostly occupied by offices and workshops.

The first floor is, of course, the store, although during Gabrielle’s time it was also where she organised catwalk shows to launch her collections. She used to sit on the top of her mirrored staircase to spy, unseen,  on the reactions of the public. The second floor is a private showroom for important clients.

The third floor is her apartment, richly decorated in contradiction to her style of simplicity and unadornment. The rooms are strewed with symbolic objects, such as the lion, the shell, the camellia, the 2 Cs – everything in gold, of course! These important symbols are still very prevalent in the modern collections, especially in the jewellery. 

The two upper floors are occupied by workshops for specific tasks, and Karl Lagerfeld’s office.

The Ritz

Gabrielle Chanel decided to live at the Ritz in 1937, her store and workshops being situated conveniently next door  The legend says that the doorman of the Ritz gave a call to the store when Coco went out of the hotel so the vendors could spray some No 5 in the entrance. She decorated the suite herself and brought her favorite furniture such as Coromandel lacquered screens, gilded mirrors and a velvet couch. The suite has since been restored but kept in the black and white style with the golden lions and several photographs of her still in evidence.  The Coco Chanel suite, the second biggest in the hotel, costs 18 000 euros a night. 

The Chanel Jewellery store

The Chanel Jewelry store opened at t18 Place Vendôme in 1997, more than 20 years after the death of the fashion designer. In 1932, she created the ‘Bijoux de Diamants’ collection, all diamonds and platinum, much more luxurious than her original costume jewelry.

The first watch she created was named “Montre Premiere”. The shape of the watch was the same as the iconic cap of the Chanel No 5 bottle, which in turn had been inspired by the shape of the Place Vendôme.

Today, new collections keep alive the symbols which Gabrielle Chanel loved:  the stars, the camelilas, the lions, the gold and of course the pearls.

Didier Ludot

Didier Ludot is one of the most famous luxury vintage shops in Paris located under the arcades of the Palais Royal. In this Aladdin’s Cave you can find all kind of vintage clothes and accessories from the most famous fashion designers: Chanel of course, Dior, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Givenchy, etc. If you want to find an authentic little Chanel jacket or the famous bag, this is the place to go. 

Le Grand Véfour

The Café de Chartres opened in 1784 under the arcades of the Palais Royal, created by Richelieu during the 17th century. When Philippe d’Orléans inherited it, it became the place to be for the French bourgeoisie. The restaurant, called the Grand Véfour, was famous as the first Grand Restaurant de Paris as well as for its luxurious decoration and gourmet cuisine. After ups and downs during two centuries and many owners, today the restaurant is one of the best in  Paris. The Neo-Classical decoration, loved during the Empire, hasn’t changed since the 19th century and its tables has seen a lot of famous people, including Colette and Coco Chanel. It is also the location of a scene of the movie Coco Before Chanel, where Coco meets Etienne Balzan.

Coco Before Chanel Grand Vefour


Le Grand Vefour in Coco Avant 

See locations from Coco Avant Chanel

Rue Saint-Honoré

Coco avant Chanel Marinière

(Coco Before Chanel, Audrey Tautou as Gabrielle Chanel)

Gabrielle Chanel, bored of her ‘easy’ life in Etienne Balzan’s manor, wanted to work and be free. She started to make her own hats which became very popular. She moved to Paris in 1910, opened her first shop at 21 rue Cambon and lived in a tiny apartment on rue Saint-Honoré.

Grand Palais

Since Karl Lagerfeld started work for the House of Chanel, every Chanel Fashion Week show takes place under the soaring windowed canopy of the Grand Palais, a privilege accorded only to Chanel . Every year the show is more extraordinary and extravagant, and always a tribute to Gabrielle Chanel’s  work and life.

In 2014, the building of 31 rue Cambon was entirely recreated in the Grand Palais.  In 2011, an immense gold lion was enthroned in the center of the enormous room. (The lion was her favorite animal and seen everywhere in her apartment).  Over the years of this spectacle, there have been a supermarket, a casino, an enchanted forest and even the gardens of  Versailles.

Celebrities who live in Paris!

scarlett johannson blonde

Ever wonder where your favorite stars and starlets reside in the City of Lights? Look no further!

Check out the comprehensive list of American and French actors below to find out!

When Scarlet was married to her then French husband advertising exec Romain Dauriac, she was living in Paris with him and their daughter Rose Dorothy.  She was often seen strolling around Saint Germain.   Together they introduced the French to flavored popcorn with their store Yummy Pop in the Marais on the other side of the Seine river.   

