Want to know how Parisians look so effortlessly groomed and chic? For the same head-to-toe care, make for their favourite apothecaries, salons and spas
If there was ever a city that could lay claim to having invented the beauty industry, it's Paris. Having spawned a legion of game-changing brands, from Clarins to Lancôme and Guerlain to Diptyque, its tightly-wound cobbled streets and wide boulevards offer endless pampering diversions. With skincare salons, opulent hammams, treasure-trove pharmacies and top-notch beauty gurus around every corner, it's little surprise that Parisians are so famously well groomed.
Buly 1803 apothecary
First up, head to Saint-Germain-des-Prés for a pit stop at Buly 1803, known for its apothecary-style creams, deliriously good water-based fragrances and chic monogrammed soaps – the ideal take-home gift. It's a feast for the senses: everything is encased within floor-to-ceiling wooden cabinets and you're positively encouraged to smell, sample and douse yourself with the potions.
Oh My Cream! beauty store
Another go-to for stocking up on products is Oh My Cream! A minimalist emporium meets nail bar, just off Jardin du Luxembourg on rue de Tournon. Inside, the all-white interior is laden with a quirky mix of off-the-radar brands, such as the eponymous labels of make-up artist Ellis Faas and in-demand facialist Joelle Ciocco. Unlike most Parisian mani spots, it welcomes walk-ins.
If you are starting to flag, look out for the pastel green exterior of day spa Free Persephone, a stone's throw from Rennes Metro. The brainchild of ex-New Yorker Lauren Creecy, it's an elegant mishmash of vintage furniture and freshly-cut blooms, where pedicures are expertly executed as you sink into squishy armchairs upholstered in wild botanical prints. There's also a family-style farm table for communal manicures, and a tea salon renowned for its delectable homemade cakes.
Free Persephone and the communal manicure table
Last year's most-hyped opening was the Christophe Robin salon in the heart of the second arrondissement (Robin is the star colourist who attends to the locks of Natalie Portman and Amal Clooney). Here, amid palm fronds and Francis Kurkdjian candles, urbane clients are bestowed with impeccable hair colour and tips on washing their hair (there is a 'Robin' way). For total privacy, make like a Cannes-bound actress and book one of the two private VIP 'cabins'.
Haircare by colourist Christophe Robin
At almost 900 square metres, the two-floor Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Paris is a peaceful haven, with seven private treatment rooms, a 14-metre lap pool and a fragrant, herbal steam room. To immerse yourself in one of Paris's most iconic beauty names, book into The Spa's Guerlain Spa Suite – a lavish space decked out with oversized fragrance bottles, sumptuous treatment beds and purple orchids. Book the Zen and Beauty by Guerlain package, which includes accommodation, breakfast at the garden-side Camélia restaurant, an 80-minute treatment, and a fragrance from the Guerlain Exclusifs collection, which comes with your name engraved on it. What better keepsake to remember Paris?