Aashna Shroff© Aashna Shroff

#HELLOTravelDiaries: Aashna Shroff’s Guide To Paris & Milan

Salva Mubarak
Senior Features Writer

It’s no surprise that Aashna Shroff found herself at Paris and Milan fashion week this time around. The lifestyle blogger has been around for almost a decade and has built a strong and loyal community of followers who look up to her for style inspiration.

When we caught up with her on the last leg of her Paris Fashion Week adventure (at the time of our chat, she is waiting for the Louis Vuitton showcase to get over before she could rush home to her dogs), Shroff describes her experience as “insane” and “super busy”.

If there’s one thing she’s learned from being present at two of the biggest international fashion events of the year, it’s that confidence is the key. “Confidence is a lot more important than what you wear. Because the way you carry something changes everything.”

Shroff doesn’t entirely cruise on confidence alone. The blogger says a lot of research and leg work goes into planning her looks but she has some hacks to make the process a lot smoother.

“My biggest hack would be to carry some neutral basics, like pants and tops, that you can pair around multiple times. This is what I do,” she says, “Once that’s taken care of, all you need to worry about are statement pieces that could be the focus of your look.”

Even with her nifty hack, Shroff finds herself, like many of us, struggling with the concept of travel luggage allowance. “I’m not bothered about timings and prices of flights anymore, all I want to know is which flight allows me to carry the most luggage!”

In between catching up on everything fashion week and her craving for a plate of homemade dal chawal at the moment, Shroff shared some of her most useful suggestions for a trip to Paris and Milan. Be prepared to take copious notes!

Shop Smartly

Paris and Milan are the ultimate fashion destinations so it would be remiss to not shop while you’re there. Shroff agrees and adds, “If you’re someone who is into luxury shopping and designer wear, there’s no better place to shop than Paris and Milan. All the big design houses are originally from these two cities and everything is priced so much better here.” Her one big piece of advice is to do your research beforehand. “Usually, there’s an option to check if an item is in stock at a particular store or not and I put the items I want on hold. It makes the whole process easier. If not, then at least call and book yourself an appointment at the store, otherwise, it gets really crowded and you have to wait in a long queue,” she says, “All of this requires planning, I’m not always very organised but when it comes to shopping, I plan meticulously!”

If you’re looking for relatively more affordable shopping finds, then Shroff suggests giving Westfield Forum des Halles and Rue de Rivoli (in Paris) and the commercial streets near the Duomo (in Milan) a go.

Carry snack options at all times

“If you’re vegetarian, which I am, you don’t get much food aside from pasta very easily!” she says, laughing, “I feel like Paris has changed a lot. There are many vegan and vegetarian options available but, in Milan, I had to survive only on pasta! If you’re here for a long time, you can’t eat pasta the whole time. So I would advise carrying snacks with you at all times.”

Shroff admits that this is the longest she’s stayed in Milan and because of the hectic fashion week, she couldn’t find proper time to explore the eateries in the city. In Paris, however, she has a number of favourites. “There’s a restaurant called Pink Mama that I absolutely love. I would advise you to reserve a table in advance because it’s really hard to get one! I’ve been trying for the past few weeks and I haven’t been able to get one. The place is beautiful and the food is amazing. They have really good mac and cheese.” If you, like her, crave Indian food while travelling abroad, Shroff recommends trying Spoon. “The food is very different, it has Indian flavours but always with a twist. They have really good cocktails as well.”

Picture perfect snapshots

You can’t go wrong with trusting a fashion blogger to find the best spot in all of Paris for the perfect picture of the Eiffel Tower! Shroff doesn’t disappoint and reveals her favourite spot to click #OOTD pictures or just generally admire the iconic monument in the best way possible. “There’s this one spot where I love to take pictures with the Eiffel Tower, it’s a bridge called Bir Hakeim. Whether it’s day or night, the bridge remains a great place to take pictures of the tower because it’s so empty and it also has a grungy feel.”

Always carry cash

While travelling with credit cards is more convenient and smarter, it’s best to keep some cash around for emergencies. “I’m not usually a cash person, I like to travel with just my card everywhere. Even though most places accept credit cards here, it’s still best to have some cash on you for emergencies.”

Local taxi apps FTW

While public transport options, like the Metro, are a great option to get around the city, Shroff recommends downloading a local taxi app. “The walk to and from the station is usually very long. So if you’re comfortable with that, then great, but if you’re not, then it’s best to download local taxi apps, especially in Milan because the popular ones like Uber are very expensive and almost double the usual cost. It’s ridiculous!”

Be prepared for an arm workout

“This is something that I’m sharing from personal experience,” says Shroff, “Always check whether your hotel has an elevator or not because this is something I’ve struggled with a lot. You’ll have to lug your luggage up a long flight of stairs and it’s not fun at all!”