The very best place to shop in Aix-en-Provence is the market which takes place on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Here you will find cheese, sausages, bread, bouillabaisse, flowers, soaps, lavender, linens, baskets, artwork, antiques and more. Here are some pictures from the Aix market.
Ispend most of my time in Paris on the left bank - but there are a few places I hit every visit on the right bank. These are my favorite spots for shopping and eating in the Saint-Honoré and Etienne Marcel area of Paris.
Astier de Vilatte (173, rue Saint-Honoré ). When I got married ten years ago I did not register for china. Instead, I mixed and matched dinnerware pieces from this store. They are solid white and look better with the inevitable chips they get with age.
Collette (213, rue Saint-Honoré) is a bit of a tourist zoo but still fun. I love to view the outfits on mannequins as much as I love to witness all the fabulous women seriously shopping and trying on clothes in this store.
Gas (44, rue Etienne Marcel) stocks Vanessa Bruno, Isabel Marant and lots of accessories and bits and baubles.
Kabuki (25 rue Etienne Marcel). On the ground floor there are shoes and bags by Balenciaga, Costume National and Prada, upstairs there are clothes by the aforementioned as well as Chloe, Missoni, Stella McCartney. I love this store.
Boutique Maille (6 Place de la Madeleine). This boutique has mustards on tap! It carries mustards in dozens of flavors - most of which are only available in France. It is a great place for gifts.
Pylones (56, rue Tiquetonne). This shop, near the Etienne Marcel Metro, will appeal to fans of Alessi. All the charm - a much more affordable price.
Vanessa Bruno (rue de Castiglione). This is my favorite store in Paris - and my first shopping stop. I spent two hours there on this recent trip and tried on everything in the store. In the end I only bought two dresses ( I bought the dress on the dress form shown in fushia). l love how the sales associates always indulge me and treat shopping for clothes as a very serious affair.
Le Fumoir (6, rue de L’Amiral-Coligny). Excellent dinner – nice atmosphere. This is where my Paris friends take me for cocktails and dinner. Cafe Beaubourg (100 Rue Saint Martin) This Costes brothers spot is excellent for breakfast and a perfect place to start the day before heading to Pompidou. Cafe Etienne Marcel (34, rue Etienne-Marcel). Another Costes brothers spot that is great for lunch and cocktails. Yes - they serve cheeseburgers and frites - but trust me, this place attracts a fashionable crowd.
Le Marais in Paris is known for its stores housed in historic buildings, crammed streets and courtyards. Sunday is best here - when it feels like the entire city visits this neighborhood because everything is open. I recently spent an afternoon here - and visited some of my favorite spots and found a few new ones. Here is my hit list for Le Marais:
Abou d'abi bazar (10 rue des Francs Bourgeois). This Marais institution stocks primarily Parisian designers like Isabel Marant, Antik Batik, Stella Forest, Majestic, Tara Jarmon, Manoush and Maje, among others.
Jamin Puech (68, rue Vielle du Temple) for gorgeous handbags.
K Jacques (16 rue Pavee) for leather sandals.
Shine (15, rue de Poitou) is high-end multi-label store that sells See by Chloe, Veronique Branquinho, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Jerome Dreyfuss and more.
Muji (47, rue des Francs Bourgeois). In stressful times some people do yoga, I go to The Container Store. When in Paris, I go to Muji for little containers to hold medicine and products for travel, folders, notebooks - this place has an organizational solution for everything that ails you.
404 (69, rue des Gravilliers) ranks as one of the best for traditional South African cuisine. Beautiful interior. Try the house cocktail to start and mint tea for dessert! Must call for reservations in advance.
L'Apparemment (18, rue des Coutures Saint-Gervais) is a great place to
go for dinner and cocktails or even to have coffee and read a book. It
has a "living room" environment with people playing board games in the
back. Choose from 5 - 10 plates focused on fish, cheese, charcuterie,
L'Enoteca (25, rue Charles V (corner of Rue St. Paul).
Great Italian for lunch if you have three hours to kill!
Chez Marianne (Corner of Rue des Hospitalieres and Rue des Rosiers) is
excellent for lunch on Sunday but get there early! A takeout window sells Falafel sandwiches - you will see people walking around with them (and plenty of napkins) all over this Le Marais.
L'Osteria (10 Rue de Sevigne) has possibly the best Italian food in
Paris. Very small and casual - it does not have a sign out front. Well
known for food and celebrity regulars (like Jean Paul Gautier who I saw
there last visit).
Les Petits Marseillais (72, rue Vieille du Temple) Southern French cuisine, excellent lunch on Sunday.
and my favorite Sacha Finkelsztajn (27, rue Rosiers) for central European cuisine. I went into this store starving - and communicated in French I was hungry, but did not want something sweet. The women behind the counter (who has been here for years) instructed me to sit down and prepared a plate of houmous, caviar d'aubergines, caviar poivrons and bread. It was so delicious - I miss Paris just thinking about it!
