Practically any season is the right season to visit this grand European ville. Paris has an enchanting magic to suit every mood. But come fall, lovely light plays off the stone streets of the Marais (once the bohemian quarter and now a hip enclave of contemporary shops and fashionable scene-sters) and illuminates the academic elegance of the Left Bank with its mix of institutions (La Sorbonne) and modern day fun (Laduree), making it one of the most romantic times to be in the City of Light.
How to look the part? The Parisian chic look—that je ne sais quois, effortlessly sexy quality—exemplified by icons like Brigitte Bardot, Francoise Hardy, and Catherine Deneuve isn’t exactly as easy to pull off as they make it seem. Here, we have a few basic pieces to get you going. As for the rest? Well, that may just lie in your attitude.
Recommended Fodor’s Video
After a croissant at the café, start the day with a stroll through the manicured hedges of the Jardins des Tuileries in this leopard print jacquard knit sweater ($145).
Think texture and cut when mixing in other pieces, like this little red boucle jacket ($406).
Balance out the feminine look with slightly rugged moto boots ($90). Paris is a walking city after all, and these offer cool and comfort.
Skinny blue denim ($129) translates in any language.
A chain-accented day bag, like this style in taupe ($83.02), is a practical French-inspired classic (see: Chanel’s quilted versions).
The streets of Marais are rife with dapper locals. Pick up a few tips from their seemingly effortless style, while donning your own polished pieces, like this check coat with faux leather sleeves ($159).
For dinner out, a simple but ladylike navy dress ($285) can be both dressed up with high heels and lipstick, or pared down with simple studs and flats.
There’s often a hint of schoolgirl in French fashion, like neat Oxford shirts. This one by Paris label Carven ($270) has an especially sweet collar but a super sharp tailored cut.
If your top is more covered up, then show some leg with a quilted black mini skirt ($198).
Choose one stand-out accessory. Perhaps, lengthen gams in a pair of high heel pumps in unforgettable lipstick red ($99.90).
Left Bank Lounging
The Left Bank has long been the home of Parisian intelligentsia. Grab a bite at the historic Café de Flore, in this brown and cream plaid flannel shirt by French brand A.P.C. ($220).
If you look closely, Parisians often ground their look with classic pieces that are given particular attention. For example, these raw denim jeans ($110) are well cut and wonderfully sleek in design.
The same could go for these high-top sneakers, which in handsome cognac leather will only look better with travel wear and tear ($148).
A pair of smoky shades will have you looking like Serge Gainsbourg in no time ($310 by Saint Laurent).
Keep the rest of your look more relaxed—it is a travel wardrobe after all—with this gray henley hoodie ($34.95).
Hopping the Arrondisements
It used to be only a few arrondisements (districts) housed the after-dark spots. But things in the city have become a lot less concentrated. Oberkampf, in the 11th, has a rollicking bar scene where this black leather jacket would fit right in ($299).
The 9th and 10th districts are home to live music spots. Check out a couple wearing this rock and roll style tee ($50).
Or perhaps, opt instead for a Breton stripe by French maker Saint James ($70).
There’s been an Americana streak afoot, or really you could say North Americana. The tequila bar, Le Blitz, which is in the 8th near the Champs Elysees, might be a good venue to try out this blue bandanna-print button down ($89.50).
And for cooler months, throw a couple sweaters in your luggage. This one, in melange dyed green, is lightweight enough for layering ($29.95).
Photo Credits: Women Day: Courtesy of http://madisonlosangeles.com; http://shop.velvet-tees.com; Atterley Road; www.matchesfashion.com; http://us.topshop.com. Women Night: Courtesy of ZARA; AVENUE 32; ZARA; BCBG MAX AZRIA GROUP, INC; SMCP. Men Day: Courtesy of www.surfacetoair.com; AEO Management Co.; Mr Porter; www.thefryecompany.com; http://usonline.apc.fr/. Men Night: Courtesy of ZARA; Club Monaco Corp; www.oaknyc.com; Saint James; www.hm.com.