Our last day in Paris was set aside to complete some must needed shopping. The city’s different quarters each have their own mood and atmosphere, and their shops often reflect their history and the type of people who live there. We decided to head to the The Galeries Lafayette which is an upmarket French department store located on Boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. The Metro is an easy method of transport and we were stepping out into the Opera Square within minutes of leaving Marais.
Once inside this majestic Nouveau Building, your senses are overloaded with high end designer labels; such as Chanel, Prada, Valentino, Alexander McQueen…plus all of the others..you know them..and a plethora of unique European fashion designs. The glass domed ceiling allows the sunlight to dapple in and there is a view from the roof top terrace of Paris. The opulent old school decor, is not what is seen these days in our local department stores..and Galeries Lafayette stays firmly within French tradition. If it all gets too much, stop on the 3rd floor for a glass of Champagne and a macaron, and people watch. The store is always busy, with shoppers from all over the world. Spending lots and lots of money. There are few bargains in this store. But it is still a must do whilst in Paris. My significant other and kids, decided after a couple of hours, that they were heading back to Bastille. I soldiered on alone. Secretly pleased I had the afternoon the meander the streets of Paris solo.
I opted to stroll down a favourite of mine, Rue St Honore. Located in the 8th district of Paris, the street begins at Place des Ternes, at its most western point. At this end, one finds numerous art galleries, antique shops and interior decorators. The Faubourg Saint-Honoré area extends for 2 kilometers up to Place Beauvau, the site of the presidential palace.
The once stuffy rue St-Honoré has become the focus for a more avant-garde fashion set, and one store I was determined to find was Colette. This store has it all. Contemporary fashion, books, art, jewellery and a perfumery.
After more then 10 years in operation, the Parisian concept store Colette is still the mecca for everything fashion, lifestyle related and worth a visit on every Paris trip. You almost feel like you are entering a shop museum, boasting the best in every category. Very cool.
Next stop was a chance to sit and rest my feet…in the gorgeous CosmoParis shoe boutique. I rested my feet and tried on and purchased some beautiful new kicks. Nude sandals with gold studs, very Valentino at a fraction of the price. There are some good shopping haunts on the rue St-Honoré , you just have to persevere. Oh, and I did.
Feeling somewhat grown up and carefree, I decided to skip 2 blocks down the rue St-Honoré and pop into Uber cool Hotel Costes for a drink. Costes is a mind-blowingly beautiful hotel. Extravagant and luxe and purple and gold, with chandeliers and heavy wood, a full-on central courtyard; and staff so gorgeous and breathlessly chic that it hurts to look at them. The Beckhams go. Kylie goes. So too shall I. What a wonderful way to spend an hour in Paris, sipping Campari, people watching and with the atmosphere heavy with Gauloises, once again pinching myself…I swear I’m getting bruises.
A beautiful last day in Paris, with memories galore. Lastly, I must mention the book above. The Little Black Book Of Paris. My mother gave this to me a few years ago when I was travelling to Paris for the first time. It simply is the best guide, map and information book I can recommend if you are heading to Paris. The maps fold out, in district chapters,so you can literally follow your map from area to area and fold and go…It lists the right venues, the cool shopping, the hotels and quirky bars and bistros. Seek it out and buy it.
Au revoir Paris you have been a glorious host…