scout paris 
Bright bedding ideas at Zara Home
I wasn't familiar with Zara Home until I walked into the Rue Passy location in the 16th Arrondissement. 

The brand that is synonymous with trendy and affordable clothes clearly has an eye for the chic bedding and bath market. 

The store supplies everything you need to create the perfect bedroom from bedding and window curtains to small area rugs and accessories. 

They also have a small, well-edited selection of tabletop and bath items. 

If you have trouble creating a designer's look, Zara Home keeps it simple by creating a theme for each area according to color and decorating style. 

The store is filled with inspiration where they make it easy to dress-up a bedroom with pretty bedding in florals, stripes, polka dots, animal prints, and solids. 

They even have a children's department that has a better selection than Pottery Barn Kids. See for yourself. 

I found the Zara Home staff extremely friendly and helpful. The prices are reasonable too, especially if you are looking for quality and style. You can find cotton duvet covers priced from $40, plates and cups from $10, and table linens start at $15 apiece. There are two locations in Paris: 53 Rue Passy and 54 Avenue Victor Hugo. 
A tour inside a Zara Home location...
Home goods at Maisons du Monde
These Parisian home stores should also consider a move to the United States.
  • Conforama is similar to Target or Bed, Bath & Beyond. The huge Pont Neuf location will outfit your whole house with bedding, bath, electronics, furniture, mattresses, and home accessories.
  • Tati is France's version of Walmart where you can find inexpensive bedding, bath, clothing, and toys.
  • Maisons du Monde is just plain chic. The store also has well-priced classic furniture and bedroom basics for the whole family.
  • If you like West Elm, you will appreciate Habitat. The prices are a bit higher for this modern home store. Those who love modern design will want to shop here for furniture, bedding, and lighting.
  • Monoprix has a home section too. It's so convenient to have a store where you can pick-up flannel bedding, a coffee maker, laundry detergent, a bottle of wine, and a baguette all in one trip.

Vintage posters on sale at a flea market in the 7th Arrondissement.
You haven't experienced Paris unless you have visited a flea market. And, there are so many different kinds to explore. Flea markets sell just about everything from antiques and collectibles to food, flowers, clothing, and even books. 

This past weekend, I stumbled upon a small weekend antiques and collectibles market on La Motte-Picquet and Rue Cler in the 7th Arrondissement. 

The range in items that can be found in such a small market amazed me. Dealers were selling a variety of wares such as vintage posters (right), cameras, artwork, china, postcards, games, and timepieces. There was even a booth dedicated to vintage tools and kitchen items.

You can really score some great deals. Finding a great price at a New York flea market is rare, so it was nice to feel like I could buy something. I picked up a few teacups and saucers for under 5 Euros and vintage postcards for a euro. There were also quite a few vendors selling used books for a song--stacks were on sale for just under one euro. 

Markets to Visit
One of the largest markets in Paris is the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen at Porte Clignancourt in Saint-Ouen. On Saturdays and Sundays, visitors can stroll through the stalls in some 17 markets--five of them are dedicated to dealers specializing in antiques and collectibles. 

Located in the 14th Arrondissement, the Marché aux Puces de Vanves  features stellar dealers selling books, silver, Art Deco items, furniture, and more.

If food is your passion, the Paris Tourism website gives you the dish on all of the markets throughout the city.  

Check out this video from on the Marché Vernaison in Saint-Ouen (one of the markets in Saint-Ouen). I plan on making it to this one next Sunday.

I have always been a huge fan of window-shopping. Every Christmas, my family would take a trip into Manhattan to see the store windows at Saks Fifth AvenueBergdorf Goodman, and Macy's. But, retailers produce artistic and inventive store windows throughout the year. So, I happen to be in luck. Paris is home to a host of chocolatiers, boulangeries, and designers who have mastered the art of window display design in order to wow and woo shoppers.