When married to actress Amber Heard, Depp sold his French chateau in order to buy a ranch in Texas where is new wife is from. Don’t worry, he still has a home in Paris, especially since his daughter Lily-Rose is the new face of Chanel. It was often rumored that Depp lived near the Eiffel Tower, but he actually lives in Le Marais in the hip 3rd arrondisement.

It’s no surprise that Kim and Kanye are jet-setters and love to visit Paris (as mentioned on their hit reality TV show). They often stay at the Royal Monceau when they’re in town, but Kanye also has an apartment near Place Madeline in the 8th arrondisement on Rue de Rocher.  Whether they will stay here following Kim’s awful break-in and theft isn’t clear.

Married with a 4-year-old son Aleph, Portman spends her time residing in the 10th arrondisement in Paris, but can often be spotted in the 7th arrondisement, where her son goes to school. She has reportedly admitted her love of French culture and the Parisien lifestyle. Sadly, her husband recently stepped down as the head of the ballet and there are rumors she will be returning to life in the U.S.

In Paris, everything seems easier…The French are more natural than Americans, that’s obvious…I spend my time observing to try to imitate them…In Paris, I wear red. This is perfect for the most chic capital of the world


A friend of mine taught me that when you go in some place you have to say “bonjour” before you say anything else, then you have to wait two seconds before you say something else.So if you go into a store you can’t be like “do you have this in another size”, or they’ll think you’re super rude and then they’ll be rude to you

Daily Mail 2016

In Paris, everything seems easier…The French are more natural than Americans, that’s obvious…I spend my time observing to try to imitate them…In Paris, I wear red. This is perfect for the most chic capital of the world


A friend of mine taught me that when you go in some place you have to say “bonjour” before you say anything else, then you have to wait two seconds before you say something else.So if you go into a store you can’t be like “do you have this in another size”, or they’ll think you’re super rude and then they’ll be rude to you

Daily Mail 2016

The infamous white-haired designer of Chanel lives in the 1st arrondisement, near Palais Royal, the Louvre and of course, Chanel. He has two homes right next to each other, one for sleeping and painting, one for eating and socializing. He has a very specific routine, so if you head out to 21 Rue Cambon (the original Chanel) you might just be lucky enough to catch him heading to the studio at 5 pm.

Paris Paris la nuit est un cauche­mar en ce moment. Ce n’est plus une carte postale. Je dois avouer que toute ma vie, je n’ai jamais vu Paris aussi sombre

Paris reste le meilleur endroit pour la mode.”


This English heartthrob resides in the 16th arrodisement of Paris in a luxurious penthouse apartment. His neighborhood is high-end and elegant and Harry has been quoted talking about how much he loves his building’s old world charm and romantic architecture and hopes to spend holidays with his friends and family there. He has quite the real estate portfolio, as he owns houses all over the world including London and Hollywood.

Although Hilary’s relationship with French real estage developer Laurent fizzled out, her love for Paris has endured.   Although she doesn’t spend as much time in Paris as before, she could be regularly spotted riding her bike all over the Montparnasse area of Paris.

A Left Bank girl, she shared with Harper’s Bazarre who she redecorated her lovely Paris apartment.  

It’s more beauty than your eyes can even imagine, every which way you look.

C’est amusant, car aujourd’hui quand je suis à Paris, je pense en français 

Its funny because now when I’m in Paris, I think in French

Le Parisien

According to her interview with Elle magazine, Diane is a Left Bank girl leaving in Saint Germain near Cafe de Flore where she hangs out a lot and knows the waiters by name.   She first came to Paris at the age of 16 to try and break out as a model.   Although she still has her German citizenship, Paris is the city where she feels most at home.

The Real Hunchback of Notre Dame

hunchback of notre dame gif

Was there a hunchback of Notre DameUncovering the myth behind the real Quasimodo.


The name Quasimodo instantly conjures images in our minds of the lonely hunchbacked bell-ringer trapped in the beautiful Notre Dame, yet is there any truth behind the story? If there was a hunchback who lived in Notre Dame, who was he and what would his life have been like?

Victor Hugo’s 1831 master-piece Notre Dame de Paris has been retold, rewritten and transformed more than sixteen times through various TV and film adaptations, most famously with Disney’s 1996 animated version.  While every adaptation seems to steer further from Hugo’s original storyline, changing the importance of, and even the very essence of the Hunchbacked bell ringer’s character, it seems the real Quasimodo belonged neither to Hugo’s imagination nor Disney’s but was in fact based on a real man closely affiliated with the cathedral.




