Monday, August 29, 2011

Where Did You Find That!

Where Did You Find That!

A group of us took a trip after we graduated college to Paris for a week. Some of us had been a few times, studied abroad there, and some had never been before. We did the typical touristy thing and went to the Louvre, Eiffel Tower and various other attractions, but because I had been so many times I decided to take us on a few adventures....

After a night out, we decided to venture around the 7th (Paris is split into arrondissements, also known as sections, 20 to be exact) and find a vintage shop that I had been told great things about. We mapped out our route and figured it should only take about 5 minutes to walk there... needless to say, 45 minutes later we still weren't there...everyone was beginning to lose faith.

Finally, my purse obsessed friend spotted a vintage Louis that SHE of all people had never seen before... this seriously must be a one of a kind. We stopped in and instantly she told us she must have it... ding ding SOLD! We grabbed her after her first purchase and ran out before she continued buying the store...

At this point, it had been over a hour, we were hungry, lost, and confused...then in front of us we spotted a street with a few shops- let's go! I confidently stated that this was my plan all along! (psshh little did they know) After taking 5 steps, we stumbled upon possibly the smallest store known to man, with more stuffed in it than a Thanksgiving Turkey. It was there that I spotted my vintage Celine gold circle necklace, worn by old celebs and restored... I was in heaven. An hour later and 3 bags each, we left feeling happy, satisfied, and accomplished. Not EVEN a huge dent in our wallets, SCORE! Little somethings for ourselves and gifts galore for our families... I would have to say, GREAT SUCCESS and lesson learned- walking the streets of Paris until you are lost, hungry, and delirious is the only way to find that special something ;)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Private Shopping Tours

Private Shopping Tours

If you are looking for a personalized tour please contact us directly. Do a self guided tour that we put together specifically for your needs, a guided tour with one of our unique shopping tour guides, or have your tour chauffeured with one of our English speaking drivers. Shop for clothes, chocolates, linens, jewelry, vintage, whatever makes you happy! We even offer an opportunity to have jewelry created just for you! Why wait… contact us now!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Paris Flea Markets

Paris Flea Markets

Paris Flea Markets are a different animal.

Many of the flea markets here in the states are simply cheap prices and hit or miss items. You could go one week and find exactly what you were looking for and then go back the next and not find a single thing. So of course when the suggestion of Paris flea markets came up on my last trip, I had my reservations.

I had visited several markets in Paris in the past and was really turned off by the hawkers and frankly, tacky items… I’ve already been thoroughly disappointed each time. I know what to expect- a million people running around like chickens with their heads cut off while vendors shove items down your throat. Not my idea of a good time. I was ASSURED that this time would be different if I just let her take the lead. Sure, why not.

We arrive, zoom past the normal chaos of the front markets and land ourselves in a completely different area. Side street upon side street of dazzling items, room to walk, vendors catering to people IN actual stores, not those running past them. Alas I can actually see 10 feet in front of me! Little cafes, crepes, ICE CREAM… hmm I could get used to this.

We start with tapestries, not my thing, but the owners are so pleasant and the prices are great! Clearly, my mother and her interior decorator side are in heaven. I wait patiently, fantasizing about the possibility of things I might find, then stop myself, don’t get your hopes up, you don’t want to be let down again! We leave, smiles on both our faces, obviously for different reasons at this point.

I am overwhelmed by what I see, what I want, and the array of items calling my name! Then I see it…a 1950’s green, fur hood, aviator bomber jacket, the real McCoy… I’m intrigued. I slip it on and it fits perfectly. I stare into the mirror and am in awe at what looks back at me, this is beautiful, unique, classic, and it FITS! My smile now stretches from ear to ear, we look at the price tag and it’s… wait for it….REASONABLE… it’s decided we must get it! First purchase and I am beyond ecstatic.

We continue on…vintage Hermes ties, one of a kind Chanel pieces not only no longer made, but barely a handful ever sold, one of a kind Goyard bags, unique furniture, men’s, women’s, children’s clothes, paintings, exotic jewelry, china, accessories and more… o my! We spend almost the entire day and at the end of it, I look at my Mother and say… I want to move in.

Lesson learned- never underestimate the flea markets, and never go “unchaperoned” you will end up lost and unsatisfied… take it from me…an experienced shopper.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Paris Chocolate

Paris Chocolate

It’s true, Chocolate is better in Paris. Don’t believe me? Plan your next trip to include a stopover in Paris and experience it for yourself!

I have eaten many chocolates but believe it or not, was a diehard Hershey’s chocolate fan...kisses to be exact, straight from the source in Hershey Pa. Hands down, no competition. I know, seems a little pedestrian, but I had sampled quite a few mini blocks from around the globe. Reese’s peanut butter cups, Chocolate and peanut butter, who ever thought of this was just pure genius. Just ask ET!

So I ask again, how is chocolate BETTER in Paris? Well, I will tell you…imagine biting into the most decadent piece of candy you have ever had melt in your mouth. It’s fresh, exotic, seductive, the magical vapor trail of chocolate decadence drawing you in as soon as you walk into the store. You are overwhelmed by the delicate fragrance, the silky texture of each little pristine morsel beckoning you to try one. No, not factory chocolate, but handmade, piece by piece, by artisanal hands, straight to perfection. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate caramel, chocolate pecans, chocolate and coconut, chocolate and bountiful fruits from faraway places, chocolate with chocolate and more chocolate…oh please, I need a little napkin as my mouth has succumbed to the temptation...

And you can’t just have one… they are my latest petits opiacés. Your hand glides toward that box, over and over; Oops, quelle horreur (what a horror)… the package is empty! Where can I get more!!

Of course there are chocolate shops everywhere in Paris…some are better than others, but imagine being able to just stop in and purchase hand made chocolate at places dedicated to selling JUST CHOCOLATE, are they trying to make me huge???

La Maison du chocolat, La Mere de Famille, Le Chat Bleu….Michel Ch….no he is my secret hero. You will have to find him on your own. Take it from me, I turned a non chocolate lover, I know how can this be, into a chocolate guru after just ONE visit… so go ahead, I dare you… try some!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Paris In July

Paris In July

Paris in July! Sales, picnics, lovers strolling hand in hand, people watching, kir royal (my favorite drink!) and fireworks!! We’ll skip past the lovers right now; that's a whole other blog.

Paris in July is so full of life, I could barely wait to drop my suitcase and head for the boulangerie. Diet be damned; I ate my way through croissants, crepes and crème brulee, naming only a few of course. The chocolate opportunities are endless.

Eating in Paris for me is as sensual an experience as shopping: each little morsel to be savored. I don’t know how it happens, whether it is that I walk everywhere or calories really don’t count there but my gustatory splurges don’t seem to do much damage. I can’t say the same for the shopping expeditions.

This time, I focused on accessories. Who knew they could add up so fast and at the flea markets, no less. That little Chanel necklace with her signature camellia and the Hermes ties for all the men in my life…calme toi… no scandalous affairs…that Goyard bag that NO ONE else had but me. It’s all worth it. The sales take a strong constitution, experience, and a plan but armed with that, the possibilities are endless…boutiques, department stores, flea markets and street markets. They all have something unique.

Bastille Day (French National Day!) brought a different kind of excitement. Fireworks! I stayed close enough to the Tour Eiffel to walk to a great vantage point to watch the spectacle…and what a spectacle. From the bridge, I with thousands of others craned our necks, oohed and aahed and ate, of course, while the show began and ended with a magical vibe matched only by the colors and spirit of the crowd. Vive la France! And vive French food and shopping!

A la prochaine…

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My First Trip To Paris

My First Trip To Paris

I was 11 years old when I first visited Paris. We took the trip during the Holiday season and I was hesitant about being away from home for Christmas. How would Santa find us? How would we get our presents? And most importantly what if they didn’t have the right kind of cookies to leave for the reindeer? I was assured that Santa would find us and Christmas would be just like at home; however I was not fully convinced.

When I stepped off the plane in Paris for the first time I was overwhelmed: the sounds I heard were beautiful but incomprehensible and next to security guards carrying guns the size of me, well it was a lot to behold! What exactly could they be looking for? It was Christmas. Who could they shoot at Christmas! One of the guards winked at me and somehow managed to squeeze a half laugh three quarter smile out of me. I was reassured that everything would be ok. Still not convinced though.

We got our bags, went through customs, and got into a cab. The cab driver drove wildly out of control; where was he taking us and if he didn’t slow down how would we even get there?? I was beginning to regret agreeing to this trip.

Finally we turned onto a tiny side street and stopped in front of a door. The streets were so unique and narrow as were the buildings and the enormous doors! It was freezing cold and drizzling yet everyone was impeccably dressed. Somehow my brother’s batman cape fluttering in the wind even looked less ridiculous. I felt as if I were in a dream. Everyone and everything moved to a different rhythm... I couldn’t help stopping and trying to take it all in. Maybe I would like this place after all...

I was eager to see what could be behind that gargantuan door in front of us, as I wondered ‘is everything in Paris bigger than life?’ We walked in and I was in awe. The kitchen was in the main room with the bathroom off to one side. There were windows as tall as the sky, which I soon learned was Santa’s Parisian entry. A wooden ladder took us upstairs to the bedroom; it was like a tree house inside!

We left the apartment in search of a tiny Christmas tree. We walked across a bridge that looked over the Isle de France. Everything sparkled. We found a tiny tree…tiny compared to what we would have had at home, but I was too distracted by the incredible little treat, a crepe with nutella, to notice.

As we took our little snow-covered tree back to our home away from home for the holidays, the shopkeeper ran after us screaming incomprehensibly in French. I was frozen in my tracks but my mother was smiling so warmly, I couldn’t help but wonder what in the world was going on. He handed her the most precious handmade ornament for our tree! He took my mom by the shoulders and kissed both her cheeks and then the same for me despite my chocolaty face and wished us a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday in Paris.

At that moment I knew… this was my first visit to Paris but by no means would it be my last. I was touched by the magic of Paris and I still am….

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Je Ne Sais Quoi of Shopping In Paris

The Je Ne Sais Quoi of Shopping in Paris

The Je ne sais quoi of shopping in Paris…how does one define it.

It is something to be savored like fine wine or that little tiny piece of heavenly chocolate from Michel Chaudun that is better than sinful.

It’s the scarf you take home; you know the vintage Dries van Noten you picked up in the chic 7th, the shop just off Rue Cler. You wear it to the little dinner party you’re throwing for a few friends and associates back home. The table you set is, oh so…French…. layered with the tapestry and antique linens you picked up in Cligancourt (Paris Flea Markets!) and positively glowing in the candlelight from the little candles you picked up in, of all places, Monoprix!! Who knew? Shhhh…. your guests don’t know.

You glide past them, trailing that incredible scarf, leaving a vapor trail of silky dark fragrance; you found that perfume in the salons de palais royal, or did it find you. The bell jars of Serge Lutens. The name alone leaves an impression but not quite like that scent. They are whispering about it and you, as you pour another Kir Royal.

You don’t mind; all but one of those little comments floating behind you is whispered with quiet admiration. It’s hard to decide at this moment whether you are having more fun with the appreciative whispers or that other one….the look that is turning greener with each sip of your new favorite little aperitif. You’re having fun, savoring the moment and remembering. Shopping in Paris: try it and create your own little stir.