Personal | Paris, Ma Belle: Part II

As promised, todays post is the sequel to my previous diary snippet on my one-day trip to Paris with Demak’ Up.  So which places and shops in le Marais are worth visiting? By all means, keep calm and read on!

After our yummy Thai lunch we met up with our guide who showed us around le Marais, one of Paris’ oldest and most dazzling quarters. What was once a swamp quickly became the headquarters of the government in the 16-17th century under Henri IV and Louis XIII. Today, it’s seen as the center of Parisian artistic and cultural life. Le Marais is one of the few areas in which Medieval and Renaissance-era architecture style is still preserved. I could really appreciate some shopping-time in a beautiful scenery like this one.  First stop…

Welcome to my Parisian residence *cough* I wish! L’Hôtel de Sully is an incredibly beautiful domain right in the centre of Le Marais.

Some historical background provided by our guide: “Built between 1625 and 1630 by Jean Androuet du Cerceau, this hotel epitomizes the French Renaissance perfectly, with its magnificent courtyard and garden. Remarkable collection of Louis XIII: dual equipment with stones and bricks, with its decorative pediments and sculpted dormers / High reliefs representing the elements and seasons. It was bought by the Duke of Sully in 1634.”

Our next stop was at Place des Vosges, which has a pretty romantic and gorgeous park in the middle where people come to relax and enjoy the view. As I was gasping at every gorgeous detail of this place, I could imagine how much inspiration any artistic person would get from this place and many other places like this throughout Paris. There’s just so much cultural richness and history to be found here, I wonder what the h*ll Hedi (Slimane, head designer at YSL) was thinking when he decided trade Paris for LA. I still don’t get it!

“Originally named Place Royale, its name was chosen in honor of the first department to have paid his taxes in the French Revolution, the Vosges. This place was built in only seven years from 1605 to 1612, under the leadership of Henri IV and inaugurated by Louis XIII. The architects are Jean Androuet du Cerceau and Claude de Châtillon. Their style is well recognized by: a perfect symmetry and harmony, all of 36 flats, square of 9, this double apparatus of stone and brick and slate roofs with very steep hill pierced by skylights.”

Dammann Frères  – 15 place des Vosges

Many small shops are residing under the arcades of Place des Vosges. One of them is the prestigious tea house of Dammann Frères. If you’re a tea lover or you’re looking for an original souvenir from Paris without having to wait at tourist-crowded places, this is your spot. They have the most incredible range of tea varieties I have ever seen and the interior itself is quite impressive as well.

“The most prestigious brand of premium French teas, has just opened its first store in the heart of the Marais. Dammann Frères history begins in 1692, when King Louis XIV granted to Sieur Damame the exclusive privilege of selling teas in France. The maision, which selects, imports, blends, flavors and packaging of tea leaves claims an advised expertise: the only thing lacking was their own boutique. Their first shop of 80 square meters, classified as historical monuments, is in total harmony with the story conveyed. With 220 different teas (120 and 100 scented kind), this is one of the largest selections of teas from the capital. In the center of the store, the organ tea retains about 80 recipes to initiate the discovery.”

Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go shopping, but when we passed through le rue des Francs-Bourgeois our blogger hearts fluttered. Once a street where artisan weavers worked, Rue des Francs-Bourgeois is still a major center of fashion and design. It is one of the Marais’ most popular shopping areas.

Even though most brands are already available in Belgium, this street will grant you  a lovely shopping experience. This is a must-visit for beauty lovers who are looking to stock up on their favorite brands while avoiding the crowdy department stores downtown. Brands like Bobbi Brown, MakeUp Forever, Diptique, L’Occitane, MAC, Kiehl’s, Guerlain, Jo Malone all have their own shops here. For the fashionata’s boutiques with French brands like The Kooples, Zadig & Voltaire, Sandro, Majestic Filatures and American Vintage won’t disappoint.

Images courtesy of L’Éclaireur

L’ Éclaireur  40, rue de Sévigné

My favorite discovery of the day and a definite must visit when you go to Paris is L’ Éclaireur  located on rue de Sévigné. Dear God, they’re probably still mopping all my drool off the floor. Balenciaga, Céline, Carven, Givenchy,Maison Martin Margiela, Haider Ackermann, Marni, Mawi and Lanvin (just to name a few) all have their place in this outspoken decor. The branch has a couple of other stores throughout Paris, which I’m dying to see on my next visit to the city.

“Pioneers of trends, as indicated by their sign, Martine and Armand Hadida have been the first (in 1980) to propose designer fashion, rare fragrances and jewelry artists in a unique place, an unusual decoration. The first shop, rue des Rosiers, quickly became a chic and electric place where all upcoming trends were presented. Today, in the best shops in Paris, more or less confidential, equipped with wood and steel, you’ll discover the best of the sharp creations: Ann Demeulemeester, Comme des Garçons, Martin Margiela, Marni, Chloé, Balenciaga and property and other very little shown designers.
Here in this new area of the Marais, whose interior design was entrusted to the Belgian designer Arne Quinze, more than two tons of wood planks were delivered to the set so the design took shape in the form of an organic sculpture of which the walls were animated by the presence of 147 digital screens. Set in a way they seem weightless. As part of an amazing partnership in transdisciplinary, the new space of the scout also hosts the famous and much-anticipated Microsoft Surface table for one of his earliest integrations in a Paris.”

Located in the same street is la Musée Carnavalet, in case you’re hungry for some more culture. It’s one of Paris’s many free museums and has a memorable collection.
What does one find outside designer shops? Fashionable people! I found this lady wearing Isabel Marant and YSL jewelry right outside L’ Éclaireur. The group was moving so fast, I didn’t have the chance to get a full body shot, but she was wearing the bleached denim IM sneakers = fab.
Le Comptoir de l’ Image is a small bookstore where you’ll find a big range of fashion and art related books. Looks like one’s able to find some real treasures here.

The Beauty Lounge 13, rue Ferdinand Duval
TBL carries the entire range of Paul & Joe makeup. Also available online!

Green in the City 7, rue Malher
Green in the city offers an original and trendy selection of young and international designers. Clothes, design and beauty are gathered at the 7, rue Malher to offer an eco alternative to the parisian multibrands. Very beautiful materials, always fun to wear combined with a creative style (rare in this niche) make this a unique boutique. You’ll find Kaori Yamazaki, Edun, Leaf, Camilla Norrback, Bllack, Fin.. As for new designers, Kami is presented. As a former manufacturer of the LVMH group, he decided to partner with the expertise of Jerome L’Huillier, a creator having cut his teeth in prestigious houses like Givenchy and Balmain, to create a collection with ultra-feminine lines, cuts precise and rigorous, a true revolution in the world of ready-to-wear organic luxury.

The neighbourhood has many gorgeous buildings, cute squares with cozy cafes and restaurants and streets filled with shops that will meet your every need. Keep your eyes open and your camera ready for the gorgeous architecture and modern details like the subtle graffiti on the corners of most streets. Le Marais is a place you shouldn’t skip when you visit Paris and it’s perfect to get away from all the crowded tourist spots, if only for one afternoon. Can’t wait to go back!

Thanks to Demak’Up and Voice for the opportunity and thanks to the other bloggers for the lovely company!
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