I'm a Designer Who Is Obsessed With Paris—These are Spots I Always Recommend

Welcome to Out of Office, Who What Wear UK's chic travel guide that provides you with the most stylish take on any destination by tapping creatives who know where to stay, what to eat and, importantly, which items to pack. This month, Valerie Messika, founder and creative director of jewellery brand Messika, shares her recommendations for a stylish trip to Paris, arguably the fashion capital of the world. 

stylish places paris


Who What Wear UK

"Paris has its own vibe unlike anywhere else, and the city is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for me," says Valerie Messika. "Parisians have an attitude and a style all of their own, and that's what I like about it the most. It’s the mix of nonchalance and the elegance that makes the city's energy so special. I think it's unique to Paris."

1. Where to Stay

where to stay in paris


Who What Wear UK

"I particularly like the Hôtel de Crillon near the Tuileries Garden and the Champs-Elysées because I feel so at home there. We have also hosted several of our Haute Joaillerie presentations in the Marie-Antoinette lounge, which has a breathtaking view of the Place de la Concorde. The hotel is incredible and reflects the true French art of living.

"I also have particularly fond memories of Le Royal Monceau, where my husband booked a magnificent suite for us few years ago as a Valentine's Day surprise. They went the extra mile and placed heart-shaped balloons and flowers in the room as well as photos of our daughters and personalised messages. We've always had a lovely time there as a family."

2. What to Pack

what to wear in paris


Who What Wear UK

"One of my favourite everyday looks is a pair of blue jeans and my Prada jacket. I like to feel comfortable in my clothes and look elegant at the same time, and that look strikes the right balance. At night, I love to wear Saint Laurent tailoring with my Alaïa heels (which I never take off). When I go out for the evening in Paris and don't have time to change my outfit, I just do a quick change of shoes and opt for heels. I find that shoes can easily transform a look even if you're wearing the same outfit.

"Trousers are my go-to because they're more comfortable and flexible if you have a big day ahead. A black jacket is also a must in Paris—it’s a timeless staple that works with every style. For jewellery, I like to layer my pieces for a chic day-to-day look. My favourite way to style pieces at the moment is to stack my Move Romane and Move Noa bangles (which are named after my two girls), and I keep reaching for my new So Move pieces to wear on rotation."

Shop My Paris Wardrobe Favourites:

3. What to Do 

what to do in paris


Who What Wear UK

"Paris is full of hidden gems, which I love, even though it's a busy capital city with lots of people and buzzing energy. I live outside of Paris, but I work and spend a lot of time in the city, especially in the 9th arrondissement, which is famous for its large boulevards and small, cobbled streets with vegetable merchants and craftsmen. The whole mood can change very quickly from one street to another, and that's what I like the most about this arrondissement. 

"I also love the area around the Centre Pompidou; a uniquely designed building featuring avant-garde architecture. There are plenty of art galleries, incredible restaurants and delicious pastry shops such as Bontemps can be found in the adjacent streets. The best thing about this district is that it's only a few steps away from the Marais and the Seine."

4. Where to Eat

what to eat in paris


Who What Wear UK

"Loulou Restaurant in the very heart of Paris near Tuileries Palace is perfectly positioned between the Louvre and Concorde. I love going there with my husband and enjoying the idyllic setting in summer. Gigi is also one of my favourite restaurants. The Italian spirit paired with the view of the Eiffel Tower is absolutely magical, and so romantic at night. With the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées as a downstairs neighbour, Gigi has undeniably settled in one of the most beautiful spots in Paris. I also love Le Cafe Marly—it has the most stunning view of the Louvre and the deserts are delicious.

"I recently opened Café Messika on the rooftop of Printemps Haussmann, which is the perfect place to enjoy a drink at sunset whilst taking in the breathtaking views of the capital and the Eiffel Tower, or to have lunch. The menu was created in collaboration with renowned chef Juan Arbelaez, and features my favourite dish, which has been named Val's Caesar Salad!

"If you're looking for somewhere to go for drinks, I love the Experimental Cocktail Club for its intimate atmosphere and delicious signature cocktails. It’s the perfect place for a drink with friends or for a date night."

My Final Thoughts, Highlights and Top Tips

"Paris is the most beautiful city in the world for me. It offers a wonderful mix of history and modernity, and the Parisian art of living inspires me a lot in my creations. Each arrondissement is different and has its own atmosphere, street life, monuments, culture and grandeur. It's this variety that makes the city quite so beautiful. Of course, I am biased—it is the city where I met my husband and my best friend, and I am raising my daughters here. But it has been the perfect place to start my company and create a second family with my employees.

"My top tip for travellers? If I had one piece of advice to give, it would be to always carry a pair of sunglasses with you, because in Paris, despite what people say, the sun does sometimes shine!"