April 13, 2015
On a recent rainy Paris afternoon, I found myself in a secret courtyard off the fashionable rue Saint-Honoré. A haven from the crowded street, lined with haute couture boutiques, the showroom of Caroline De Marchi, luxury handbag designer, offers a respite for the weary shopper as well as a welcome change from the typical Paris shopping experience.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Caroline, catching her just after she had returned from a trip to Milan, where she splits her time between stays in Paris. Caroline is of Belgian origin, but has spent most of her life in Paris, with stints in other locations around the world. She followed her Italian husband to Egypt, where she lived for four years, and has also called Sao Paulo, Brazil home. And influences from these séjours abroad are wildly evident in her bag’s styles. The stunning Bali sac, for example, is in the shape of a pyramid, a direct reference to Caroline’s time in Egypt.
March 23, 2015
We wrote in October with tips for navigating Paris’ Marché aux Puces St-Ouen, specifically where to find the best in oh-so-popular mid-century modern furniture. Why? Because with more than 1700 vendors spread out over 14 different markets hawking wares from 1960s lighting to vintage copper pots, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the idea of a visit to this market, which is the largest in the world. But identifying what you’re seeking in advance and knowing how to find that item will make for a smooth day of treasure hunting.
March 18, 2015
Empress Eugenie’s Diadem
From the glittering Eiffel Tower to the lights dancing on the Seine, Paris is a city that shimmers, and not only on the outside. Considered by many to be the capital of fine jewelry, the city is a treasure trove for collectors and enthusiasts with its famed jewelry houses at Place Vendôme and historical pieces in museums across the city. However, it can also be an exclusive and secretive world. Graduate Gemologist and antique jewelry expert Alexis Vourvoulis is trying to lift the veil through her company Bijoux Society. On her website she blogs about up-and-coming jewelers and jewelry auctions and offers excursions to places like Place Vendôme, the Marché aux Puces, and the Musée des Arts Decoratifs.
Start of Opera tour; Marché aux Puces
January 28, 2015
Do you remember the film 2 Days in Paris? I imagine if you’re reading this—the Francophile that you are—you are familiar with this movie. The scene in which French actress Julie Delpy narrates all of the arrondissements in Paris she had lived in struck me as grand, not realizing that five years after seeing the film I would be sharing this very narration.
In the five years I have lived in Paris, I’ve lived in the 15th, the 3rd, the 4th, Oberkampf (twice), stayed in the 12th and the 13th, and even had a stint in Vincennes before settling down in Nation (also the 12th). When my husband introduced the idea of checking out this residential enclave, especially after having resided in the more popular and bohemian areas, I couldn’t help but wonder if we were still going to be within Paris city limits and if my friendships were going to become long distance.
November 24, 2014
Rue de Vertbois, Emma Stencil
Three quiet streets in Paris’ Marais neighborhood are the site for one of the most interesting projects of the year. The name Cédric Naudon, French entrepreneur and millionaire, was splashed all over the French press this spring with the announcement of his sensational initiative La Jeune Rue.
La Jeune Rue, Isabel Miller-Bottome
Not much is known about this low-profile businessman who is said to have made his millions in real estate and finance in the United States. The Gatsby-esque aura surrounding Naudon is reinforced by his reticence in interviews, as well as the flamboyant decision to purchase 36 storefronts over the course of a year to realize his vision for La Jeune Rue, a project that is estimated to cost over €30 million.
La Jeune Rue, Isabel Miller-Bottome
La Jeune Rue is set to transform three neglected Parisian streets – Rue Volta, Rue du Vertbois, and Rue de Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth – into a mecca for bohemian-bourgeois shoppers in search of locally-sourced and artisanal products.
October 10, 2014
The 20ème is one of the largest neighborhoods in Paris, covering the areas of Nation, Gambetta, Ménilmontant, and Belleville. Largely overlooked by tourists, this unique quartier is full of locals-only bars and restaurants, art galleries, theaters, charming backstreets, hidden pockets of nature, and a diverse population. As much as I love the familiar streets of the Marais and the Latin Quarter, after spending three months living here this summer, a part of me will always be called back to the 20ème. Here are a few of my favorite historic and cultural spots worth discovering.
View from La Bellevilloise
A historically working class neighborhood, the 20ème was the center of opposition to Emperor Napoleon III during the eve of the First World War, and the very last neighborhood to surrender during the Paris Commune of 1871. Predominantly an immigrant community for the last century, nowadays young entrepreneurs, artists, and bobos flock to the area for its affordable rents, active nightlife, and thriving arts scene.
October 8, 2014
Hoards of travellers and locals alike flock to Paris’ flea markets in search of antique wares and one-of-a-kind finds, and rightfully so. The Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen is one of our favorite markets and this series will detail some of its top vendors. Today we look inside the best of Mid-century Modern. Enjoy! – Erin
The Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen is the largest flea market in the world, welcoming over five million visitors to its maze of stands and alleyways each year. And a maze it truly is—the sprawling complex houses over 1,700 vendors, from art dealers to artisans to purveyors of second-hand furniture.
Marché Paul Bert
So, you might ask, how do you find your way through this market, and where do you start? While there is value in going simply to get lost, this won’t work if your goal is to really sort the treasure from the trash. It should help that the Puces de Saint-Ouen is divided into 14 separate markets, some of which generally have better quality items than others. The Puces website has a description of each market here.
