Paris is synonymous with shopping, from the supra elegant shops of the Rue Faubourg St. Honoré to the tiny boutiques amongst the winding side streets of the Left Bank. While I only had two and a half days on this most recent trip (though the nights seemed to go on forever) I was fortunate to be in the company of Norma Thiessen, author of the blog My Beautiful Paris. After a leisurely breakfast at the Plaza Athénée, we set out Saturday morn, with a map upon which she had charted a route through the sixth arrondissement.
Here are some highlights that I looked forward to passing along to you! Don’t we all hope we’ll be back in Paris sooner than later?
With treasures that are handcrafted in an antique Bastille workshop, Astier de Villatte has gained a well deserved following and reputation through their extraordinary skill to reinterpret techniques and aesthetics from the past. Each piece is a one-of-a-kind (requiring six to eight months to produce)and yes, imperfection is celebrated. Inspired by eighteenth and nineteenth century designs, the craftsmen start with black terra cotta and glaze it to create a milky-white finish. Part of each object’s allure is it’s light-to-the-touch impression…yet they are very durable. And, I might add, heavenly!
These give new meaning to luxury scented candles, capturing the spirit of inspirational locations around the world. The container themselves are reason enough to take them home, all made to the standards of Astier de Vitalle ceramics.
Two little treasures that I brought home… a bud vase designed to replicate the gnarly shape and bark of a hollow tree trunk and the most charming, petit pitcher I coveted at first sight. Do you not love that whimsical, lyrical handle?
In their small back room on the rue de Tournon is a treasure trove of shapes, sizes and detailing in tabletop offerings that is their true trademark. Acting as counterpoint, and complimentary to, the all-white ceramics is a magical set of stained glass windows in the softest of blue shades. I stood transfixed, slowly absorbing this scene, not wanting to leave.
Another quintessentially small Paris boutique that appears as though from a Woody Allen movie, Buly was first known in the early nineteenth century for their scented vinegars “to preserve skin tone.” They would go on to be in the vanguard of the first formulations of modern cosmetics and perfume. Creams, balms, powders, plant-based lotions, oils, home fragrance — even toothpaste — Buly is still a treasured resource for the in-the-know Parisienne. Additionally, I was intrigued with the tile floor…
You’ll never want to depart this nineteenth century haven on rue Bonaparte and face the 21st century again.
We can’t forget about clothes and jewels…
Didier Ludot: Two vintage shops next door to each other; one presents “pret-a-porter” accessories (one half of the tiny store is Chanel, the other Hermes). Its adjoining “couture” counterpart is by appointment only.
Neila Vintage & Design: She knows her designer clothes! Where Paris stylists go. (Neila doesn’t have a website, so let me note her address…28, rue du Mont Thabor.)
Bijoux Fabrice: The French are known for their talents with resin in the creation of chic costume jewelry. Luckily we chanced upon this shop, for it is well worth a stop!!