Wednesday, 30 October 2013

{La Parisienne: Camille}

Everywhere I turn on the streets in Paris, I spot a stylish Parisian girl with the perfect blend of chic and rock'n'roll. They are always dressed immaculately with lustworthy accessories, but also a tiny hint of messiness that somehow completes their outfit. I'm desperate to find out everything about La Parisienne, so I'm enlisting the help of my new friends here.


Camille is our pint-sized graphic designer at macocobox.com (check out all her cool illustrations on the site). She's got the whole bare-faced beauty thing completely down, with the perfect 'gamine' haircut to boot. Not only is she super stylish, Camille is a multi-talented designer - check out the adorable dolls she makes here. A true Parisienne, I quizzed Camille on how to be chic...

What is the one rule that all Parisiennes live by, whether they admit it or not?

No superfluous accessories or colours. Your outfit should almost be like a school uniform; simple lines and colours.


How can you tell a Parisienne from a regular French girl? 

A Parisienne looks like she smells of flowers even if she has dirty hair.

If I were to buy one item today to fit in better with the Parisiennes, what would it be?

A pair of white cotton knickers from Petit Bateau. 

Who is for you the quintessential Parisienne? 

"La Parisienne", created by the illustrator Kiraz.



Can one become a Parisienne or is that something to do with blood?

Only when you don't think about being a Parisienne anymore and instead dream of living in the countryside (complete with walks in the woods on Sundays) have you become a true Parisienne.

Where does La Parisienne like to shop?


And talk me through their beauty routine... 

A Parisienne only uses products from the pharmacy, because they are clean, fresh, good for your health and approved by your dermatologist. For example, the Bioderma H2o Créaline make-up remover is a must-have.

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Monday, 28 October 2013

{Autumn in Paris}

Autumn in Paris might just be my favourite season (OK, it's the only one I've experienced so far, but still!). The leaves are turning from green to a beautiful melange of orange & brown, and with that comes all the cosy fall activities I love; like pumpkin-hunting, candle-lighting and hat-wearing. Here's a little round-up of autumnal activities, which you can do just about anywhere (except maybe Australia). 



I made potpourri from some roses which were on their way out. It's a great way to hold onto flowers for sentimental reasons, and it makes your house smell great! I used these instructions to make my potpourri. 




One rainy Saturday we donned our wellies and headed out into the countryside surrounding Paris, near Versailles. Our mission: Find A Pumpkin. We stopped at La Ferme de Gally which is a beautiful place with a huge farm shop, café... and petting farm! Hours of fun.









I was slightly wary of the goats, having grown up with two very gruff ones in our garden. These French ones were just adorable though, and didn't mind being stroked at all. Perhaps it's an English thing...





Here's the result of our pumpkin expedition, impressive no? I think they look all the more spooky at dusk, with the Parisian rooftops in the background. 


What autumnal things have you been up to? Do let me know!

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Saturday, 26 October 2013

{La Parisienne: Catherine}

Everywhere I turn on the streets in Paris, I spot a stylish Parisian girl with the perfect blend of chic and rock'n'roll. They are always dressed immaculately with lustworthy accessories, but also a tiny hint of messiness that somehow completes their outfit. I'm desperate to find out everything about La Parisienne, so I'm enlisting the help of my new friends here.
You know when you look at a celebrity (Elle Macpherson in my case), and have a little sob at the fact you don't even look half as good as they do, despite being a fair bit younger? Catherine is my real-life example of this. She has a daughter my age, and yet she is the epitome of timeless beauty. Scruffy isn't a word in Catherine's dictionary; even when we're doing manual labour and turn up in our tracksuits and trainers, she has utterly covetable heeled boots on to tackle the task at hand. I had to know her secrets so I quizzed Catherine on all things Parisienne...   

What is the one rule that all Parisiennes live by, whether they admit it or not?

Always carry yourself well. This has two meanings; Parisiennes always keep a great posture, as well as having a certain proudness about them at all times.



How can you tell a Parisenne from a regular French girl? 

Their chic, yet relaxed attitude. 

Something I didn’t know about La Parisienne is...

In the game of seduction, a Parisian girl likes to play...

If I were to buy one item today to fit in better with the Parisiennes, what would it be?

A stylish bag - it completes a Parisienne. 



Can one become a Parisienne or is that something to do with blood? 

It's definitely possible to become Parisienne (I’m from Brittany myself). 

Who is for you the quintessential Parisienne? 

The actress Catherine Deneuve. 


Where do Parisiennes like to hang out?

Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th.

And where do they shop?

