Category Archives: shopping

Passage To Paris

Before the mall was the department store. Before the department store was the “covered passage”, which allowed shoppers to get out of the weather and the dirt (and open sewage) of the busy streets, and to shop for different goods in one protected area. What a relief that must have been for the women in their long dresses and button-up shoes!

My friend and I spent a nice afternoon exploring a few of the dozen or so remaining passages couvertes in the second and ninth arrondissements. These arcades were built in the late 18th century, and some are in better condition than others. Even the more run-down, however, offer a glimpse of their previous beauty. The arched glass ceilings, tiled floors, and lovely old light fixtures must have been such a luxury for those shoppers of yore. Today the shops in these passages consist largely of antique bookstores, restaurants, tea shops, art galleries, toy shops, and the occasional souvenir store.

The best-preserved of the passages we saw was the Galerie Vivienne, 4 rue Petits Champs, built in 1823.


The floor of this gallery was just gorgeous.


Thanks to this talented Italian artist who was kind enough to leave us his mark.



I wanted to run my fingers over these lovely old steps, worn down and smoothed out by years and years of feet.


The arcade was lined with restaurants, boutiques, and bookstores. This antique bookstore, Librairie Jousseaume, is the longest surviving tenant, having opened at the same time as the gallery.





Passage des Panoramas is the oldest surviving arcade, originally built in 1799. It also has the distinction of being the first building in Paris to have been equipped for gas lighting.



Galerie Jouffroy, built in 1845, showed off the new 19th century mastery of iron structures, and was the first Paris passage built entirely out of glass and iron.




a cane store

a cane store


Passage Verdeau was built as an extension of Passage Jouffroy in 1847.








Our final stop was the Passage du Grand Cerf.


Sadly, the only picture I took that wasn’t too dark was of the floor. Oh well.



It was a very pretty arcade, and I’m sorry that you will just have to take my word for that. Or better yet, go see it for yourself.

I hope that you enjoyed your afternoon of shopping. And you didn’t even have to drag your skirt in the muck.






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Filed under Paris, shopping

Window Shopping In Paris


Bonjour mes amis, and Happy Friday! I have hardly seen my husband all week and am so excited to be going to the north of France for the weekend with him and two other couples. I have just a little time to gather my photos from yesterday’s walk along the fabulous Rue Saint-Honoré and its environs. Like Avenue Montaigne, which I photograph a lot, Rue Saint-Honoré is lined with chic shops, including the flagship Hermes. I spent a lovely couple of hours late yesterday afternoon admiring the windows. Some of the photos have a glare, as the sun had not yet set, but just put on your designer sunglasses and pretend like it’s not there.

My first stop was my favorite shop on the street, Astier de Villatte, whose Paris-made ceramics are my weakness. I have a little collection going and hope to add a few more pieces, so I like to pop in frequently to see what I might want next. The shop is tiny, with a front room and a back room connected by a short hallway, but full of wonders. This is the only shop where I actually went inside, because it’s impossible for me not to.

front window

front window

yes I will come in, thank you

yes I will come in, thank you

back room

back room







Garnier Opera House

Garnier Opera House

I took a little detour to peek at the Opera House, and then went back to Rue Saint-Honoré through the Place de Vendome, which is lined with amazing jewelry shops.




Suddenly my little dish obsession seems completely harmless!


Needless to say, I couldn’t go home without checking out the windows at Hermes.





Bon Weekend, my friends! It has been wonderful sharing Paris with you this week.



Filed under fashion, flowers, Hermes, Paris, shopping

When We Weren’t Eating (ok- so we ate a little)

My sister-in-law appreciates the finer things in life as much as I do, so of course I had to take her across the river to Saint Germain. We had a great time peering in shop windows and occasionally even going inside the stores for a closer look. I even took her to the discount pharmacy, where I warned her that she had to push, search, and purchase as quickly as possible.  She had done her homework and read up on French beauty products to try, so we were in and out before any homicidal tendencies bubbled to the surface. Fortunately it’s still cool here, so the inside temperature wasn’t 85 degrees, as it can get in there during the summer.

The morning was gorgeous.


I showed her my favorite bus stop.



We made our way to the Luxembourg Gardens and ate leftover sandwiches in the sunshine.





The beekeepers were busy harvesting honey from the bee boxes.





Next I showed her a design wonder of the Left Bank. This Hermes store, opened at 17 rue de Sevres in November of 2011, completely blows me away. The entrance is a discreet doorway into what appears to be a handsome apartment building. When inside the space opens up into an old swimming pool from 1935. The old mosaic tile and wrought iron has been preserved, and large contemporary structures made of ash add style and warmth to what was potentially a cold, vast space.




My pictures do not do it justice, but this article describes the design and has great photographs.

I took her to the Bon Marche and the little park that sits just in front of it.


Of course, the afternoon would not have been complete without a flower cone from Amarino gelato.





Tired, happy, and carrying large plastic bottles of make-up remover from the pharmacy, we boarded our bus and went back home.

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Filed under gardens, Hermes, Paris, pharmacies, Saint Germain des Pres, shopping

J’Adore Dior

Actually, I have never owned anything that said “Dior” on the label.  But the Dior windows right now?  A. Maz. Ing. Totally. They have transformed Paris windows into an exotic tropical wonderland, with hanging orchids that look oh so real. Gorgeous.










Am I right or am I right? Well played, Dior; well played.

If you could take home piece, which would it be?


Filed under fashion, Paris, shopping, Uncategorized

Another Day in Par-ee-dise!

When I woke up one morning last week and my iPhone weather app had a big sun and “68” on it, I knew I had to cancel all my appointments for the day and spend it outside.  OK- I didn’t really have any appointments.  Or even a plan.   But if I had, I would have changed them all.  It was that kind of beautiful.

