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.
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February 20, 2014
Located in the shop-lined streets south of Pigalle, Sept Cinq offers concept shopping along with a cozy café setting. Taking its name, “Seven Five”, from the same postal code where they source their stock, this innovative boutique features locally made jewelry, handbags, and other accessories all created within the city of Paris.
Finding and supporting local producers is a big part of my life abroad. I scour the city’s markets to find local farmers, I serve locally brewed beer at my house parties, and I spend my time in cafés enjoying in-house roasted coffee.
So why would my shopping habits change when it comes to what I gift, wear, and decorate my house with? Thankfully, Sept Cinq provides an outlet for the fashion-minded locavore. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 1 Comment »
December 17, 2013
One reason I love discovering Paris’ open-air markets is because these explorations take me to distant corners and new-to-me neighborhoods in this ceaselessly charming city. Shopping in Paris is not a mere materialistic venture, it’s a veritable touristy adventure- for native Parisians and visitors alike.
While the pressure of Christmas shopping can be overwhelming, finding the perfect gift for the brother or bestie who has it all is infinitely more pleasurable when it involves perusing artisanal and French-made products in some of the city’s most charming and unique boutiques and neighborhoods. Here are some suggestions on where to find unique French gifts for everyone on your list.
Foodie friends and home chefs will be thrilled to find their stockings stuffed with traditional French cookware and ingredients. Find great gifts for both experienced and novice cooks at E. Dehillerin, which stocks French-made cookware and accessories that make perfect additions to the Francophile kitchen. Continue Reading »
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November 19, 2013
Paris’ 18th arrondissement, to the north of the city, is a vast and varied area, encompassing some of the most affluent enclaves (right up at the top of the hill) and some of the shadiest (La Goutte d’Or), as well as one of the city’s most frequented tourist spots — Le Sacre Coeur and the surrounding streets and squares in Montmartre.
But slightly off the beaten track is the more unassuming part of this neighborhood: the residential area in the foothills of Montmartre, extending from the arrondissement’s town hall – where I happen to have lived for the best part of a decade – which is well worth the detour to discover the lesser known shops, restaurants and more that the guide-book clutching hoards are yet to discover.
Manufacture Parisienne (Kim Laidlaw)
Here is a selection of my favorite new and newish places that look set to make this part of the 18th a destination on any discerning visitor or local’s itinerary. Food in the area ranges from a quick bite and coffee right up to fine French dining. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews, Shopping | 6 Comments »
October 31, 2013
No matter what brings you to Paris, chances are you plan to do some shopping while you’re here. But what if your budget was eaten up by airfare and accommodations? Pas de problème.
There are plenty of ways to score fashionable finds in Paris without breaking that stretched bank account. Just shop like a local. Here’s our cheat sheet for chic (and wearable) souvenirs on a shoestring.
Consign here, please
If the thought of trolling the racks at Goodwill or picking through piles of malodorous cast-offs makes you break out in hives, have no fear. Paris has taken resale to a whole new level. In virtually every quartier, you’ll find several consignments shops (dépôt-vente). Continue Reading »
Posted in Fashion, Parisian Living, Shopping | 21 Comments »
October 9, 2013
Hot on the heals of the ethical department store, Merci, comes a chic newcomer: the much vaunted Centre Commercial at 2 rue de Marseille in Paris’ 10th arrondissement.
As a conscientious citizen of the world, I’m happy to join the chorus singing this new concept store the praise it deserves. The idea is simple: ecological and ethical fashion that supports small-scale artisan industry in countries all over the world.
Sébastien Kopp, the co-founder of the innovative eco-sneaker brand, Veja, is responsible for this latest foray into stylish, well-made, ecological fashion − and the carefully culled results presented in this light and airy emporium, are surprisingly chic. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 3 Comments »
October 25, 2012
Beer, frites, comics. Blah, blah, blah. No disrespect to lovers of ambers and ales, salty, fried foods, or Tintin, but there’s so much more to Brussels, capital of Belgium—capital of all of Europe—than these perennially touted attractions. Here are three lesser-celebrated reasons to hop on a train and make the 80-minute trip from Paris.
Chocolate boutique in Brussels (flavijus)
At first glance, the architecture in Brussels is incongruous—ugly, even. But in that odd stew of styles are treasures from many eras. Continue Reading »
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September 13, 2012
On a rare afternoon off, I took a stroll in Paris and came upon 5 Octobre and Sophie, its adorable owner. She has wonderful gem of a boutique selling her handmade jewelry in the Marais. After hearing a little bit more about her unusual story, I’m so glad to share it with you here – Erica
How did decide to move from being a lawyer to making jewelry? Was the stop gradual or brutal?
It was a long process because I have been passionate about accessories since my childhood. I was already very creative, and the dream was ingrained very deeply – I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide I wanted to make jewelry. When I was 10 years old, I was already collecting beads and stones and turning them into jewelry for my friends.
I was also always a bit of an intellectual, so law satisfied that aspect of my personality, but it wasn’t creative enough. I traveled a lot as a lawyer; the time spent in transit allowed me to spend time dreaming about a new career that would fulfill a larger part of myself. My family is involved in fashion; my mother is a creative buyer for several stores she owns, so that helped me to envision a project that was both creative and professional.
Were your friends and family supportive of the change?
Everyone supports me (my husband first, my parents as well), but I knew the change of social status might not be as easy. Being a lawyer is quite well considered and I didn’t know if I would succeed in this new venture. Continue Reading »
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May 31, 2012
At My French Country Home in Normandy, we love to go antiquing. We welcome guests from all over the world, from private shoppers looking to experience real French brocantes (flea markets) and hopefully bring back a special souvenir of their holiday in France, to professionals looking for hidden gems to add a little French je-ne-sais-quoi to their boutiques.
Bedrooms decorated with brocante finds
Here is how it went for a recent client, Jeni, who came to shop for her vintage rental company in California. She was only here for 24 hours, but thanks to careful planning and her ability to make quick decisions, she managed to purchase all kinds of amazing loot! Continue Reading »
Posted in Shopping, Tours and Classes, Travel | 13 Comments »
May 27, 2011
Given that Parisians set the international standard for chic, it’s a bit tricky (as an étrangère) to figure out how to blend in among the locals. I’ve never considered myself a particularly risqué dresser, but when I moved to Paris, it was clear that some pieces I had worn in New York suddenly felt downright scandalous alongside the low-key, layered look of Parisians.
During seasonal transitions, the challenge of dressing for Paris is compounded by the unpredictable climate—it can be sweltering one minute, hailing the next—but this need not lead to bipolarity of the wardrobe.
Just do as the French do—layer accordingly and do not surrender your personal style to seasonal shifts. A few rules to keep you looking sharp as we move from spring into summer:
1. Lighten your layers. Warm-weather dressing in Paris is not really about shorter and skimpier; it’s about looser and lighter. It’s not about less layering; it’s about different layering. Switch your wool, cashmere and suede pieces for similar items in summer-appropriate materials (linen, cotton). This way, you’ll still look like you, but you won’t spiral into a heat-induced rage.
2. Show a little leg. Paris is not a cleavage-bearing city. Over-exposed décolletage always shocks me here—perhaps because it happens so infrequently. In the summer, however, you can get away with wearing shorter hemlines (just make sure to balance them out with more coverage up top). French women masterfully pair short dresses with tailored blazers, and shorts with modest menswear-inspired shirts. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 3 Comments »