It's autumn in Paris and that means
, which this year runs Sept. 27 to Oct. 10.
The city is ablaze in couture-themed cocktail parties, congratulatory soirees and endless runway shows at city landmarks like the Louvre, Eiffel Tower and Les Folies Bergères. But perhaps you don't know your Louboutin from your Lanvin. Maybe Givenchy means nothing more to you than the perfume you picked up as a last-minute Christmas gift. If that's the case, chances are you won't be getting a private-messenger invitation to Louis Vuitton or a front-row seat next to Russian
editor Aliona Doletskaya.
But even for the fashion illiterate, we've got the season's hottest restaurants, chicest nightspots and tightest hotels, all of which are open to everyone even during Fashion Week in the French capital. Here's a rough schedule of what Paris can offer weekend visitors during fashion's high season.
7 p.m. -- Arrival
. Your Air France flight lands nonstop at Charles de Gaulle where a suited chauffeur in an idling S-500 from
is awaiting your arrival. Must offers one of the best deals on airport sedan-services in the city, with a new fleet of luxury sedans free of squeaky seats and chatty drivers. With sunglasses tipped at half-nose, you can tuck into your Blackberry and email while watching the city of lights pass through tinted windows.
9 p.m. -- Welcome to the Ritz
Since the early 2000s, the Paris hotel scene has come full circle. Back then it was all about places like the
, which lured fashion editors and the modeling world's elite. Then came a wave of designer boutiques like Christian Lacroix's
that mixed minimal space with maximum style. Today there is a return to the old guard glamour, with hotel palaces like Le Bristol and Hotel du Crillon luring back fashion glitterati. Check-in to the
located on Place Vendome. No longer visited by Diana-Spencer tourists, the hotel is walking distance to the restaurants of the Marais and the shops of Faubourg Saint-Honore.
11 p.m. -- Dance to Violet Rain
There is nothing like an acoustic set of Prince's
sung ala francais to get you in the mood for Paris. While the night feels even later to your American senses, it's really just getting started in places like
, located along the Left Bank in Saint Germain. This glitzy supper club has been a hotspot since opening in early 2008. The space features a be-seen lounge with tufted-leather banquettes and intimate dining room in cotton-candy colors and Louis XIV gold. The crowd ranges from hip Left Bank residents to celebrity revelers fresh from late-evening fashion shows like Yohji Yamamoto and YSL.
10 a.m. -- Warm-Up
The aroma of fresh-baked croissants casts a haze over the autumn sky as you sashay your way in athletic gear to
near the Opera. Sure, there is a gym in the Ritz, but it's also full of antiquated fitness machines occupied by walkers clad in Juicy Couture tracksuits. We want sweaty fashionistas who run like Olympians in between chitchat about who got booked at what fashion show. The gym is a stomping ground of everyone you want and should know in Paris including Marc Jacobs, John Galliano and various French starlets the sight of which will prompt an inconspicuous IMDB search while you ride the center's Internet-equipped spinning bikes.
1 p.m. -- Oui Oui to Shopping
Your day begins at
, by far the most fashionable mini department store you'll find in Paris. A Cubist, all-white façade located on bustling St-Honoré is hallowed ground for the likes of Pharrell Williams and Kate Moss. The multistory department store is a sanctuary of smooth white walls and minimalist displays of fashion labels like Gucci, Victor & Rolf and Lanvin interconnected by an incongruent staircase. Each floor is a different scene, which inevitably leads to a basement café featuring champagne bar and salad selection served at Starck-inspired bistro tables with in-house DJ.
5 p.m. -- Haute Happy Hour
During Paris Fashion Week much of the social action revolves around the city's better hotels and their in-house bars. As the sun dips under the skyline in the late afternoon, cross over into the 8th Arrondissement and into the
. Designed by Patrick Jouin and certified chic by patrons like Sarah Jessica Parker, the can't-miss social scene is best in the late afternoon as everyone returns from the various shows looking for cocktail indulgence. Garcon giving you attitude? Be sure to flaunt your numerous shopping treasures from Lanvin and Sonia Rykel to get the best seating.
9 p.m. -- Dinner Date Unknown
Of course you can opt to eat alone, but we really don't suggest it. If you haven't found your new French social groove just yet, try one of Paris's trendy eateries that offer bar seating, which won't require you to speak the unutterable, "Table for one, please."
is one of the city's hottest dining rooms located atop the Champs-Elysee Theater with some of the most incredible views of the Paris lights. The restaurant recently opened the all-new White Bar offering a hip monochromatic cocktail lounge adjacent to its ever-so-quaffed dinning room.
12 a.m. -- I am a VIP!
It could be the most pretentious dance club in the world. And we just can't get enough of it, even when left standing outside for 40 minutes after passing the doorman 50 euros. With a wink and a nod to '70s disco culture, the
occupies an all-new location at the famed La Scala. It offers a dimly lit celebrity dance den with summer outposts at the Cannes Film Festival and St. Tropez. The all-new Paris space is home to new full-service restaurant as well as a larger dance floor home to rotating hip-hop artists, live performances and the occasional circus-themed aerial show.
10 a.m. -- Flea Market
While most tourists will head with cameras and home-brought Wal-Mart bags to the St. Ouen Flea Market located on the outskirts of town, in-the-know locals head over to the Left Bank of the Seine for a small, unincorporated flea market that brings together independent merchants selling old silver presses, antique books and the rare Louis Vuitton trunk. The crowd is refreshingly free of tourists and bartering merchants, located on the cobblestone walkways that line the river and are dotted with small coffee carts, independent musicians and bohemian fashion designers.
1 p.m. -- Teatime With Catherine Deneuve
You could end your 48 hours in Paris at a trendy bistro or neighborhood café, but instead you're lured to a historic staircase leading to
, a hush-hush cafe and dressed-up tearoom above the city's oldest cinema. It's not your average cinema cafe, this one-room salon was recently gutted and retooled by Catherine Deneuve and one of Paris's top interior designers. The design duo sought out local flea markets to assemble a mish-mash of eccentric sofas, leather club chairs and French artwork that bring a rock 'n' roll vibe to classic film noir at what is quickly becoming Paris' most fashionable cafe.
Michael Martin is the managing editor of JetSetReport.com -- a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in In Style, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine, ITV and BBC.