November 5, 2012
Having grown up on CVS and Walgreens, the French pharmacy was a revelation to me. Anyone who has ever been lured by the glowing green cross knows that pharmacies in France shill more than medicine and bath staples. They’re cosmetic wonderlands that offer some of the most ingenious—not to mention luxurious—products around.
For a long time, a trip to France meant loading up on these goods and then painstakingly rationing them in between visits, but of late, they’ve begun to invade new markets. In New York, at least, you can now find brands like La Roche-Posay, Vichy, Klorane and Avène right in Duane Reade. Duane Reade! Continue Reading »
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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.” Continue Reading »
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December 17, 2010
The plight of the Francophile is that, more often than not, he or she doesn’t live in France. In fact, it’s quite possible that he or she has never even been to France, or at least, not with any frequency. But because separation makes the heart grow fonder (and sometimes downright obsessive), we must come up with coping mechanisms to keep the French dream alive, no matter where we are.
If I were super-motivated, I’d be hosting regular French film soirées and presiding over a French lit-themed book club, but alas, that all sounds much too Type-A. For now, I will indulge in the little things that help me feel closer to the country where I really belong (and where I would be, if there were any justice in this world).
1. Tarragon Mustard. Maille whips up a delightful version, but I am partial to the Edmond Fallot variety, which I slather on whatever happens to be lying around.
Caudalie / Tarragon Mustard Julien Hausherr
2. Roger & Gallet products. Their Tilleul (Linden Blossom) moisturizing cream changed my life, and I will forever associate its scent with my cozy little studio on rue Mouffetard. Abroad, you can find these products in department stores and boutiques that carry high-end bath products.
3. Fleur de Sel de Guérande. Keeping a container of this fancy sea salt in the kitchen ups the ante of just about any dish, and will inevitably impress your foodie friends. Sassy food blogger David Lebovitz explains why this salt is all it’s cracked up to be.
Continue Reading »
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April 22, 2010
We know, we know… enough about the volcano already. But for those stranded in Paris, it’s still the issue of the moment. From my current position in New York, I refuse to pity you, and I’m secretly hoping that when I return to Paris in May, the tectonic plates will shift in a way that will force me to stay there forever. Fingers crossed!
But for now, why not kill a few hours by picking up some unique Parisian items while you still have the chance? We’ve written at length about particular shops and goods in Paris. Here are a few favorites that are well worth checking out while you wait for the ash to settle.
Merci Store – Photo by Erica Berman
Merci. This spacious concept store has everything from home goods to vintage clothes and fresh flowers. You could literally spend a whole day inside, stopping for lunch at the restaurant in the basement or fueling up on coffee in the library’s cozy cafe. The best part? A large part of the proceeds are used to support a young women’s co-op in Madagascar. Continue Reading »
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