An Insider Guide to Paris with Ernest Leoty founder, Marion Rabate

Paris-based label Ernest Leoty - originally a 19th-century corset designer - gets a refashioning from founding designer Marion Rabate.

Dressed in corset-inspired activewear - think light, supple and chic designs - we're stretching it out ahead of a day of pavement hitting in the City of Light with Ernest Leoty founder, Marion Rabate.

With no set plan - everyone is a flâneur here, non? - we take comfort in the knowledge that our coordinating Ernest Leoty sets will take us seamlessly from barre class to le actual bar.

Marion Rabate's Insider Guide to Paris

The best day of the week to arrive in Paris is…

I would say a weekday for sure… perhaps a Thursday.

What's the city's dress code?

Smart, casual, simple lines, elegant and high quality.

Where's the best place to wake up?

The Hoxton Paris or Le Pigalle Paris. I love the vibe at Le Pigalle - its lobby is a great place to hang out.

Coolest neighbourhoods worth exploring…

The classics, Le Marais and Saint-Germain-des-Près, but it's also worth going off the tourist track, venturing to bars and restaurants in the ninth for example, which is now my favourite area in Paris.

Most beautiful place to spend a Sunday?

Spend the day at the Fondation Louis Vuitton or go out of town to Versailles.

What's the best way to explore the city?

Walking definitely, the city is not as big as London and you can take the bus if you need to.

Where can we work out?

My favourites are Dynamo for cardio (a spin class), Reformation Pilates and Le Tigre Yoga Club & Spa.

For a healthy brunch in Le Marais try…

Season, an amazing health-concept foodstore. I also love Wild & the Moon and Café Pinson.

Where should we go for a low-key lunch?

Le Richer; it's super casual but serves excellent bistro-style food.

And for a romantic dinner?

It's a bit cheesy but Chez Julien.

Other food spots we should try…

Frenchie, Septime, Café Philippe and Nanashi on Rue Charlot.

The best place to treat yourself?

A Tata Harper massage at the Spa Le Bristol by La Prairie.

Your favourite Parisian stores include…

Le Bon Marché.

Where should we go for a big night out in Paris?

Rosa Bonheur for something casual or Silencio for a real club - although I don't really go out much anymore.

Where should we head post-party?

Your best friend's house for an out-of-hours afterparty.

One misconception about Paris is…

That people and waiters are rude and service levels are poor. This was ages ago, now standards have changed.

For some culture, head to…

Fondation Louis Vuitton, Musée Rodin, Musée Bourdelle and Musée de la Vie Romantique.

Describe your quintessential Parisian afternoon…

Coffee at Café Philippe or Season, then a stroll in Le Marais. After stopping at The Broken Arm boutique go to a class at Reformation Pilates. Then, meet some friends for early drinks on the terrace of Le Perchoir.

A book to read before we go?

Mathilde Lacombe's book Une Question d'Équilibre [A Question of Balance]; it explores how French women balance life and work. Another book - my favourite growing up - Au Bonheur des Dames [The Ladies' Paradise] by Émile Zola, retraces the rise of department stores in 19th-century Paris.

Underrated spots worthy of a visit…

The Musée des Arts Décoratifs; Jardin des Tuileries; Parc des Buttes Chaumont; Boulevard Barbès.

What one thing should we bring back as a souvenir?

Food! I always go to La Maison Plisson before I take the Eurostar and bring back charcuterie, cheese, wine and other items. They present them beautifully and they make for great gifts.

A great out-of-town spot is…

I like going to Deauville; it's next to the sea, and quite close to Paris. Otherwise a nice place to go for lunch is the Trianon Palace in Versailles, where I used to live.

And finally, what's in your SUITCASE for a trip to Paris?

My Leoty Bertille trousers (our knitwear is made in the same factory as Hermès), the corset leggings in black (very chic and can be worn with anything), a leather jacket and a white shirt.

Discover More
Linen Brand Once Milano’s Insider Guide to Venice, Italy