Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Shopping around Paris - Part 1.

After a morning at the Musee d'Orsay avec dear husband and dear children, I took a couple of hours alone on Tuesday to 'power shop' in Paris.  I had to arrange my thoughts, focus on what was important and the best use of my time.  I started in the neighborhood with which I am most familiar - the 6th arrondissement, around St. Germain.

I started on rue de Buci, and I hit a favorite of Lisa's and mine first - Comptoir des Cotonniers.  It's like Paris' version of J. Crew, but ten times more hip.  Great price-point.  They now have a couple of stores in New York, but there's nothing like being in Paris in one of them.  When Lisa and I travel to Paris together, we stop here first; how much we spend here sets the tone for the rest of the trip.  Either we hit it big and are eating baguettes for 5 days, or we can continue to shop.  Comptoir was showing a lot of cobalt blue in their windows...
Image from Jennifer Houston.
...which made me feel really good about the dress I purchased at Reiss a couple of weeks ago and have yet to wear.  This spring, they have a LOT of tribal prints going on, which, while not my go-to, seems to be a theme across Paris, and one we will have to watch for over the next year or 2.  Yes, I know, 'tribal' is 'huge' with the fashion mags each spring, but really, can tribal prints be popular year after year?  Should we invest it in?

Well, I succumbed.  At Comptoir.  This top fit me perfectly, was flattering, and wasn't crazy expensive, so I said to myself, 'What the heck?".  It's a black knit with 'saffron' embroidery.  Plan to pair it with skinny, cropped black pants, some bangles.  Thoughts?
Image from comptoirdescotonniers.com.
I headed off to my next favorite store in the 'hood, Flamant.  While not fashion, it's a home furnishings store (out of Belgium), and a huge one at that.  Lots of different rooms, and great home accessories.  Found a birthday present for a friend, and several picture frames to extend our collection.  Just have to show you some photos from Flamant.  The store front, from Rue de Furstenberg, is lovely and understated.
Image from Jennifer Houston.
As soon as I enter, I'm tripping over decorative bird cages and wondering how I can pack one to take home...
Image from Jennifer Houston.
...and I'm going crazy over the dishware, glassware (although Lisa and I both have the tavern glassware we miraculously packed on our last trip), and bath goods.

Images from Jennifer Houston.
After limiting myself to the gift and 3 picture frames at Flamant, I am off to a great wine store, to purchase some 'souvenirs'.  It's the cutest store, with an English-speaking owner, which makes all the difference in the world when trying to decide what to bring home from La Derniere Goutte on rue de Bourbon Le Chateau.  They had a great Sancerre in white (and one in red that was apparently amazing) that we need to bring home.  In bubble wrap. Which I packed, along with packing tape.  (That was a trick I learned from Lisa - thanks!)

Images from Jennifer Houston.
After this, I had to stop at our rented apartment to unload packages before proceeding to one of my favorite shopping streets, rue de St. Suplice.  There are SO many fabulous boutiques on this one stretch, it can take hours to go 2 blocks.  

I started at Maje, and was interested to see a lot of lace (see dress on far left of window, but in tops as well as skirts), lots of navy, a wall of orange (ranging from tangerine to full-on-red) and a sprinking of jewel green (see pants on far right of window).
Image from Jennifer Houston.
Following Maje, I hit Vanessa Bruno.
Image from Jennifer Houston.
Best known for her sequined tote bags (which you can get in Boston at dress boston, just FYI),
Image from dressboston.com.
she has great handbags as well as clothes - both Vanessa Bruno and her lower priced line upstairs, Athe Vanessa Bruno.  I scored a fabulous black sueded leather clutch a few years ago (with tassels!  I love tassels!), but didn't really score this trip.  She did show a ton of cute leather jackets, also a hot trend on the streets of Paris this spring.  Loved this white one.
Image from Jennifer Houston.
Down from Vanessa Bruno is Claudie Pierlot.  Lisa introduced me to Claudie Pierlot years ago, and there are definitely wearable, fun things inside.  Lots of navys, with that orange-to-red color scheme going on.  It's good to know that Parisians are investing in navy and orange too.
Image from Jennifer Houston.
While I didn't go into Cotelac (there's a Cotelac on Newbury Street in Boston; I don't like to spend time on places that I can visit at home), I wanted to show you that they too were showing a cobalt blue in their windows, just like Comptoir.
Image from Jennifer Houston.
I next headed up rue Bonaparte to a pharmacy in search of products that Gwyneth Paltrow highlighted in her blog post about the best products in French pharmacies.  It was a fun hunt, and I purchased 3 or 4 things that Lisa and I were wanting to try.

After the pharmacy, I headed over to rue du Four, in search of rue Dragon.  Years ago, dear husband gave me an amazing gift - an afternoon with an English-speaking, personal shopper in Paris.  It was heaven.  What dear husband did not realize was that there would be years of shopping as a result of this gift.  The shopper introduced me to rue Dragon as the 'accessories street'.  There were loads of stores with all kinds of accessories, from jewelry to shoes.  You can imagine my disappointment when I discovered that there were only 2 jewelry stores left, a couple of shoe stores, and the rest had been replaced by children's stores - clothing and shoes.  Such a bummer.

I did venture into the jewelry stores - mon dieu the amount of tribal jewelry!  Clearly, tribal is in more than I had thought.

Well, I have to say that a disappointing rue Dragon kind of took the wind out of my sails.  I puttered around a little on rue de Grenelle (the shoe street!), but was uninspired.  Time was ticking to dinner, so I headed back to rejoin the fam.  My takeaways from these few hours were:
  • Navy is still hot for spring.
  • Play with a little color from light orange to flaming red in your wardrobe.
  • Add a little tribal print or jewelry to your closet.
  • Keep an eye out for spring-weight leather jackets.
Hope to escape to the rive droite in the next day or 2 to check out Printemps, another huge Paris department store.  Haven't been there in over 10 years, and Lisa was wow-ed by it last spring.  Bonsoir! ~ JH

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