By 11:00 I was on the 83 bus, heading across the river and into the oh-so-civilized and elegant St. Germain.

Place de Ferstenberg is a lovely square tucked away from the hustle of the neighborhood.  The Delacroix Museum is located there, although it was closed for an installation when I tried to pop in. The square is lined with expensive and beautiful drapery and upholstery shops whose windows make me swoon.




Just around the corner are Rue du Buci and Rue de Seine, always lively with sidewalk cafes, restaurants, bars, flowers, and gelato.



I popped in this popular sandwich shop, Cosi, for my lunch to go.


Nice black cat backpack. And no that’s not Angela- her ponytail is much too thick.

If you have read this blog more than once, you probably know where I take my sandwich on a gorgeous day. Oui- le Jardin de Luxembourg.



these trees are just popping little buds

these trees are just popping little buds





I can’t decide if that is some construction in the background, or if Dairy Queen has entered the Paris market in a big way.


and the crane has got the cherry

IMG_4096I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering in and out of the fabulous shops in this well-heeled ‘hood.  I popped into Cire Trudon and made a few additions to my cameo candle collection.  Also squeezed myself into City Pharma and picked up a few party favors for friends at home. By that time my bags were too heavy to continue meandering, so I caught a bus home.

I couldn’t resist a late afternoon walk at the park, however!

These kids were having a great time in the tree.


I hope you find a little bit of paradise in your day.  And cartwheels.


These daffodils were positively vibrating in the breeze.  I was mesmerized.  But I’m easily entertained.


Filed under Cire Trudon, gardens, Luxembourg Gardens, Parc Monceau, Paris, shopping, Uncategorized

Shopping In Paris

I don’t typically do a lot of shopping in Paris.  It’s crazy expensive.  The shops are frequently very small and overseen by a bored woman who appears to hate food.  It’s very intimidating to walk into one of those little shops , hold up a tiny piece of clothing, and ask, in your best French, if they have it in your size.  The very small woman blows air out of her lips, in that French way, and turns on her high heel toward the stock room, where she sincerely doubts there will be anything large enough to contain those large American breasts.  And, in fact, there frequently is not.  All of which is actually a good thing, as there is plenty to do and spend ones euros on in Paris without being tempted by the fashion.

That said, France does have sales twice a year, during which prices are slashed and every woman with a pulse seems to hit the streets, carrying enough shopping bags on either arm to rival the Whos of Whoville on Christmas Eve.  The winter sales happened to start on January 8 this year, smack dab in the middle of our week in Paris, and who am I to resist a sale?  I bought these cute booties while we were in the Marais on Wednesday.


They are super-comfy and I love the low heel.  Because that’s how I have to roll these days.

I also may or may not have bought two items from my favorite cashmere shop, Crimson, off the Champs-Elysees.  It’s owned by a gorgeous American woman who used to live in Fort Worth.  She also used to work for French Vogue.  Yeah.  Definitely check it out if you are in the hood.

Finally, I couldn’t resist these cute glasses on sale at Zara Home.  They look like glasses I have seen on Ina’s tables, and that’s all I needed to decide I had to have them.  I think they will be good for water or wine, or even a pretty dessert.


Unlike the clothing boutiques, French pharmacies are a blast to explore.  I have given friends little treats from the pharmacy and now a few people are requesting refills when I am here.

Lisa likes this fabulous lip balm for her crusty crusts.

Leslie digs the super-rich moisturizer I turned her on to when she was here in the fall.  I love this stuff.

I have passed out many a travel-size bottle of this make-up remover, which is totally not oily and is small enough to travel in your carry-on.

Gwyneth recommended that stuff to me, and she never steers me wrong.

Finally, Martha asked for another bottle of this wonderful body oil that is so popular here.  You spray it on while you are still damp, and it moisturizes with a delicate scent.  It feels so good in the winter when the reptile skin rears its scaly head.

These things don’t go on sale during the annual frenzy, but I do know of a pharmacy that has prices much lower than any other.  It’s called City Pharma and it’s located in Saint-Germain.  Always teeming with tourists clutching their lists of must-haves, you must practice your yoga breathing before entering and be prepared for a crowd.  It’s packed for a reason, people!

Now I need to go figure out how to get all these purchases into my suitcase before the taxi arrives at 7:45 in the morning.  Zut alors!

Next post from Houston, mes amis.  Stay tuned.  And stay moisturized.



Filed under Champs Elysees, fashion, Marais, Paris, pharmacies, shopping, Uncategorized

Le Marche de Belleville

Last fall I spent a little time exploring the part of Paris known as Belleville, sandwiched between the 10th, 11th, 19th, and 20th arrondissements.  Belleville has traditionally been a working class neighborhood, and is a melting pot of immigrants.  The energy level was significantly elevated from that of the refined, and much less colorful, 8th, where I live.  I loved browsing the Belleville market, which was a totally different shopping experience from the President Wilson market.  In addition to the fruits and vegetables, cheeses, meats, and fish that are sold at every market, the Belleville market included fabrics, lots of peppers (not hot enough for my taste, but still..), shoes, socks, head scarves, and various household items such as combs, cleaners, underwear, and toiletries.  It was kind of like a traditional French market meets Wal-Mart or the Dollar Store.  The Belleville market was also much noisier than what I was used to, as the vendors attempted to out-shout each other for the attention (and euros) of the shoppers.  It really felt like another world- a lively, multi-cultural, energizing, and curious world.IMG_2877















Filed under food markets, grocery shopping, Paris, shopping, Uncategorized