What to bring back from Paris


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It used to be you could buy an article of clothing, accessory, delicacy or souvenir that had the label “Made in France”. I tried my best to hunt down such gifts only to find almost everything is made in China, Morrocco, Bangladesh, and India. Even the Chanel lotion I bought at the airport on my way home was made in New Jersey. And strict new rules forbid bringing back cheeses, pates, sausages, most everything edible. Wine and chocolate are okay.

I don’t go to Paris to shop. I have other things to do that are more important. BUT, when the days dwindle down to departure time, I develop guilty feelings and break down. Friends and family deserve a little something, and I mean LITTLE.


Tea pleases most everyone and packs light. Galeries Lafayette gourmet and the Bon Marche have great selections.


Macarons are traditional. Laduree are some of the best and there’s an outlet at DeGaulle.


All purchased at Monoprix on the Champs Elysees.  1. Caudile hydrating cream $13; 2. LaRoche sunscreen $15; 3. Chocolate, $2-$4;  4. Eiffel Tower postcards $1.20 each; 6. Nuxe Huile Prodigeuse (the best), $20


Paris bracelet, Galeries Lafayette, $7;  2. Traditional silver coated almonds; 3. Nuxe honey lip balm, $10; 4. Nuxe oil (again, because I like it); 5. Art postcard on thick matte paper, $1.50; 6. Melvita rose water, $15; 7. Hydrating face masks, 3-5 euros. 8. Vogue Paris accessory, $8.


Light tote from Grand Galerie de L’Evolution (Jardin des Plantes), 4 euros) 2. No Worries Paris, one of Paris’s best walking guides; 3. hat, $12, Au Printemps; 4. paper goods, Merci, (111 boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003); 5. Necklace, Au Printemps; 6. Lait-Crème Concentré – Embryolisse, $16; 7. Petite notebook, Merci, 3 euros.


Scarf, Galeries Lafayette, 17 euros; 2. Selection of trendy, cleverly packaged medallion bracelets ranging from 3 to 12 euros, Merci,  a must-see concept store in trendy 3rd arrondissement (with 2 restaurants).


Alas, it will be time to depart and your leftover euros are burning a hole in your pocket. Take caution when it comes to the cosmetics vendors at the airport. Your aim was to return home with French products, non?


I didn’t check where these were made and hoping not China or New Jersey. This is the Chanel display at DeGaulle. Irresistable. I’ll take the black pair. Put it on my Visa (just fantasizing, of course).


Diary from the Paris Fashion Week trenches: day 6


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I promised myself to take a day off, however, as I scurried to the Apple store to buy a new external hard drive replacement, there they were, the guys in black with their cameras and tripods on the stairs of Opera Garnier. I couldn’t refraid and joined the mob.


The Stella McCartney show was just ending and Carine Roitfeld, former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris, stopped a few moments for comments.


Not much security for the models once the show is over.





And the grand finale: Kristin Scott Thomas, the actress and Parisian resident practicing her invisibility.


Word on the street: The Kardashian robbery is taking it’s toll already. Security at the fashion houses tight.  Guards barricade the doors and purses, shopping bags are routinely examined before entering. The YSL showroom on  Avenue Montaigne not so busy, Chanel on the other hand full of clients. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out in the coming months.

Paris intermission…..timout!



Taking time to chill with a little (hastily put together) slide show. Join me for a petite tour along the Seine and rue Rivoli.  Warning, it’s super slow.

Saturday’s work. Paris never sleeps.




The dream job . . .

And how I ended the day.  The start of Nuit Blanche, an event of various manifestations (performance art) taking place all over the city and lasting until 7 am.



Paris catwalks. They’re habit forming


Can’t get enough of Fashion Week. Here was the scene at Jardin des Plantes, the Christian Wijnants show. Rain threatened but all was rosy for the stunning event.








And then there were the spectacular plants for dessert.



With love from Paris Fashion Week


Some streetstyle photos from the hubbub surrounding the Rochas and Aganovich shows this afternoon. Noticing flowing flower print skirts, chunky heels, message t-shirts, and smoking models.










Chateau hopping & tour shopping


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So you want to head out of Paris for the day and favor the grand architecture of the fairytale chateaus. Here are some tips that can save you time and money.

Vaux-le-Vicomte and Fontainbleau are practically neighbors and can be visited together in 8 hours with plenty of time to tour the gardens and get some lunch. By train and shuttle it can take hours to get to VLV.  From Paris Gare de l’Est, take the direct train Line P (in the direction of Provins). Get off at the Verneuil l’Etang train station. Direct trains every 60 minutes (travel time 35 minutes). Add to that waiting in line, purchasing tickets and taking the same route back from the Chateau. Inexpensive, headachy.


Fontainebleau is about 35 miles away from Paris. For $20 you can get there via public transportation. Trains leave from Gare de Lyon station regularly and the train ride is about 41 minutes. The train will be heading to Montargis. When the train arrives at Fontainbleau Avon station there are two options for getting to the chateau. There is a bus that leaves from bus station next door to the train station at the arrival of each train.

