Any excuse to visit Paris and we’ll jump at the chance. It’s one of our favourite places to spend a few days as we know we’ll always find something new to fall in love with. On our most recent visit we donned our flats, put on our sunglasses and went for a wander. All in the name of research of course. Here’s our Kiss the Moon list of must visit gems in the city of love.
Beauty: Buly 1803
Chosen by the New York Times as the most chic beauty emporium in the world. Of course, we had to see for ourselves. Stepping inside the amazing store in St Germain de Pres has been described as like stepping back in time. They’re not wrong.
The beautiful interior, the serene atmosphere and the jars of lotions and potions could be a setting for a scene in Madame Bovary. It feels like nothing has changed for hundreds of years, but in fact the store is just two years old. Inspired by the renowned perfumer Jean Vincent Bully who established his name in the 19th century – the company has been ‘reborn’ in its current form (and with one less letter ‘l’ in its name), using inspiration from that era and the recipes that made him famous. Today, it’s a gorgeous place to go for natural beauty products, carefully crafted with top class ingredients collected from all around the world. Perfumes are triple-distilled without alcohol to ‘preserve the integrity of the original aroma’. We love the delicate bergamot scent – beautifully fresh for a hot summer day and the tuberose soap is deeply indulgent – just like the hypnotically rich creamy flower its born from.
The packaging is special. Beautiful graphics and handwritten labels personalised with your name and date (the capable sales team behind the counter are each trained in calligraphy before they start working there). If you are looking for a special treat for yourself or a gift for a beauty loving friend – this is a perfect place to look. Chic indeed.
Office Universelle Buly 1803, 6 rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris 6eme
Opening Hours: Monday 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM From Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Art: Maison Sennelier
What is it about Paris that makes everyone feel like an artist? Whenever we go we have the urge to put pen to paper. Or maybe to sit by the Seine with a sketchbook. If you are even vaguely arty then don’t miss this little treasure chest perched on the Left Bank. This pocket sized art supply shop was established in 1887 by Gustave Sennelier, a chemist who had discovered a unique way to create oil colours. From the days when he used to grind his own pigments in the backyard, this Parisian landmark has become a haven for anyone with a passion for colour. Including, in their day, Cezanne, Gaugin and Monet and Picasso to name but a few.
Whatever your medium, or, if like us, you just are a bit of a stationery junkie – the displays alone are enough to make you want to reach for your credit card. Bold window displays, ancient wooden fittings and service with a French style shrug of the shoulders, all add to the experience. Tiny, tall and packed to the rafters, you’ll probably be quite literally rubbing shoulders with the other customers. But then who knows, you just might be standing in the queue with the next Matisse.
Maison Sennelier, 3 Quai Voltaire, 75007, Paris
Opening Hours: 2-6.30pm Monday. 10-12.45pm then 2-6.30pm Tues-Saturday. Closed Sunday
How much do we love this store? Part warehouse, part rummage room this is just a lovely place to be. A wide open space containing the coolest finds from round the world. From the fashion and jewellery den on the ground floor, up the iron stairs to the homewares (love) then round the corner to the gifts and stationery (more to feed our obsession – we need help). You’ll find things here first, we bet you.
When the urge strikes, take time out at the Used Book Cafe on the ground floor where the effortless cool staff welcome you with a smile and a glass of freshly prepared homemade limonade. Refreshed? Then get back in there and hunt some more for goodies – we bet you missed something. Our favourite finds on this trip included Spangle-coloured reading glasses (in vogue apparently – who knew?); CP Shades t shirts (best ever?) and lovely linens for our bedroom (of course). Check out their online store for a taste of what’s on offer.
Merci, 111 boulevard Beaumarchais 75003 Paris
Opening Hours: 10am-7pm Monday-Saturday. Closed Sunday
Culture: Musee d’Orsay
Shopped out? Then try a change of pace. It’s a bit of a crime to visit Paris and not take in some culture. So let us suggest the perfectly formed Musee D’Orsay. Originally a railway station, this is one museum where the building is as beautiful as the items it displays. Sidestep the queue at the door by hopping down the steps at the front of the building to the newspaper kiosk on the left, where a friendly gent will sell you a ticket for 11 euros which will get you straight in. One look at the guide pamphlet and you’ll see exactly what makes this place special. It contains for us, the greatest hits of the world’s best artists (missing only Van Gogh’s Starry Night maybe which hangs in the New York’s MOMA). Pretty much everything else he did that is special is there though, along with the a generous helping of other A-listers. Do not miss the Impressionist room up on the 2nd floor – even if your attention span is short and your art knowledge limited (which, we admit, ours is), you’ll be wowed.
Take a breather at Cafe Campana of the 5th Floor – designed by the Brazilian brothers with a penchance for furniture that breaks the rules. We loved the Pierre Bonnard exhibition that’s on at the moment – nice to see an artist as obsessed with bathing as we are.
Musee d’Orsay, 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France
Opening Hours: 9.30am-6pm daily except Mondays. Thursday until 9.45pm
Beauty, art, style, culture – how very Parisian.