Several friends and family are headed to Paris so I thought I'd post my favorite spots from this last trip...hoping you'll enjoy them too!
1. ASTIER de VILLATTE handmade white china and ceramic pieces
" Blink and you’ll miss this small shop. It’s one of the most special spaces in France. It sells a look and a way of being and a mishmash of objects displayed to thrill your heart. The business revolves around hand-thrown whitewear/dishes and other objets d’art. " - Suzy Gershman
These items are classic, special and hand-made. I am normally wary of über-chic spots such as this, but found these pieces to be charming, quirky and fun. The shopkeepers were not snotty (at either location) and that was a plus. I love the pieces I purchased and know I'll always use them, and recall my time in Paris when I see them. Astier de Villatte is also known for their scented candles and they sell John Derian découpage as well.
173, rue Saint - Honoré 75001 Metro : Palais Royale Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11AM –7:30PM, and 4, rue de bourbon le château 75006 Metro : Saint-Germain-des-Prés)
2. ENTREE des FOURNISSEURS and Le BONHEUR des DAMES
If you embroider, knit, cross - stitch or do needlepoint, don't miss these shops...I hadn't done any for years, but visits to each of these prompted me to begin again!
Entrée des Fournisseurs("Suppliers' Entrance") You will love this shop because it's full of specialized fabrics, trims, specialized buttons, kits, books, etc. 8, rue des Francs-Bourgeois 75003 Metro: Saint-Paul, (take rue Sevigné to rue F-B) Hours:Monday: 2:00-7:00 pm, Tues-Sat: 10:30 am-7:00 pm http://www.entreedesfournisseurs.fr/index.php?language=en Le Bonheur des Dames("Ladies' Happiness") specializes in embroidery kits, samplers, and associated accessories. It is located in the charming and historic 19th-century Passage Verdeau (which leads to Passage Jouffroy), and also has shops carrying antique cameras, comic books, and engravings. In visiting here, you'll experience two of Paris' Passages...charming though lesser-known spots...and you'll not be disappointed! 8, Passage Verdeau 75009 Métro :Grands Boulevards or Richelieu Drouot Hours: Monday 11:30 - 2:00 and 2:30 - 7:00; Tuesday-Saturday: 10:30 am - 2:00 pm, and 2:30 - 7:00pm http://www.bonheurdesdames.com/english
3. TIANY CHAMBARD Bakelite, Lucite...chic, fun vintage jewelry
"It’s a unique institution in France, in that its vast collection of some 150,000 objects—from medieval prie-dieus to Sèvres porcelain to an entire Art Deco Pullman car—was built almost exclusively from private donations. The 6,000 pieces currently on view are spread out across 10 floors and arranged in roughly chronological order..."
Hélène David - Weill, the institution’s president, emphasized the intimate nature of each donation : " People gave the museum, for the most part, what they had lived with and loved." "Despite the national focus, the museum’s pieces show a history of constant exchange across borders, as Flemish, Chinese, and Italian influences (among others) have been absorbed and tempered by Gallic sensibilities....consider a marvelously delicate writing table that once belonged to Madame de Pompadour, where the royal paramour may have sat writing love notes to King Louis XV. Its lacquered surface, inset with Orientalist scenes, imitates the Japanese, but in a blue that is classically French."
" The veil that the French discreetly draw over their private lives is ever so slightly lifted in the museum’s newly reconstructed period rooms. But visitors can marvel at the luxurious bedchamber commissioned in the 1830’s by the Baron William Hope, a Dutch-English banker so wealthy he lent money to King Louis-Philippe."
"The changing whims of fashion are highlighted in the Cabinet des Fables, an elegant 18th-century boudoir intended for the wife of a wealthy tax collector in Paris.The paneling’s pale-green and rose-colored moldings, which surround illustrations of scenes from La Fontaine’s Fables—monkeys negotiating with foxes and the like—were covered in gold, and the entire ladylike confection rendered at once bolder and more vulgar. (Restorers have left evidence of both stages.)" Lanvin private apartments "Time stands still in the private apartments of couturier Jeanne Lanvin : a bedchamber, boudoir, and bathroom created between 1922 and 1925, with the designer Armand Albert Rateau, as a cloistered refuge where this consummate artist and businesswoman could retire in private or with intimate friends and relations. The silk wall coverings in her signature shade of blue have been re-embroidered by Jean-François Lesage (son of the celebrated couture embroiderer); the perfect geometries of her bathroom, with its sculpted deer above a marble tub and its black-and-cream tiles, gleam once more." - Travel + Leisure Magazine, May 2007