If there's one country we're continually influenced by, it's France. From French fashion to interiors, the nation's romantic capital in particular is a constant source of inspiration. It doesn't matter how many times you've been—or even if you haven't—Paris always tops our travel bucket list. Global style-setters clamor to visit the stylish city, too, including internationally acclaimed celebrity hairstylist Wendy Iles, who has called the city home for 25 years.
Iles is a favorite of stars like Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux, and Keira Knightley, to name a few, while iconic fashion houses like Dior and Chanel have the stylist on speed dial. She's the creative mastermind behind many of the signature hair looks from Paris Fashion Week, as well as the visionary behind the global campaigns of Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Maybelline, L'Oréal and more. Oh, and she also founded her own hair care line, Iles Formula. But career aspirations aside, Iles says living in Paris has taught her so much about life and the beauty of "taking the time to enjoy every moment at meals."
"I'm quite an expert now on French wine," she said. "I can tell the difference between a good baguette and a bad one just by looking at it, but mostly it has softened me as a woman. I feel so feminine in this city; it's quite contagious. I felt it the first moment I moved here 25 years ago, and I feel the transformation take place every time I fly back home to Paris."
To fête the launch of the F/W 16 fashion season, we tapped the hairstylist for her favorite under-the-radar Paris hot spots.
Where: 8 Boulevard Richard Lenoir
Why: "My work takes me to several different destinations around the globe every week [ed. note: You should see her 48-hour Instagram diary], but I always try to land back in Paris early on a Saturday morning so I can stop by the Marché Bastille. It's my favorite place to buy weekend goodies like fresh fruits, vegetables, bread, patés, and gourmet cheeses. I particularly like this market as it's right near where I used to live when I first arrived in Paris 25 years ago. This old stomping ground, with its hustle and bustle in the early hours on Saturday morning, warms my soul."
Where: 38 Rue de Bretagne
Why: "This sweet terrace café in the Third Arrondissement (not far from the Marché Bastille) is often my first choice for a signature Parisian breakfast or lunch with a friend. Many fashion industry locals frequent this café, so it's a nice place to catch up with fellow colleagues too. It has an excellent Sunday brunch. My favorite is the organic biodynamic egg dishes."
Where: 46 Rue du Bac
Why: "I'm a passionate gardener, and as is the case with hairdressing, one's tools are a big part of delivering perfection. With the same care I take to buy the most innovative hair scissors, I also buy the best pruning tools to care for my 200-year-old garden. From gardening aprons and charming watering cans to the best French-crafted chrome pruning shears, this boutique has tools for every purpose imaginable. I have them all."
Where: 2 Bis Place du L'Ermite
Why: "Find out when its hours for women are available, because it's a truly wonderful place for body scrubs and hammam (a Turkish-style spa treatment). Follow it with a tagine, couscous, and a selection of homemade cakes (fleur d'oranger is my favorite) with fresh mint tea at the delicious café."
Where: 40 Rue de Sévigné
Why: "I don't buy a lot from here—maybe a winter coat or an odd jacket from time to time—but it's just a super-cool place to go and see what designers are up to. It also has wonderful candles and perfume. I never leave without a new find."
Where: 2 Rue Roger Verlomme
Why: "I love this little Parisian bistro. Situated on a quiet back street behind Place des Vosges, it's family owned, so the food is delicious home cooking. The countertop always has a vase of fresh garden flowers that make me believe the owners must be passionate gardeners too. I always top off my evening meals here with the restaurant's chocolate cake and crème anglais."
Where: 35 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre
Why: "Open since 1761, it's one of the oldest chocolate shops in Paris. I buy all my Easter eggs here and any special treats I want to offer someone."
Where: 9 Rue Madame
Why: "I have a beautiful flower garden, but I don't always like to cut from it. On these occasions, I buy a bouquet from this small boutique that specializes in the most exquisite garden-cut roses. Karl Lagerfeld is a client, and he often has the shop do the floral displays for his events."
Where: Rue des Rosiers
Why Visit: "This is definitely a Sunday morning venue for me. I start my morning off early at Le Bistrot Paul Bert, right at the beginning of the entry to the Paul Bert section of the flea market. This café serves the best hot chocolate in the world, I guarantee it! I especially like this area of the market that leads into the Vernaison and Serpette sections. Whether one buys anything or not, it's a feast for the eyes."
Ready to discover more of this romantic city? Shop our favorite books and savor every divine moment.