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Handmade Artisan Umbrellas from Parisian Couturier Michel Heurtault

Winter in Paris can be tough on the psyche, with one grey day following the next. But Zeva’s post (from Paris by Appointment Only) about Michel Heurtault’s amazing couture umbrellas has us doing rain dances. Who knew showery could be so chic?

Gold-rim-umbrella

Text and Photos by Zeva Bellel

I write about some pretty unusual talents on this blog, but couture umbrella maker just might be my rarest find yet. That’s why I’m letting Michel Heurtault, owner of the fabulous umbrella shop, Parasolerie Heurtault, tell the story behind his flabbergasting art.
………….

I’ve been obsessed with umbrellas from the time I was three. I have no idea why, but I could spend hours breaking them apart and studying how they opened and closed. I collected all of the umbrellas I could find, and by the time I was eight I was repairing them for people in my neighborhood. Needless to say, my parents thought I was nuts. Continue Reading »

Posted in Shopping | 4 Comments »

Packing for Paris: The Anticipation Builds

Gerard LaurentGerard Laurent, Pariscool.com

I have that electric feeling that can only mean one of two things: either I’ve put my finger in a socket, or I am headed back to Paris. Luckily for me, it’s the latter. After seven months in North America, I am returning to my other home—a painfully beautiful, limestone-y, cigarette-loving, scarf-wearing, butter-flavored home. Needless to say, I’m giddy with anticipation.

For me (and I don’t think I’m the only one), Paris is a city where my imagination takes flight and I can spend entire days simply wandering, observing, tasting, inhaling, perusing, writing and dreaming. To those who see me as I go about my activities, I probably look like some kind of blissed-out idiot… but so be it. Paris is my happy place, and no matter how many times my shoe falls onto the metro tracks or I am surrounded by a pack of traveling minstrels, nothing can taint my love affair with this city. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 9 Comments »

Romantic Paris: Valentine’s Day in the City of Love

Valentine-2Photos: fineartamerica.com, littlebrownpen.blogspot.com, www.azurs.net

Paris has long been known as the City of Love, and with good reason. It is a place full of beauty, from the winding Seine river reflecting the city lights to the Sacre Coeur Cathedral perched upon the hill and the iconic Eiffel Tower that distinguishes its famous skyline. Even the classic rooftops inspire a feeling of romance among visitors and inhabitants alike. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we wanted to share with you some of our favorite romantic spots and things to do in Paris. Whether you are a foodie, movie buff, hopeless wanderer, or just someone who enjoys spending a relaxing night at home, Paris has something to offer. And this year, with Valentine’s Day falling on a 3-day weekend in the US and fantastic last minute deals on Paris apartments, you just might be able to hop over for a spontaneous romantic getaway! Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events, Parisian Living | No Comments »

Ready, Set… Shop! Les Soldes Run Through February 10

Soldes-Top-tripleGarance Doré, www.garancedore.fr, www. frenchgardening.com

It’s that magical time of year… when shopping wishes come true and full-blown retail miracles can happen. Suddenly, the items we’ve been coveting throughout the fall and early winter are suddenly affordable… or at least, more affordable. That’s right: France’s biannual sales (“les soldes”) are here, and just about everything—from clothes and handbags to electronics and home furnishings—are repeatedly marked down until they are so cheap that we are practically forced to buy them. Typically, the première démarque sees prices cut by 20-50%, with the deuxième démarque resulting in prices up to 70% off. It’s like a city-wide “Everything must go!” policy… and by everything, we mean literally everything. This government mandated clear-out happens twice a year, and for avid shoppers, there is absolutely no better time to be in Paris (with your credit card at the ready).

SoldesLittle Brown Pen, fr.modefix.com

But les soldes are not for the faint of heart. If you’re headed for the big department stores (Printemps, Galeries Lafayette, Le Bon Marché), prepare to brave crowds of strategic shoppers who are ready to fight tooth-and-nail to snag the best merchandise before it’s gone. Towards the end of the day during les soldes, these large stores tend to look more like ransacked warehouses than elegant shopping emporiums—with sweaters strewn about, piles of shoes stacked in corners, and wild-eyed shoppers sprinting from rack to rack to score overlooked gems before stores close their doors for the night. Smaller boutiques have a slightly less chaotic feel, but the end goal is the same: find the best stuff at the lowest prices…right now.

But the reward is well worth the struggle. I made the most unexpectedly exhilarating purchase of my life during last year’s soldes. I don’t even know how I ended up in the Chloé section of Printemps (fate I suppose), but there I was… and suddenly, I saw the coat, hanging towards the back of the section like a shining beacon of elegance—awesome in the truest sense of the word. Suddenly I was looking at it, then touching it, then trying it on… at that point, I think I blacked out. A few minutes later, I was out on the street, hyperventilating with shock (or was it poverty?), having made the most major purchase of my life. In my defense, it was 50% off, and to this day, I get giddy every time I put it on. It reminds me of Paris, which inevitably makes me happy. And that’s what les soldes are all about: impulse… and no regrets.

