michele@mbenza.com

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

PARIS SHOPPING TRIP - FALL 2010


PARIS SHOPPING TRIP FALL 2010

                                                                       Damman Freres                                                                            
This year’s Fall shopping trip in Paris took place the last week of September. I rented an apartment in le quartier du Marais, and it was wonderful to not feel like a tourist. I work in Paris with clients the same way as from San Francisco.  A new client met me at my apartment where we did the image assessment and shopping. With the second client (a long time customer), we did mostly shopping.

I concentrated shopping in ‘neighborhood’ boutiques this time, instead of the traditional department and designer stores. It was simply wonderful, and both my clients enjoyed discovering the French neighborhoods.

The shopping trip in Paris was so wonderful and such a success that I am already preparing the spring Paris shopping trip.

Monday September 27, 2010
Our first excursion began on Monday afternoon. We met at my apartment on Boulevard Beaumarchais and after a couple of hours of image assessment, we walked one block to discover the beautiful Place des Vosges and the renowned Rue des Francs Bourgeois. It is one of the most impressive streets in le quartier du Marais. The street is filled with stores that are overflowing with everything a woman desires; clothes, jewelry, accessories, skin care and I could go on.... and to make the experience even more enjoyable, everywhere the store’s staff was courteous and welcoming. We were enchanted. We found lovely clothes and accessories for my client at:
Babylone at #11, Et vous and Pablo at #6, Arizda Bross at #7, Guerlain at #10, BGN at #21.

Tuesday September 28, 2010
The highlight on the Place des Vosges for me is Dammann Freres the paradise for tea lovers. I love that store so much that I visited it five times on this trip. Damman Freres’ store on Place des Vosges is unique. This is the only company store in the world and well worth a visit. Faithful to the tradition of the great origins of tea, Dammann Freres’ experts consistently offer the best tea blends and subtle flavors, plus exquisite packaging and gift boxes. 

Wednesday September 29, 2010
Only about one year old,  Merci was a lovely discovery on this trip. This new store is located on Boulevard Beaumarchais a few blocks from Place des Vosges.  The store has an interesting simple concept. How to give back? How to offer solidarity? How to generate funds without having to ask for donations or charity? It is the idea that one can give his expertise, his time, talent, and energy while creating success. That's why some designers are producing unique pieces for Merci and agreeing to give up their margins.The founders of Merci are totally volunteer, and donate the profits of the business to endowments such as helping poor children, especially in Madagascar. Merci, meaning “Thank You” in French, sells only natural/organic products…clothing, accessories, fabrics, furniture, and household items.

My client had a great time here as she enjoys supporting good causes. Three great cafes at this locations as well.

On that same day, another destination of ours was Le Palais Royal with all its beautiful boutiques. Paris Fashion Week was only a few days away and a large part of Le Palais Royal was under wraps as preparations for the fashion week was underway. 

 Les Salons de Serge Lutens are not only located in one of the most gorgeous places in Paris, but the boutique itself is without doubt, one of the most pleasant relaxing space around the square. What a pretty store it is! I did got in trouble however - “Madame, pas de photos s’il vous plait!” (No photography please!)
                                           Les Salons Serge Lutens, Le Palais Royal


The store is a real pleasure for the eyes, and for the nose. We admired Serge Lutens makeup especially the new nail laquer #2 ‘Sang Bleu.’

We had fun walking around the courtyard of le Palais Royal. Children were at play in the park and I was thinking: Do these children realize that they are playing in one of the most prestigious and beautiful places in the world? 

A few stores retain our attention at Le Palais Royal.

I once again visited la Maison Fabre. Only in Paris, one can find a ‘ganterie’ such as this. This is where you will find the most beautiful gloves in amazing leathers and colors.

The Little Black Dress store carries only vintage black dresses still at affordable prices. Didier Ludot is also an excellent place to find vintage clothes and accessories such as Hermes bags but I have to say...this is one place where we did not feel welcome. It felt like we were intruders taking Didier away from his computer. No ‘Bonjour’, no ‘Puis-je vous aider? No Aurevoir!

I took my client to Chez Colette as she was dying to see the store. She was disappointed and like her I don't understand the big buzz about Chez Colette. But if you are interested or amused by the lasted 'bling bling' and a fun restaurant in the basement that is neither good or bad, Chez Colette may be your thing.

That evening we had dinner at Le Bar a Huitres. If you like crustaceans, this is a place you do not want to miss. They have four locations in Paris.

Thursday September 30, 2010
Ile-Saint-Louis was our next expedition and I took my client of the day to ISL-Antiquites. This store is ‘vintage’ everything and they often have a nice selection of leather goods. This time I saw a Hermes Kelly for 1100 Euros (about $1500 USD). A few steps away is Eve Baz-Art a funky store where one can spend a lot of time looking around and buying fun gifts.

From there down we go in the metro and made a lovely stop at Saint Germain des Pres, one of my favorite places. We had to stop at Brasserie Lipp  (a must) for lunch, then we shop until we dropped for dinner at Le Relais de L’Entrecote. The perfect spot for a dinner where there is only one item on the menu. The restaurant serves only entrecote (red meat) with the house’s secret sauce. 

Friday October 1, 2010

                                                                                   Passy 
How could I leave Paris without visiting my old neighborhood Passy? 

Rue de Passy in the XVI arrondissement is crowded with stores for the budget conscientious buyers. 

Frank & Fils - is s small local department store where you will find big names like Chloe, Fendi etc, Although the outside of the store is not inviting, once you walk in you notice the well-selected merchandise, which far overcomes the shop’s cold exterior.

As my trip reached its end, I walked to the Place des Vosges for a last time, bought a fantastic ring at Laurent Guillot and visited Guerlain as I had to finish en beaute with a delightful facial.

Have I mentioned that the shopping trip in Paris was a big success that I am already organizing the spring Paris shopping trip? It will take place the first week of May 2011. Make a note of it. Feel free to contact me if you wish to find out more about shopping in Paris accompanied by a francophone image consultant/stylist.

A la prochaine,

Michele






Friday, October 1, 2010

Paris-Last Day

A lovely visit to my 'old' neighborhood that is Passy. Rue de Passy located in the XVI arrondissement is crowded with stores for the budget conscientious buyers.

Discovery of the day:

Frank et Fils-located on 91 rue Paul Dumer is part of Le Bon Marche group. Here you will find big names in a small department store. Be aware, the store exterior is uninviting but once you are inside the store you will notice well selected merchandise.

Laurent Guillot-jewelry designer located in Le Marais 48, rue de Terenne in the 3rd arrondissement. Laurent's creations are unique and at petits prix.

Flying back to New York tomorrow morming :(

Aurevoir, a la prochaine.

Michele