28 kilos – that’s how much the scales read when I checked my luggage at the airport yesterday. My suitcase had curiously gained eight kilos in Paris. The summery temperatures, the beautiful crowd in the Marais, the perfect shopping companion and just the city itself all made it far too easy to whip out my credit card. Here are some of the shops that I blame for excess baggage:
*Printemps – 64, boulevard Haussmann
Remember how I mentioned that I wouldn’t mind a pair of Céline sunglasses? Well. A day later I lost my beloved aviators in the scrum before one of the shows, which annoyed me – for as long as it took me to realise that this was the perfect excuse to buy new sunglasses. Yes!
The lady at the Céline counter in Printemps was very patient dealing with an unbelievably indecisive customer like me (I’ll take the black ones. No, the green ones. No, the black. Let me wait until my friend gets here, so I can show her. Okay, I’ll take the black pair. But maybe they’re even better in blue? Okay, no, I’ll take the green ones…) I’m so happy that I listened to my friend Sandra’s advice and chose the green shade in the end. She also took this picture of me wearing them and made me look as good as I’d hoped I would with the sunglasses.
Printemps was such a different experience than I’ve had in posh department stores in Berlin and other places, where the atmosphere can be stiff and the staff not always make you feel like you belong. Here, from the ground floor to the shoe floor, people were incredibly welcoming and helpful. It’s a good place to go when you haven’t got much time to shop, because they have every brand imaginable – so you end up spending three and a half hours in the store anyway. I could’ve spent even longer in the contemporary brands section, and not just because I wanted to see what Garance Doré bought at Carven, where I bumped into her, but to look at things from IRO, Les Petites and American Vintage. The Kooples store-in-store is worth checking out for their sharp jackets and shirts – and for the impossibly cool twins who work there.
*Uniqlo – 17, rue Scribe
The flagship store is right across the street from Printemps and great for finding very affordable basics. I got myself a navy v-neck sweater that looks just like the one I keep stealing from James.
*Merci – 111, boulevard Beaumarchais
A concept store where even the postcards are well-designed. I made a stop at the café and spent an hour looking at the fashion crowd. A perfect place to waste time and forget about your next appointment.
*Sandro – 50, rue Vieille du Temple
Sandro is one of the reasons why so many of the women you see walking around the Marais look so effortlessly chic. The brand has stores are all over Paris, but I’d recommend this one for their big selection. And for the shop assistants. The moment I pulled a pair of trousers with a flower print from the racks, the shop girl congratulated me on my pick: “Mademoiselle, they are BEAUTIFUL! A very good choice. Very good. I would pick the same. So elegant, so BEAUTIFUL. Let me bring you a white shirt you can try them with.” And that’s how I bought a pair of trousers with a flower print that are completely unlike what I normally wear, but that I love.
*Repetto – 51, rue des Francs Bourgeois
I got the “Michael” (as in Jackson) loafers at Repetto. Sadly, the ability to moonwalk wasn’t included in the purchase.
*Ann Tuil – 103, rue Vieille du Temple
Based on the shop window I wouldn’t have gone into this store, if I hadn’t also noticed they sold foldable ballerinas – the, yes, Bagllerinas. They’re made from beautifully soft leather and are, well, foldable (does that mean I can get a small handbag after all?). And they saved my feet that day. So, well worth the price tag.
*Swildens – 22, rue de Poitou
Okka discovered designer Juliette Swildens on her last visit to Paris and I’m glad she told me about her. She makes feminine, preppy clothes that look like much more then they cost. I found the powdery pink blouse there that I’m wearing in the picture.
*Matières à réflexion – 19, rue de Poitou
Sandra showed me this little shop that’s great for finding delicate and really special pieces of jewellery. They also have a selection of clothes and sell their own brand of handbags. Next door is their men’s shop, where I found the perfect present for my man (which I’m sure he’ll show you in the next couple of days…)
*Shine – 15, rue de Poitou
Once you’ve been to Swildens and Matières à réflexion, you almost can’t help walking into Shine, where I almost bought my dream blouse from See by Chloé, if I hadn’t already shopped so extensively elsewhere. Oh well, better start saving for the Sale.
*City Pharma – 26, rue Four
But there’s always room in the budget for a trip to City Pharma. The sheer number of different beauty brands and the discount prices mean that it’s busier than the first day of a season sale. But it’s worth getting blue marks from the shopping baskets flung into your shins. I stocked up on Embryolisse cream, Homeoplasmine and Klorane shampoo. And my favourite new discovery: a face mask from Gommage de Peau.
And that’s how I gained eight kilos in shopping in one week in Paris…