Searching For The Glamour of Paris

Audrey Hepburn once said: "Paris is always a good idea", and she was right. It inspires and delights like no other city in the world.

The week before last I spent a few days in Paris to shoot two books, one of them a guide book to style and the other a meditation on French fashion called How To Live A Beautiful Life: Following In The Footsteps of Chanel. In just 4 days I shot more frocks, fabrics, French women, fashion stores and fabulous things that I've ever seen in my life. At the end of those 4 days, I felt officially frocked out.  I also felt utterly, devastatingly, heart-breakingly unfashionable!

Having only packed a carry-on bag, I hadn't had room to toss in the haute couture Dior*. (*Which only exists in my travel dreams anyway.) Nor did I have space for a Catherine Deneuve-style wardrobe. In fact, I barely had time to polish my boots and pack my passport before I left. But if there's one thing Paris does, it's educate us in the art of glamour. Paris is one big fabulous fashion lesson on Looking Lovely For Very Little Money. By the third day, I'd bought a pair of hot-pink leather gloves (a bargain for 10 Euros), a very Parisian-pink YSL lipstick, and a cobalt silk scarf from Didier Ludot's vintage store on the Palais Royal. Suddenly, I felt a lot more confident about facing Paris. I still looked like a foreign drop-in (we're the ones wearing comfy flats; the Parisian women all seem to don beautiful heels), but at least I didn't look so conspicuously casual.

Here, to brighten your Tuesday, is a brief glimpse at Parisian glamour, featuring some of the (badly photographed) 'off-cuts' of my days in this gorgeous and glorious city.

Oh – and I've now added some captions. Forgive me. I'm still in the fog of jetlag after the 23-hour flight home. That's the worst thing about living in Australia – the long, loooong haul to get home again.

 La Maison Favart.
A glorious little hotel and my favourite new Parisian find.

The Petit Trianon, Versailles

Hot pink hydrangeas. 
These were everywhere in Paris. I fell completely in love with them, especially when I saw that the V&A Museum in London had also planted their inner courtyard with them. Are't they the most incredible colour?

Ralph Lauren

A gorgeous gown outside Angelina on the Rue de Rivol. 
Loved the mosaic backdrop.

A fantastically whimsical bag on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. 
Loved this. It's almost a parody of a Chanel bag.

My kind of BMW. 
My father loves BMW motorbikes. Not sure what he'd think of this though? Isn't it fabulous? I would have loved to have seen the driver...

Hotel La Belle Juliette.

More rose love.

The outrageously opulent, staggeringly beautiful interior of the Palais Garnier.
(Sometimes referred to as Opéra Garnier, or the Opera House.)
If you haven't had a chance to see inside this beautiful, do make time next time you're in Paris. It's incredible. It almost makes Versailles look like a shack!


The Petit Trianon at Versailles.

The Place Vendôme.

The Left Bank at twilight.

Angelina's patisserie at Versailles.

Louis Vuitton.

Goyard, on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.   
This beautifully old-fashioned luggage store is designed like an old luxury cruise liner – complete with mahogany panelling. If you look closely, you can see Wallis Simpson's personalised set of luggage in the small museum-ette on the second floor.

Didier Ludot


Rue Cambon, home to Chanel.

And lastly, this final shot may not seem much, but I always wander past this square when I'm in Paris for some sartorial inspiration...

You see, the apartment on the top floor of the building on the right is Catherine Deneuve's. And if you're lucky, you can sometimes see her in those conservatory-style windows. (It's a rooftop glasshouse, and the windows are quite large.) If you're very, very lucky, you can sometimes see her walking through the Square St. Sulpice. 

Parisian splendour, indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment