Sometimes how we use our time is not in our control. If you are on Paris on business, with family or a tour, or (let’s face it) would much rather see all of the wonders and sights of Paris rather than shop, you may only have an hour to do any European makeup shopping. If I were in that position, I would head to Le Printemps on the Boulevard Haussmann for that hour.
Why? Here are there reasons:
- It has the all major makeup brands;
- Of the stores that I know, it is usually the least crowded;
- The staff is patient and excellent;
- The stock levels are quite good (especially if you want those popular items like Lancome’s Erika F.); and
- The second floor (or, as the French would say, the first floor because the ground floor is the “zero” floor), has an entire range of European skin care, from inexpensive pharmacy lines to some premium lines.
The store is located on the Boulevard Haussmann, in a historic building that dates from the 1920′s (although the store was originally founded in the mid-1800′s, the original one burned down and had to be rebuilt). Printemps is right next door to the Galeries Lafayette (worst case, if Le Printemps is out of stock on something, you can quickly pop over to Galeries Lafayette for the items).
Le Printemps is comprised of two buildings–the first, “Mode” is full of fashion and accessories. It’s an enormous treat, full of luxury boutiques and floors of other gorgeous things. These include a first floor Laduree stand for incredible macarons, and a second floor Laduree restaurant and bakery for a more complete selection. The second one, “Beaute” includes beauty, skincare, gourmet foods and housewares. They have a glorious selection of Mariage Frères teas, and a really interesting kitchen department. On a prior trip, I had to wrestle with myself to keep from buying a De Buyer “Make Your Own Macarons” kit (I had already bought the one for crepes, and it was life-changing).
I headed in:
The first floor has all major beauty brands, of course the European versions of them. There is also a manicure bar stocked with a rainbow of Essie choices on this floor. Here, I found an incredibly helpful Chanel sales associate who showed me the new Chanel duo’s in more detail. To help me narrow my choices from the six available, he asked which Chanel eyeshadows I already had. After I told him, he laughed at me and said, “Well, you are probably going to end up with all of these so the real question is where to start.” True that.
We settled on Khaki-Clair, which has a deep gorgeous matte green and a soft shimmery white highlighter, and Misty-Soft, a matte medium brown with a shimmery shadow that is a deeper, nutty version of the shimmery side of Nars All About Eve. I’ll post more about these when I’m back home with my regular camera.
Upstairs, I loaded up on Avene skincare, including Diacneal and Cleanance K, which both work wonders at keeping my skin clear. There are other less expensive brands here too, including La Roche Possay. I dutifully ignored the Keihl’s room, given that the brand is widely available back home. I also investigated Institute Estederm skincare, having heard about the line on Lisa Eldridge’s website. I picked up a few tubes of the ones rated for “No Sun,” which is said to act as a complete block.
On my way out, I swung by the Dior counter, which had most of the items that are familiar to me in the U.S. Seeing nothing new, I headed out to see some of the non-makeup delights of Paris.