Aug 022015

Paris beauty crawl 2

My prior Beauty Crawl, which is modeled after a pub crawl, focused on the areas surrounding the two major department stores near L’Opera Garnier and down toward Le Louvre. Today, I’ll discuss another option that centers on Le Bon Marche located in Paris’ 7th Androssiment. I did an earlier version of this walk a few years ago. This is an update with many more photographs.

les deux magotsYou’ll notice that my map starts with two cafes in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area. Both are lovely and offer a wonderful start to your shopping day. Les Deux Magots was once a rendezvous points for writers and artists, including Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus, Pablo Picasso, and James Joyce.

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Jul 292015

BHV/ Marais is located on Paris’ Rue de Rivoli just across from the Hotel de Ville, and has a very different feel from many upscale, large-city department stores. BHV (originally, “Bazar de L’Hotel de Ville”) may feel like a step back in time for U.S. visitors. Generally, BHV is set up to appeal to the middle-class shopper (a bit more like Macy’s/Dillards, and less Saks Fifth Avenue). That statement isn’t quite accurate, like many French things there is something lost in translation. Still, the BHV retains departments including stationary, notebooks, pencils and school supplies, pet goods, and notions (notions?? yes, notions). These have long vanished from U.S. department stores. I think you can actually buy hardware and knitting supplies there (I’ve seen them in the past). BHV is the store memorialized by The New York Times fashion photographer and genius Bill Cunningham, when he mentioned in his biopic that this very store is the source of his blue work jackets.

14-bill-cunningham.w529.h352.2xThe Marais is one of my favorite neighborhoods. It has an eclectic mix of art museums, falafel street food, shops and cafes that seem very down-to-earth, at least as that term can be applied to anywhere in Paris. Occupying several buildings (one is dedicated just to menswear), BHV/Marais is located just south of the Pompidou Center, north of Seine.

BHV map

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Jul 242015

Sephora Champs Elysee 27French line Sephora has an enormous Champs Eylsee location. Some things have changed since I did a previous trip report in 2010 here.  Yet still, this Sephora is the most impressive in size, depth and selection in Paris, and beauty lovers will want to allow at least an hour. Of course, there are numerous other Sephora’s sprinkled throughout the City of Light, but this one is centrally located and has the largest selection. The front area still has a “featured brand” area that is different every time that I’ve visited (this time, Hermes). Also near the front door is “grab and go” setup of items for quick Parisian-themed gifts, including $50 Hermes fragrance samplers and other delights.

Sephora Champs Elysee 26

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Jul 192015

Paris Beauty CrawlHave you ever heard of a “pub crawl”? Or a “food crawl”? If you haven’t, these are little excursions where one can go from place to place, enjoying just a little bit from each, whether it’s drinking, eating, or what have you. I thought it might be fun to put together one possible Parisian beauty crawl  in case that you find yourself in the City of Light with some spare time on your hands. This is one of several possibilities.

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Jul 202013

This is a wandering post, just a few thoughts and updates on my last few days in Paris.

France Saturday 01

Château de Chenonceau

One nice thing that we did during our time was a day trip to the Loire Valley. Before we left, we bought tickets to the TGV fast railway to Tours, France as our hub. From there, we hired a service which took us to see four castles on an all-day mini-van ride. We had an hour or two at each one, which was quick but manageable for our limited purposes. If I were to do it again, I would have spent the night in Tours. As it was, we took an evening TGV back to Paris. I’d highly recommend a bit of time outside of Paris if you choose to visit.  It’s wonderful to see a bit of the French countryside–it’s so beautiful.

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Jul 182013

Many of my choices are available in the U.S. or through shipping for delivery in the U.S. I must admit, it was fun to make my choices in real life. Are there any more things that I should consider over the next few days? Please put suggestions in the comments, please.

