Elisabeth Holder Raberin, a seventh generation owner of Ladurée, is currently masquerading as a New Yorker, but her heart remains in Paris.


On Oct. 3, the Arc de Triomphe was unwrapped after a 16-day art installation from Christo, the Bulgarian artist known for his larger-than-life projects that take world-famous landmarks and reimagine them with large swaths of fabric and other materials. The installation, simply titled “Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped” featured 25,000 square meters of recyclable polypropylene fabric in silvery blue and 3,000 meters of red rope. The posthumous art exhibit–finally realized 60 years after Christo first set foot in Paris–is Instagrammable to be sure, but one could also say it represents the City of Light itself. It’s at once inspirational and aspirational, classic meets modern, a literal towering example of the old world and new world colliding.

It is a sight to behold, but it also reminded us that Paris is always on our must-visit list, no matter how many times we’ve been before. And in this month’s Passport, who better to ‘unwrap’ the city for us, than a native Parisian, who can take us on a tour beyond the postcard Paris we all know.

Elisabeth Holder Raberin, CEO of Ladurée USA

We chatted with Elisabeth Holder Raberin, CEO of Ladurée USA, by phone from her home in New York City. With plans to visit Paris this fall after an extended Covid-induced absence, we asked her what makes Paris so magical. Spoiler: Part of its appeal really is the bread.

With Covid, I understand it’s been a while since you’ve been able to get back. When you can finally board a plane and get home to Paris, what are your must-visits upon arrival?

First, I will go to any cafe in the city just to have a real café and bread and butter and cheese. When you go to a cafe in Paris you are watching the people, it’s a wonderful mix of people. So, bread for sure with a good café. And then I’ll just walk. The lights, the smell, the city, and really get to see the images of Paris. To hear people speaking, and shouting, French in the street … I miss it. 

It’s date night: Where are you going?

My favorite restaurant is Caviar Kaspia, which is very classic and chic. You see the beautiful people from Paris, it’s very romantic and you eat caviar. It’s very simple. I’m a vegetarian but at Caviar I can’t resist the blinis and salmon. For me and my dad, it’s our kind of burger. Plus, the vodka there is the best in the world.

Where do you love to take your tween twins when you’re in Paris?

I love going with them to the jardins of Paris, because there is always something to do with kids. There is an amusement park at Jardin d’Acclimatation and Jardin des Plantes has the Grande Galerie de L’Evolution (The Gallery of Evolution). They also like the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (The Hunting and Nature Museum) and the science museum, Musée de la Villette.

If you could spend a full day in one Parisian neighborhood, where would you go?

Le Marais. I used to live there and have some very nice memories. My dream day in Paris there would include Place des Vosges, Rue Vieille du Temple, Rue de Bretagne,Le Marché des Enfants Rouges (the oldest covered market in Paris) for lunch, Musée Carnavalet and the Museum of Jewish Art & History Paris. You can really just take the time to walk the small streets. You’ll always find nice stores and cafes. It’s very artistic so you’ll find many galleries. I love it there. I could stay there a week.

You’re up with the sun. Where are you going for breakfast?

Ladurée, of course! I really miss the Rue Royale location especially.

You have American friends visiting you in Paris. Where do you take them?

I had a friend from New York and she came to visit me. I didn’t really know where to send her and I told her to follow me for a day and I will live my Parisian life. This was more than 10 years ago and she still speaks about it. I said, ‘Let’s go around Paris like a regular Saturday for me.’ You have to go shopping, walk in the streets, go to the jardins, go for a coffee. I took her to Café de Flore, which is a very famous cafe.

If you want to see Paris, you have to see it outside. Get a coffee and just look around you. No phone, no screen and just observe the people around you.

What museums do you find yourself returning to?

There are so many beautiful museums. Musee d’Orsay, Pompidou, Palais de Tokyo, Pinault Foundation and Louis Vuitton Foundation

When I’m with my mother, we’ll say ‘Let’s go to a museum when we finish the shopping.’ But of course, we shop everywhere and never make it to a museum. It’s a code between us. Museum means shopping.

Where are you going for self-care?

The spa Cinq Mondes and Dior (at the Cheval Blanc) are both on my list to try, but my best massage is a glass of wine! Many French people would say that’s healthy!


Paris is always in style, but these (re)openings are upping the chic factor even more.

Rosewood Rebirth
Hôtel de Crillon, the iconic social center of Paris since it’s opening in 1909 (everyone from Marie Antoinette to Sophia Loren has passed through its ornate doors), recently reopened after a 3.5 year renovation. Now under the Rosewood luxury hotel group umbrella, the hotel features a new spa, the restaurant, L’Ecrin, from Michelin-star Chef Christoper Hache, and suites that dazzle with both new designs and sweeping views of Place de la Concorde. When we check in, we’re hoping to stay in one of the two Les Grands Appartements–the Karl Lagerfeld-designed rooms on the fourth floor. Hôtel de Crillon: 10, Place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris, France

Good (La) Samaritaine
Don’t tell the French that the department store is dying. They know it’s not. Samaritaine, situated between the Louvre and Cathedral of Notre Dame, has become an iconic monument in its own right. First opened in 1870, the towering building was at the time a harbinger of a modernizing Paris and one of the city’s very first dedicated department stores. After well over a century of popularity, the Art Nouveau and Art Deco building shuttered in 2005 for safety reasons. This summer, after a 30-month renovation by new owner, luxury goods giant LVMH, the department store reopened its doors (and added a 5-star Cheval Blanc hotel)–restoring it to its former glory. Our favorite part? The basement level, which is now the biggest beauty department in all of Europe. Samaritaine: 9 Rue de la Monnaie, 75001, Paris

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