Posts Tagged ‘Shopping’

Three Shops I Cannot Wait to Visit in Paris

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Merci Merci, Paris

As soon as I return from a trip to Paris, I start another file folder filled with places I must see, shop, eat and visit in Paris.  My folder is exploding with so many great things!  It IS time to return.  My next trip is in October and I wanted to share three places where I hope to spend many (dropping) Euros.

1.  Merci 111 boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003

This shop has been on my radar for some time.  I started reading little blurbs here and there about it and this little photo at the top has been popular in Pinterest.  It is filled with unique, stylish and chic items that will undoubtedly make me more unique, stylish and chic.  I shall visit there as soon as I get to Paris!!!

2.  Heurtault Paris 85 avenue Daumesnil, 75012

I have already warned my husband that I will be carrying an umbrella back on the plane home.  He reminded me that it is my umbrella and I will be doing all of the handling.  Fine!  I don’t care if he won’t hold it for me.  Look how beautiful they are!  I most definitely will be the chicest girl in the California rain.

3.  Les 3 marches de Catherine B.  1 rue Guisarde, 75006

I love Hermes.  I know, what girl doesn’t?  I have waited long enough for my dream Birkin.  I think I have a better chance of discovering one here.  I first found Catherine B. on Twitter.  And, from what I can gather from her French tweets, she is THE woman to go to for vintage designer goods.  Not only does she have Hermes bags, I believe she has quite a collection of vintage Chanel.  Don’t worry, I will give you the low down when I return!

Will you be in Paris before my October trip?  Please share your shopping lists and help me discover great Paris treasures!

Become a Paris Insider!

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

We are thrilled to announce that we have a five part “Insider’s Guide to Paris” that we would like to share with you.
It will give you loads of advice on where to stay in Paris, how to get around the city,
our tips on where to find the best food and of course, our insider secrets onthe most romantic things to do in Paris.

Are you ready to become a Paris Insider?

Breton Stripes

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Audrey Hepburn 

As the tulips start to bloom in the spring, I always find some version of the Breton striped shirt on the racks of my favorite stores.  Every time I see one, I am reminded of Paris and I was curious about its history.

In 1858, the striped, knitted shirt became the uniform for all French Navy seaman in Brittany.  The original design had 21 stripes, one for each of Napoleon’s victories. It eventually became a popular article of clothing to wear for fishermen and sailors because the stripes were easily visible in the waves if they were thrown overboard.  In 1889, the Saint James company  became the main manufacturer and still sells the traditional version today.

James Dean

In the 1950′s, the Breton sweaters and shirts were fast becoming stylish among the “beatnik” community.  Hollywood followed suit and the celebrities began wearing similar versions of the striped shirt.  It began to take on different shapes and proportions as fashion houses including Jean Paul Gaultier, Gucci and Balmain created their version of the sweater.  Once the big fashion houses started showing the navy and white tops, they became more mainstream and are now sold in J. Crew, The Gap and other American department stores.  They can be found in the traditional style and in very stylized versions like dresses, tank tops, with French blue stripes or in red and white stripes.  Yes, Parisians do wear them.  Typically, they are worn by women and usually under a trench coat or blazer.

I know I’m bringing my Breton stripe top with me the next time I go to Paris.  I have just the right black capri pants and khaki trench coat to wear it with.  And, now that I know the history behind the shirt, maybe I’ll wear it while I cruise down the Seine.  That way if I fall off the boat, they will have no problem finding me!

My Best Day in Paris – Jack

Friday, April 20th, 2012

La Rotisserie d’en Face

My best day in Paris starts with breakfast on the patio of the apartment.  I eat a slab of pate and a crusty baguette with a few shots of espresso.  I set out for a museum.  My wife and I have a deal.  We start with 30 minutes of art and then she can shop for the rest of the day.  I really enjoy the musee de Cluny (6 place Paul Painlevé, 75005) and it is small enough that I feel like I see most of what I want to see.  She likes it, too.  I can usually sway her to stay at least an hour!   Once we start shopping, I inevitably find a shop or two that I must visit.  I enjoy antique books and Guillaumot (16 Rue de Valois, near the Palais Royal) has a wonderful selection.   I prefer to eat a simple lunch at the boulangerie my wife chooses.  I can find a jambon sandwich just about anywhere and of course, another espresso.  Before heading back to the apartment to rest, we stop at Mariage Feres for a late afternoon tea.  We use this time to peruse guide books and decide where we will visit the next day.  One of my most favorite restaurants is La Rotisserie d’en Face (2 Rue Christine, 75006).  It is pretty small and we always make friends with a couple sitting next to us.  After dinner, we usually stroll around Saint-Germain-des-Pres and then make our way back to the apartment to sleep and start over again the next day.