Plus, we all know the economy needs stimulating. So have an espresso, take a deep breath… and jump in. (This year’s soldes last through February 10).

Written by Tory Hoen for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

Posted in Shopping | 6 Comments »

Alternative Paris Tours: Rent a Local Friend

MathildeMathilde, my local friend

Think back to that moment when you first landed in a foreign city and disorientation set in like a thick, heavy fog. If you were a girl or boy scout, maybe you could tell north from south, but buildings, perspectives, businesses and squares of sky blended together to form an impenetrable net of All Things Foreign. Armed with your map and your pocket translator you bravely approached passersby with questions ranging from the unavoidably inane (“Where can I buy a loaf of bread”) to the philosophically complex (“Where can I buy a good loaf of bread”). Animated discussions ensued, followed by an exchange of friendly smiles and you were left feeling more desperate than before because not only were you lost and hungry, you failed at survival challenge #2: communication.

Fear not! The Hip Paris team has just stumbled upon the aptly named “Rent a Local Friend”, an alternative tour service that sets you up with a friendly native to help you get over those first few moments of feeling like the city is an impenetrable mass of tourist traps and indistinguishable side streets. Continue Reading »

Posted in Tours and Classes, Travel | 7 Comments »

Maison & Objet: Home Fashion Invades Paris

object_collection_hiresObject of Sound collection by NOCC studio. Image courtesy of NOCC.

As if Parisians weren’t already chic enough with their fabulous clothing and accessories, this weekend the city throws its twice annual home fashion show, Maison & Objet. And fashion show it is indeed – much like the runway shows, Maison & Objet has a degree of exclusivity and is invitation-only. Sadly, the invites are available only to professionals in the home & furnishings industry. Luckily, our secret sources have slipped us a few photos of pieces that will be on exhibit, and we just couldn’t resist sharing them with you. Of note is NOCC, an up-and-coming Paris-based design studio that we love and that has been selected as one of the Talent à la Carte designers to be featured at the show. They will be displaying their Object of Sound, Radiation, and Undished collections. Don’t have an invitation to Maison & Objet? Fear not, you can find them at their studio in the 12th arrondissement… more information on their website.

Maison & Objet-1Items from NOCC’s Object of Sound collection. Images courtesy of NOCC.

More photos from other designers after the jump… all images below courtesy of Maison & Objet.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Design, Events | 1 Comment »

Haiti: Helping Out

Just a quick note from HIP to say that contributions of time, material goods and money are still desperately needed in Haiti. Check out these sites for ideas on how to pitch in:

UNICEF -UNICEF’s field staff is working around the clock to help save the tens of thousands of children who have been injured in the quake, separated from their families, and desperately need clean water, food and other help.

PlanUSA – Plan already has 143 staff on the ground in Haiti working to provide immediate relief in the wake of the disaster. This organization has a long-standing presence in the country.

Oxfam America - Oxfam’s 200 staffers stationed in Haiti, including a highly trained emergency response team of 15, are rushing to meet the most urgent needs, such as providing clean water and other public health necessities.

ActionAid - ActionAid has worked in Haiti since 1996; their crisis response efforts focus on providing shelter, clean water and medicine to survivors.

ACCION International – ACCION is working with SOGESOL, its Haitian partner, to provide services and support to its 13,500 microfinance clients in the nation.

You can also check in with Medecins San Frontieres and Action Against Hunger. Even the smallest contribution helps!

Posted in Events | No Comments »

Stéphanie Césaire: Luxury Handbags by the Rue Saint-Honoré

Cesairevintageinstyle.com; moviemaidens.com

Photos: courtesy of Césaire.

One thing that women the world over can agree on is that the search for the perfect partner is fraught with its share of trials and errors. The urge to collect can be too tempting (and enjoyable), since, let’s face it, different occasions beg for appropriate company. Showing up with a flashy, recognizable number at a company benefit will have your professional circle questioning your judgment and taste; but tote along an oversize, understated friend to a glitzy, packed soirée and you’ll feel weighed down all night. I am, of course, talking about purses here.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 2 Comments »

Literary Paris for Expats: Tory’s Top Picks

girl readingPhoto: tumblr

One of the most gratifying things about being a Francophile is that, no matter where you are, you can always read your way back to France. When I’m not in Paris and my wanderlust kicks in, I reach for a book that will take me back, and I’m never disappointed. And while French literature can send me into a stay of pure bliss, I’m equally enamored with English-language expat literature. Whether it’s Hemingway’s “Lost Generation” or whatever today’s equivalent would be, there is something perpetually intriguing about cultural castaways—those outsiders who become insiders only to realize they’ll always be outsiders, etc. Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events | 2 Comments »

La Maison: Old School French Dining in the 17th

La-MaisonGerard Lavalette – Pariscool.com; Cartier-Bresson

I like a trendy hotspot as much as the next blogger, but it’s always more rewarding to discover a place that is un-cool, un-trafficked, and uniquely yours.  La Maison, tucked away on the Place St. Ferdinand in the 17th, is one of my closely guarded Parisian secrets, but as I’m feeling particularly generous today, I’m willing to share. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | 3 Comments »

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