As I said before, prices in London were absolutely crazy. So, I didn't buy much
but I had to pick up some Paddington bears because they are just adorable!
Hailing from deepest darkest Peru by way of Paddington Station, one of these
is a present for a dear friend's 2 year old daughter, and the other is all mine.
I also picked up a bunch of random souvenirs, a cloth tote, pencil case and
gummy bears from Harrods as well as a tube pencil case. The tube is so efficient
and effective, much better than the BART that I'm used to in San Francisco. We
never had to wait longer than 5 minutes and getting around the city was a breeze.
Our days in the city of lights were all about shopping and eating. We managed to
hit the very tail end of Les Soldes (the sales) so everything from last season and
I mean everything in the stores was marked down 2 or even 3 times into the
almost affordable range. I think we get mark-downs of this magnitude in San
Francisco where I normally shop, but since the sales are governmentally regulated
in France to happen only twice a year, you just get the discounts all at once rather
than spread out more evenly over the year.
For fun I wandered into lots of very luxe stores that I wouldn't normally shop at:
Dior, Yves Saint Laurent (where I fell in love with a smashing purse, but just
couldn't justify the 600 Euro -- on sale! -- price tag), Channel, Hermes (this was a
huge store full of mostly foreign shoppers looking at cases full of scarves and
breathtaking purses galore), Louis Vuitton and Mulberry -- where I watched a
young British girl buy two 700+ Euro purses in a snap decision. Her boyfriend's only
comment was "Are you sure?" to which she quite quickly replied "Yes, yes I am!"
before whipping out her credit card.
For my brother, the amateur chef, I picked up some yummy goodies at a very nice
specialty foods store, La Comtesse du Barry, making foie gras and other delicious
goods since 1908. I got him a small can of foie gras and 2 medium sized truffles. More
on the results of this in a post soon!
For my good friend K I got a fun apron.
And, for another friend we got a box of chocolates from Laduree, a marvelous
tea and chocolate shop chain. They had one of these shops in Harrods and it was
the cutest little shop all decorated in pink and green. I tried to take a photo, but as
I pulled out my camera a waiter told me that they don't allow photographs. Doh!
By the time we arrived in Paris the sales were pretty picked over since it was the very
end of sale season. However, my goal was to get a few really special items that I really
loved rather than a bunch of random pieces. After several days of tromping around to
every store imaginable, I think I succeeded.
I purchased two things for myself in Paris. The first was this bubble shaped coat from
Joseph. This is actually a UK based brand and I picked it up at Les Galleries Lafayette,
an enormous 3 building, 7 floor department store. I fell in love with the rounded shape
and giant satin buttons. It's actually quite fitted on top and only flares out near the
bottom. I worry a little bit that this cocoon shape will be out of style next season but I
just liked it too much to pass it by. And, I got a great deal at 75% off!
If you're ever shopping in Paris I definitely recommend looking into getting the taxes
reimbursed. It's called detaxe and all of the stores seem to have the forms on hand.
You just fill them out in the store, get them stamped at customs on your way out of the
country and then mail them back in and they reimburse you on your credit card.
On my recurring food theme (seems to pop up a lot doesn't it?) we had the most
amazing macarons from Pierre Herme including vanilla, pistachio and rose water.
As we were sitting in a cafe nearby sipping our cafe cremes and eating our pastries
I overheard some chic french girls commenting on the macarons and wondering
where we got them. :) They were also browsing a pamphlet about the newest line from
Paule Ka whose clothes are pretty fabulous. I later almost bought a purse from Paule
Ka, but it just wasn't quite perfect enough. I was looking for a grey purse, and it was
sort of more of a blue grey without a zipper on top and with a magnetic clasp that
seemed to be losing it's grip. I'm glad I held off because I managed to find this one
later that evening just as I was about to give up for the day!
This was the other item I bought for myself in Paris, a gorgeous subtly metallic purse
from Sonia Rykiel, the so called "queen of knits". The color is called anthracite and it's
metallic without being overly shiny, perfect to wear for day or night. I love that this purse
looks appropriate with anything from jeans to dresses. There is quite a bit of special
detailing on the purse including some beautiful stitching, a fun clasp in front, and a
scalloped pocket in the back. The cutest part is this little coccinelle (lady bug) on the inside
flap. They're supposed to be good luck. This one I got discounted by about 57%.
That was all I bought, but other unique places I managed to make it into included Colette
which my shopping guide claimed was THE boutique for trend spotting. There certainly
were a lot of quite trendily dressed people in there. I don't think I've ever been in a store
with so many people wandering around. They had loud beats playing in the background
and extremeley beautiful clothing and accessories.
I also went into the Herve Leger store. I had never seen one of his bandage dresses in
the flesh before so I couldn't pass up my chance. There were quite a few of them on sale,
but I had just come from a very yummy and filling lunch so I didn't dare try any of these
body conscious beauties on, but they were gorgeous none the less.