Yves Saint-Laurent, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior – the list of French fashion icons is long and always growing. Paris is the fashion capital of the world 365 days a year but becomes the epicenter of all things couture during Paris Fashion Week (PFW). Read on for our insider guide on Paris Fashion Week. We’ll provide tips on top PFW venues, everything about the PFW invitations, where are the PFW after parties, best places to stay and where to spend the evening after a long day of fashion-related events.
Paris Fashion Week happens six times a year and is always the last fashion week after New York, London and Milan. From established, global names, to up-and-coming designers, the exclusive event sees that everyone in the fashion industry flock to Paris.
For fashion-lovers, PFW is the best time to visit the city. In between the ultimate shopping spree, visiting the Eiffel Tower and munching on the perfect crêpe while checking out the best street style from international fashionistas, and get a glimpse into the glamorous fashion universe.
However to fully immerse yourself in the exclusive and secretive fashion world by attending fashion shows or after parties is not easy. And you will need fashion expert know-how to be aware of what’s going on. This is especially true since 2015, after the attacks in Paris. For security reasons, show locations are kept secret until right before the event.
Where are the Fashion shows during Paris fashion Week
Louvre, Carrousel du Louvre and Tuileries garden
Fashion week takes over all of Paris, including some of the most historical and iconic places in the city. Inside the courtyard of the famous carrée du Louvre is on of the most sought-after locations. Chanel, Rick Owens and Louis Vuitton have all held shows there. The multiple exhibition spaces of the Carrousel du Louvre are also requisitioned for PFW. One of our favorite spots for the temporary runways is the Tuileries Garden. The beautiful park combined with creative and chic looks makes for a truly unforgettable Parisian experience.
The Grand Palais’ iconic glass dome makes it a stunning location for Paris Fashion Week. The Grand Palais is ideally located in the 8th arrondissement, just a few steps from the Champs-Elysées. The huge dimensions make it possible to transform the venue into almost anything. The delicate glass panes also make for a stunning ceiling, especially on a sunny day. Chanel repeatedly holds their show at the Grand Palais. Karl Lagerfeld most recently transformed the space into a beach for the 2019 collection, but the brand has also turned the Palais into a hotel and high-end casino to match their collections.
Photo credit: HIGHSNOBIETY
Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts de Paris
Another staple venue for PFW is the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts. The fine arts school is located on the Rive Gauche, between the Quai Malaquais and rue Bonaparte. The impressive courtyard features a glass roof where shows are typically held. The main building and the school museum are also transformed into runways for Fashion Week. French lingerie brand Etam, Ralph Lauren and Lanvin have all held shows there. Current fashion icons flaunt their collections on the same grounds that future artists and designers are refining their skills.
Photo credit: The Independent
Numerous other locations in Paris are transformed for PFW, from the most iconic to the most bizarre. Embassies, private museums and theaters are often requisitioned to hold shows. The luxurious and historic buildings give off a prestigious vibe. There are of course more unique locations as well including metro stations, abandoned factories and the horse race tracks. The elusive creator of Dries Van Noten is known for holding shows in unexpected locations. The famously eclectic brand Sonia Rykiel is also a fan of presenting shows where you least expect.
Photo credit: Scoopnest.com
How to find the location of the shows during PFW?
By now you’ve realized that Paris Fashion Week truly does take over the entire city. But, how do you know what’s going on? Where and when are shows taking place? Want to try and snag an invitation? The best way to get insider information on PFW is to follow bloggers and it-girls on Instagram. They’re a great source for tips and seem to always know what’s going on. Invitations to shows and events are also frequently leaked on social media. Follow hashtags #PFW #PFWinvitation and other popular Parisian it-girls like @jeannedamas.
Where to see the It-girls and fashion editors in Paris?
Louvre and the Tuileries garden
If you’re hoping to get a glimpse of some of the fashion icons in Paris during PFW, there are a few hotspots in the city. Before, after and in-between shows people naturally hang out and explore the areas near the venues. Your best chance to snap a photo or spot some names in the fashion industry is to also explore these areas. Head to the north of the Tuileries garden or to the main alleyway – this is where fashionistas tend to be spotted. The Carrousel du Louvre, behind the stores, is another hotspot where you’ll have a good chance of spotting some fashion insiders running to attend the next show on their tight schedule.
