In retrospect, I’m always so glad I write these travel diaries, if nothing else than a visual recollection of places that may become blurry with time. What was that one restaurant on the Left Bank…near that museum? You get my point. What you also don’t see, is the usual itinerary I create before any trip, that I save in a folder that I can always reference. Should I start sharing those on here,too?
If you read yesterday’s (lengthy) post, the first of the two Travel Diaries, I shared all the restaurants and museums we visited. Truth be told, when in Paris, and France in general, eating becomes a main focus. As it should. Fortunately, I traveled with a bit of a food guru and had Social Gold guide me to all the right places. Today, we’re going to be talking about the shopping in Paris, or in other words, my forte. Now, we all know the French fashion houses, and while Of course, they are spectacular, I was more interested in hunting out smaller, perhaps lesser-known boutiques that are rightfully spectacular in their own niche.
Grab your morning coffee and join me!
My weak spot for skin care and natural beauty has taken on a whole new level since I’ve entered into my 30’s. When I was in Florence, I visited the infamous Santa Maria de la Novella, the oldest pharmacy in Italy and it was only right that I do the same when in Paris. Buly was founded in 1803…let that sink in. An old-world apothecary filled with the most beautiful, and surprisingly affordable, beauty products. This shop alone is worth a trip to Paris and in fact, it’s so exceptional that I have an entire post on the blog tomorrow about it. The staff is wonderful, the interior, a sight all it’s own, and the most handsome beauty “pharmacist” I ever did see. Thank you to Jamie Beck for turning me on to their rose body oil that truly smells divine. I managed to pick up their body oil, micellar water, a face essence and the creamiest, most hydrating hand cream I’ve tried. Not to mention, the packaging itself is worth shedding a tear over and they calligraphy your name on each box….
Continuing on the skin care topic, City-pharma is a must to stock up on French (and International brands) for a discounted price. It’s literally mecca for the beauty lover and there are so many brands to discover. I went right before my flight and wish I had more time to explore, but then again, I went with a specific list otherwise, I would have happily gotten lost in there. Stock up on brands like Caudalie, Embryolisse, Avene, Nuxe and more! And as a true pharmacy, it has something for just about anything that ails you- they are big on homeopathy in Europe and have plenty of alternatives to our traditional medicine. Pharmacists are on staff to answer any questions.
What a stunning little shop. Known for their china, all handmade and light as a feather. I specifically went there to find an ornament. I read that they carry quite the collection and indeed, they do. Everything from your grocery list handmade in tiny little glass ornaments, covered in glitter, to hand-beaded evil eyes, clouds and lipsticks. I purchased hand-blown, mercury glass crescent moons and the hand-beaded clouds that have a hanging lightening bolt. They make for the perfect gift. You can also find candles from their collection, agendas, coffee tables books and other tchotchkes. The store itself is set in this uber vintage building, with creaking floorboards and small nooks and crannies to explore. It’s perfection, but be prepared to drop a pretty penny in here.
I was thrilled that our Paris trip dates coincided before Colette officially closes its doors on December 20th (today). For more than 20 years, Colette has been influential in the fashion world, showcasing up and coming designers, collaborations with some of the biggest fashion houses and carrying an extraordinary collection of high fashion, street-ware and accessories. I mean, they even have a waterbar that serves over 100 brands of bottled water. A fantastic selection of coffee table books, small gifts, magazines you’ve never heard of, and an eye for art and detail that is unmatched. Truly the end of an era.
Another concept store, Merci, stocked with everything from small gifts to diamond jewelry, coffee table books, furniture and home-ware. Brands I had never heard the name of, oxford shoes which seem to be all the trend in Paris these days, and even french linen bedding. They even had a library cafe where you can pick a book to read while you sip on your tea. Someone must tell me why more of these concept stores do not exist stateside. Before you even enter into the store, you’re greeted by their iconic red, tiny car that has license plates that read ‘MERCI’ and for the holidays, a breathtaking arrangement of flocked Christmas trees.
The thrill of the hunt has been a part of the driving force behind my shopping addiction habit. We woke up bright and early to head over to the market, and after some navigating in a less than desirable neighborhood, we managed to come across the loveliest of shops. Everything from vintage Chanel, to vintage charms and even that Sandro blazer you all loved! I still regret not picking up a pair of over-sized, gothic-like, jeweled cross earrings (see 2nd photo bottom left hand corner). They had beautiful furniture, albeit pricey, but the overall experience, of rummaging through to find hidden treasures and negotiating with my broken French, made the experience so enjoyable.
Featured in SATC for it’s trendy backdrop as Carrie falls back into her smoking habit after meeting “the Russian’s” beautiful ex wife. You’ll know it by the funky faces adorning the Louis ghost chairs and yes, it’s just as cool and hip as you would expect. The upstairs serves dinner with an outrageous view of the city while downstairs the DJ plays great tunes with an international crowd. It’s just as brilliant in the day as it is at night. Make a reservation ahead of time.
I won’t talk you ear off anymore about Hotel Costes, except that there is a reason this place has such a great rep. Tuck yourself away into one of the velvet, tufted couches, grab a glass of bubbly and drift away with the music their current resident DJ is spinning. The entire bar/restaurant is washed with a golden/red light that gives it that seductive and sexy vibe. Jet-setting crowd. Please, just go.
Burlesque, baby. I’m really not sure what more I need to say- it was fun, erotic, the women were gorgeous, incredibly interactive and it was so much fun!
Truth be told, I’ve been to Paris several times and have seen the tourist spots that are a must. I tend to revisit a few every time I go back for obvious reasons, hello Eiffel Tower. Truly, Paris is a spectacular city to explore by foot, meandering the streets, popping in and out of boutiques and eating a croissant while walking is what makes the city so incredibly romantic.
If you’re still reading, congratulations on your stamina! I hope you enjoyed this makeshift photo travel diary of Paris. By far, one of my most epic trips I’ve taken and I would love to hear your thoughts- would you like to see more of these when I travel? I always love hearing your feedback!