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Les French Desmoiselles: Ethical Fashion Made in France

HiP Paris, French Desmoiselles, Florie Berger

A mysterious event invitation showed up in my Facebook feed a little while back.

“Secret Christmas / Vente Très Très Privée Mode et Beauté” (“Very, Very Private Fashion and Beauty Sale”), it announced, presumably so exclusive that just one “very” wouldn’t do.

The invitation went on to reveal that somebody named Laurence would be welcoming shoppers into her cozy Paris apartment that Saturday, enticing invitees with the promise of treats, holiday fashions, and personalized beauty advice.

“If you wish to participate, email us so we can send you the address and door code for this secret rendez-vous”, the invitation instructed, stopping just short of adding, “Your mission, should you choose to accept it…”

The pre-adolescent Nancy Drew fan in me was intrigued.

French Desmoiselles, a chic new Paris fashion brand, on HiP Paris

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Le Super Petit Marché: A Retro Grocer Selling Artisanal & Local Produce in Paris’ 18ème

Le Super Petit Marche A Retro Grocery Store in Paris 18eme

When Martine Boutin left corporate life in Paris’ La Défense business district to become her own boss, she first considered opening a dating agency or a cheese restaurant. Instead, she opted to open a retro-style grocery shop near the mairie of the 18th arrondissement, to keep the neighborhood stocked with products that are often only available at farm shops in the countryside.

Le Super Petit Marche A Retro Grocery Store in Paris 18eme

Martine, the granddaughter of farmers, grew up in a small country village of 700 in the department of Vendée, between the Atlantic Coast towns of Nantes and La Rochelle, so turning to farm products was an obvious step for her.

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Our Search For a French Country House, Part II (I Blame Peter Mayle…)

HiP Paris Blog Paige Country House Montage-2++Paige Bradley Frost

You know the story. Disillusioned ad exec flees rainy London for the sunshine and lavender fields of Provence. Hilarity ensues in the shape of a dilapidated stone house, a village populated by idiosyncratic Frenchmen and lots of good food and wine.

HiP Paris Blog, Finding a French Countryhouse,  Dan ZinkDan Zink

Indeed, Peter Mayle’s Provence seduced many dreamers to set off in search of their own little piece of France.

HiP Paris Blog, Finding a French Countryhouse, ChrisGoldNYChrisGoldNY

And as it turns out, I’m one of them.

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Paris Goes Back to School: The Case for Month-Long Vacations

Paris in the Fall: La rentreeParis in the Fall – Ryan S B

Ask any Parisian what he or she loves about New York, and they’ll inevitably gush about its energie. It’s true that Paris can feel sleepy in comparison (which is actually why I love it), but I would argue that there is no better energy than that of Paris in September.

This moment is known as “la rentrée,” when the locals return from their summer vacations (many of which span the entire month of August), looking great and feeling even better. Whether they’ve been surfing in Biarritz, lounging in Provence, or schmoozing in St. Tropez, they return to Paris revitalized, rejuvenated, practically reborn—not to mention seriously bronzed.

The lengthy summer vacation is sacred—and practically mandatory—in France. My first boss in Paris used to leave his entire business in the hands of his highly unprepared assistant (which would have been me, had I worked for him in August) for the entire month. His livelihood was one thing, but les vacances? We don’t mess with this tradition. After all: all work and no play makes Parisians a very cranky bunch. And so, they play. And they don’t compromise, because vacation is a fundamental human right. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 9 Comments »

Provence rentals ‘Chambre Avec Vue’ in Saignon

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Text & Photos by Erica Berman

This charming 1 bedroom apartment is part of an unconventionally chic Provence vacation experience. This is one of my favorite places to spend a few days decompressing, antiquing, hiking, exploring and, of course, eating local. I have been here numerous times, and can’t wait to return!

Chambre Avec Vue is an independent vacation apartment (one of two) is located in a sensuous 18th century home in Saignon, a tiny village perched near the Luberon mountains. Saignon is said to be one of the oldest villages in France and is certainly one of the most charming villages in Provence.  Slightly off the beaten track, this funky vacation rental is a unique mix of restful tones, lovingly selected antiques, & original artwork.

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Although the apartment is separate from the activity of the main house, clients are more than welcome to read, relax, and enjoy the large salon and cozy fire of the tasteful 800m2 “maison de village/maitre bourgeoise.” A combination Bed &Breakfast, contemporary art gallery, artist’s residence, with 2 private apartments, this fresh concept is perfect for those with creative minds and artistic sensibilities.

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Spacious & lush, the private garden located behind the house is perfect for reading, dining, socializing, or simply enjoying the changing seasons and colors of Provence.

The on-site owners, an accomplished artist and a discerning curator with an aesthetic eye, will share with you their love of a certain Provence – a Provence that most tourists staying in a hotel or vacation villa would never suspect exists.

After a day in the picturesque Provençale countryside shopping for antiques, sampling locally grown olives & wines, exploring ancient hillside villages, biking through lavender fields, or hiking the Luberon mountains, “coming home” is always a pleasure for the senses.  Settle into the salon for an afternoon tea & gateaux, or wine baguette and tapenade, with classical music and the scent of lavender as your companions and experience the real Provence.

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Original paintings, quirky creations, photography, and sculpture adorn the pastel walls. This hip home combines an understated elegance and “joie de vivre” with a tranquility of spirit and peaceful simplicity for those seeking the opposite of an anonymous Provence hotel. The exquisite taste of the owners has landed their “maison d’hote” in numerous interior design, art, and architectural magazines; Marie Claire Maison, Elle Decoration, Italian Achitectural Digest, Art News, Travel & leisure to mention a few.

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Each morning, guests enjoy a delicious breakfast of croissants, “tartines”, homemade jams & jellies, fresh fruit, hand-squeezed juice, café au lait, tea or chocolat chaud, muesli, and, of course, stimulating conversation before setting off to discover the Vaucluse; “Peter Mayle’s Provence.”

For those who seek a unique vacation of intimacy, discretion and style not found in a typical Provence hotel, this is the perfect place to unwind and relax.

The spacious and sunny 1 bedroom vacation rental will welcome you with its patina walls, garden view, and cathedral ceiling. The pastel tones will put you at ease immediately. This bright and airy apartment has a king size bed, which can be made into two singles, a dining area, cozy chairs, and a large decorative fireplace. The vacation villa is bathed in natural light. The kitchen contains the essentials you’ll need for simple cooking, allowing you to enjoy the wonderful produce, cheese and wine of Provence in the privacy of your own home. Soak in the 19th century bathtub and relax after a long day of exploring Provence. dscn1686

As Provence properties are often large and expensive, this apartment is the perfect solution for friends, a couple, or a couple and child traveling together on a budget or just not needing a large villa. By renting this apartment, you’ll have much more space and flexibility than you would in most Provence hotels. You’ll be on your own, but not far from the B&B where you’ll have use of the salon and working fireplace, art gallery and the internet (upon request). I can’t recommend this off the beaten track haven in Provence more strongly for the adventuresome travelers among our readers. For those of you who need coddling and concierge services, this is not an ideal rental for you. Enjoy and let us know how it goes. I hope to return this fall.

Kamila Regent et Pierre Jaccaud
chambre de séjour avec vue… demeure d’art et d’hôtes – Apartment rentals B&B and artist residency: chambreavecvue.com

84400 Saignon en Luberon – France – tel/fax : 33-(0)4 90 04 85 01

[email protected]

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Looking for great rentals in Paris, Provence & Tuscany? Check out: haveninparis.com

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