The top story of the Centre Pompidou modern art museum has breathtaking views. Plus, their shows are so intelligently curated. They’ve always managed to take my breath away. Today was no exception.
I took a wander through Paris and thought I’d post some pictures as a scrapbook. Above, a chiseled street sign on the Rue des Francs Bourgeois in the Marais. Below, the Place Vendome.
Yesterday, Louis Vuitton opened a new boutique on the Place Vendome for its growing fine jewelry collection.
By the way, the company has significantly expanded the selling space in the Champs Elysee store. There is a complex second floor area now that includes a second handbag selling counter, fine jewelry and watches, an expanded shoe area, and several rooms for the ready to wear clothing. Pretty windows:
Outside the RItz, Glee fans gathered hoping for a celebrity sighting (apparently, actress Lea Michele):
Finally, in my quest to find the perfect macaron, I explored Le Cafe Pouchkine. Some bloggers are pronouncing these better than Laduree. They certainly seem larger and they have a sort of shimmery sheen on the cookie part.
I cannot imagine why I bought so many. The store is located on the first floor of the fashion (or “mode”) building of Le Printemps. As for a comparison of quality, I think more testing is required. Much more.
I made a fast stop at Colette, an eclectic Parisian store–here’s a link to their website (warning, music will start to play if you click, usually French pop or chill). This store goes “on” and “off” the cool list so often than I (as a non-Parisian) cannot hope to keep up.
The store is full of art books, t-shirts, Celine and Lanvin. There is everything from the ridiculous to the sublime. Apparently, Karl Lagerfeld drops by for books and CD’s. Sometimes Colette stocks little Karl dolls and t-shirts. As it is couture week here, I saw more than a few fashionistas and I believe one prominent fashion journalist.
Colette does have a very tiny, well-curated Beauty Bar on the second floor. The store tends to carry niche beauty brands, usually exclusives. Their mainstays are RMS Beauty and Uslu Airlines.
This time, I picked up a few more Less is More travel sized hairbrushes (7 euros each). They come in fun colors, and they are small but mighty. They pull through my thick hair and take up about as much room as a cell phone in my purse. Seriously, you can tuck one of these anywhere. And they work.
I also picked up an Ilia Lipstick in Arabian Nights (22 euros). Ilia a line I’ve never heard about. But that’s why one goes to Colette-to find things that one’s never heard of. The lipsticks seem very moisturizing but pack a nice, modern color. Also, I liked the stainless-steel tube.
Third, I got a pretty little white handkerchief (well, a few as gifts) that has “Fix Your Mascara–You’re Amazing” (19 euros) in bright pink from Helpful Hankies. Because really, those are five words that I cannot hear enough.
Plus, Colette thoughtfully provided a Diptique skin care sample in the bag. Cute, right?
Colette has a very small and well curated perfume section. Here’s The Nonblonde’s trip report from her walk through the Colette beauty bar in search of gorgeous scents.
As the famous line from The Devil Wears Prada goes, “Gird your loins!” The French government authorizes only two sales per year. No, I’m not kidding. Today was the first day (except for store cardholders who got to first pick over the past week). It can be an absolute madhouse. If one is serious about these sales, one is waiting at the door at 8 am. This year, I was not one of those people.
By the time I arrived mid-afternoon, the aisles were packed with shoppers. By the way, why are some rolling suitcases behind them? Does any one know? Are they buying so much? Some of the major couture houses had lines outside the door. Guess which line I was in?
As I expected, only very trendy/seasonal items had been marked down and the selection had been whittled down to the unappealing by the time I arrived. Even a discount isn’t really a discount if you’ll never, ever wear it. On a happier note, I did find some patent red Lanvin flats for 30% off at another store.
Now to figure out how to get that gorgeous box home in my already-overstuffed suitcase. The sales will run until July 31st, consisting almost entirely of the spring and summer items. In the meantime, the stock shrinks, the discounts get deeper, and lines start to put out their Fall 2012 merchandise to tempt you into paying full price for the newly-released items.
So many people visit Paris and look at the breathtaking architecture. Most of these buildings are in everyday use in the city. For example, the Palais Garnier (above) is an incredible building that actively houses ballet, opera and concerts throughout many months of the year.
One of the very best ways to see these theaters is while attending a live event. As a major cultural center, Paris presents some of the most incredible performances in the world.
