Tag Archives: Le Bon Marche

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

Tuesday With A Friend

I spent yesterday with a good friend who lived here with me for a year and a half but moved back to Houston last summer.  She was a good partner in crime, and my shopping muse, and I miss her! We wandered around some of our favorite places and pretended that she still lived here.

On my way to our meeting spot, the Museum of Decorative Arts, I enjoyed my first visit to the Tuileries since my return.  The day looks colder than it was, although it definitely did not feel like spring.







When the Museum of Decorative Arts (part of the Louvre) opened at 11:00, we were in line to see a current exhibition of the creations and inspirations of the Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten.  The exhibition was very well done, and included gorgeous inspiration pieces by other designers, some from the 19th century. Sorry- photos were interdites.

Next we hopped on a bus to go across the river to St. Germain.  After a light lunch at Le Cuisine de Bar, the small restaurant associated with and next to Poilane bakery, we wandered over to our favorite department store, Le Bon Marche.  Everyone should experience this store at least once, if only to walk around and be amazed by its grandeur.  I could happily do it once a week.

The grocery section, called Le Grand Epicerie, is a wonderland of gourmet foods and gorgeous produce. It had been re-done since our last visit, so we were interested to see what changes had been made. Such a fun place to wander- a far cry from my little stinky Franprix!

wall of waters

wall of waters

you say tomato

you say tomato


From there we crossed the street to the main part of the store.


My favorite section was the bathing suit department, which was designed to look like a large swimming pool.  Fantastic!




Isn’t that amazing? It’s almost enough to make the prospect of swimsuit shopping a tad less horrendous. Maybe.

Paris is the perfect place for wandering, and it’s even better to do it with a friend.

Merci, my friends, for sharing it with me!


Filed under fashion, gardens, grocery shopping, Paris, Paris dining, Paris museum, Tuileries

Happy Birthday Au Bon Marche!

I really do not spend much time in the department stores here, but I had read about the special decorations for the 160th birthday of Le Bon Marche and one night, on a whim,  I set out  to see what all the fuss was about.

As we have previously discussed, Le Bon Marche has quite a history.  It’s understandable that the store would want to make a big deal out of its 160th year anniversary.  Over 300 designers and brands proffered  items specifically for the event.

Catherine Deneuve participated in the  birthday celebration, and her image was reflected in cartoon type, black and white drawings of Ms. Deneuve in familiar Paris places.

Catherine also filmed a video in which she goes to some of those iconic places and shoos away people who want to take photos of her.  It’s in French, but you might enjoy the scenery even if you can’t understand her.

The simple black and white decorations festooned the inside of the store, as well.  I thought they were surprisingly effective, despite their simplicity.

This was a huge Lego model of the store, with the drawing as a backdrop.

I so enjoyed wandering around each floor, just to see what was there.  I was surprised to see this extensive sewing and knitting department.  Now I know where to go to look for buttons for my coat.


A very fun outing, indeed, and just a short bus ride away. On the way out I saw a couple more cute windows.

So many happy returns, Le Bon Marche!  Or maybe I should wish it “no returns”, instead.  Stay right here on your favorite Paris channel to see what the store is wearing for Christmas.  Coming soon.


Filed under fashion, shopping, Uncategorized

Spring Break in Paris May Be Over But Spring Is Definitely Here To Stay

This week has been more quiet but just as busy as last week with the Spring Breakers.  Well, it’s only the end of Tuesday, but so far, that has been the case.  I want to make the most of my time with my good friend, so we have been on the move.

The last car heading to the airport had barely pulled away from the apartment on Sunday morning when we headed out to Bastille Market.  I had never been there and was excited to see the largest outdoor market in Paris, and the one where David Lebovitz shops ( I looked for him but he wasn’t there).  It was indeed a gi-normous market and we had a great time going up and down all of the aisles and making purchases for our coming week.

This monument stands in the Place de la Bastille where the prison stormed by the French people in July of 1789 stood. The market is just off the Place.

We admired these babies but passed.

I could survive quite happily here on bread, butter, and eggs.

Yummy yummy funghi.

When we got back home, our granny cart was full.  Here was our bounty.

The chicken in the middle was roasted crispy and had honey and sesame seeds on the skin.  The nice lady gave us the roasted potatoes in the bowl.  She must have thought we looked in need of fattening up.  Thanks, nice chicken lady.

The gorgeous, shiny eggplant became eggplant gratin.

Now that's what I'm talkin' about...

It was accompanied by its friend, stuffed artichoke.

Mr. Cauliflower became Ina’s Cauliflower Gratin, but I forgot to take a picture of him.

We have done more than cook, however.

We went to the oldest department store in the world, Le Bon Marche. I had been there only once while on a walking tour, and this time we really looked at all the departments and marveled at the shoes, bags, and clothes that we could never afford.

I love this display- obviously done for Fashion Week.

The Bon Marche is also known for its incredible food market, called La Grande Epicerie.  It was huge, and very, very pretty.  The Easter candy selection was much nicer than where I usually buy it, which is Walgreens.  I thought you might like to see their “United States and Canada” shelf.  No wonder they think we eat junk and are all obese!  Strawberry and regular marshmallow fluff?  Assorted spray cheeses?  Boxed cheesecake?

And how have I ever managed to live without Shake and Pour Bisquick?

On the way home we thought it meet and right to stop at Les Deux Magots for a glass of wine.  We toasted Hemingway and each other.  It was a very good day.

Now go have some Shake N Pour Bisquick with Strawberry Marshmallow Fluff and be grateful that you live in the land of gourmands.


Filed under cooking, fashion, food markets, Luxembourg Gardens

Saints and Sales

I went on another fabulous walking tour this week with the group from Martha’s school.  This time we were in the 7th arrondissement, in a neighborhood  that used to have many convents in it.  Today there are still a few convents and lots of  churches.

We learned  about St. Vincent de Paul, who had quite a life.  Apparently he was captured by Tunesian pirates when he was a young man, and was enslaved by them for three years until his escape.  After that experience, he dedicated his life to helping people in need.  He started the Sisters of Charity, became the private confessor of Louis XIII, and did much to minister to the poor and the needy.  His remains are on display in a gorgeous church called La Chapelle des Lazaristes.  We climbed a narrow, winding stone staircase in order to walk by the glass case in which he lies peacefully.  Wax molds have been placed over his face and his hands.  It was really interesting to see his remains so up close and personal.  

That's Vinnie floating over the altar.

the ceiling of the church

As we filed out of the church we noticed the body of a priest lying in state in an alcove just by the entrance.  A man with a coffin on -end on a dolly passed us in the doorway, presumably for the priest.  I wanted to get a picture of the coffin on the dolly, but just couldn’t quite bring myself to take it.  When I got outside I saw his truck, though, which proved too much to resist.

not a delivery one wants

The other high point of the tour was learning about Le Bon Marche, which is the first department store in the world!  Built in 1852, it took the concept of the “covered passage” shops in Paris and put them all under one roof and one owner.  Because it was so successful, it was quickly emulated.  Macy’s was built in 1858 and Bloomingdales in 1860.  The guy who owned it with his wife were also the first to come up with the concept of sales and returns (I LOVE  THOSE GUYS) .  They also provided on-site day care for the employees, which was an idea way ahead of its time.

My pictures of the exterior and the fabulous windows didn’t come out, but here is a photo of the dome, done by Eiffel at the same time he was working on that crazy idea of a useless tower for the Paris Exposition.

Department store Le Bon Marche Paris France

Image via Wikipedia

We have come to the end of another tour, mes amies.  Feel free to tip your guide if you enjoyed yourself.


Filed under Paris outings, shopping