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Europe Style Travel

The Paris Shopping Guide: Chanel

After my last Paris shopping guide on Hermes, I received requests to do various other editions, including quite a few for Chanel. Since I’m currently unable to travel myself (so frustrating when you’re suffering from some serious wanderlust as I am right now), I thought I would put together some travel shopping posts for those lucky enough to be traveling.

So without further ado, my Paris shopping guide, for Chanel!

1. Get ready for a crowd. My experience is largely limited to the St Honore, Cambon and Montaigne locations (which I listed in order of personal preference by the way), but I imagine they’re all quite similar – aka stuffed to the gills with eager purchasers to be. I’ve always found Montaigne to be the worst for some reason – I’ve always entered and turned around and gone right out. Never have completed a purchase (Alaia is just a short stroll away though, enjoy!).

Anyway, get ready for some jostling and limited seating space, and possibly a queue. This isn’t always the case, and I hope that when you go, you’ll stroll right in, get a wonderful sales person, and have a memorable experience. I’d say that’s been what I’ve found maybe 50% of the time (it helps to go during off season). But otherwise….be prepared.

Chanel-Boy-Box

2. Have a list ready. Chanel isn’t like Hermes, where rightfully so or not, it may feel like just breathing the wrong way will earn you the dreaded words “not in stock” while your exact requested item sits in some dungeon stockroom awaiting a more civilized purchaser. In my experience, you don’t need to worry about that with Chanel. If the store has an item in stock, it will generally sell it to you (fascinating concept, no?). So if you want a Chanel Boy, in a very specific color and size? Let the salesperson know right away, along with anything else. Continue Reading

Europe Style Travel

The Paris Shopping Guide: Hermes

I receive a lot of emails about shopping for various luxury items in Europe, so thought I’d finally get it together and put together a few posts. Today, I’ll address the most commonly asked about topic – shopping for Hermes items in Paris.

Even when the euro was at a high point against the dollar in 2011, it was still cheaper to purchase many luxury brands in Paris. Now, the weak euro in combination with a broader range of inventory available to “walk ins” means that Hermes remains as popular a destination for shoppers as ever.

Even though Hermes is one of the premier luxury brands in the world, the flagship store on Rue St. Honore Faubourg (FSH) as consistently mobbed, and can be a stressful experience for someone expecting a quieter shopping outing.  Here, in order, are my tips for a visitor to Paris who would like a successful visit to the store (whether success just means having fun, or leaving with a coveted item).

Paris-Hermes-Sellier

Hermes FSH, via this post

First, I’d suggest that you:

1. Enjoy the art of browsing and shopping. The Hermes flagship store is such a beautiful space, with multiple levels and areas to browse through jewelry, leather accessories, home goods, silks, and more. There are always pieces there which I’ve never found in my local store. My favorite shopping memories in Paris always involve stumbling across an item that I never expected but which I just love (my Soie Cool bag is an example). Even if you’re on a quest for a specific item, I’d still take the time on an initial visit just to wander around the shop a bit, and check out all of the goodies. If you love design, you can’t help but be inspired. And plus, you’ll never know what will strike you, and then you’ll have such a good story for friends who ask about the item – “I got it in Paris!”.

Okay, that’s all fair and good…but maybe you’re visiting Hermes for a specific reason, no? Maybe it’s for a popular style bag…and it begins with a B or K? In that case, I would advise you to: Continue Reading

Europe Hotels Travel

Southern Ocean Lodge – Part One

Traveling to Australia – Qantas A380
Park Hyatt Sydney
Sydney – Spice I Am, Watsons Bay, Manly Beach, Cafe Paci
Sydney – The Opera House Black Star Bakery, The Rocks, Sake
Emirates Wolgan Valley – Part One

Emirates Wolgan Valley – Part Two
Kangaroo Island – Southern Ocean Lodge, Part One

Kangaroo Island – Southern Ocean Lodge, Part Two

After our stays and explorations in both Sydney and the Australian Outback, Mr. Feather and I headed off to our third and final destination for this trip – Kangaroo Island!