Our Three Favorite Places to Buy “Unmentionables” in Paris

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Paris is known for many things; Baguettes, the Eiffel Tower, Moulin Rouge, escargot and yes….lingerie.  Parisian women take their ”unmentionables” very seriously.   While they may hold onto a pair of trousers or a sweater for years, their lingerie wardrobe is kept up with fresh, sexy and stylish additions regularly.  Some of the most luxurious lingerie stores can be found in Paris, but even at the local Monoprix, the selection of underpinnings beats what can be found in the US anytime.  Discover the best of what Paris has to offer at every price range in our top 5 picks for places to buy lingerie in Paris.

1.  Galeries Lafayette is one of the fabulous department stores in Paris and lingerie heaven.  Just about every price point, style and size of undergarments can be found here.  This is where you want to go to stock up on basics.   We love the French brand Huit.

Sabbia Rosa

2.  Sabbia Rosa is located in the 6th arrondissement.  It is a tiny little shop filled to the brim with the most lovely camisoles, briefs, slips and negligees.  We put it on our radar after we read that Madonna shops here.  It can be quite expensive so we always try to budget at least one cami into our shopping list.  73 rue des Sts-Pères, 6e, Paris

Fifi Chachnil

3.  Fifi Chachnil is pure,  flirty feminine.  Ruffles, lace, bows and feathers…all things that make a woman feel and look like a goddess. The shoppe is so fun, even if you are just there to browse.  231 Rue St. Honore, 1e, Paris

Flea Market Finds

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Puces de Vanves

If you want a morning of bargain shopping and unusual finds, you should absolutely visit some of the Paris flea markets. You will be sure to see some great deals, some glimpses into Paris life and some of the most interesting people that call this city home. One of a kind treasures, plenty of junk and your fair share of quirk. The three largest flea markets are held on the outskirts of town so hop on a bus and don’t forget your bargaining skills. If you are going to head out to the markets, there are few tips you should keep handy.

The early bird gets the worm. If you are a serious scavenger, it will be worth your while to get up with the sun. The best deals will go quickly in the morning so to get your pick, grab your espresso to go. If you aren’t in the market to buy, rather to soak in the culture, no rush. Mid-morning is when the markets really liven up and the real action begins. If you can plan ahead, peruse the stalls around meal times. The masses will part temporarily to fill their stomachs and the vendors will be relaxed enjoying a meal of their own. They may even share a glass of wine with you.

Flea market shopping is not the time to carry lots of accessories. Leave as much behind at your weekly apartment rentals in Paris. No need for pocketbooks or large bags, just a shoppers tote will suffice to carry home your treasures. Pick pockets love a good crowd so be cautious. Never carry your passport. The best thing to do is carry cash secured on your person. Oddly enough, if your looking for a bargain, leave or hide your camera as well. That tips off vendors that you are a tourist and bargaining might not work in your favor. Speaking of bargaining, don’t be afraid to ask. Being polite and using a little tact can really go a long way. Sometimes you can get an additional 10-15% off by just chatting with the vendors and trying a little charm.

When you are shopping through the markets always make a point to speak when you approach a booth. A simple ” Bonjour!” and ” Merci” for their time will start you off on the right foot. You should always make a point to attempt to speak a little French and at least acknowledge each vendor while you are browsing their booth. You don’t need to attempt an entire conversation, pleasantries will be appreciated. My favorite thing to do at a flea market, people watch. It doesn’t cost a thing and you can really learn about the culture and locals. Grab a baguette and saunter through the flea market scene.

Les Puces de Saint-Ouen spans 17 acres with over 2500 vendors. Open Saturday thru Monday.
Marché d’Aligre, open Tuesday through Sunday, is made up of both a covered and an open-air market.
Puces de Vanves is open on Saturdays and Sundays. 350 vendors with a wide variety of treasures.

