Paris in Pink and Orange ~ Shopping in Paris Monday, May 13 2013
Paris 11:52 am
Paris is one of those towns that wears its fashion heart on its sleeve. A good sit in a central Paris café or a nice stroll by a few tony shop windows will show you the hot new trends in a red-hot minute. All you have to do is keep your eyes open and take some mental notes….and then put your shopping list together.
As I buzzed around Paris this spring, I noticed that pink and orange are très tendance (all the rage). From hats and scarves to clothes and shoes, pink and orange are the must-have colors for summer. I snapped a bunch of photos as I walked down the Left Bank’s rue de Grenelle recently. I must say the bright couleurs were a welcome relief to everyone after the gray skies of winter.
This French hat and scarf combo was a dream. Not sure I’d wear the hat myself, but the pink silk chiffon scarf looked so French and feminine. It was almost like cotton candy for the neck. And I think the Parisian salesperson who put together the display should win a scarf-tying award.
The same boutique was awash in pink clothes too. Lace and fringe on the same dress - who said the French don’t go over the top? But it totally works in Paris.
Just a few steps away from the pink shop windows, it was orange central. The chic Chacok boutique was awash in the fashionable color. One of the great things about French separates is that you can dress them up or down – French women let their mood be their guide.
This look was notable not so much for the outfit as for the mannequin’s pose. Chest held high and hips thrust out – it was a French woman in mannequin form. In all honesty, I have yet to see a non-French woman able to swish down the street like a female from France. It must be in their genes.
Nearby, another boutique featured orange too – it was the sleeved or sleeveless look in a terrific textured fabric.
If these photos have whet your appetite for French fashion, you might be wondering where are the best places to shop in Paris? Here is a short guide to finding the most stylish fashions the city has to offer:
Department Stores – When you have limited time in Paris, department stores are the way to see – or buy – a lot in a hurry. You have everything from high fashion to everyday wear to purses to scarves to jewelry all in one place. Galeries Lafayette and Printemps on the Boulevard Haussmann on the Right Bank offer multiple floors worth hours of shopping entertainment. On the Left Bank, Le Bon Marché is a small-ish, chic department store near the Sèvres-Babylone metro stop. Not to be forgotten is BHV, or the Bazaar de l’Hôtel de Ville, the department store near Paris’s town hall east of the Louvre. Most well known to Parisians for its hardware department, BHV is making an effort to become more hip. I recently took a spin through the clothing departments and saw some fun fashions and current casual designers there.
Shopping Areas on the Right Bank – For an array of French designer and upscale boutiques, you’ll want to head to the St. Honoré neighborhood. So St. Honoré is a street that has two parts. When you stand at the intersection of Rue Royale and St. Honoré, you’ll have the Rue du Faubourg St. Honoré going off towards the west and the Rue St. Honoré to the east. The Rue du Faubourg St. Honoré is home to the likes of Chanel, Lanvin and of course, the flagship Hermès store. (Note on pronouncing the famous scarf and leathergoods maker Hermès: It sounds like ‘air-mess’ with a French accent!) The Rue St. Honoré includes a large Longchamp boutique, Goyard, Colette and a variety of other interesting shops.
For le top du top of French fashion, Paris’s ‘Golden Triangle’ is where the finest haute couture houses are located. Le Triangle d’or is the area around the Avenue Montaigne, Avenue George V and Avneue François Ier. You’ll find Givenchy, Dior, Nina Ricci, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Pucci, and more. Even if the stratospheric prices are not in your budget, the elegant shop windows are worth a look.
Shopping Areas on the Left Bank – There are many wonderful boutiques located around the other ‘shopping triangle’ of Paris, this one on the Left Bank. You’ll want to wander in and around the triangle formed by the Boulevard St. Germain, Boulevard Raspail and the Rue de Sèvres/Rue de Rennes. Small not-to-miss streets include the rue de Grenelle, rue des Saints-Pères, rue du Dragon, rue du Bac, rue Bonaparte and the rue du Cherche-Midi. One of my favorite stops in the neighborhood is the Italian shoemaker Lario at 56, rue du Four. In fact, there are about 10 or 12 great shoe shops located within one to two blocks of Lario. If you need to get a ‘red soles’ fix at Christian Louboutin, he’s got a boutique here in the rue de Grenelle. Though the last time I passed by, it was a Saturday afternoon and the Louboutin store was so mobbed that there was a line outside to get in. The salespeople would only let new customers in when those who finished shopping went out. Go figure!
Of course, there are many other places to shop in Paris although I find that the ones mentioned above give you the most to look at in concentrated central areas of the city. You’ll want to make a note that most Paris shops are open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 7pm. Major sales in France take place twice a year starting in late January and early July and lasting for two to three weeks. And ‘boutique’ in French is pronounced boo-teek!