Showing posts with label Paris. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paris. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Girl Guides

Just back from a mini sojourn in Paris. The city was as perfect as ever apart from one traumatic incident on the bumper cars in the Tuileries Gardens with overly aggressive kiddies getting carried away with the bumping aspect of this usually quite staid attraction. When travelling, I claim to like going with the flow but the nerd in me still likes to read up in advance with a good guide book. But which one to choose? Lonely Planet –practical but not pretty, DK Eyewitness – beautiful and informative but do we really need all the 3-D drawings of historical buildings?, Wallpaper Guides – gorgeous but sometimes we need more info that simply which boutique hotels are best. A good alternative to these is Ofr’s Guide Paris which I picked up at the bookshop at the Pompidou Centre. It’s beautifully designed with Sartorialist-chic pics of pretty young Parisians on bikes and smoking cigs by the Seine as well as lots of insider tips. The only drawback is the kinda nonsensical commentary – “Paris is an aphrodisiac bath that will welcome and carry your desires. It feels like life in the countryside, or by the Libyan sea, it's the Corsican freedom..”. Um, whatever you say. Also worth checking out is Ofr’s HQ in Le Marais. As well as being a gallery space, it’s one of the best art/design bookshops in Paris and a great place to get fashion magazines. I think it’s time to plan The Portmanteau’s next mini-break–maybe in October, just in time to catch Rodarte at Colette and the Kate exhib at the Musée des arts Décoratifs. NOK

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rue the Day

Times are tight at The Portmanteau. First came the recession, then the pickpocketing incident and now Christmas. What little money we do have is being spent on presents and there is none left for party dresses or any other luxuries. We are still expert window shoppers though and did our fair share in Paris; ogling the wares at Colette, Lanvin and Chanel.

But even when window shopping, I like to aim for something that is semi-affordable, i.e. out of my reach now but attainable when there’s a sale on and I’ve just been paid. And so I hit three of my favourite streets in Paris – Rue des Martyrs in the 9th, Rue du Jour in the 1st and Rue Beaurepaire in the 10th.

Rue des Martyrs is primarily a street for food lovers and we most definitely fit into that category. There are lots of little cheesemongers and greengrocers at the bottom and as you walk up towards Montmartre, you will come across Rose Bakery, my favourite breakfast destination. Further up the street lies the No Good Store, a great shop that stocks both menswear and womenswear, vintage and new. The staff are really helpful and have been known to knock a few euro off vintage stuff if you ask nicely.

Le Mont St Michel is one of my favourite labels and Rue du Jour is home to their little flagship store. Big knits jostle for rail space with delicate silk dresses while simple leather boots and bags perch on shelves. A few doors down you’ll find the cutest haberdashery in the world – La Droguerie. It’s filled to capacity with spools of colourful yarn and jars of buttons and beads. Rue du Jour also boasts branches of agnès b., Zadig & Voltaire and Manoush. Oh and there’s an Irish pub called Quigley’s Point!

Rue Beaurepaire is a little street off Place de la Republique. There are several plumbing supplies stores but in amongst these, you will find a brilliant boutique called Renhsen. Renhsen stocks well-known labels Junk de Luxe for men and Sessun and Nümph for women and their own range of jeans. The Kooples is a new French label with 12 stores in Paris, one of which is located on Rue Beaurepaire. Based on the idea of couples and sharing clothes, The Kooples has lots of unisex cardigans and blazers but still stocks quite a few dresses. The Cobra Snake-style photos of ridiculously too-cool-for-school twosomes adorn the walls and the shop assistants are suitably stylish.

Friday, December 12, 2008

La Femme Rykiel

When we finally got over the trauma of the pickpocketing incident, we made our way to the Musee des Arts Decoratifs to check out the Sonia Rykiel retrospective. Rykiel is one of The Portmanteau's favourite designers so it was a real treat to see the lady's best work from the past 40 years. Her catwalk shows are some of the very few where the models seem to be enjoying themselves rather than looking like they're marching towards their death and there is lots of entertaining footage here. All of Rykiel's signatures are on display - the stripes, the marabou feathers, the sweaters and the not so chic velour tracksuits. The show ends with the hilarious - well, hilarious for the fashion world -  homages from renowned designers that appeared at Rykiel's anniversary show this autumn. For the finale of the event, 30 models came out wearing Rykiel-inspired looks and they can all be seen here including my two personal favourites - Martin Margiela's dress made of frizzy orange hair and Gaultier's stripy dress teamed with giant knitting needles.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Non, je ne regrette rien (well…)

The Portmanteau really try to avoid spending useless time regretting things that can’t be changed but we make an exception for our decision not to learn French in secondary school. Our twelve-year-old selves really messed up when we ticked the German and Spanish box on the subject options form. At least it helped contribute to the fact that we were in each other’s class almost every single year for the first 14 years of our education (senior infants being the only exception), but it’s still our number one regret. Evening classes undertaken in the last couple of years have proved a little fruitless, mainly because the really slow granddads-learning-it-in-preparation-for-their-holiday-to-Britanny have held us back. And we may have missed a class or two….. Nevertheless, we still like to try out our bad French and got the perfect opportunity when we decamped to Paris last weekend. People always responded in English so I don’t think we were fooling anybody but at least we made the effort.

Shopping was curtailed somewhat due to the fact that all my money was stolen by a gang of twelve year old girls and it took the best part of Saturday afternoon to fill in the Victime statements and attempt to pick out the perpetrators in an incredibly badly-organised identity parade. We did manage to fit in some window shopping, exhibitions and macaroon-eating so it wasn’t all bad. And the French policemen were kinda hot.

Pic pocketed from Roger