One fashion house in particular caught my eye--Louis Vuitton. There is nothing ordinary about the displays at the Champs-Élysées flagship. Each one is a work of art. The store's installations are colorful, playful, and inspired. The design incorporates ready-to-wear and accessories, along with unexpected props--large spools of thread, mannequin feet, thick strings of silk thread, and oversized leather swatches.  
The installations compel shoppers to walk inside, make a purchase or two, and experience the design vision of American architects Peter Marino and Eric Carlson (who renovated the 161,000 square-foot flagship in 2006). Maybe, next time. I was content to continue my day of window-shopping along the Champs-Élysées. The flagship is located at 101 avenue des Champs-Élysées.
I am not the only one who admires the windows at LV. At a Louis Vuitton window in Oslow, captured a stack of handmade trunks with an illustrated image of the Eiffel Tower. Also, check out this video of another LV installation. Hauteworld features other evocative window displays in Paris.
LV's Debut: From Oct. 13 through Feb. 27, the Carnavalet Museum will exhibit Around Town: Louis Vuitton & Paris.  For the first time, fans will be able to view a historic collection of Louis Vuitton's iconic handbags, trunks, and luggage. If you can't make it, watch this video about the Art of Travel by Louis Vuitton. The video gives an interactive peak inside the book, Louis Vuitton: 100 Legendary Trunks.   

Four Seasons George V, 31, Avenue George V, Metro: George V.
A visit to the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris may not be on many tourists' must-see lists. But, it was on mine. I couldn't wait to catch a glimpse of the beautiful floral creations in the hotel lobby.

My intrigue with the hotel's blooms started with  Oprah when she interviewed the hotel's artistic director Jeff Leatham about how he found his dream job. This was my first introduction to his awe-inspiring floral displays. I was instantly hooked.

At the hotel, guests are lured in by Leatham's display of hundreds of pale green hydrangeas and bamboo standing tall in green-tinted vases of varying heights. The bold and modern centerpiece seems to be right at home among the property's classic furnishings and decor.

Around every corner there is another imaginative vignette to discover. But, one glimpse of the hotel's courtyard reveals the show-stopper. Bejeweled purple orchids, with their roots exposed, hang still from tall metal stands.

Who is Jeff Leatham? 
The designer started his career at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. Leatham also produced events and designed spaces for  Versailles, the Shilla Seoul Hotel, and the MoMa New York's re-opening. He is the star of the  TLC show Flowers UnCut and author of Flowers by Design: Jeff Leatham of the Four Seasons Hotel George V-Paris. For more on Leatham, go to his website. Or, visit his Facebook page for more photos of his work.

McDonald's has seriously come a long way since I was a child. All of my childhood birthday parties were held at McDonald's and it was pretty much a kid's dream come true--Endless chicken McNuggets, salty fries, soda, and cake.

It has only been two weeks since I arrived in Paris and the internet has not been installed in my apartment. So, I have been relying on the generosity of McDonald’s free Wi-Fi. Thank you, McDonald’s. 

In 1954, Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald's, set out to create an empire that featured “quality, service, cleanliness, and value." Today, as we all know, the fast food chain can be found all over the world. But, it's not the McDonald's we all remember. Most of the menu options may be the same, but the decor has changed quite a bit. In Paris, McDonald’s is quite chic for fast food. 

The modern lounge space resembles a boutique hotel lobby rather than a typical fast food restaurant where the ultimate goal is to eat-and-run. 

McDonald’s lounge area is designed with wide leather chairs and sleek low tables. The space encourages long chats with friends over coffee and dessert. 

Autumnal browns, creams, and rusts is the consistent color theme, while the design concept stays consistent and fresh throughout the whole dining space with sleek communal tables, bar areas, and larger corner booths. I was happy to order a latte and sit down to check email.  

While you are there, the cafe has a full menu of decadent petite deserts--a muffin chocolat, crumble pom fruits rouges, and a mousse aux 3 chocolats. They even offer a healthy selection of macaroons--a personal favorite of mine. 

The fast food chain can be a bit noisy, but who can resist the free Wi-Fi, classic chicken McNuggets (a personal favorite of mine from childhood) and decadent desserts. 

I have to admit, the McDonald’s team makes a pretty decent café au lait. 

My local slice of Americana with a dash of modern European design is located on Ave. Emile Zola in the 15th Arrondissment, but you can find a McDonald’s in just about every area of Paris. 

A few locations around Paris: 
  • Paris Sud, 82 Avenue Italie.
  • McDonald's Champs Elysées, 140 Avenue Champs Elysées. 
  • McDonald's  Montmartre, 20 Boulevard Montmartre.