Chocolat Debauve & Gallais
Sulpice Debauve was a pharmacist-turned-chocolate maker for France’s royal family, and he developed a range of chocolate coins for Marie Antoinette – which you can still buy today (Pistoles de Marie Antoinette).
This beautiful old shop has been selling chocolates for 200 years, and features marble columns and wood-panelled walls.
Chocolat Debauve & Gallais
30 Rue des Saints-Peres
Métro: Saint-Germain des pres
Monday to Saturday 9.30am-7pm
Bypass the tourists milling around the bottom of the hill leading up to the Sacre-Coer and walk around to Rue André Del Sarte , where you’ll find A.P.C’s outlet shop.
Well worth a visit if you’re an A.P.C. fan, with 50 per cent discount off last season’s collections.
20 Rue André Del SartE
Walk past all the other creperies jostling for attention on this street and head straight to Josselin, considered to be the best of its kind in Paris.
It’s relatively cheap and the buckwheat galettes are very filling, but you could also go simple and sweet with the house chocolate crepe.
67 Rue du Montparnasse
75014 Paris (14th Arr.)
Tel. 01 43 35 26 68
Cafe de Flore
Another Sarte and de Beauvoir haunt, another way to watch the world go by from plush red leather seating and splendid Art Deco surroundings.
Yes, it’s a wee bit touristy, but the Club Sandwich is really good (although not particularly existential).
Cafe de Flore
172 bd. Saint-Germain,
Paris (6th Arr.)
Shakespeare & Company
I hadn’t visited this wee gem of a bookshop for many years, so it was lovely to rediscover it and enjoy its rather authentic bohemian atmosphere.
It’s always very busy, but there are lots of little nooks for reading (or, uh, napping), as well as a great view of Notre Dame from the upstairs windows.
Shakespeare & Co
37 rue de la Bûcherie
Tel. 01 43 25 40 93
Monday to Saturday 10am-11pm
Left Bank booksellers
I usually don’t pay much attention to the booksellers and their distinctive dark green boxes lining the Left Bank of the Seine, but I couldn’t help lingering on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Sitting alongside crappy print reproductions were some really incredible vintage magazines, although they are priced for tourists. Good for browsing, perhaps, rather than buying.
I spent a glorious weekend in Paris towards the end of last year. In the past I've tended to gravitate towards Le Marais, but this time around I explored more of Saint Germain and the Left Bank. It was by no means a comprehensive tour (I preferred lingering in cafes and strolling down sun-dappled boulevards) but I thought you might be interested in some of these wee gems…
Admittedly Deyrolle may not be everyone's cup of tea (in fact, you may find dead animals dead creepy), but I spent a good couple of hours completely submerged in the sheer beauty of this historic shop. Downstairs looks like any other bourgeois gardening/interiors store, with a rather lovely collection of enamel pots and handsome tools. In fact, the only hint of the spectacle that awaits upstairs is the odd taxidermied animal in the window, or the deer wearing an apron.
I had heard a little bit about Deyrolle's impressive collection of taxidermied animals, mounted insects, shells and minerals, but I was still completely gobsmacked as I discovered what can be best described as a Darwinian collection of natural history at the top of the stairs.
Row upon row of brightly coloured birds fill the dark-wooded Victorian cabinets, and the most beautiful butterflies are laid out in 19th century display cases. It's like walking into a natural history museum – except every bug, bear and butterfly is for sale.
I was fascinated by the humungous black rhinoceros beetles, stick insects and scorpions, but couldn't draw myself away from the glass trays of butterflies in astonishingly vivid hues of irridescent turquoise.
Choosing your bugs to mount is an exciting (and extremely satisfying) experience, akin to a child in a sweet shop, except you're pointing to exotic insects, not sherbet fountains. Your choice of butterflies and insects are mounted on a special display case, and prices for individual insects start at a few Euros. It's a wondrous place to browse, and kids will be equally fascinated.
46 rue du Bac
Tel. 01 42 22 30 07
Métro: Rue du Bac
Les Deux Magots
I know, it's a bit touristy these days but I couldn't pass up the
chance to have a latte in Sartre, de Beauvoir and Wilde's old hang-out.
Except I didn't have coffee, I went for the hot chocolate instead. And it was rich, luscious and quite simply The Best Hot Chocolate Ever. Nice old tiles, too.
Les Deux Magots
6 Place Saint-Germain des Prés
Tel. 01 45 48 55 25
Pierre Herme is everything that Laduree is not: modern, minimalist and a wee bit sexy. With not a hint of gilt in sight. But we're still talking about macaroons here, and Monsieur Herme's are very lovely indeed with big bold colours and delicate flavours. A perfect take-away treat to enjoy in the nearby Jardin du Luxembourg.
72 rue Bonaparte
Tel. 01 43 54 47 77
Monday to Friday 10am-7pm
Part 2 coming tomorrow.
If Marie Antoinette really did say, “Let them eat cake”, then she’d be delighted to visit French patisserie Laduree and watch Parisians (and the rest of the world) doing just that.
It’s not surprising that director Sophie Coppola chose Laduree to create the sumptious cakes and towering treats for her visually stunning film Marie Antoinette.
Laduree is one of the oldest patisseries in Paris, and its original salon on rue Royale was founded in 1862. The ornate gilt-edged tea room features chubby cherubs painted on the ceiling, not unlike Marie Antoinette’s rooms at the Palace of Versailles. Whilst the King favoured more austere maroon and dark green, the Queen’s rooms are lighter and brighter with a dominant colour palette of golds, creams and pastels.
Ah, pastels. Laduree’s famous macaroons, tinted in the most delicate shades seemingly taken from the walls of the Queen’s bedroom, are the reason why people flock here every day.
