April 5, 2012
HiP Paris fave and globe-trotter extraordinaire Tory Hoen is finally back in Paris. In the next few weeks she’ll be doing the rounds of Paris’ latest hotspots, but first she shares her top Paris spring fashion picks with us here… Enjoy! -Geneviève
When I decided to spend this April in Paris, my euphoria was tainted by just one gnawing concern—what am I going to wear? We all know the Parisian spring is knock-your-socks off beautiful, but it’s a tricky season, sartorially-speaking. It can be cool and rainy one minute, balmy the next. It can feel like full-on summer on one side of the street, and winter once you cross into the shade. I’m constantly shedding and donning layers, and my normal fear of color is supplanted by an impulse to integrate bolder hues.
Although my highly unhelpful inner voice said, “Just pack everything!,” I’ve managed to narrow things down. Below is a list of 10 spring essentials that I know will serve me well this season.
1. When boots start to feel too clunky but it’s not yet sandal season, I live in my Repettos. They come in a variety of fun colors, but you can wear the classic black with just about anything.
2. While I’m not always the savviest of shoppers, I regularly high-five myself for having bought this beige trench from Comptoir des Cotonniers. I wear it constantly—open, closed, buttoned, belted—and always feel put-together, even when I’m wearing nothing underneath. Just kidding.
3. I am generally an extremist when it comes to lip color: either very sheer gloss or devil-may-care matte red. But for spring, a more carefree coral (like Nars satin lipstick in Niagara) feels like the way to go.
4. Made in their atelier in the Marais, Monsieur’s delicate gold and silver rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings add a perfectly simple accent to springtime garb. (53 Rue Charlot, 3ème arrondissement).
5. While my winter handbag is generally overflowing with unnecessary bulk—old receipts, dozens of pens, a single glove, matchbooks pilfered from various restaurants—I like to lighten up for spring. A saddle bag in a bright color, like this one from A.P.C., fits the bill perfectly.
March 1, 2012
Posing in the Tuileries in between shows, Paris Fashion Week 2012 (Boswell)
When early March hits, something in the air changes. Models come out of the woodwork and women in New York, London, Paris and elsewhere put a bit more effort into their attire. If you’re not in the fashion industry, it’s easy to be bewildered by the overnight switch from simple booties to stilettos. Fashion week is both daunting and exciting; add a locale like Paris to the mix and both sensations are heightened. Fear not, mes amis – dressing like a chic insider for Paris Fashion Week is possible.
Think of this week as an opportunity. March also (hopefully) marks the end of winter, a season when dreary days have the masses stuck in a style rut. Fashion choices are understandably made based on the practicality of pieces rather than how they actually look. After all, freezing temperatures make it near impossible to trade your puffy coat (the one that doubles as a sleeping bag) in for a cropped leather jacket, right?
Comings and goings in the Tuileries, Paris Fashion Week 2012 (Boswell)
Now that the weather’s turning around, ditch the bulk and grab your most daring pieces. Remember that quirky vintage hat you just had to have? Here’s your chance to wear it and not hear “mon dieu” whispered more times than you can count. Or those wonderfully whimsical printed tights that you feel just a little bit funny wearing around on any old day? Pull ‘em up. Parisians embrace Fashion Week, but that’s not to say you’ll get away with what you could in, say, New York. Here are a few guidelines to aid in your PFW sartorial adventures:
February 21, 2012
In a few days, I’ll be sipping wine at un petit café in the Marais, just in time, we all hope, for the weather to finally swing toward Spring. There’s too much to squeeze into this 3-week trip.
Besides visiting Verjus and Au Passage bien sur, I hope to dine at Septime and Bistro Volnay. Perhaps I’ll splurge on a meal at L’hôtel Thoumieux. Though, the best part of being in my own Paris pied-a-terre is stocking up at the Marche des Enfants Rouge for home-cooked dishes that always seem to taste better in Paris.
Merci concept store (Liquidx)
While I hope to buy something special at Merci (a girl can dream), I’ll definitely pop into Les Mauvaises Graines, an urban garden concept store in Montmartre, and will likely fall in love with a handcrafted souvenir at Le Petite Atelier de Paris.
On one of my weekends abroad, I’m jetting to Copenhagen. Being a New England girl, I suppose I’m a sucker for the cold weather. I’m also eager to visit what’s hailed as the best restaurant in the world and after several odd-hour phone calls to Denmark, lucked out with a reservation at Noma. We’ll see if Copenhagen food stacks up to Paris culinaria.
