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Insider Guides

An Insider Guide To Paris With Marion Rabate of Ernest Leoty

Parisian activewear label Ernest Leoty is brought to you by Marion Rabate, and it’s everything you’d expect from a French fashion brand — stylish, exquisitely made, and obviously, c’est cool.

As you’d expert with French fashion, classic, effortless cool is at the centre of the brand’s design, taking its roots from the namesake Ernest Leoty – a renowned 19-the century corset maker known for prioritising women’s needs in design. Think clean lines, sophisticated-yet-effortless silhouettes, and feminine palettes.

We get an insider guide to the City of Light with true Parisienne, Marion Rabate.

When is the best time of year to visit Paris and why?

Definitely May or June, when the weather is already good, you can sit at cafés outside, Parisians are happy, but not in the summer when the weather is too hot and all locals have left the city.

How would you spend 48 hours in Paris?

Some culture, of course. Paris has a breadth of museums including less famous ones like the Musée Rodin, Musée Bourdelle, and Musée Galliera. I would definitely book restaurants ahead of time as food is really excellent. Some shopping too – Le Bon Marché is a must. Then, I would spend the rest my time walking around neighbourhoods… Must-sees for a tourist include Palais Royal area (the Louvre, Café Kistune), Saint Germain (Le Bon Marché, Saint Sulpice, and all the small streets around it), the Marais (Merci, the area around Carreau du Temple, Rue Charlot etc – Broken Arm, Café Philippe, Season). You can have a drink next to the Seine (on “les Quais”) especially if the weather is nice, and sit at cafés if you need a break. If you have some time, venture out to Fondation Louis Vuitton on the west side of Paris. And for some R&R, get a facial at Carita.

Le Marais Paris

How has your city influenced your work?

Paris! I was born there and always get inspired by the chic women on the streets – a haircut, a natural elegance, a certain posture, colour matching, etc. I also worked for a year at the Louvre Museum, and this made me understand the wealth of heritage that exists in France, of which Ernest Leoty is an embodiment.

Where do you go to get inspired?

I look at Instagram, read books, travel, go to see exhibitions. I watch people in the street. I found the brand Ernest Leoty (an old brand from the late 19th century) in the archives of the Biblioteque des Arts Decoratifs. Looking at historical archives is always very inspiring.

Which is your favourite neighbourhood & why?

I grew up in the 16th and the 5th and 6th, but I have recently come to really love the 9th. It is up-and-coming, diverse, young, energetic. I love the Pigalle area, Montmartre is nearby, and there are lots of interesting new restaurants like Vivant and others.

Best café for people watching?

Café de Flore for a more traditional vibe, otherwise I would recommend Le Depanneur in Pigalle if you want to see a more authentic crowd. I also love Le Fumoir for the décor.

Describe your city in three words…

‘Less is more’, or ‘French chic forever’.

What’s the best way to get around?

Walking is great, otherwise the bus system is really good too, you can enjoy the views of the Seine from one side of the city to the other.

What should I wear?

Comfortable clothing and shoes for walking around the city. For the chic, I would recommend our corset legging in black (it takes you from day-to-night), a white shirt, and a black blazer. For the evening, the same with a pair of heels (my favourite are Roger Vivier shoes).


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Essential beauty item to pack?

Red lipstick? Rouje has an amazing lipstick palette.

Favourite Hotel? Why?

I am obsessed with hotels – I always wanted to design my own.

My favourites are: Le Bienvenue for the practicality of it (I always recommend it to friends), The Hoxton for the lobby where you can work from, Hotel Amour and Le Pigalle for the vibe, and Le Monceau for the unmatched chic of it.

Best place to workout?

I love the Klay and 21Blanche, which are part of a chain of boutique gyms.

For yoga, I would recommend Tigre Yoga and Kshanti Yoga.

Where are your favourite shopping spots?

My favourite my far is Le Bon Marché, a high-end department store in the 6th. The curation is just excellent, I want every single piece. You discover niche brands you have never heard of, and prices are reasonable. I also love Merci for more curation and some eclectic objects. Maison Plisson for food finds.

Favourite restaurants (a budget and blow-out choice)?

Budget: Le Pantruche, Le Richer, Clover Grill, les Resistants, Dersou.

Middle: Vivant.

Blow-Out: L’Arpege.

Sunday Brunch, I go to….

Season Paris or Claus, for a “healthy” brunch; Hélène Darroze for a luxury option.

Best place to treat yourself is…

A colour and cut at David Lucas – it is well worth it. I would also recommend the Tata Harper spa at the Hotel Le Bristol.

For a spot of culture, I would go to…

La Fondation Louis Vuitton for more contemporary exhibitions. I also love the Louvre which is a great classic but the museum is so big you always discover new things.

For a perfect night out in Paris, I recommend…

Your best friend’s house party. I haven’t been out in ages. am not a massive fan of going out anymore. I do love Hotel Costes for a late night drink though…

The one place only locals know about…

Rosa Bonheur – a bar nearby the water.

BHV – a department store where you will find everything and nothing

The courtyards of the Palais Royal – in a very busy area, but always empty!

Les Buttes Chaumont – for a run.

Your local “estheticienne” – in France, you need a three-year state diploma to work in a salon. Every neighbourhood has their local beauty salons and they are all excellent.

Canal Saint Martin – not very high-end but very “Paris”.

Grand Numero – a travel website that also has restaurant recommendations from Paris’ best tastemakers.

If I had an afternoon free, I’d head out of Paris to…

I would head much further down for a weekend to Provence. Real heaven, you feel like you really are on holidays and its only three hours by train!

Otherwise I would spend the afternoon at the Fondation Louis Vuitton which is slightly outside Paris. Or the gardens of the Chateau de Versailles. But to be honest, I would just stay in Paris! The city has so much to offer.

Souvenir to take home?

A Tour Eiffel key-ring… is that too cheesy? (I have many and they fall off one after the other). Otherwise, I always buy as presents macarons from Ladurée, some food from Maison Plisson (an amazing food department store), and whatever clothes I bought from Le Bon Marché.

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Any Questions or Tips to add?