Dior, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy—it's no mystery why the fashion set loves Paris. But among a fresh crop of trendsetters, the city's allure is less about Louboutin red and more about its new green sheen.
Following a host of environmentally focused changes in recent years, a more planet-friendly Paris has emerged. Pesticides are no longer used at public gardens and lawns, creating one of the world's first organic city-park systems. Improvements to public transportation (extended Métro hours, a growing electric tramway system) have helped curb car use. The famous Vélib’ bike-rental program was joined by a four-wheel counterpart, Autolib’, last year. And if you opt to hail a taxi, there's an increasing chance you'll hop into a hybrid.
Boldly, the French capital has even dimmed its famous lights. The hourly after-dark laser show at the Eiffel Tower now lasts five minutes instead of 10, and this past Christmas season, solar-powered LED bulbs were used to illuminate the Champs-Élysées, reducing energy consumption by an impressive 90 percent.
Forget about Louboutin red. Among a fresh crop of trendsetters, the allure of Paris is all about its new green sheen.
To help us navigate this sea of new bio marchés, farm-to-table restaurants and 80-plus vertical gardens–not to mention the countless museums and world-famous shops–we turned to designer Gabrielle Gérard, who is based in the city's 12th arrondissement.
Alongside business partner Marion Jaubert, Gérard is the force behind Ambrym, a whimsical womenswear line that embodies sustainability and sophistication in equal measure. Tag along as our favorite écolo leads us on a tour of the City of Light, sharing a few of the spots that suggest Paris will never lose its sparkle.
Musée du Quai Branly: This museum is "where cultures talk," Gérard says, noting that visitors can find "art from Oceania, Africa and more in an amazing Jean Nouvel building." Another reason to go: Patrick Blanc’s “Mur Végétal,” a vertical garden that covers one of the exterior walls and can deliver many of the same benefits as a green roof. 37 Quai Branly, Paris
Au Pied de Fouet: If you're looking to dine as the locals do, Gérard's pick is Au Pied de Fouet, an eatery in Saint-Germain-des-Prés that she describes as "a typical Parisian restaurant." Despite its location in the swanky neighborhood, she promises, "it's not expensive!" 3 Rue Saint-Benoît, Paris
La Coulée Verte: Where to find "nature in the city"? At the three-mile-long, elevated garden path known as La Coulée Verte or the Promenade Plantée. "It's the Parisian High Line in the Bastille area," Gérard says. 30 Boulevard Diderot, Paris
Merci: Merci is "an eco concept store with everything you would love to have," the designer tells us. Think "an organic café, designer clothes, second-hand goods, perfumes, and even fresh flowers." 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, Paris
Cinéma des Cinéastes: "An old cinema next to Place de Clichy with really good indie movies," Cinéma des Cinéastes has still another appealing feature: "They have a great wine bar upstairs," Gérard notes. 7 Avenue de Clichy, Paris
La Chope du Château Rouge: This "popular and typical Parisian bar" is perfect for whiling away "long summer evenings," Gérard says. 40 Rue de Clignancourt, Paris