Septime (Lindsey Tramuta)
More than anything though, I simply want to find my favorite spots near my Marais flat. I hope to take my daily espresso at Merce and the Muse, lunch at Glou and unwind with an evening wine at La Perle. I promise to only visit Jacques Genin’s fabulous boutique once or twice if, and only if, I take a few strolls around the Square du Temple.
January 16, 2012
Paris is known for many things: its light, its bistros and, of course, its fashionably chic women. But what about its men? Do les hommes parisiens share that certain je ne sais quoi for which their female counterparts are so admired?
Alas, in a word, non.
Parisian men do, however, have distinctive style that manages to marry the rakish allure of Vincent Cassel or Olivier Martinez with the more bourgeois appeal of, say, Francois Cluzet. In short, his cool charm derives from an unstudied, imperfect look that works without looking overworked. Matchy-matchy, perfectly pressed and impeccably coordinated is just un-Parisian.
Here are some hallmarks of Parisian style pour homme, as seen on the city’s streets this chilly season.
Le foulard: There may be no look more “French” than an artfully tied scarf. Men are rarely seen in Paris without stylish neck wear — rain or shine. From the classic Burberry check to sumptuous cashmere or printed cotton, a casually wrapped neck is simply a must.
Les chaussures: Men’s shoes have gone narrow and pointy; classics like leather oxfords and sporty suede bucks have seemingly been stretched. A gently pointed toe is the only shoe shape that looks right right now. For weekends en ville, swap out the dress shoes for a well-worn pair of tennis — Puma or Adidas, please.
Les pantalons: Athletes with ample quads, beware: Modern Parisian trousers are très slim cut. Like those spotted on fashionable Parisiennes, slim-cut dark wash jeans for men can go almost anywhere in Paris these days. Worn with a tailored blazer or fine-knit sweater (think body-hugging), un jean works just as well for a stroll through the Centre Pompidou as it does for a dinner at a swank bistro. Whether it’s jeans, chinos or wool trousers, keep the cut close; a flared leg or tailored cuff is a definite style don’t.
December 22, 2011
L’Art de la Table (literally translating as “The Art of the Table”) is probably as much about food as it is about having beautiful table linens and dinnerware, tasteful flowers, and colorful table accessories to enhance the dining experience. No wonder the French love to gather around tables to eat. No wonder that, after growing up in a food-obsessed family, I, too, love to give gifts that focus attention around the celebration of a meal.
In France, gorgeous-looking kitchen stores filled with beautiful dinnerware and designer linens can be found everywhere. During the holidays, they are favorite spots to find precious gifts to celebrate our love for beautifully presented foods. Brand names like Le Jacquard Français specialize in the art of dressing up a dining table with beautiful and colorful patterned tablecloths and napkins—I am a fan. What’s not to love about a gorgeous-looking table setting with scrumptious food at its center?
- Béatrice just wrote her first cookbook based on her blog! Coming out in February.
- Le Jacquard Français’ cute blog Mademoiselle Jacquard (in French)
- Here’s the specific way to set French silverware
- Erica’s tips on dining chez les French
December 21, 2011
Christmas is four days away et bien sûr, I am quite tardy in purchasing some very special gifts for the very special people in my life.
Since I work for a company that rents boutique Parisian flats, I do tend to gift friends and family with French-inspired goodies, items that will inject the everyday life with a bit of la vie française. Better yet, if those goodies can be French food-inspired, I’m practically guaranteed une note de gratitude before the ball drops on New Year’s.
Alas, time is of the essence and a quick trip to Paris is not in the cards before Christmas. But I can still be the belle of their hearts and kitchens by gifting an old standby: a favorite French cookbook, with all the most delicious recipes well-marked, and a quickly-assembled glass jar of sel de mer, glistening and studded with herbs de Provence.
If you’re also delayed in holiday shopping, I don’t mind if you take my idea and make it your own. In fact, I’ve got your back with my favorite French-inspired cookbooks of 2011. Just don’t say I never gave you anything…
1. Based on the sweet boutiques in San Francisco, Miette: Recipes from San Francisco’s Most Charming Pastry Shop is a darling cookbook filled with scalloped pages of classic tart, cake and cookie recipes. I can imagine gifting this girly book with everything needed to make owner, chef and author Meg Ray’s famous Tomboy Cake, pictured on the book’s cover.