It’s best to order your tickets online before your trip, because performances sell out. The other day, I went to the theater with a glowing complexion thanks to Edward Bess South of France Quad Royale. To compliment its pink tones, I also used Nars Gaiety blush, Chanel Variation Quad Eyeshadow, and Burberry Hibiscus Lip Glow Gloss. I loved the effect. Bravo!!
On the Cafe Makeup menu today, this mille-feuille pastry (also called a Napoleon). This, made of an unbelievably flaky and light pastry, includes a touch of custard and cream. This one is from Lenôtre, which consistently presents picture-perfect, stunning creations that only the human hand can create. With something so beautiful, who needs to actually taste it?
If you enjoy learning more about excellent French pastry, you might enjoy a documentary called The Kings of Pastry (trailer is here). It’s a charming little film.
For summer, the Serge Lutens boutique at the Palais Royal is featuring the light summer L’Eau Serge Lutens fragrance on long, tall lighted pedestals.
Some of the windows used an ice cube motif to emphasize the cool qualities of the fragrance.
Others used clothespins as a whimsical reference to its freshness.
The Beauty Look Book has done a lovely review of L’eau here.
Incidentally, those of you who are familiar with the Palais Royal might be interested to know that the construction around the Comédie-Française appears to be complete. The area that was formerly open is now intersected with a large wall that serves as an entrance to the theater. You can see the words “Comédie-Française” in neon along the top of this wooden structure.
Along the way, some areas that were formerly open archways have now been closed off using the same blond wood theme. This is not the entire long facade, but just a few selected pieces (for example, the front of the Serge Lutens boutique now faces a closed wall):
Thank you for sharing a little of my Sunday in Paris!
A few months ago, Chanel’s Metier des Arts Paris-Bombay show (overview here) impressed with its opulent set.
I’m working my way through Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange ($18 on Amazon.com/paperback). It’s the closest that I can get to Paris without stepping on a plane. If you love French style, buy it immediately.
Parisian Chic was written with Ines de la Fessange, a French model and designer. She has come a long way since the time that she modeled for Chanel during the 1980’s, and her beauty has endured.
Another of Ines as a Chanel model:
Last year, she made an appearance in the Chanel Couture show for Spring/Summer ’11 (ending her 20 year feud with Karl Lagerfeld):
Parisian Chic is full of the simple, yet somehow complicated, secrets of French beauty and style. The fashion advice is practical and elegant, suggesting touches to any woman’s wardrobe to make it both more classic, edgy and more interesting.
There are sections on food, decor, sights to see in Paris, and even a compilation of boutique hotels to try on an upcoming trip the city of light. It is delightfully illustrated, clearly written and gorgeously authentic (it is written by a Parisian style icon, after all).
I very much enjoyed the relaxed style of the writing–Ines is as careful to tell you what not to worry about, as she is about what matters. It’s an engaging read. I loved how her advice helps me understand how to look feminine without looking like a “good girl.” Because, let’s face it, when has following the rules ever gotten anyone anywhere?
There is a slim chapter on beauty, featuring some of our favorite lines.
If you are interested in what women in Paris are wearing and doing right now, you’ll love Parisian Chic. At less than $20, it’s far less expensive than plane fare and a wonderful way to pass a few lovely hours learning about French beauty and style.
A month ago, I offered this look inside my suitcase to show you what I brought to Paris. Now that I’m returning, I wanted to do a quick sketch of what worked, what didn’t and what I missed most from my permanent stash.
First: What worked? As some of you probably guessed, I brought way too much. Like Rachel Zoe packing shoes for Fashion Week, I could have easily left one-third of these items at home. On the road, I almost never had time to play with new looks. Also, the culture of makeup in Paris emphasizes great skin and minimal eye color. When I saw so many women like myself wearing understated color (except for lips, of course!), I didn’t think about deeply pigmented teal shadow. If you’ve read Café Makeup, you already know my aesthetic. Multiply that times 1,000, omit bronzer in favor of a nude blush and you’ll get my perfect Parisian face.
My standard everyday face included:
Second: Let’s talk skincare!
Third: What could I have left behind? My biggest packing error was too many duplicate products. Here’s what I would have pared down:
Fourth: What did I miss?
Well, my dearest readers, how did I do? Do you have any travel tips you’d like to share?