  • La Roche-Posay Redermic C Eye Vitamin C Moisturizing Cream (27 euros)
  • La Roche-Posay Serozinc Cleansing and Soothing Solution (6.6 euros)
  • Institut Esteherm No Sun sunblock
  • Nuxe Reve de Meil lip balm (11 euros for 2)
  • Avene Cleanance K
  • La Roche-Posay Redermic R (over the counter retinol)
  • Avene Cold Cream
  • French Pharmacy Finds (Summer 2013)

I haven’t tried all of these yet, so I have not comments (as yet) as to their usefulness.

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Jul 182013

Bonjour from Paris! I’m just going to do a very quick post of some things that caught my eye at the local stores.  I should note that the differences between US and European releases have been minimizing over the past few years. Lancome’s eyeshadows are still dramatically different here, the French Pharmacies still look very different from the U.S. ones (I miss you Bourjois!). But many releases are twins–you may be able to find many of the goodies available on French counters Stateside (or available online for shipment to the U.S.).

Many of the releases are later here. The French are already leaving for their summer vacations, and it appears that many makeup companies hold their releases until they return. There have been no sightings of the fall collections of Chanel, Dior, or Nars (which are already releasing in the U.S.).

As this post title suggests, these reviews are just quick impressions of a few products from my sweep through the shops (not the usual in-depth type). I haven’t purchased any of these (yet), just counter-tested.

Guerlain Orchidee foundation

1. Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale foundation (170 euros):  Based on Guerlain’s premium skincare system, this foundation has beautiful coverage. It has a slight silicon feel when applied, and seems to give medium-to-full coverage with very little product. Not pore-emphasizing, this gives skin a very slight natural sheen. I wore this on a very warm day during a rather serious several-hour walk. My thoughts on this very short one-day test:

– This is one tenacious foundation. There was no sight of wearing off or shifting, despite the heat.

– Very little (if any) foundation transfer on my white hat-band despite very uncomfortable heat

– Made my skin look amazing. Erased imperfections with very little layering.

Very moisturizing. Admittedly, this was a warm day but my skin felt like it was visibly wearing a premium moisturizer. This would be amazing for dry skin in the winter. Despite the high moisture content, my forehead had very little breakthrough glow, no fading, no shifting, and no bare patches.

– The price gives me pause. What do readers think?  Is this “in the stratosphere” price point one that’s just too high to scale, given the lovely foundations that already exist? I have a few more days here left to decide (I’m not certain the U.S. will be getting this product, and indeed I’ve heard some unsubstantiated rumors that it will not).


2.  Repetto Eau de Toilette (33 euros/1 oz). According to the company, this has opening notes of pear and cherry blossom “like a cloud of powder.” There is a strong floral rose mixed with orange blossom, and undertones of amber and wood, and a dash of vanilla. According to news releases, this was formulated by Olivier Polge, who is set to take over the formulations of Chanel scents. My quick spritz was very feminine and young.  Truly a perfect gift for a would-be ballerina. I found the pear a little overwhelming at first, although the scent began to grow on me as the initial fruit scents subsided.

Givenchy Reflect Precious

3. Givenchy Reflet Precieux Voile Satine ($49) This is a body bronzer infused with with substantial glowy gold pearl. Several high end companies have released these high end versions of the NUXE Huile Prodigieuse Or (Clarins has one as well right now). Because I already have the MAC Temperature Rising version, I passed on this although I was quite tempted (the shine is quite rich and glowy).  I post this only to point out that the U.S. isn’t getting the full Givenchy color stories.  I wonder why.


4. Speaking of Nuxe Prodigieuse, the line is capitalizing on the fame of the oil by introducing new products including a scent Prodigieuse (roughly 45 euros, depending on the store). It smells precisely like the original oil, except perhaps a tiny bit better.

Diptique roller

5. I’m not convinced that I can leave the country without picking up the Diptique Philoskos Perfume Oil Roll On (38 euros) (there is also a L’Ombre dans L’Eau).  I do not get much wear time from the Diptyque scents, but these oils may be just perfect.

