I flew to Paris to get my hair cut by a celebrity stylist. I paid way less than I would've in the US and didn't have to be a VIP to get an appointment.
I flew from New York to Paris to get my hair cut by Delphine Courteille, a famous French stylist.
Her salon is tucked away in the 1st arrondissement and felt upscale, feminine, and chic inside.
Courteille gave me a world-class cut for about $270, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
There are countless reasons to visit Paris, from its haute cuisine and Haussmann architecture to its café culture and world-class shopping. But on my recent trip to the French capital, I went for a different, very specific reason: I had a haircut appointment.
I flew seven hours from New York to Paris for a session with Delphine Courteille, one of the city's most famous hairdressers, and paid €250, or about $270, for a style consultation, cut, and blow-dry.
The whirlwind experience was everything I could've hoped for. Here's what it was like.
I learned about Courteille through Jeanne Damas, a French fashion designer I follow on social media.
Admittedly, I'm a full-fledged Francophile. I follow many Parisian influencers on social media, including "it" girl Jeanne Damas, the founder of the clothing brand Rouje.
The model-turned-fashion-designer has amassed over 1.5 million Instagram followers, often sharing glimpses of her perfectly curated outfits, immaculate designs, and signature lipstick-laden pout. Not to mention, she also has a messy, effortless haircut.
While researching ways to emulate her style, I learned that Courteille is responsible for crafting Damas' coif.
The French hairdresser is known for creating chic, feminine hairstyles that have appeared on runways and in magazines including Vogue Italia and Vanity Fair. She's also worked with celebrities including Gisèle Bundchen, Jennifer Lawrence, and Marion Cotillard.
I scheduled an appointment at Courteille's salon six weeks in advance.
In 2018, the hairstylist opened her own salon in the 1st arrondissement, just steps from Place de la Concorde, to showcase her personal aesthetic. Since I was due for a haircut (and a vacation), I decided to book an appointment over a long weekend.
When I emailed the salon six weeks ahead of my trip to explain that I wanted to see Courteille and offer my availability, I wasn't sure I'd even be able to get an appointment.
Luckily, I had a fairly easy time securing a slot. The salon got back to me a few days later and confirmed an appointment during one of the slots I provided. The representative said they'd be in touch with instructions on how to access the salon, a note that made my trip even more exciting.
After confirming my appointment's date and time, the salon sent me an email with additional details.
Before my appointment, I got another email with the salon's address (which is online) and a code to get inside (which is not).
As a first-time client arriving from a different country, I wasn't sure where the building was positioned or where I should input the code before I actually got there.
But the fact that the salon wasn't just a shop I could pop into off the street made the experience feel exclusive. I kept the code and email handy to use on the day of my appointment.
The address listed on the website led me to a large blue door right off the Jardin des Tuileries.
My appointment was on a Friday at 10 a.m., right when the salon opened.
Since I wasn't entirely sure how the entry process would work, I left myself plenty of time to get there. I grabbed a coffee and a croissant before walking about 20 minutes to the salon from the Relais Christine, the hotel where I was staying in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
Once I arrived at the address, right off the Jardin des Tuileries, all I saw was a big blue door in a tiny alleyway.
Inside, an ornate alleyway led to the salon, which felt very private and removed from the city streets.
I punched the code into a PIN pad on the side of the door, which opened to a covered alleyway. The salon still wasn't visible.
After I walked a bit, I could see a series of frosted glass windows with the salon's name on them tucked into the corner of a private courtyard.
It's easy to see why celebrities and VIPs would love this spot, as it's tucked far away from prying eyes.
The inside of the salon looked like a pristine Parisian apartment, and the service was exceptional.
The salon's interior was equally as charming as its entrance. Courteille collaborated with interior designer Chloé Nègre to curate a space that mirrors a chic Parisian apartment.
The salon features light-pink walls, terrazzo floors, custom brass consoles, and green chairs and poufs designed by Pierre Paulin. During my appointment, there was a constant stream of natural light flooding into the salon.
Additionally, guests can enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi and use the VIP room to work during their visit.
A salon attendant brought me straight to a private nook separated from the rest of the salon by a curtain. Then, they gave me a robe and offered me a fresh espresso before my appointment with Courteille.
Courteille and I had a brief consultation before she used precision tools to give me a dry cut.
Courteille came over shortly after my arrival and asked what I was looking for out of the appointment.
I explained that I wanted to remove some bulk and add some layers, showing a picture of Damas as an example. Lo and behold, Courteille said she did the cut in the photo I showed her, and another salon team member was responsible for the color.
Once we settled on a direction, Courteille cut my hair when it was dry first using precision tools that she imports directly from Japan. She also has her own hair-care line featuring four vegan products made in France.
Throughout the cut, we chatted about my journey from New York for the appointment. It was a relaxing session in an equally relaxing space.
The salon's shampoo station felt luxurious compared to the ones I've been to in the US.
Once Courteille finished cutting my hair, it was time for a wash. But the salon doesn't have an ordinary shampoo station; It has a "business-class-style shampoo area."
Instead of putting my head back the way I do in a typical salon chair, I reclined in a plush leather seat that massaged my back while a salon attendant washed my hair.
It was a luxurious touch I didn't even know I needed during a haircut.
Courteille blow-dried my hair and gave me several product suggestions — I couldn't resist taking a few of them back to the US with me.
Once the spa-like shampoo session was over, Courteille blow-dried my hair before sending me on my way.
Before I checked out, she shared some observations about my hair texture and suggested purchasing a shampoo and conditioning hair mask that could help relieve my dry scalp and hair.
I did as she said and purchased them before heading out, my freshly cut hair bouncing on my shoulders as I left.
Regularly flying to Paris for a haircut isn't realistic for me, but I'm ecstatic that I got to experience Courteille's salon.
While some celebrity stylists in the US charge hundreds, if not upwards of $1,000, per session, I paid €250, or about $270, for my 90-minute appointment with Courteille. When I factor in the pricey products I bought, the total comes out to about $320.
Although it cost more than my typical haircut, I attributed the price hike to her status and A-list clientele. I could've also seen one of the salon's senior stylists for a less expensive appointment.
Of course, flying to Paris regularly for a haircut isn't an option for me. And when you add in the round-trip airfare and hotel rates, my out-of-pocket spending comes closer to $2,000.
Having this experience one time was worth it. The excitement I felt as I got the code, headed down a charming alley, and got my hair styled by a professional I admire in an Instagram-worthy setting was unbeatable.
Plus, after my appointment, I had 2 1/2 more days to explore Paris.
Read the original article on Insider