Shopping in Paris

Friday, May 13th, 2011


For a shopping enthusiast, no trip to Paris is complete without plenty of time spent on their favorite activity – shopping! Lucky for those of you have saved a few dollars by staying in a Paris apartment rental instead of a hotel, fashionistas, foodies, and those looking for flea-market treasures will all find plenty of opportunities to collect their own personal treasures.

Haute Couture
Travelers in search of Haute Couture styles will enjoy exploring the shops on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and Avenue Montaigne. Here, well-known clothiers and jewelers, such as Chanel, Cartier, and Christian Dior, and others, can be found. For leather goods, such as shoes and handbags, shoppers should look to Rue du Cherche-Midi and Rue de Grenelle.
Shopping Centers and Department Stores
After purchasing some high fashion luxury items, shoppers may also want to check out some of Paris’s excellent shopping centers and department stores. At Forum des Halles dedicated shoppers can look through the 180 stores to find many different clothing styles. While some shoppers have difficulty with the large size, some dedicated digging can turn up lower-budget copies of Parisian trends.
Boulevard Haussmann houses two of the most famous Parisian department stores, Printemps and Galleries Lafayette. There is something for all shoppers in these rival stores, which carry designer, brand name, and private label stock. Shoppers looking for clothing and elegant food should head to Le Bon Marché in the Left Bank. After purchasing some trendy clothes, shoppers can head to one of the adjoining food establishments and enjoy a relaxing lunch before heading back to your short term Paris rental or hotel.
Flea Markets
Those looking for more of a challenge will love to dig through Paris’s flea markets for treasure. Major markets can be found in Porte de Vanves and Porte de Montreuil. Early risers are more likely to reap flea markets’ rewards, as many of the best bargains are gone as early as six or seven in the morning.
Open Air Markets
While there are now a number of convenient supermarkets in Paris, locals often choose to frequent the many open-air markets instead. With nearly seventy open-air markets specializing in everything from organic vegetables to fresh flowers, there is sure to be a close market that will meet anyone’s needs.
Book Collecting
Books in Paris may seem expensive to the average reader. However, collectors will enjoy browsing the shops along the Seine River for rare or first-edition copies of their favorite books. For French language books, the FNAC is the place to be. Two of the better-known English language book dealers are Brentano’s and Shakespeare and Co.
Whether the plan is to window shop or purchase a little of everything, Paris has many opportunities for shopping and many of our Paris vacation rentals are only steps away. From haute couture, to flea market bargains, to rare books, there is something for everyone in Paris.

Bercy Village

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

For most people, you either have never heard of Bercy Village, or you’ve heard that it’s a tacky “faux” village in the heart of Paris. Nevertheless, we would definitely recommend spending an afternoon poking around this urban-renewal project. Essentially, Bercy Village consists largely of late 19th Century warehouses that were spared from decay and transformed into small shops & restaurants of urban design & architecture.  Note that there aren’t any furnished apartment rentals in Paris’s Bercy Village, but it’s a great place to visit.  However, if you are looking to rent an apartment in Paris near Bercy Village, we provide a few great options all around the 12th Arrondissement.

The project of salvaging these nearly condemned warehouses began in 1990, and many people believe that this project was what launched Paris into its overall cleanup. What I found particularly endearing was that Valode & Pistre (the firm in charge of the transformation) opted to retain the nineteenth century architecture, including the old cobblestoned lanes, to keep the villages’ soul & charm.
The retail in Bercy Village is relatively upscale, but there are a few budget stores with unique retail.  You’ll find French classics like Agnes B., Sephora & L’Occitane – and unique finds like Sense & Sense (an amazing little store selling everything from food, perfume, music, & home décor). There are also a milieu of art galleries, beauty parlors & restaurants.   If you are staying in a long term apartment rental in Paris, you can purchase some kitchenware from Alice Delight, which is a store for all cooking enthusiasts, both beginner and expert.
Bercy Village is located in the 12th Arrondissement, and can be easily accessed using the metro on Line 14 to Cour Saint-Emilion.  It is usually open from 11am-9pm, so it can be visited virtually any time of day. Also, save some time to visit the Bercy Village Park, which offers great areas for children, gardeners, plant lovers & beautiful places for a stroll.

