Paris: Getting, spending, eating

Choices from the trip, described below.

1. Shoes
No, Anjela, Rabotin did not have the sparkly flats. Found the same ballerina-with-low-wedge in black patent at Accessoire,
and happily embraced them.
Accessoire Diffusion, 6, rue du Cherche Midi (6th arr.)

2. Shawl
A fine wool from Wolff & Descourtis, supple enough for indoor wear. Their silk and velvet pieces are divine (Nicole Kidman collects them) but too dressy for my current life. Victoria Wolff, designer and granddaughter of the founder, lectured me, "Never the point at the back." Superb quality and design from a small historic house.
Wolff & Descourtis, 18, Galerie Vivienne (2nd arr.); this passage is a treasure.

3. Amber
I've been reveling in the honeyed luminous richness and blissful light weight of the amber bracelet my friend "sjcyogi" and her lovely spouse Brian gave me for my birthday. We stopped by L'Or du Nord to look for earrings for my amber-loving mother-in-law, and, after choosing hers, I found this glamourous pair. (Mine are far more golden than this photo.)
L'Or du Nord, 77 rue du Bac (7th arr.)

4. Black lace bra
by Lise Charmel, from Bon Marché's lingerie heaven. How a woman can visit Paris and not buy lingerie is beyond me!

5. Eric Bompard sweater
I chose the Pull V Noeud Géant in taupe; so wearable, yet so French.
Eric Bompard, see for locations

6. Fragrance

Actually a purchase of Le Duc's; at Maitre Parf
umeur et Gantier, his must-visit, he was captivated by the new La Reine Margot, a stupendous jasmine, amber and musk named for the famous courtesan, Marguerite de Valois.
Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier, 84 bis, rue du Grenelle (7th arr.)

A sizeable difference
My comments are mostly about accessories. I can't buy skirts, dresses or pants in Paris; at 5'10", size 14-16 (US) everything is too small and short. Dispirited by only looking, I defaulted to Marina Rinaldi (plus sizes in France start at 10). The only item that moved me was a sharp patent leather trench-styled jacket, but I looked like an accordian case in it.

Best ne
w find
I'm liking resale more than ever. But typically a Paris depot vente carries too many things you'd consider ratty. I was stopped in my tracks by a pristine Hermes Lindy in the window of Les Ginettes; my walk-through confirmed the shop's selectiveness. If you can wear French sizes, a gem. Ample assortment of scarves, objects for interior design and art.
Les Ginettes: 4 rue Sabot (Arr 6) Metro: St Germain des Pres

Sweet dreams are made of these
Of endless windows to lick, one of the dreamiest was Cachemirien, a collection of finest cashmere shawls and clothes, 13, rue du Tournon (6th arr.) Textile arts at the swoon level.

The most beautiful clothes in Paris?

The complete Dries Van Noten collection at Bon Marché. If I were younger, thinner, and debt didn't terrify me, this is all I'd wear.
Balenciaga, standing out in the design firament for enduring elegance and precision.

I won't catalog the meals, as that's a small book, and foodie bloggers abound. Three standout places we loved:

Les Papilles:

Tiny, rowdy; a
specialty food store with a restaurant in back. The menu is set (only one entreé, main course and dessert each day), the wine's bought up front with a 10E surcharge (for all bottles) to drink there. We brought a Parisianne friend and all of us were thrilled. Fantastic value.
Full review here.
Les Papilles, 30, rue Gay-Lassac, 5th arr.
RER: Luxembourg Tél: 01 43 25 20 79


Young chef Christophe Philippe is already renowned for dishes like his grilled duck breast with duck-stuffed ravioli and delicious lemon-cream millefeuille dessert.
The three of us agree, best meals of the trip. Le Duc actually cried over his dessert. Our young guest, my son's friend, said he had never eaten so well in his life. You will hear a great deal of English here, thanks to press from people like the NY Times' Mark Bittman, who are all over this find.
Full review here.
Christophe, 8 rue Descartes, 5th arr., Metro: Cardinal-Lemoine

Au Moulin a Vent (AKA "Chez Henri")
Classic French bistro done right (you actually can get bad cooking in a bistro, but not here). A
shrine for meat lovers. The deep satisfaction of beautifully-cooked and joyously-served bourgeois fare. Gorgeous wines. Small, warm, sympatico, beloved by Parisians for over 60 years. Short review here.
Au Moulin a Vent, 20, rue des Fossés-St-Bernard, 5th arr.