I had never even heard of Kangaroo Island until we started planning our Australia trip…and then, as soon as I heard the name and its description as “Australia’s Galapagos”, I knew that we had try and find a way there. Learning that there was a fabulous resort on the island  – Southern Ocean Lodge – just sealed the deal. Animals and nature, here we come!

We arrived to Kangaroo Island via a little puddle jumper plane to the island’s regional airport, Kingscote, and were promptly greeted by a representative of our hotel, to take us to the rest of the way to the hotel. We hopped into her car, and off we went.

Kingscote

After about 45 minutes in the car (where we got to admire some of Kangaroo Island – though more on that in a later post), we arrived at the Lodge.

Southern Ocean Lodge Entrance

I should mention now that Southern Ocean was one of the most beautiful hotels/resorts we have ever stayed at. The property was a string of individual rooms set on an isolated cliff facing the ocean, with literally no other signs of civilization seen for miles around. It was a very cool experience to stay in these amazing luxurious digs, while surrounded by nothing but nature and ocean.

Southern Ocean Lodge Arrival

I have more photos of the stunning scenery to come – but first, the property! As soon as we walked in, I knew that we had made the right decision on where to stay. This was the stunning “Great Room,” where guests were welcome to come anytime for a drink or snack, and where we enjoyed cocktails and canapes each evening. Full views of the ocean, of course. Continue Reading

Europe Food Travel

A Quick Trip to Paris – Part Two

During this last trip to Paris, I decided to use my limited free time to just walk around and visit some of my favorite haunts in the city – no, not clothing stores – dessert shops! I consumed what was likely a highly irresponsible number of sweets during my stay and I can only hope that I managed to walk off some of the calories.

My first stop, literally hours after I arrived on the Eurostar? The fantastic Michel Chaudun.

Chaudun

Michel Chaudun

Michel Chaudun is my favorite destination for pure chocolate in Paris. Macarons, or cakes, or caramels, I might go somewhere else – but for chocolate, Chaudun in my opinion is king. He has his own shop – a small space on Rue Université, in the 7th.

Inside, were many lovely treats – including two chocolate handbags (yes that’s a Kelly in the back, complete with Hermes ribbon!).

Michel Chaudun bags

Rows and rows of chocolates and truffles…

MC chocolates

…and also some chocolate sausages! I’ve seen these in the store for years and always am tempted to bring one home, but am afraid of customs!

MC sausages

The number one item I recommend at Michel Chaudun are their chocolate “pave” boxes. These are incredible little morsels of chocolate that just melt in your mouth. Words really can’t describe them – they need to be eaten for one to fully understand the experience. I took home a very small box and ate it within a day. You can see the delicate size of the paves below (compare them with the toothpick).

Michel Chaudun Pave

However, I will say that the paves in my experience go bad quickly. I once bought a ~28 euro box and opened it two weeks later to find them covered in mold. So you should consume them within a week max of opening, and they should be kept in the fridge.

Luckily, Chaudun’s other offerings are a bit more hardy, so I bought a few bags of snacks to enjoy over the week, and a bag of almonds for Mr. Feather!

Michel Chaudun

One of my favorite treats in the world are orangettes – chocolate covered orange peels. I buy them wherever I find them, and I’m happy to report that Michel Chadun’s were excellent (as were his chocolate covered almonds).

Chaudun treats

The next sweets stop for was a new destination for me – Sadaharu Aoki, located in the 6th in St. Germain.

Sadaharu Aoki

I was excited to try out Sadaharu Aoki because I love it when French pastries have a strong Asian influence – whether it’s in the fillings, or in the level of sweetness (usually less). Inside the shop were rows of rainbow colored pastries, with fillings ranging from traditional chocolate/vanilla, to plum, yuzu, and matcha. Continue Reading