The memoirs of Henry Sibson, a British stonemason employed to work at the Cathedral during the buildings restoration period in the early 19th century, were recently required by the Tate archives after being discovered in a dusty attic of a house in Penzance, England.


notre dame


Sibson’s memoirs mention encounters with fellow contracted workers on the building. Sibson describes two men in particular, firstly a Monsieur Trajan who was a “most worthy, fatherly and amiable man as ever existed” and secondly a sculptor who worked under Trajan and went by the nickname Monsieur Bossu (Mr Hunchback). Sibson mentions that this mysterious “hunchbacked sculptor…did not like to mix with other sculptors”




It is unsurprisinga43a8edcebff3453d70832b19c06580e that Monsieur Bossu is described as withdrawn and kept largely to himself, given the fact that 19th century negative attitudes to deformity, which had progressed very little despite advances in medical knowledge.  Hugo in his novel describes this belief that physical appearances shaped peoples’ characteristics when describing Quasimodo in Notre Dame de Paris

“He was, in truth, bad because he was wild; he was wild because he was ugly”

Despite Monsieur Bossu’s reclusive nature, his deformities clearly made him a recognisable figure, as Sibson mentions in detail encountering the sculptor again on an entirely different project outside of Paris.

2997325_640px-1Also in the 19th Century on the other side of the pond in Victorian London, John Merrick was using his deformity to his advantage by convincing a showman to use him as an exhibit.  It must have been a bleak existence to have to earn money as a human curiosity.   This hardship has been imprinted in the public imagination with Anthony Hopkin’s portrayal of The Elephant Man in the 1980 film and Bradley Cooper’s in the recent stage play.  Our Paris hunchback, on the other hand, maintained a good position as a head sculpture so it seems his difficulty did not prevent him from physical labour or from gaining such a relatively prestigious job.

Doctors have tried now to use modern medicine to diagnosis both the hunchback (before the recent evidence of his actual existence came to light) and the Elephant Man.  It was largely attributed that both men suffered from Neurofibramatosis type I, but lately the Elephant Man is thought to have also had Proteus syndrome.


The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) Directed by William Dieterle Shown: Charles Laughton (as Quasimodo)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)
Directed by William Dieterle
Shown: Charles Laughton (as Quasimodo)


Not only was there a hunchbacked man that worked in Notre Dame but it is very likely that the he was the real life inspiration for Victor Hugo’s Quasimodo. Hugo was a man with strong links to the Cathedrals and its restoration process, he went to great levels to research in great detail the subject for his medieval epic and would have been familiar with the team at work responsible for the restoration of the Gothic masterpiece. Thus, far from being a figment of his imagination, Hugo used the real-life characters he encountered in day-to-day life and spun them into legends.


Victor Hugo photographed in 1802

The story of the hunchback is not only a story of triumph such as the Elephant Man, but also a classic love story.  Along similar lines to Beauty and the Beast, the love of Esmeralda and Quasimodo endures and she sees past his deformity to the loving caring man he is.   This story belongs to the historical fiction genre, much like Alexandre Dumas’ Three Muskateers.  Victor Hugo decided to export the hunchback back in time to 1482.   By doing so, the hunchback has an experience more like The Elephant Man and less like the real hunchback who was more accepted by society.   The 15th Century was a less accepting time and the hunchback loses his fantastic job and his reclusive element is intensified to the extreme.


It’s a love story


When examining Hugo’s other novels, this tendency to draw inspiration for his characters from real people he met becomes apparent, in particular it seems those contracted to work in Notre Dame. The Monsieur Trajan mentioned afore in Sibon’s memoirs is a potential influence on a character in another of Hugo’s novels Les Miserables. In early drafts on Les Miserables Hugo writes the protagonists name as Jean Trajan, the same Jean Trajan listed in the Paris Almanach of 1833 as a contracted sculptor and as living in the same neighbourhood as Hugo at the time (Saint Germain des Prés). In later final editions of Les Miserables the name can be seen changed to Jean Valjean.



Carrie Bradshaw’s Paris

Sex & the City

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Let this map guide you to Carrie's favorite Paris haunts


Miss Carrie Bradshaw is the epitome of the New York 30s-something — columnist, fashionista, girl who knows how to brunch. After six seasons centered on Miss Bradshaw’s Manhattan lifestyle, Sex and the City took a daring plunge and moved its 2004 series finale to Paris. New York may be home to Carrie’s best gal pals (and most of her shoes), but it took a visit to the City of Love for her to finally reunite with her prince. Impressively, this is Carrie’s first time in the city (“Well, not if you include movies!”) and Bradshaw proves herself the ultimate American in Paris, hitting up the coolest Parisian hotspots (all in stilletos, nonetheless). For a chance to walk in Carrie Bradshaw’s Louboutins, follow our SATC Paris guide! Who knows, you might just meet your Mr. Big along the way…

Hôtel Plaza Athénée

25 avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris

plazaatheneeThis luxury hotel on Avenue Montaigne is known for its striking, red-accented facade. If you don’t fall in love based on appearances alone, note that the hotel is a ten-minute walk to the Eiffel Tower and just next door to Dior! For EUR 5,995 you could book a night in the Presidential Suite — tempting, I know… but if that’s outside of your budget, a visit to the bar will suffice. This is the very bar where Aleksandr Petrovsky gives Carrie her stunning diamond necklace. And later, of course, the hotel serves as the site of Carrie and Mr. Big’s reunion! You may remember this ornate carpet where the two fall — quite literally! — back in love.


