In case you haven’t noticed, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, fresh from their micro-wedding in Las Vegas earlier this month, were in Paris for a week on their honeymoon with their respective kids. The paparazzi dutifully documented the newlyweds’ every move in the City of Light for our giddy consumption – there they waved to the masses as they left the Hôtel de Crillon for another day of romantic adventure, there they kissed like teenagers in a bench park, they were there for a family cruise on the Seine, there was the new Mrs. Affleck in a warm embrace with her new stepdaughter Violet (the eldest of Ben’s three children with his ex -wife Jennifer Garner).
Consciously or not, Bennifer have become excellent ambassadors for the French capital, no doubt inspiring legions of fans to follow in their footsteps. Hate to admit you’re one of them? A brief guide, below, to eating, shopping and seeing Paris like the most famous couple in the world right now.
Where to stay
Paris has no shortage of sumptuous mansions, but the Crillon Hotel has an enviable perch in Place de la Concorde, which is of course famous not only for being the site where Marie Antoinette lost her head, but also for the 3,000-year-old Luxor Obelisk from Ancient Egypt which sparkles proudly in its center. The 18th-century monument that houses this 124-key rosewood hotel is a paragon of neoclassical perfection, half of the twin buildings commissioned by King Louis XV in 1758 (the neighboring building is now the Navy Hotel, former headquarters of the French Navy transformed into an exquisite museum). For a true Hollywood experience, consider one of the Crillon’s ten exclusive suites, each uniquely designed, fabulously appointed and more than fit for modern royalty.
Where to eat
Mr and Mrs Affleck’s week of love began at Matignon, an elegant restaurant designed by Jacques Garcia on the edge of Paris’ glitzy Golden Triangle in the 8th arrondissement. No word on if they went dancing in the basement club next.
LVMH’s seven-year restoration project of the historic La Samaritaine department store along the Seine was finally completed last fall. Today, the Art Deco landmark is also home to Hotel Cheval Blanc, home to a rooftop outpost of Milan’s beloved Langosteria, as well as Plénitude, whose three-star Michelin chef Arnaud Donckele offered the couple a dinner before Mrs.
Named in honor of YSL muse Loulou de la Falaise, this restaurant, located in the Museum of Decorative Arts, has one of the best outdoor lunch facilities in the city, stretching along the Tuileries. In other words, a great place to celebrate an anniversary, which Lopez did with her husband.
Ms Affleck’s birthday celebrations continued later in the evening, as the couple huddled together at a comfortable outdoor table at Girafe in the 16th arrondissement, with the Eiffel Tower twinkling in all its glory right in front of them. The evening was so romantic that it apparently moved Mr Affleck to tears.
After a day of separate shopping – Lopez’s twins accompanied their mother to the Hermès store on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré while Affleck spent the afternoon with his daughter Seraphina – the whole family came together to dine at Brasserie Lipp, a Saint-Germain institution since 1880, where they would have dined on house signatures like roast chicken and steak.
The Flora on the Island
Berthillon ice cream from IYKYK Île Saint-Louis is a must on any Parisian itinerary. The Afflecks know it too: after dinner at Lipp’s, the clan stopped at Flore en l’Île for dessert. In fact, they enjoyed it so much that they came twice on their trip.
What to do
What’s a honeymoon in the city of love without an afternoon spent making out on a park bench? Bennifer sought the privacy (or so they thought) of the relatively more low-key Jardins des Champs-Elysées for the effort.
The Afflecks have certainly made the most of the abundance of world-class museums in Paris. They marveled at the Impressionist masterpieces at Orsay Museum; braved the crowd the Louvre (Lopez in wedge heels, no less), or perhaps this modern-day Taylor-Burton pair took a bit of inspiration from the jewels of France’s Crown Jewels gallery; pondered on Monets at Orangerie Museum; and studied more than 5,000 Picassos at its museum of the same name in the Marais.
Cruise on the Seine
A private cruise on the scenic river that divides Paris was another family affair for the Afflecks, who were joined by daughters Violet and Seraphina and twins Max and Emme. For the afternoon outing, they chartered the Petrus III, a 71-foot teak gentleman’s yacht built in 1953.
Ben and Seraphina Affleck were spotted enjoying a father-daughter bonding afternoon, during which they perused pastels and oil paintings. Sennelier, the art shop in the 7th arrondissement located on the edge of the Left Bank. Throughout its 135-year history, the shop, which is still owned by the descendants of its founder Gustave Sennelier, has supplied the palettes of masters like Degas, Gauguin, Vuillard and Picasso, for whom Sennelier invented a new medium known as the name of oil. pastels.
Fresh out of extensive renovation by Peter Marino, the Dior flagship on Avenue Montaigne has transformed into a sparkling temple of home, a one-stop destination for everything Dior, from perfume to couture, even whipped cream pastries and a 1,500-square-foot suite for overnight stays. Extra points if you’re loyal enough to gain access to the keys.
Leena Kim is associate editor at City & Countrywhere she writes about travel, weddings, arts and culture.