PS. Packing list

Worked so well could have done a carry-on outbound: I automated my wardrobe.
Bottom, black: two new pairs of INC techno pants (genius! lots of stretch, hardly wrinkled), two pairs of matte jersey palazzo-ish pants for evening (Talbots, ssssh), one matte jersey knee length skirt (from local designer).

Tops: cashmere tees for day, low Vs for evening. Black nylon lightly padded blazer-cut jacket. (Talbots again, the place I love to hate... but when they get it right, dadgummit, it works.) Scarves, cashmere shawl for plane.
Shoes: Paraboot patent slip-ons for day, Taryn Rose ballerinas for evening, spare pair in case I didn't buy any. A few silk/wool camis for extra warmth. Le Duc said I looked like a 5th arr. local but I think I was just a suitably-dressed tourist.


Susan B said…
Glad you found some Raboutin shoes! Sounds like your shopping experiences were exquisite. I wanted to shop for some lingerie, but never felt like I had the luxury of time to do it, as our visit was so brief. Next time....
Anonymous said…
As a knitter who intends to make some shawls, I have to know: why no point in the back, and what shape did she recommend?
Duchesse said…
kmcat: The shawl is square, and the classic fold is to bring both points together in a large triangle. But you don't WEAR the triangle so the point falls across the middle of your back. Why not? This is unspeakably dowdy, "no one wears them this way." You toss the point on one shoulder, so the whole deal is skewed. Or you fold the square into a long rectangle and wear in various ties and twists. Ooohh, a hand knit shawl sounds fabulous.

Pseu: The shoes are Accessoire, not Rabotin, it's a store I really like just a few doors away.
materfamilias said…
I'm a knitter who has made shawls, kmkat, and if I don't wear the point at the front (with sides flung 'round back to come over the opposite shoulder and meet in the front), I will obscure it by folding it to the long edge, then folding again for a scarf shape. I just find the point in the back too suggestive of the rocking chair. No thanks. Curious to hear the Parisienne's reasons, Duchesse.

We love Christophe's as well, especially that unbelievable lemon millefeuille -- I think my favourite dessert anywhere ever -- and he's such a personable young man. We liked seeing him outside people-watching each day about 6 as we wended our way back to our hotel in the 13th (he probably wasn't doing that in October though!)
Duchesse said…
ma: Victoria too wore a shawl with the point at the front, ends wrapped around to tie under the chin- I do this a lot in frigid Toronto as well. But in a heavier shawl it is a lot of fabric under the chin.

As for reason for no point at back: dowdy, not chic. When I tried on one melting chiffon paisley (that I still pine for) she remarked that "English ladies buy it" and that was not a compliment. Ah, the French!
WendyB said…
I'm laughing at the accordian case description.
Anjela's Day said…
Late now so will re read all of this and look at the links and stores. I am so enjoying the feast. Will comment again when I have foud my way through it. Thanks so much for all the store information. I feel like I have been on my hols.....
Anonymous said…
what a great list! I'm thrilled to have found your blog, btw, you have some great stuff on here.
Genuine Lustre said…
I'm just loving these descriptive posts. At 42, I think I'm ready to move beyond the upscale mall look, so find this very interesting.
Duchesse said…
mossback meadow: The challenge for us in North America (especially if not in major cities) is finding the clothes. I'm guessing a lot of what I saw was by Belgian or small French houses. The quality is so very high, so even if one finds them, they will be pricey imports. I've been nosing around for who the exemplars of "strict" might be, if anyone knows, please post.
Anonymous said…
I am finding this whole how-to-wear-a-shawl thing fascinating and have written a blog post about it. Duchesse, if you would e-mail me at antlerkat-typepad AT typepad DOT com, I'll send you a draft.
Duchesse said…
kmkat: Done- thank you! And I predict we are ALL going to want this!
Duchesse said…
kmkat: for some reason the address you specified below bounces back... would you pls check that it's what you intended? (A dash after antlerkat??) OR you are welcome to post your shawl thoughts here in Comments as I'm sure many would love to read!
Duchesse said…
maitresse: Great blog, I've bookmarked yours.
Anonymous said…
For several years now I have tried to avoid black as I find it too harsh for my face. But Paris is the one place I would still consider wearing it. Everywhere else I rely more on browns and greys.

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