Our Favorite French Shops That Bring Joie de Vivre to New York City!
Perk your ears as you walk the streets of New York City and you will undoubtedly hear much French being spoken. Some 75,000 French nationals call New York home, with most of them residing in the Big Apple. Lucky for us, these fabulous transplants bring with them art, music, fashion, effortless style, and a joie de vivre that is inimitably French.
Even better, many of these expats have opened loads of boutiques that celebrate that festive way of life. From patisseries that proffer jewel-like desserts to centuries-old shirtmakers who peddle iconic sweaters worn by sailors and artists alike, to food, food, food, New York is a haven of French-influenced shops that offer a slice of très jolie Paris. Here are a few of InStyle's favorites.
For the Gourmand: Le District
Downtown denizens have a cause célèbre now that the French version of Mario Batali's Eataly has opened up in Battery Park City's Brookfield Place. Le District incorporates tens of thousands of square feet split up into, well, districts: markets, restaurants, gardens, cafés. You can pop in and pick up all the produce you need for a serious Parisian feast at home—leeks, bœuf, flowers—or stick around for dinner at Beauborg (the Monday night coq au vin is divine). Advance planners can reserve a seat at L'Appart's tasting table with a front-row view of the chefs.
Address: 225 Brookfield Place; ledistrict.com
For the Mature Party-Girl/Boy: Racines NY
It's like Paris has been transported to Tribeca. Nouveau bistro Racines NY takes all the best of Paris's famed wine bar and reimagines it in New York style. Known for its covetable list of biodynamic and organic wines, paired with high-style bistro fare, Racines has all the bustle and convivial atmosphere you thought you could only find in the City of Light. Executive chef Frédéric Duca (who received a Michelin star at L'Instant D'Or) serves up dishes straight from his native Marseilles and, along with owner and sommelier Arnaud Tronche, draws chefs dining and drinking during their days off. Grab a seat at the chef's counter and watch the world's next great cooks on the rise.
Address: 94 Chambers Street; racinesny.com
For the Fashion Forward: Saint James
William the Conqueror established the small village of Saint James in 1067 at the intersection of Normandy and Brittany. According to lore, French sailors and merchants passing through were on the hunt for sturdy sweaters to protect them from wind and rain, and the weavers of Saint James had just the skills—and the sheep—to help out. They crafted tightly-woven wool sweaters that were worn for centuries across the seas. This "second skin" was later adopted as an official part of the French navy uniform in 1858 (those 21 blue stripes supposedly represent Napoleon's 21 naval victories over the British fleet). Since the company became a proper fashion brand, the sweaters and shirts have appealed to a different sort of merchant: Coco Chanel, Pablo Picasso, Alexa Chung, and Kate Moss have all sported those iconic stripes. New Yorkers can be seen wearing them, too, picked up from the boutique in the West Village.
Address: 319 Bleecker Street; saintjamesboutique.com
What better to gift a hostess than with a box of sparkling macarons? The gorgeous meringue cookies originated in 1862 at a small Parisian patisserie and have become part of the pantheon of the Frenchiest of French goods. Crunchy on the outside and sweet and creamy on the inside, they are Queen Mother to the lowly Oreo. Come for sweets and tea, and leave with a beautiful package of raspberry, pistachio, rose petal, and praline treats—for your own indulgence or for the host who appreciates things of beauty.
Address: 398 West Broadway; laduree.com