How to Make New York City Feel Like Paris, According to Sophie Delafontaine


“The Parisian way of life is about attitude and style,” Sophie Delafontaine says. “It’s a sophisticated naturalness.” This fall, the Longchamp artistic director is splitting time between her hometown, Paris, and New York to finalize details on the French brand’s fourth Manhattan store, opening in spring 2018 on Fifth Avenue and timed to Long- champ’s seventieth anniversary. Since joining her family’s Parisian handbag behemoth in 1995—her father, Philippe Cassegrain, designed the iconic foldable nylon Le Pliage tote, of which more than 30 million have been sold—Delafontaine has ushered in Longchamp’s ready-to-wear and footwear collections and will launch the brand’s debut eyewear line this fall. “You can have Parisian moments everywhere,” the jet-setter says. Here, she shares the New York eateries and activities that remind her of home.

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Albertine, 972 Fifth Avenue

Albertine

Bartelstone

The Albertine book- store, a project of the French embassy’s Cultural Services and housed in the Payne Whitney mansion on the Upper East Side, sells 14,000 books from French-speaking countries. “I’m a big fan of Paris’s bookstore Librairie Galignani, and Albertine has the same spirit,” she says. “They have a reading nook, and you can find a nice book or a little painting.”

Buvette, 42 Grove Street

Buvette

Buvette+roundtheworldticket

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For breakfast, the West Village’s French bistro offers an espresso bar, sweet and savory crepes, and daily pastries. “It’s a cozy place,” Delafontaine says. “I like to have toast with butter and jam—that’s very French—and their bread and croissants are delicious.” (Buvette’s lunch and dinner menus also feature croque monsieurs and madames, and seafood, respectively.) Delafontaine, outside Buvette, carries a Mademoiselle Longchamp hobo bag from the brand’s fall 2017 collection.

French Cheese Board, 41 Spring Street

Pascal Perich

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“When you think of France, you think about cheese and wine,” says Delafontaine, who loves this SoHo cheese shop, which opened in May 2016 and hosts regular cooking and tasting classes. “I love cheese from the mountainous area Savoy, like vacherin, a seasonal cheese we eat for Christmas, or raclette, a cheese that’s really rich with potatoes or ham.”

Bemelmans Bar, 35 East 76th Street

courtesy of the Carlyle Hotel + Andrew Moore

With hand-painted murals from Madeline author-illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans, the Carlyle hotel’s überromantic boîte transports diners to the City of Love. “It’s Paris in America,” Delafontaine says of the Art Deco space, known for its live piano music and outfitted with nickel-trimmed tabletops and a gold-leaf ceiling.

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Chelsea Flower District, West 28th Street

Chelsea Flower Market

Patti McConville+Alamy Stock Photo

Delafontaine recommends New York’s Chelsea flower district, where florists create custom bouquets on-site, as they do in Paris. “For autumn, I start with hydrangeas, which mix nicely with roses—I’m a rose addict. Christmas roses are little white flowers that stay all winter [in Paris], from November to March.”

This article originally appears in the November 2017 issue of ELLE.

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