Palais Royal area
All of the running around between shows and PFW hotspots can be exhausting! Remember to plan in some time to relax and enjoy Paris. Our favorite spot to catch a break during PFW is in the Palais Royal area. It’s the best place to take a breather because you’ll still be surrounded by the fashion crowd who love to hang out on the many benches, do some quick shopping or order a delicious latté from the trendy, and impeccably decorated, Café Kitsune.
Who to follow during PFW?
Fashion week is intense. There are dozens of shows happening simultaneously at all corners of the city. Keeping up with everything is no easy task, even for the pros. As explained, the easiest way to stay in the know is to follow fashion insiders on Instagram. They preselect the best looks and you can easily access tailored content based on your style. For the best street fashion, follow the New York fashion photographer @thesartorialist. For more classic looks, follow a favorite French fashion film director @loicprigent, the French fashion journalist @melleagnes and French fashion columnist @sophiefontanel.
What to do during Paris Fashion week
Along with the shows, there are numerous other fashion-related activities in Paris during PFW. There are always multiple fashion exhibitions – they’re the perfect opportunity to learn more about the story behind the famous names. Check out museum and design school websites for further information including dates and ticket prices. You’ll also come across fashion photography expos, showroom visits and other special events around the fashion industry. It’s by far the best time of year to find French fashion and design inspiration, or learn about the history behind some of the most iconic looks.
Visiting the fashion showrooms
If you want to visit some of the fashion showrooms, head straight to Le Marais. The neighborhood is packed with fashion brands who open their showrooms during fashion week to show off their collections. It’s an extremely important time of the year for fashion buyers and if you want to experience a taste of the frenzy and excitement, Le Marais is the place to be. Many brands specifically open a showroom there during PFW and art galleries also rent out their spaces. The best streets to hit are rue de Turenne, rue Debelleyme, rue Charlot and rue Vieille du temple.
Where to stay during Paris fashion week?
Best place to stay during PFW
The best area to stay in during Paris Fashion Week is without a doubt the Opera neighborhood. It’s the epicenter of all things fashion. All main show venues are within walking distance. Restaurants are open til late so you can grab a delicious bite after a busy day running from one show to another. Public transportation is extremely accessible with direct access to metro lines 3, 7 and 8 as well as dozens of bus lines. The Roissy bus also stops at the Opera, making access to CDG airport a breeze.
The Opera area is also just a few minutes walk from the famous rue Saint Honoré where luxury brand fashion flagships are located, including Balenciaga, Hermès and Chanel. Hotels book up extremely fast during fashion week so make sure to reserve your hotel as far in advance as possible!
Best hotel during PFW
As we’ve just mentioned, you’ll want to choose a hotel near the Opera Garnier to facilitate your Paris Fashion Week trip. The one and only hotel that you should consider when coming to Paris for the Fashion week is a local gem that is the INSIDR’ team favorite: Hotel Chavanel.
Hotel Chavanel is located in the epicenter of the Paris fashion and luxury district: right above Rue Saint Honoré where are most of the luxury brands flagships and right under the Paris department store district where the pulse of Paris fashion beat 365 days per year.
INSIDR’s Choice – Hotel Chavanel
Hotel Chavanel is an independent hotel owned by Sophie Charlet – a Parisian fashion and design lover who had in mind to create in the heart of Paris a blissful and serene haven. Located in the vibrant Rue Tronchet, Hotel Chavanel is surprisingly calm and peaceful. Everything in there has been carefully designed to provide the best experience to the guests and ravish fashion lovers’ senses!
Laceworks, velvet and the most refined materials like cashmere or Men’s tailoring wool cloth create an harmonious decor. To imagine this stunning environment, Sophie Charlet has surrounded herself with local designers and has collaborated with the best of French luxury craftmanship such as Sophie Hallette – 130 years old lace manufacturer from the Northern part of France.
In term of facilities, Hotel Chavanel has 25 bedrooms and 2 top-floor suite. Every room features a spacious bathroom, mini-bar, comfortable bed and free WiFi. Reception is open 24-hours a day so no need to worry if you plan on coming home late. The lovely staff also provides excellent advice on the many restaurants and bars in the area. The breakfast is not too be missed as well – a delicate continental buffet with French specialties all organic to fuel up for a long day running around from one show to another!