Well, readers, any thoughts?  Am I missing something? I have only a few precious (and busy) days left. Are there any last-minute items to get? Also note that I have a bag of French Pharmacie purchases (I’ll post about those today or tomorrow).

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Jul 042013

Cafe Makeup is currently spending a little time in Paris.  In addition to the many things I love about the city, I wanted to spend time learning about French food. What better way than to learn from the best?

july 4b

Although I’m not certain that my French would survive an entire course of instruction, I was able to find La Cuisine Paris, a service that offers French cooking classes in English. Today, I took a two-hour hands-on class in making macarons.


I was delighted to find our French-trained baker clear, expert, and fluent in English. She was friendly, very knowledgeable and happy to share her love of technique.


I learned a huge amount about this complicated little cookie. The classes are small–we had  eight people which allowed each of us to get hands-on instruction. I was relieved to find that no experience is required.


As a class, we made a few flavor variations, including a delicious chocolate passionfruit and a white chocolate pistachio.


I really loved the experience. It was a nice way to create a lovely memory of the city. Also, I now have all the secrets to make perfect macarons to use when I return.


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Jul 132012

Over the next few days, I’ll be busy packing for the long flight home. I had a few thoughts about some products before I leave:

First, on my flight over Air France had full bottles of Clarins One Step Facial Cleanser ($32.50/6.7 fl. oz.) in the restroom.  In the blur of the overnight flight, it felt nice to have a high end beauty product available. I bought one after I arrived. According to Clarins, the product is a toner and cleanser in one. It’s intended to remove everything with no need to rinse.

This cleanser is very, very gentle. It does remove makeup and mascara. However, I’d ignore the  “no need to rinse” advise. It left my skin feeling oily, so I rinsed most of the time. When I didn’t rinse, I had a few clogged pores the next day. Unlike my DDF 10% Glycolic Toner, this Clarins doesn’t appear to be exfoliating. I probably should have gone with the Toning Lotion with Iris, made for oily skin, instead.

Second, Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk ($18/3.2 oz (150 ml)) quickly became my best-loved dry shampoo. The scent is the lightest and most pleasant of any dry shampoo that I’ve tried. It does come out a bit white, but brushes away neatly without a trace.

Best of all, Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo ($18/3.2 oz.) left my hair with plenty of body, life, and manageability. It had a nice shine, looked polished, and took care of any oilies. Wonderful. This is available in the U.S. from several sources. The only drawback is that I seemed to go through it a little more quickly than some others that I’ve tried.  Overall, I believe I’ve found my favorite–thank you to all of the commenters who suggested it!

Third, in my quest for a multicultural beauty experiment, I went to Guerlain’s main store on the Champs Elysee to find a perfect red lipstick. My advice to everyone traveling to another country (or even region) is to ask for local makeup advice. You will be surprised to find how different makeup artists and sales associates “see” you through their eyes. I always learn something.

Those familiar with the Guerlain Champs Elysee store will note that, on the left, Guerlain has opened up a little pop-up store to celebrate Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire, as well as a few other perfume and beauty products. It’s more inviting than the more formal main store–it’s street level so you can just wander in. (As is typical of many French boutiques, the door guard told me not to take pictures inside.).

For this experiment, I went into the main store. I found a delightful (and patient) Guerlain expert to help me. After several tries and swatches, we decided that Guerlain Rouge G Gala (#21) was my perfect red (swatched here by Temptalia). This is much more vibrant and bright than I typically wear, but why not? When in Paris….

Anyway, thank you for indulging me in my Parisian adventures over the past few weeks. Hopefully I’ll be back next week with some reviews of some Fall 2012 collections. See you then!

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Jul 122012

 Foyer of the restaurant at Laduree, Rue Royale, Paris.

Window display with stuffed white peacock, Palais-Royal.

Chanel vintage cuff, Didier Ludot, Palais-Royal. I’m guessing 1980’s era.

Door handle, 7th Arrondissement.

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