These petit bites of bliss come in a startling range of flavours, including vanilla, coffee, rose petal, chocolate, pistachio, salted butter caramel, cherry amaretto, raspberry, orange blossom and liquorice. They also offer seasonal flavours, such as lemon, coconut, and chestnut. You can see Marie Antoinette nibbling away now.
I arrived in time for lunch, where the elegant club sandwiches come with a side of hand-cut frites. The extensive selection of tea was also overwhelming, and I decided to go with the fragrant Marie Antoinette blend, which was spiked with fruit oils and rose petals.
But there’s more to come, including a display case of cakes, pastries and chocolates. The religieuses are something else altogether. I had assumed they were so-named because eating them would be akin to a religious experience. Er, that would be wrong. Apparently they are meant to resemble a nun. (Make sense? Nah, me either, unless the pastry chef had a big blob as a teacher at school.) But I DO love this blackcurrant-violet religieuse, made from choux pastry, blackcurrant and violet-flavoured confectioner’s custard:
In the end, I go with four mini macaroons, the most perfect morsels to end my Marie Antoinette-esque experience. Oh lordy, it IS a religious experience.
16 rue Royale (8th arr.)
There are five other Laduree shops in Paris, as well as a Laduree tearoom in Harrods, London.
There are more shopping gems in the 4th arrondissement, which is home to the traditional Jewish area of the Marais, as well as Ile St. Louis, the tiny neighbouring island to Ile de la Cite and Notre Dame. This area is perfect for an afternoon’s stroll across the Seine (and a magical view of Note Dame’s flying buttresses). Here are my favourite speciality stores (and some very good bakeries, creperies and sweet shops).
16 rue Pavee
This small boutique is dedicated to just one thing: quality leather sandals. And there are hundreds of them, in all different styles and colours. They’re not cheap (average price €150) but they’ll serve you well. New York fashion editors make a beeline for this shop when they're in Paris.
3 bis rue des Rosiers
Stop here for Issey Miyake’s celebrated range of pleated garments. The tops are practical and great for travel, as the permanent pleats never require ironing. The simple shapes and lines look sculptural on the body, and are available in a range of colours and prints.
24 rue des Ecouffes
This fabulous Jewish bakery specialises in pastries such as cheesecake and apple strudel.
10 rue du Pont Louis Philippe
I had only been in this shop for five minutes when I had the sudden urge to quit emailing and immerse myself in the old-fashioned art of writing letters. This little store has an impressive selection of elegant stationery, ink, pens and leather-bound notebooks. I’ve always loved beautiful stationery, so I was particularly taken by the lace-edged place cards and the boxes of correspondence cards. The friendly owner knows his stuff and is only too happy to help. Keep an eye out for the showcase wall of calligraphied envelopes sent to the shop from around the world.
9 rue du Pont Louis Phillippe
More gorgeous stationery, pens, pencils and fabric-bound notebooks. Heaven.
Bleu dans Lile
35 Rue des Deux Ponts
Pick up an old-fashioned tin of dragees (sugared almonds) from this sugar haven on the tiny island of Ile St. Louis. The window display is a visual treat packed with nougat, chocolate, lollipops and marshmallows. Keep an eye out for the marshmallow Virgin Marys.
27 Rue des Deux Ponts
In summer, line up for the famous Berthillon ice-cream served from the window of this café. In winter, warm up inside with hot chocolate and crepes.
Arche de Noe
70 rue St Louis en l'Ile
Charming toy store packed with old-fashioned wooden toys, puppets, dolls and an ultra-girlie pink aisle.
La Charlotte de l'Îsle
24 rue St. Louis en l'Îsle
Incredible handmade chocolates and sweets.
36 rue de Sévigné (3rd arr)
This French chain makes the best long-sleeved striped cotton tops that are inexpensive and instantly chic. This season the ultra-flattering cut features contrast piping around the neckline with a cute little bow. They also stock an extensive range of childrenswear and babywear.
A wee birdy told me that Gwen is wearing APC head to toe.
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Here are a few more shining jewels in Paris to check out…
20 & 24 galerie de Montpensier
This boutique-meets-museum stocks an incredible range of vintage couture. I spied an entire rack of Chanel jackets, as well as shelves of designer handbags (loads of Hermes) and rows of shoes.
Walk across the glorious Palais Royal Gardens to Ludot’s third boutique, La Petite Robe Noire. The avenue of trees provides a cool shady break on a hot summer’s day. Watch the locals sunning themselves by the fountain (and the tiny sparrows playing in the dust).
La Petite Robe Noire
125 galerie de Valois
What’s not to love about a shop devoted entirely to little black dresses? Ignore the astronomical prices and admire instead the museum-quality vintage couture (Dior et al), as well as Ludot’s own range of vintage-inspired black frocks.
Astier de Villatte
173 rue St. Honoré
Take home a few pieces of these distinctive rustic French ceramics. I liked the white-glazed platters and the little birds.
213 rue St. Honoré
It’s fair to say that Colette is responsible for the term “concept store”. And it’s still the leader of the pack, with a hipster’s collection of cosmetics, fashion, books, music and food. It was nice to see Australian beauty brands Aesop and ModelCo in the mix. The fashion floor upstairs with its forest of designer-clad mannequins is also a lot of fun.
368 rue St. Honoré
Two floors of Cacharel is my idea of a fab shopping experience. Nice new range of handbags, and I’m loving their patent-leather bon-bon necklaces. Head downstairs for their sweet range of children’s clothes.
Comptoir des Contonniers
342 rue St. Honoré
I’m a big fan of this label and its love of simple, streamlined garments with a strong graphic sensibility. This season, their smock dresses in graphic prints of grey and navy get my vote.
p.s. They have five stores in London.