Yves Saint Laurent, of course.
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Thursday, 24 October 2013

{Montparnasse}

When visiting Paris, you may read/hear that the best view in town is from the top of the Eiffel Tower. So, you'll queue for hours in the cold with all the other tourists, only to finally make it to the top and look out at the beautiful view... which is seriously lacking in the most incredible piece of architecture in Paris (the tower itself). 


Or you'll head to the Sacré Coeur in Montmartre. You'll brave your way through the sea of street-hawkers who try to force extortionately priced bracelets on you. You'll climb the never-ending stairs and stand panting at the top, trying to admire the view/not to pass out. 


Ignore the guidebooks and avoid this assault course. I'll let you in on a secret instead - the BEST views in Paris are from the Montparnasse Tower (see above). It's even cheaper than the Eiffel Tower, and you get to see it in all its glory - plus the Montparnasse Tower itself is super ugly so it's a blessing not to see it itself. Check out this bird's eye view of the Jardin du Luxembourg... 


And the Montparnasse cemetery (cemeteries in Paris can be quite beautiful - see my post on Père-Lachaise here)..


Below are the sprawling buildings of Les Invalides in all its golden speldor (more on that here)...


And of course, our favourite - the Eiffel Tower. If you only have a day or two to spare in Paris, the Montparnasse Tower is the perfect way to tick off all the sights in one go! 


Top tip: Make sure you head right to the top (58th floor), don't linger on the 56th with the rest of the world.

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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

{Jardin du Luxembourg}


Have you visited the Jardin du Luxembourg? Last Saturday was my first time, and despite all the hype I was not disappointed one bit. Even with hundreds of tourists milling about, the park has become my go-to place when in need of a breather or a little refresh.


There's loads of little nooks with chairs to sit and spend a few hours doing nothing except gazing at statues and fountains. We were even blessed with sunshine on Saturday so I put my feet up and let the rays warm my winter skin. Who needs the 300 days of sunshine in Montpellier, eh? (I do, I really do).



Now's the perfect time to visit the Jardin, as the leaves are slowly changing their colours before they fall. You can even bring a French picnic and spend the day on one of the lawns, before it gets too cold (you'll have to hurry!). 






I chanced upon a game of pétanque/boules in the garden (although this is France, so chances are extremely high). Despite appearances, it's an extremely soothing game to watch, and it's great to see so many people keeping up traditions and using the time to socialise with old friends. 




Did you know that a collection of beehives is called an apiary? Me neither. I stopped off at this beautiful apiary before wandering over to the Montparnasse tower to check out 'the best views in Paris.' More on that later...


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Monday, 21 October 2013

{Bouillon Chartier}

Last Saturday, we were looking to go some place special for supper. We wanted a memory as well as a meal, and we wanted to find somewhere authentically French - especially since it was Ian's first time in the country. Enter, Bouillon Chartier. This brasserie in the 9th arrondissement dates all the way back to 1896. At an apéro earlier that evening my friends recommended it as the best traditionally French restaurant in Paris - so a few glasses of champagne later, we headed into the centre to check it out. 


You can't reserve at Bouillon Chartier, you just pitch up and hope you'll be able to snag a table before they stop letting people in (10.30pm). As we stood shivering in the endless queue, I really didn't think we'd make it. My Parisienne friend Clementine had informed Ian earlier that since it was his first time in Paris, he could make a wish. Well, you can guess what he wished for... we were suddenly plucked from the line by the hostess and guided inside. Success! 


Inside, the restaurant is gigantic! There's tables squeezed in every which way, and traditionally-dressed waiters zooming around the dining room, scribbling orders on the tablecloths (like Wagamamas, but more French.) All this makes for a very jolly atmosphere, with patrons at their tables bursting into birthday song every few minutes. After ordering more champagne (when in Paris..!) we settled down to business: the menu.  



It's only in French so if you're a novice you run the risk of ordering something questionable.. but I'm sure the waiter can recommend something delicious without tentacles. I knew exactly what I was going for - Confit de Canard, aka the best dish in the world...


Ian shied away from the snails despite my enthusiastic encouragement, and went for the steak-frites like a real man...



The food at Bouillon Chartier is nothing mind-blowingly, just yummy French food. The real selling point is the buzzing atmosphere and the amount of locals who frequent the joint. Also, the price tag is ridiculously cheap for such a beloved restaurant - about €10 for a main. For me, the pièce de résistance was the choux pastry, filled with vanilla ice-cream and hot chocolate sauce. Almost too good to share...


To minimise our food babies, we strolled back home via the Louvre, which I must say is even more striking at night than it is in the day, when it's overrun with tourists. The perfect end to an evening!


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