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Tip:  Lusting after Carrie’s red umbrella.  You can get your hands on your own as its from the hotel.  Though they no longer have the exact same model for sale, they d have a very similar one.



1 Rue du Pont Neuf, 75001 Paris

Sip une verre de vin rouge while chainsmoking at Kong, the trendy restaurant where Carrie and Petrovsky’s ex-wife Juliette have a strangely intimate lunch date. Keep in mind, Kong isn’t for everyone. Carrie praises the modern restaurant, while Juliette thinks “the chairs are hideous.” We’re on your side, Carrie; we think Kong is effortlessly chic and Parisian!

Place Saint-Sulpice

Place Saint-Sulpice, 75006 Paris

Here Carrie makes a desperate call home to Miranda, confessing that her life in Paris is not exactly La Vie en rose But get this, the angry French pay phone she uses doesn’t actually exist! It was installed off the Place Saint-Sulpice just for this scene. Um, Carrie, if people are installing pay phones for your exclusive use, I think things are going assez bien!

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Christian Dior

30 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris

Carrie’s a bit clumsy abroad. Dior is the locale of one of her many Parisian faux pas. Mon dieu, this is a difficult scene to watch…

*Pause and catch the pained expression of the French lady who doesn’t find Carrie’s fall particularly amusing!


41 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris

Missing her gal pals in NYC, Carrie looks on sadly as an anonymous group of French women dines at L’Avenue. This trendy Parisian restaurant is in the heart of Carrie’s Paris, near Dior and Hôtel Plaza Athénée.

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2 Rue de l’Amiral de Coligny, 75001 Paris, France

Sadly, Cador Patisserie is no longer. In its place you’ll find Cojean, an organic cafe chain. Somehow, I doubt said health-conscious cafe would allow Carrie to light up at an indoor table as she does here at Cador…


Promenade de l’Allée du Séminaire

Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris

Not far from the quaint rue Servandoni where Carrie really puts her foot in it, she finds solace in a nearby fountain.

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Rue Servandoni

Rue Servandoni, 75006 Paris

Oops! It’s one calamity after the next for Carrie in Paris. This time Carrie steps in a pile of Parisian dog poop — while wearing a pair of white Louboutin pumps — ooh la la! If you’re planning to visit the infamous rue Servandoni, maybe skip the designer heels…

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Place Dauphine

75001 Paris

This stroll through Place Dauphine marks one of Aleksandr and Carrie’s final moments of happiness. He’s excited for his new exhibition and she’s happy that people read her book in France. They both have Parisian fan bases, yay! Things go downhill soon after, but they’ll always have (this lovely stroll through) Paris.

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 Jeu de Paume

1 Place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris

Carrie has a major epiphany in the modern photography museum the Jeu de Paume (spoiler alert): Petrovsky sucks! He made Carrie miss a party that was thrown in her honor, and then he ignored her all night. Jerk! Unfortunately, this epiphany comes too late and she’s already missed her fan club dinner… but it’s not too late for her to run into Mr. Big!

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Commerce (Formerly Grange Hall)

50 Commerce St, New York, NY 10014, United States

Surprise, this “Parisian” restaurant and site of Carrie’s would-be party is actually in NYC. In the episode, Carrie arrives late to a still-set table, a lipstick-stained copy of her book left behind. Considering the time difference, maybe she’s not actually late to the party, but maybe 6 hours early…? The restaurant changed hands (and names) from Grange Hall to Commerce, but sadly, neither restaurant has stayed in business.

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New York stand in: They even had a French taxi and roadsigns to trick you into thinking this is Paris

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Pont des Arts

Pont des Arts, 75006 Paris

After six seasons of missed connections, Carrie and Mr. Big finally get their ‘happily ever after’ (until the 2006 movie, that is). And could they have found a more romantic site than the Pont des Arts, a.k.a. the “Love Lock Bridge”? I’m going to go with NO! They seal their fate with a kiss at nightfall (swoon!).

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Big to Carrie:

‘I have to hand it to you kid. Most people come to Paris to fall in love. You came and got slapped.’ 


Follow our Sex and the City tour to learn more about Carrie’s journey in Paris.