Monthly Archive for July, 2012

girl’s week-end in paris - jewelry atelier

Laurie from The Paris Blog was here in Paris this past spring, looking to add some French techniques to her jewelry-making skills. She was surprised to find that one-day workshops or short-duration jewelry making classes are pretty hard to come by- until she found her way to La Petite Manufacture in the 11th arrondissement.  I saw this and thought that this funky little atelier would make such a cool addition to a bachelorette weekend in Paris.  A great way to occupy the girls- at least until the sun goes down. Here’s an excerpt from Laurie’s post:

I finally landed on La Petite Manufacture, a jewelry boutique in the 11th arrondissement with a sizable studio in back. The owner, Marie, gives courses on Fridays and Saturdays when not tending to the store and making her own creations. A look around the place and you know you’re in capable hands: besides Marie’s own jewelry, which is whimsical and well made, there’s a kiln; a wall of drawers for materials from stamps to glues to silver metal paste; and, on the large wood workbench, jars of scissors, colored pencils, and dentist tools.

The 3-hour, one-off classes cost 45 to 60 euros and range in subject from beading to metal paste to Murano-style glass-making. Students are provided with all the materials they need, and can also select from the boutique in front. In yesterday’s beading course, for instance, I “shopped” for ribbon, clasps, beads, wire, and fancy embroidery thread.

The real value of the class is in Marie. Patient and encouraging, she leaves the students enough free range to find their own way after ample instruction. She speaks English, in case your French is a little shaky and you need a few words translated (“melaxer” means “squish,” I learned).

Check out the rest of Laurie’s post on The Paris Blog to find out more about this hidden Parisian treasure.

bachelorette-hen-night-paris

how to plan a wedding dress shopping trip in paris

If you’re thinking about a “quick little trip” to Paris to shop for your wedding dress, you may be in for a big surprise. While malls and Main Streets across America are teaming with one-stop bridal emporiums like Kleinfelds and David’s Bridal, most bridal showrooms in Paris only carry their own designs or label.  So if you’ve narrowed your wish-list down to, say, Delphine Manivet, Max Chaoul and Suzanne Ermann - with the idea to check out a few others along the way, be prepared to visit 3 different showrooms in 3 different parts of town, with each visit lasting a minimum of 1 - 1.5 hours (if you’re visiting on a weekend and planning to try dresses on). With most boutiques closed on Sundays, your “week-end” buying trip in Paris could end up with you only seeing a handful of dresses and a whole lot of frustration.

If you want to maximize your time during your Paris wedding dress buying trip, I suggest hitting up the major department stores first- Printemps, Galeries Lafayette and Le Bon Marché all have bridal levels offering a small selection of a number of labels. Paris has several Pronovias, Pronuptia and Rosa Clara boutiques as well, but their collections may be what you would find at your home locations. The gold mine of multiple wedding dress options in Paris is Metal Flaque.  Since 2009, Metal Flaque has been the main source in France to find designers like Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier, Jenny Packham, Marchesa and more.

Whether you choose to go the exclusive showroom route, or prefer to power through the multi-label boutique options, keep in mind that for many Parisian bridal stores, walk-ins can be frowned upon.  And if you plan to try dresses on, a rendez-vous should be made in advance.  Lastly,  if you’re stumped for a last-minute option (a surprise Parisian vow-renewal, for example?)  you can always rent a wedding dress in Paris!

wedding-dress-shopping-in-paris

Delphine Manivet
93, Rue du Faubourg St Honoré
75008 Paris

Max Chaoul
55 Quai Grands Augustins
75006 Paris,

Suzanne Ermann
29 Rue de Tournon
Paris

Printemps Mariage
64, bd Haussmann
75009 Paris

Galeries Lafayette Haussmann
40, bd Haussmann
75009 PARIS

Le Bon Marche
24 Rue de Sèvres
75007 Paris

Metal Flaque
9 Rue de l’Échelle
75001 Paris

my love affair with laduree

laduree-rose-macaronFor the unfortunate few who still don’t know about the magic of the French macaron (as opposed to the American macaroon), let me explain it to you: Macarons are 2 small, airy, almond-based cookies held together by either a ganache, butter cream or jam filling. Originally a simple almond cookie, it wasn’t until the 1900’s that it became the colorful, Frenchy treat that everyone is talking about. That was when Pierre Desfontaines had the brilliant idea to color, flavor and sandwich macarons, then sell them in his little Parisian salon de thé called Ladurée.

Ah, Ladurée: for lovers of Paris, lovers of macarons, for lovers of LOVE around the world- Ladurée is Shangri-La.  Like her first pair of heels or her first kiss- a girl never forgets her first visit to Ladurée. Mine was during an early trip to Paris- I was walking along the Champs Elysées, and noticed a long line of people weaving out from the entrance of a gilded gold and pistachio-colored storefront. At that moment, it was as if fate took over. Wherever I was heading that day dropped out of my mind as my soul got in line to enter Ladurée, my body instinctively dragged along.

From the first crispy crunch to the cool, creamy finale- only 2 bites – (15 seconds!) of that Pétales de Rose macaron, I knew that my life was changed forever. Since then I’ve been a fidèle maîtresse to Ladurée macarons, tempted by the likes of Pierre Hermé and Dalloyau, but never rarely straying.

As a wedding planner in Paris, I’ve lovingly guided clients through the assortment of flavors for Ladurée’s famous pièce montée- the tall, conical tower of multi-colored macarons first invented by Ladurée for weddings and celebrations; through cassis, violette , fleur d’oranger, caramel au beurre salé and beyond.  I’ve choked back tears of pride as Ladurée has expanded to the four corners of the globe, creating custom macaron flavors along the way, like cinnamon-raisin for the New York market, or coffee-cardamom for Beirut.

Sometimes I wonder what I’d do if I ever lost my lovely Ladurée. I guess if that day ever came, I’d pick myself up and find some other way to “get my macaron on”. Lucky for me the macaron craze has spread around the world, and can now be found in most major cities from Tokyo to Oslo.  Of course, Ladurée will forever be my one true love, but as my grandma used to say- a girl’s always got to have a Plan B!

laduree-paris-weddings

Ladurée
75 Champs-Elysées
75008 Paris, France
www.laduree.fr

Ladurée
864 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10021

Honoré Bakery
1413 NW 70th Street
Seattle, WA 98117
www.honorebakery.com

Myatt Café and Chocolatier Shop
6244, V&A Waterfront
Cape Town, South Africa
www.myattcafe.com

Bougie Macaron & Tea
3 Russell St
WC2B 5JD, London, UK
www.bougie.co.uk