Now, I never thought I would recommend a tour because I like getting to places the cheapest way possible. But after researching this 2-castle trip and visiting each chateau website, I arrived at the decision that taking a tour cut out alot of grief (which train, timetables, avoiding lines).

The good news: for about $70 you can visit both via a deluxe air conditioned coach. Includes price of admission (you skip the lines), audio guides (or tour guide depending on $$), no extra walking or worrying.  Leaving Paris at 9:00, you get back around 6:00, just in time for cocktails.

The best companies to book with are Expedia and Viator. Their packages are very similar and one or the other always has a deal. I don’t recommend the ParisVision site…wonky confusing and you pay in euros.  Expedia represents them and you pay in dollars and immediately can printout your voucher, price a little cheaper.


Then there’s the Vallée de la Loire, one-hour away from Paris.  This tour adds up to a twelve hour day, but taking in 3 chateaus and being delivered to each door (price of admission included) by deluxe bus for around $177 is a real deal! You get to see the beautiful countryside out the window and can choose the audio guide or personal tour guide. Time to wander the grounds is taken into consideration. Again, I found the most economical way to see the chateaus I love the best is reserving through the Expedia site…Chambord, Cheverny, and Chenonceau (they even have one that’s a little pricer that includes wine tasting). Through Viator (a TripAdvisor company), the price for Chambord, Chenonceau and Amboise is $169, tour guide included. Note, you travel by van.

“Leave the driving to us” is now my motto. I like to maximize my vacation time, maybe you do too.





What’s going on Paris September 2016


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A rundown of events that are worth seeing:



Charles Gleyre (1806-1874). The Reformed Romantic Member
from 10 May 2016 to 11 September 2016
1 rue de la Légion d’Honneur – 75007 Paris
Musée d’Orsay – Saint-Germain-des-Prés – 7e Arrondissement


René Magritte. La Trahison des Images (The Treachery of Images)
from 21 September 2016 to 23 January 2017
Centre Pompidou – Place Georges Pompidou, Paris


from 10 March 2016 to 18 September 2016
Les Arts Décoratifs – Musée des Arts Décoratifs – 107 rue de Rivoli, Paris


Fête de la gastronomie
from 23 September 2016 to 25 September 2016
Paris et Ile-de-France – ., Paris

The Fête de la Gastronomie is all about food and cooking


Jardins d’Orient (Gardens of the Orient)
from 19 April 2016 to 25 September 2016
1 rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard – 75005 Paris
Quartier Latin – 5e Arrondissement


Edme Bouchardon, De sanguine et de marbre
from 16 September 2016 to 05 December 2016
Musée du Louvre – Musée du Louvre, Paris



European Heritage Days
from 17 September 2016 to 18 September 2016
Tout Paris

Discover or rediscover Parisian museums and monuments over one weekend. Lines can be long, so choose your favorite and arrive early!  Free.



Oscar Wilde, l’impertinent absolu
from 28 September 2016 to 25 January 2017
Petit Palais – Musée des Beaux Arts de la ville de Paris – Avenue Winston Churchill, Paris

Homage to one of the most famous Francophile writers in English




The time to go to Paris is NOW


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If you detest standing in line or just being in crowded places your timing to go to Paris has never been better.  Visibly noticeable are the shortened queues at the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay,  Eiffel Tower, bateaux mouches, and special events.


The regional tourist board head has called it an “industrial disaster” since so much of Paris relies on visitor spending. The Ile-de-France figures for 2016 reflect big drops:

A 46.2% decline in Japanese visitors compared with the same period in 2015
A 35% decline in Russian visitors
A 19.6% decline in Chinese visitors
A 5.7% decline in visitors from the US

After recent major terror attacks in France, Paris is now seen as “less safe”.  So it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons. I myself will take a chance on Paris. Some vacation rental landlords are willing to “talk turkey” and reduce the rent especially if you’re booking within a month’s time frame. Hotels too probably will soon be forced to offer more affordable rates.  A little direct negotiation with the front desk could mean extra savings for you.


I’m hoping tourists regain their confidence and Paris returns to its superstar status of being one of Europe’s most visited cities.  After all, 14.97 million international visitors adds up to a lot of croissants.


As well as a lot of sold guidebooks:  No Worries Paris, a photographic walking guide.


Packing for Paris. Fitting in street style.





No one wants to look like a dweeb, unstylish, unhip, touristy. Just what are they wearing in Paris? What’s trendy? If you do your research on the internet you’ll come up with hundreds of opinions. Pinterest has all sorts of looks to sort through. Fashion houses, magazines, blogs featuring beautiful models in eyecatching yet unpractical ensemble are misleading. There is no ONE answer, it’s all about you and the confidence you have with what suits you. At the end of the day, after walking all over the city, one factor comes to mind:  comfort.  So start with that, just don’t look sloppy.


A good rule of thumb is to sit in a cafe on a hip street like Rue Montorgueil and watch the passerbys. You’ll end up with load of ideas that you can immediately take to Galeries Lafayette, Bon Marche, Zara, H&M or cool little boutiques in the Marais. The right purse, scarf, shoes all add up to one great “feel good” look just for you.

Some links that will serve you well:







Confusing?  Understandable. Just start with the basics, go light, come back chic/cool.