Paris. It's an alluring word that stokes the embers of the primitive brain. That's because the European city is stomping ground for a modern twist on hunting: shopping.
Shopping in Paris is epic, a must-experience adventure.
After all, Paris is where all beautiful things are known to be made, where trends have historically been born, and where dazzling residents, who walk beneath the famous seasonal spring light glowing with joie de vivre, craft wares that become globally recognized.
Now is open season for hunting in Paris. Peak time to hit the cobblestones. What should you buy and where should you buy it? I'm glad you asked ...
Over the decades, I've spent time rummaging through thousands of objets d'art in hundreds of boutiques. I've clocked in many hours looking, looking, looking and then buying, and here are a few of my favorite finds.
French women rock scarves, so much so that New York Magazine dubbed them a "[Parisian] security blanket."
My go-to store for a colorful choice is Épice. The stoles here are wearable pieces of art made by Bess Nielsen and Jan Machenhauer. The designers are inspired by the hues of India, but also by their homeland of Denmark and, of course, Paris. The duo chooses high-end fabrics (wools, silks, linen) in intriguing florals, stripes, polka dots, and other patterns.
Noel is my very favorite linen shop in the world. They’ve been around since 1883, and the bed linens, pillow shams, duvets, table cloths, and napkins are the most extraordinary quality I’ve seen anywhere (and my obsession with linen is legendary).
Here's the best part. Noel will make you anything you want; you just choose the color and pattern. C'est superb.
An out-of-the-way shop in the depths of the 5th arrondissement, helmed by a former banker with a passion for a pottery, La Tuile a Loup carries artisanal ceramics from all over France. When I'm there, I dig into the radically charming collection, which many include spatterware from Alsace, animal terrines, delightful country pottery, cheeky polka dotted tableware, and aptware, a marbleized style originating from the French town of the same name.
No, not espadrilles. I'm talking classy-without-being-boring, most-perfect shoes, pairs upon pairs of stunners made by flagship brand Delage. In delicious colors, these pretties are very wearable (no ridiculous heels here) and simply lovely. Add to that great handbags and socks.
Charvet is not a name to be trifled with in the shirt business. This is where the finest have thrown down their francs and euros, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Christian Louboutin. The Place Vendôme boutique has built its 180-year reputation on tailoring men's shirts. Newsflash, Sofia Coppola has spent some dough here, too. Within the holds of the multi-story Parisian manse are the most excellent blouses pour femme, in the richest colors you’ve ever seen. Ready-to-wear or tailor made. Up to you. But the one you buy will be a keeper.
For those who can't make it to Paris in person, transport yourself by reading Paris Diary by Laure. I recently met Laure at a lunch and she's got taste, a Parisian's taste.