Paris’ Perfume Museum

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Photo credit: Fragonard Perfume Museum

The City of Love is the heart of many indulgences from wine, bread, chocolate, fashion & even perfume! In fact, Paris has been the core of perfume making since the 17th Century, making tantalizing fragrances from flowers, leaves, mosses, herbs & spices. So, during your stay in Paris you owe it to yourself (and your nose) to visit the world renowned Musee du Parfum, Fragonard in Paris.

The Parfumerie Fragonard opened its factory in 1926 in the town of Grasse in honor of a native painter, Jean-Honore Fragonard. The Fragonard museum & boutique in Paris is located in the 9th Arrondissement at 9 rue Scribe 75009 Paris, France.  If you’re renting an apartment in Paris near the Garnier Opera, you can access the Fragonard museum on foot.   Otherwise, you can use the Metro lines 3,7 & 8 and get off at Opera, or the RER A and get off at Auber. The museum is open Monday-Saturday 9am-6pm & Sunday from 9am-5pm.
The museum itself actually used to be a Paris vacation rental that belonged to Napoleon III in 1860, but was converted into a museum in 1983.  You’ll be happy to hear that Fragonard’s perfume museum doesn’t charge entrance fees or tour fees. Of course, you are welcome to be your own tour guide, as all the displays are written in English.  As you explore this relatively small museum, you’ll see antique Victorian exhibits displaying centuries of perfume along with some history.  You may even learn a secret or two about the art of making perfume (did you know that it takes over 400lbs of lavender to make 2lbs of extract?) Also, you’ll have to check out the “perfume organ”, which is a room that looks like a fancy chemistry lab with literally shelves upon shelves of fragrance bottles (think the potions lab from a Harry Potter story).
After you’ve finished your tour, you’ll find your way into Fragonard’s Boutique, where you can spray yourself with samples, or even make a few purchases.  Don’t worry, sales pressure is virtually non-existent; but nevertheless you’d be missing out if you didn’t make just a small purchase! There is something for everybody in the boutique, and it’s not limited to perfume.  You’ll find cologne, creams, scrubs, luxury soaps, bath salts, home fragrances, candles & even scented pillows!  And contrary to what you might think, the prices are not out of this world; most perfumes range from $55-$75 and other additives can be as cheap as $8.  So, if you can spare a few dollars, you can purchase Fragonard’s native perfume and some home fragrances to spice up your Paris luxury apartment during your stay (just keep some to bring home upon your return!).

Shopping in Paris

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Shopping in Paris is definitely an activity you can’t miss, and it doesn’t necessarily have to pose a threat to your budget.  You could walk virtually anywhere in Paris and find good shopping with the hundreds of boutiques scattered around the city, but there are some specialized areas definitely worth a visit. In fact, there are likely going to be some fabulous boutiques a few doors down from your apartment rental in Paris.  Below are a few little tips on how to make the most of your shopping experience in Paris!

If you’re looking to combine a cultural atmosphere with your shopping, I’d suggest going to a flea or farmer’s market, where you can find fashion, souvenirs, antiques, perfumes & foods. You can also take a stroll down the river Seine and discover some more quaint little stores while seeing the many landmarks around the city.
For those of you in a place where money isn’t a problem, there are some high-end areas that offer première French fashion.  Streets like rue des Francs-Borgeios in the Marais district offer loads of high fashion like Coco Chanel, Christian Doir & Hermes . If you’re looking for art, just around the corner from the Orsay Museum in St. Germain des Pres is the rue de Seine, rue du Bac & rue Jacob.
For those of you who travel on a budget (like me), worry not! There are plenty of alternatives that offer great fashion at great deals, such as the various department stores and flea markets.  Champs Elysees offers a wide range of shopping, with both luxury and budget options.  If you’re staying in a Paris luxury apartment rental in the area, you could honestly spend days walking up and down the streets and still not see it all.
As you may have figured, Parisian fashion is a good reason to pack light when you arrive.  If you’re lucky enough to stay in furnished apartment rental in Paris, you’ll have a full closet to store all your fashionable purchases.  By the time you come back, you’ll be ready for the red carpet! Well…at the very least you’ll stand out at the next dinner party you attend.