The hotel has a lovely pop up store displaying limited edition of locally created souvenirs, original gifts and design objects.
Address: 22 rue Tronchet, 75008 Paris France
Tel: +33 (0)1 47 42 26 14
Metro: Opera – Line 3, 7, 8
Madeleine – Line 8, 12, 14
Havre – Caumartin – Line 3, 9
Where to eat during Paris Fashion week?
PFW Go-to lunch spots:
The lunch rush can be especially crazy during PFW. Choose a few options beforehand to save time. One of our favorite spots is La Cantine located on the garden-level of the Merci concept store. Not only is Merci a must-do while you’re in Paris, the lovely café is the perfect spot to grab a healthy, fresh lunch. The restaurant opens on to a lovely garden and the super-fresh menu includes delicious desserts to keep you going strong all day. The Broken Arm is a concept store / restaurant with a menu that changes regularly. LaLa cuisine in Maison Sarah Lavoine is another café / store combo with mouth-watering dishes.
Place to be and to be seen during PFW
Fashion Week is not just about seeing the clothes, it’s also about being seen. It’s impossible to miss the hundreds of high-fashion experts sporting looks from chic to exotic. LouLou is THE place to be seen in Paris. The high-end restaurant is located within the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and has always been synonymous with all things fashion and style. La Giraffe is the newcomer that everyone is talking about. With views of the Eiffel tower, 1930s-inspired décor by Joseph Dirance and a menu crafted by Benoît Dargère, it’s no wonder it’s the newest hotspot Parisian restaurant.
Editors’ favourites spots after the show
Every single fashion editor will confirm that fashion week is extremely exciting but also absolutely draining. One of the most complicated aspects is finding a restaurant that is still open after a long evening of attending shows. Savvy editors have their favorites, though. Brasserie Lipp, in the heart of Saint Germain, is open until 1AM. Enjoy traditional moules frites (mussels and fries), steak tartare and other typical bistro fare. Flottes, in the 1st, serves until midnight. We especially love the warm and inviting atmosphere and you can’t go wrong with their onion soup or confit de canard.
Where are the PFW after parties?
What are the venues for PFW after parties
The fashion world is an exclusive one. We’re going to be perfectly honest, it’s extremely difficult to get into a Fashion Week after-party. Unless you know someone in the industry, even finding out where the venues are is next to impossible! After-parties are usually held behind closed doors, in exclusive clubs or unusual locations that can’t be spotted unless you know exactly what to look for. You can, however, still have an excellent night out in Paris! The city has dozens of great night clubs, rooftop bars and other places to enjoy an evening on the town.
Popular clubs in Paris
As we said, the City of Lights has dozens of awesome clubs. Le Carmen is on of Paris’ iconic nightclubs. Located in a former private mansion, enjoy the stylish glass bar and delicious cocktails while on the dance floor. If you want to party facing the amazing Arc de Triomphe, head to L’Etoile. One of the more exclusive places in Paris, it definitely has an amazing view! Club Silencio is part club, part work of art. Decorated by movie director David Lynch, it houses special screenings and is especially popular during PFW. We also recommend Manko, Debonair, Les Bains and Salo.
Unusual PFW venues
If you’re looking for something a bit more memorable than your typical club, we’ve got a few other ideas for you. During PFW, some historical buildings and monuments are open for special events. This includes the Paris Opera Garnier, Palais de la Bourse, Les Jardins du Pont Neuf, Musée Rodin. As mentioned, getting in is tricky. You can also try Le Consulat, a temporary club located in the 14th arrondissement. Check out their website for what’s happening while you’re in town. The Jeu de Paume museum also has special events during Fashion Week.
What are the dates of PFW
2019 Paris Fashion Week Calendar
How to get invitation for PFW after-parties?
Again – pure honesty here – getting an invitation to Paris Fashion Week after-parties is really difficult. Unless you have friends, connections or work in the fashion industry it’s probably not going to happen. One of the reasons we are attracted to PFW and the entire industry is exclusivity, in addition to the stylish and chic outfits. Unfortunately, this means access to a PFW party is also restricted. You can, however, follow what’s going on and get a glimpse of the shows by checking out associated hashtags on Instagram and Facebook posts.