Marché Paul Bert
September 1, 2014
There is nothing more Parisienne than underwear that oozes sexy attitude with understated elegance, and there is nowhere better for a decadent splurge on intimate underthings than the area around the Carrefour de la Croix Rouge on the Rive Gauche. Over the last few years this magical little triangle of land has attracted some of the most seductive names in the lingerie industry, with a La Perla store that is set to open any day now.
Sophie d’Annunzia on the rue du Cherche-Midi is what the French call a multimarque, carrying a little bit of everything from not-so-sexy girdles to sumptuous cashmere shawls, with a lot of lace in between. She carries every size for all ages in her timeless little boutique.
July 15, 2014
There are few things in the world that make me happier than living in the 18th arrondissement. One could argue that it’s pretty great living anywhere in Paris, but there’s something about this quartier that has my heart forever. From the cinematic charm of Montmartre to the seductive side streets found beyond the Butte, this corner of of the city is full of friendly neighborhood addresses, unique boutiques, and rich cultural diversity.
Marche de Barbes
With the recent renovation of Le Louxor cinema (whose rooftop café offers magnificent views of the Sacré-Coeur) increasing amounts of visitors are venturing to the foot of Boulevard Barbès, the entryway to the Goutte d’Or neighborhood. With its mosques, African markets, and North African pastry shops, this diverse and lively area has recently emerged as the city’s most eccentric up-and-coming neighborhood.
Sacré-Coeur; Marche Dejean
Probably the most emblematic address of the Goutte d’Or is Thierry Roche’s Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or. Opened in 2012, the brasserie boasts the title of the city’s first microbrewery and has set an example for Ile-de-France brewers and Paris craft beer bars alike. Thierry takes inspiration from the diverse culture of the Goutte d’Or, using ingredients such a rooibus and kola nut in his beers, which can be found at nearby outdoor markets.
If you’re interested in finding your own inspiration at the market, visit Marché Dejean near the metro Chateau Rouge, rue Dejean. Open Tuesday to Saturday mornings, this chaotic jumble of a market is stuffed with overflowing baskets of exotic foods, fish heads, and cell phones of dubious origin. Get everything you need for a Senegalese feast or Cameroon cuisine. Here bartering is encouraged and the overall ambiance of the market transports you to another part of the world.
Get cosy with local shoppers and squeeze your way through Marché Barbès (Bld de la Chapelle, metro La Chapelle) on Wednesday or Saturday morning. Standard market stands such as fishmongers and cheese sellers are in the minority at this busy market, which reflects the ethnic diversity of the area. North African breads and pastries, inexpensive produce from abroad, mangoes and other foreign fruits lend an exotic air to this market, which draws deal seekers and tourists alike. An overwhelming aroma of mint accompanies your visit to Marché Barbès as you pass by piles of herbs and spices and items that likely “fell off a truck” before making it to the market.
La Louve Coopérative
Goutte d’Or is about to welcome a unique new market to its collection. Just down the street from the Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or is the future site of La Louve Coopérative, a Park Slope Food Coop inspired project set to open in June 2015. Watch this space for more information on this exciting addition to the list of “bio” shops in Paris.
In the meandering side streets around the historic Eglise Saint-Bernard de la Chapelle, you’ll find a selection of boutiques and bars that are a testament to the transformation of the neighborhood. Design team Cocobohème has their studio and showcase on rue de Jessaint, where you can shop for unique home decor, children’s clothes and toys, and handmade jewelry and accessories.
If you need a drink break after a day of shopping, pop into Le Tout Monde, a perfect spot for a pit stop and some small plates paired with natural wine. Recently open for lunch, keep this bar in mind for a break between boutiques or before a beer tasting!
Coco Boheme; Le Tout Monde; La Mome
For a proper sit down meal of tagine and mint tea, head to neighborhood favorite La Môme (16 rue Stephenson). An extensive menu of African specialties offers something for everyone (there’s even a vegetarian tagine option). Don’t miss out on the specialty La Môme beer that the Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or made especially for the restaurant!
If you’re weary of running around the city, opt for an indulgent afternoon and head to Azhar Hammam & Spa an affordable and authentic option for a traditional hammam experience. Enjoy a steam, massage, or mani-pedi that will refresh and restore, leaving you ready to explore some more!
Eglise Saint Bernard
The constantly growing scene of creative commerce and collaborations makes the Goutte d’Or neighborhood one to watch. Whether sipping on locally brewed beer or natural wine, catching a matinée, or shopping for unique handmade gifts, be sure to take pause and soak up the energy of one of the city’s most vibrant and swiftly changing neighborhoods.
- Le Louxor – 170 Boulevard Magenta, 75010 Paris. Tel: + 33 (0)1 44 63 96 96
- La Louve Cooperative – 61 rue de la Goutte D’Or, 75018 Paris.
- Cocoboheme – 22 rue Jessaint, 75018 Paris. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 62 40 60
- Le Tout Monde – 4 rue Affre, 75018 Paris. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 54 29 51
- Le Mome – 16 Rue Stephenson, 75018 Paris. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 23 35 64
- Azhar Hammam & Spa – 59 rue Stephenson, 75018 Paris. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 58 02 02
- For more tips on the 18ème arrondisement, check out My Parisian Life’s neighborhood round-up
- Chocolate & Zucchini’s guide to the best bio shops in Paris
- David Lebovitz writes about the Marché Barbès
June 24, 2014
Regulated by French law since 1906, stores are only allowed to have sales twice a year in Paris.
When the Soldes begin, it is like hunting season, with each shopper tracking their prey.
This year, Les SOLDES begin June 25th and last one month. Here are some hints for getting ahead of the competition…