Topped by the white Sacré-Coeur Catholic basilica, Montmartre is the highest hill in Paris. Sure, I have been to this neighborhood before and climbed the horrific metro steps to get there - but it was not until this recent trip that I really came to love it. I was inspired to go there for fashion - bien sur. I have read about the low-key concept store Spree in countless magazines and decided to check it out. The store is worth the trip - with clothes by my favorite designers Isabel Marant and Vanessa Bruno in addition to accessories, furniture and art. But it is the surrounding neighborhood that really got my attention - small boutiques, vintage stores and the food! Greek, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, African- you name it. It was heaven. Don't go there hungry. I picked up a magazine at a local news agent and sat in a cafe for a couple of hours. I loved people watching here - the fashion was phenomenal -not expensive/designer - just creative. I will spend more time here on future trips. More to come!
Saint Germain des Près, the area of Paris that covers the 6th and 7th arrondissements, embodies everything I love about Paris - the creative fashion, boutiques, antique shops and vibrant cafe culture. For me, a perfect day in Paris is to shop on the left bank, sit in a cafe and then grab a crepe or sandwich and picnic on the Pont des Arts, a bridge that crosses the Seine and offers some of the best views of the city. Here are some of my picks for shopping and eating on the left bank.
Antik Batik (20 rue Mabillon). This is where I go for scarves - I think Antik Batik has the most beautiful designs in the city. Here you will also find brilliant embellished and colorful kaftans and tunics that can be worn with a slip in the city or over your swimsuit on the beach.
Le Bon Marche (22 Rue de Sèvres). Let's say you have only one day to shop in Paris - this is where you go. Le Bon Marche has mini-boutiques of all the best clothing designers, a fantastic shoe department, a gourmet food market, a great kids department for clothes and toys, stationary, bath and home items and pretty much every beauty product (make-up to hair care) worth having.
Eres (4 bis, rue du Cherche-Midi) for bathing suits.
Iris (28 rue de Grenelle) for shoes by Chloe, Veronique Branquinho and Marc Jacobs.
Isabel Marant (1 rue Jacob). Here is the thing about Isabel Marant - I have been shopping here for nearly ten years and I still wear every piece I have ever bought from this store. Isabel Marant's ethnic-influenced designs are equally classic - and of the moment.
Jerome Dreyfuss (1 rue Jacob). French handbag designer Jerome Dreyfuss is known for his organic and understated leather bags (including the cross body bag featured last week). This new store, his first, is situated right next door to his wife Isabel Marant's store on rue Jacob.
Monoprix (50 rue de Rennes). Yes, it is the grocery store but it has so much more. Here you can pick up great beauty items like Elnett Hairspray and Roche-Posay skincare, children's clothes, linens for the home - all at very reasonable prices.
Kiwi St. Tropex (38 rue de Grenelle). I stop in here every visit to Paris to pick up cute bathing suits for my daughters. They have colorful tropical-print suits for children and adults (men and women), tunics and hats and they are all heavily discounted during the winter months.
L'École des Loisirs (11 rue de Sèvres) for children's books, music and toys. I lived in an apartment above this store for three months and would stop in regularly to read children's books to practice my French. Now I buy gifts and books for my own children here.
Sabbia Rossa ( 73 Rue des Sts.-Peres) for gorgeous lingerie.
Barthélémy (51, rue de Grenelle) - My favorite fromagerie in Paris. Even if you don't buy it is worth a visit for the experience.
La Creperie des Cannettes (10 rue des Cannettes) for traditional Brittany crepes.
Cafe Conti (Intersection of rue de Buci/rue Mazarine/rue Daphine) is a casual cafe situated on a five-street intersection that is busy day and night and offers some of the best people watching in the city.
Coffee Parisienne (4 rue Princesse) This is a classic New York Diner
filled with locals. It is great for people watching - how great you
ask? Last time I ate here I dined an arms length from Johnney Depp. And
if that does not sell you - the cheeseburger is great.
L'Epi Dupin (11, rue Dupin). This place is always busy and requires reservations weeks in advance. The food is always great, the service excellent and chef François Pasteau is considered to be one of the best young chefs in the city.
Fish (69, rue de Seine) is filled with Americans, true, but every meal I have had in this restaurant was spectacular. The owner, Juan, is the real deal - he know French wine. He also owns the wine store -La Derniere Goute (6 Rue de Bourbon Le Chateau) - down the street where you can pick up every wine in the restaurant to take home.
Gérard Mulot (76, rue de Seine). The bread, the sandwiches, the tarts, pastries and croissants - all sublime.
La Palette (43 rue de Seine) is one of the oldest cafes in France - traditional and lively until all hours of the night.
Poilâne (8 rue du cherche-midi). This famous bread maker, open since 1932, offers the most beautiful loaves of bread and butter cookies to die for. On this recent trip I picked up cookies in the shape of spoons - perfect for chocolat.
Le Timbre (3, rue Sainte Beuve). This small restaurant serves traditional French food by a two person staff.
Villa Medici da Napoli (11 bus, rue Saint Placide) is great for lunch if you are craving authentic Italian.
Le Voltaire (27 quai Voltaire) is a chic bistro on the river that serves a classic breakfast and lunch menu.