Miette (Violet Blue)
2. I was at a gala celebrating Jacque Pepin’s contribution to culinaria recently and while he had a last minute hiccup that prevented his appearance, his new cookbook Essential Pepin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food stood in for him proudly. Delivered with some very good chocolate to make his version of Chocolate Mousse, this cookbook would be a prized possession.
December 20, 2011
Not only are Alexia Hollinger‘s handbags très chic, and très Parisien, but they are made right in the heart of the city by Alexia herself, in her gorgeous studio boutique on quiet rue Therese in the 1st arrondissement. I discovered her boutique about 4 years ago when I was researching for my first book Paris: Made by Hand. When I walked into the beautifully decorated store and saw Alexia working away on her sewing machine in the back room, it felt like I’d struck gold – this was exactly what I’d hoped to find in the heart of Paris, and all it took was a wander off the main thoroughfare and into a leafy avenue.
Alexia’s designs are sophisticated but practical – every time I visit Paris, I stop into Alexia’s boutique and buy a bag for myself and another as a gift. I have quite the collection of Alexia bags now, almost one for each day of the week. Her bags make the ideal gift and if you can’t make it into the boutique yourself, then you can easily buy a bag from her latest collection online as Alexia ships all over the world.
I was honored a few months back to find out Alexia had named one of her new designs after me – featured here in this post is one of her gold linen “pia” bags. Inside there is a pocket for your phone, a key clip, and zip pocket for personal items. It’s the perfect size and I love that the handles fit over the shoulder.
- Check out Pia’s blog and her handmade Paris guide
- The New York Times T magazine visits Alexia Hollinger’s Paris store
- Kasia Dietz is an expat also designs lovely handbags in Paris
Written and photos by Pia Jane Bijkerk. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in London, Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.
December 19, 2011
Paris is one of the most dangerous cities to go gift-shopping. I mean, when you’re looking for the perfect piece of the City of Light to share with your family and friends, how can you resist the soaps at Fragonard, the pottery and notebooks at Astier de Villatte, the cool kid CDs at Colette or the boites of macarons and chocolates all over town—for yourself?
It’s easy to be greedy around such lovely loot. For better or worse, the price tags keep some of the madness in check. But there’s another way to work around this fair city that’s très cher: Monoprix.
Seriously! If you think about the delicacies and delights we all savor in Paris, you can find some real steals right at your neighborhood grocer. Take, for example, the pajama aisle. They may not be as raffiné as what you’d find at Le Bon Marché, but the options are pretty darn cute, nonetheless. (Don’t forget the matching slippers.)
For the men in your life, grab some jars of mustard and tins of sardines. They’re compact, come in infinite varieties, and pack a delicious punch per centime. Or, in the “personal goods” section, you can find lovely big blocks of olive oil soap, which are great “man gifts.”
December 16, 2011
As soon as our timetable lets us go, my husband and I move from our base in Amsterdam to our tiny apartment in Paris.
We’ve lived here in Paris part time for more than 4 years now, but I still discover new places, neighborhoods, and restaurants every single time we go on a stroll. Paris is inexhaustible when it comes to surprising me in any unexpected ways.
My dear friend, stylist, photographer and author Pia Jane Bijkerk, used to live here too, and she wrote a wonderful guide that everyone should have when they go to Paris. It’s a little book that takes you on a tour of Paris’ best shops and ateliers for handmade goods. So that’s right up my alley, of course.
December 15, 2011
When I popped home to the UK in November, London was already in full festive swing with Christmas trees, festive songs and neon lights galore. Sent back with a Cadbury’s chocolate advent calendar adorned with an oversized Santa, I was ready to start the Christmas season with a bang.
Yet once back home across the pond, I realized Paris hadn’t joined in on the fun yet. I was ready to start in on my advent calendar and temperatures were plunging, but where were all those tell tale signs that our favorite mid-winter festival was fast approaching?
This set me thinking. What exactly is a Parisian Christmas? What happens in the cold windy days leading up to the big event? I set out on a mission to discover the seasonal delights that France’s most romantic city had to offer.
Although the Christmas shopping frenzy begins relatively late in Paris (thankfully, shops only step into gear at the end of November), once it gets going, it really gets going. Stores go all out with light shows and designer-crafted window displays – always tasteful, bien sur. First stop? Paris’s iconic department stores. Whilst London has toy-filled Hamleys and elegant Harrods, Paris showcases its trademark sophistication with Les Galleries Lafayette and the neighbouring Printemps, where Karl Lagerfeld’s touch marks this year’s displays: think Chanel-clad rock ‘n’ roll dolls strumming their electric guitars and 20m Christmas trees.