When she heard that Beyonce and Jay Z were performing the final show of their “On the Run” tour in Paris, Sara Riff decided she needed to be there (how cool is that?!). And so, the gorgeous Director of Entertainment Relations at Jimmy Choo (she also has a popular blog for in-the-know moms called The Hive, that we are totally obsessed with) hopped on a 12-hour flight from her home in LA and headed to the City of Light for an incredible, action-packed weekend! Here, she shares intimate details and pics from her trip—including the must-have beauty essentials she made sure to bring, and her favorite spots for dining and shopping (not to mention those fabulous, French pharmacies!). Hey Sara, you’re our hero!
Where did you travel to?
Paris! We went to see the Beyonce + Jay Z “On the Run” tour. I had actually been in Europe when they came to the USA so it seemed like the only appropriate thing to do was to fly back to Paris to catch the very last show of the tour.
Did you fly direct, or how did you get there?
I flew American Airlines from LA and connected through JFK, so I could stop and pick up my friend Jessica en route.
Was this your first time in Paris?
Not only was it not my first time, but I had just gotten back from Paris a few weeks prior, so the suggestion of going again so soon left my husband very flummoxed. Thank God for girlfriends!
How long did you go for?
48 hours! My friend and I mapped out which stores and sites we wanted to hit knowing that our time in Paris was limited. We knew we had to have a serious plan of attack if we wanted to make anything happen.
Where did you stay?
We rented a great apartment near Saint-Sulpice…it was the perfect location.
There are so many amazing places to eat in Paris—where did you go?
This trip was such a whirlwind so I didn’t get to hit as many restaurants as I would have liked, but of course I made the requisite stops to Café de Flore, Ralph’s and a little Italian gem called Marco Polo.
Local delicacy you feasted on?
Tarte tatin pommes and croissants from Gérard Mulot. We also hit Café de Flore for late night dessert…it was out of control, like tasting heaven.
Cocktail you sipped?
Rosé, bien sur!!
Books you read?
All the magazines that pile up at home (I have a toddler) and Permission to Parent by Robin Berman.
Music you listened to?
Banks, Glass Animals, Beyonce + Jay Z.
What brand of luggage did you travel with?
I traveled with a carry-on roller bag by Tumi and an oversized green, suede Jimmy Choo bag that perfectly accommodated my magazines and iPad, as well as the plethora of snacks and beauty products I brought for the plane.
What did you pack in your suitcase?
This was the first time in my life that I’ve packed in a carry-on, so I literally only packed what I would actually wear (as much as it killed me!). I flew in a black jumpsuit and Jimmy Choo flats (so easy and comfortable!). For days, I wore my favorite distressed, black jeans by Anine Bing paired with a flowy top by Sandro, or my black, crochet dress (that felt very French), with studded Chloe boots, plus my hat from Marie Mercié that I had picked up a few weeks earlier in Paris, and Jimmy Choo sunglasses. For night, I dressed up my jeans by pairing them with a leopard-print, silk blouse from Isabel Marant with lace up Jimmy Choo heels & an IRO leather jacket.
Do you have any tips on packing for a short trip?
This trip was ambitious to begin with. I was travelling a great distance for a short amount of time but I also had very tight connections between flights. I cannot count the amount of times that I have had to run to make my next flight and arrived in a full body sweat because my bag is too heavy and I am carrying a bunch of things I don’t need. I’ve also learned that you shouldn’t pack a hairdryer if you have to use a converter, as you may blow up your hotel room. For travel, the more you edit, the less you need….now if only I could apply that to my real life.
What beauty essentials did you pack?
Shampoo & conditioner by Davines—I love the way it smells and makes my hair feel.
Day & Night Cream by Olos—This was introduced to me by my facialist, Cristina Radu.
Mason Pearson hairbrush & comb (Ever since I cut bangs, I’ve become one of those people who keeps a comb in her purse).
C.O. Bigelow Musk Oil—More compact than packing my perfume bottles, because I feel naked without fragrance.
Caudalie Beauty Elixir facial spray—to keep my skin hydrated on the flight and to set my makeup.
SK-II Facial Masks—I always use these during or after long flights to revive my skin.
Neutrogena SPF 80 (I use this every day, even when it’s not sunny).
Q-Tips (you can never have enough).
Jurlique Facial Wash
Bioderma makeup remover
Straightening iron (damn these bangs!!)
Lavender Essential Oil—for baths, and to freshen up my seat on the plane.
What did you do in the day?
We stumbled upon a flea market at Saint Sulpice where I excitedly spotted some vintage Hermes Birkins & Kellys only to discover they were F-irkins upon closer inspection. We had brunch at Ralph’s and fueled up for the day on watermelon & feta salad, followed by chicken paillard. We ran through the Louvre, walked along the Seine and stopped at the ‘Love Lock’ bridge (Pont des Arts), where I am always looking for the locks I set from my last trip. And then we did a lot of shopping, shopping and more shopping.
And at night?
At night we took the metro “local style” to Stade de France to catch the show. Danced for 3 hours straight and somehow managed to get an Uber back to Café de Flore for late night treats. We were so hopped up from the concert that we couldn’t fall asleep until 4:30 am even though we had to get up at 7am to make our flight home.
What was the best part of the trip?
Being in Paris! The weather was perfection, I was with one of my best friends, and I’d never seen Beyonce perform live—it was the perfect girls weekend.
Was it all smooth sailing or did you encounter any travel disasters?
I don’t know if walking close to 2 miles through a really bad neighborhood when we got off on the wrong Metro stop (en route to the concert) qualifies as a disaster or just part of the adventure…either way I put my engagement ring in my bra and walked as fast a I could.
Where are your favorite places to shop in Paris and what did you buy?
I love shopping around Saint-Germain as well as the Marais. I found a great jewelry store and bought a few super cool ear cuffs. Le Bon Marche has a really good buy, and Isabel Marant feels like a must-see, even if I can hit the one down the street from my home in LA. I love Maison Michel & Marie Mercié for hats & headpieces (I’m a sucker for anything impractical or hard to wear), K. Jacques for classic French sandals, Merci for great home stuff, and Bonpoint, Bonton & Zef for kids stuff. And of course I always stop at the French pharmacies to load up on items that my facialist will inevitably tell me are bad for my skin….but it all looks great on the bathroom counter.
What’s a Paris secret only a local would know?
That the Monoprix has really cute & inexpensive, chic dresses for little girls.
What’s something first time visitors should do?
Walk the Jardin du Luxembourg.
What’s the #1 tip you’d give a friend that’s going?
Pack comfortable shoes….the best way to see the city is to just walk for hours.
Did you learn any new words or phrases?
I speak French so I love the opportunity to say all the token phrases that annoy my husband, who has heard them a million times.
Why do you love Paris?
Paris beats every other city in the world. The architecture, the gardens, the food, even the sky….it’s just the best!
Sara Riff photographed in Paris