#ParisRDV Lancome USA Paris Rendezvous Blog <![CDATA[My Holiday Gifting Guide: Beauty for Every Woman on Your List]]>

December 1st popped up on the calendar last week and had me saying “where has the year gone?!" Time flies when la vie est belle and here we are at the holidays once again, enjoying the magic of the season before bidding adieu to 2016. On the 1st of December, two things happen in my little Parisian life. First, my holiday decorations come out of the cabinet and go up around the house, along with my tiny tree! There is no space in a small Paris apartment like mine for a big tree, but that doesn’t make mine any less special to me.

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The second thing is I start to get my Christmas list in order. I am sure many of you are doing the same. So in the spirit of giving, I thought I would share some of my own Lancôme holiday gift ideas with you here. There’s plenty of time to pick the perfect presents from Lancôme.com and have them arrive in time. For the women in your life, the gift of beauty is thoughtful and caring, a chance to stock someone up on their usual favourites or the time to entice them to try something new. Remember, when women feel beautiful, that positive energy reflects into every part of our lives...

A Custom Engraved Fragrance — I loved the release of the custom engraved fragrances from Lancôme this year. This extra little touch makes Lancôme fragrances that much more special. A thoughtful phrase or initials can be engraved on many of the bottles and really make the perfectly personalized Christmas present for anyone that is extra special to you.

Énergie de Vie — This skincare range was another new release on Lancôme.com that I really loved this year. Perfect for women in their 20’s and 30’s (like me!), it’s all about energizing and protecting skin in this busy time of life. That’s why I think it’s the perfect gift for mothers to gift to daughters this holiday season as they are out making their own way in the world one day at a time.

Absolue L'Extrait Ultimate Eye Patch — For moms or any woman in your life especially deserving of being spoiled a bit, I think any product in the Absolue skincare range is the ultimate indulgence. For something fun though, I recommend the new Ultimate Eye Patches. These little eye masks smooth, plump, and brighten eyes for a little pampering.

Génifique Youth Activating Second Skin Mask — Along the same lines, this amazing Génifique mask does wonders for refreshing your skin. It’s the perfect gift for your best girlfriend, with whom you share all your beauty secrets, when she’s in need of a little home spa treatment.

Makeup Holiday Gift Sets — These pre-bundled makeup sets from Lancôme this year are adorable and affordable. The Juicy Tubes are the perfect present for a fun friend, or Le Stylo set with a range of colors for your favorite fashionista. And for any woman, you can’t go wrong with any of the lash and liner sets...they’re such a classic.

Need more ideas or have something specific in mind? Lancôme put together an adorable gift guide to help you find the perfect gift for every woman on your list. Go ahead ahead and have a look and you might get through your list sooner than you thought...

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<![CDATA[Paris en Rôse - Lancôme's 2016 Holiday Collection]]>

In Paris now the ground is covered in leaves and the skies above are gray, releasing some strange mix of snowflakes and rain that fight it out on the way down. Ultimately it’s a fine drizzle that prevails, making these gray days damp as well. It’s kind of romantic to be honest, an invitation to cozy up and hide out inside from the gloom. But the arrival of the holiday season is the real annual consolation for this cold winter weather that is now upon us.

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As the lights start to go up around the city, everything is illuminated and Paris is sparkling once again, rain or shine or snow. And something else has arrived to brighten the season with some holiday spirit and a pop of color — Lancôme’s 2016 Holiday Collection. No way were we going to let this gray be the color of the season. This year Lancôme’s holiday look is all about playful pinks and now I’m seeing winter through rose colored glasses.

The Paris en Rôse collection features a spectrum of pinks with a touch of mauve, all illuminated by a bit of shimmer inspired by the holiday lights around Paris this time of year. Which in fact, happen to be my favorite part of this collection. The eyeliner duos pair a dark liner with a highlighting pencil on the other end, perfect for lining the water line or under eye to brighten any look this time of year. Even more exciting is the first cushion highlighter that I’ve ever seen. This sparkly compact has an illuminating highlighter inside to brighten brow bones and cheek bones.

La Palette des Rêves and one of the amazing Le Duo Khôl pencils are all you need to get the rose tinted smokey eye that’s the look of the season. Add a bit of depth in the crease if you want to go darker with the Pétit Trésor shadow in the mauve shade, Hotel Particulier. A coat of Vernis in Love in Paris en Rôse on top of any manicure is the easiest way to bring sparkle to your outfit and make it holiday party perfect. Lastly, I personally took a cue from Lisa Eldridge on this one and went for a bright pink shade of the new L’Absolu Rouge in Rose Lancôme to really make this holiday makeup look pop. Together or separately, there is so much to love in this festive collection.

Whether you’re wearing it or gifting it this year, the Paris en Rôse collection will brighten the season with holiday perfect looks to paint the town in pink, so may your makeup be merry and bright!

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<![CDATA[Beaujolais Nouveau: An Annual Celebration of One of France’s Most Famed Wines]]>

While back in the States everyone is gearing up for Thanksgiving, here in France we are celebrating a November tradition of our own — Beaujolais Nouveau Day! I can’t imagine anything more French than a national holiday for wine. On the third Thursday of every November, bottles across France are uncorked to celebrate the annual release of this celebrated wine.

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In Paris, signs are up in the windows of every cafe announcing “The Beaujolais 2016 has arrived!” with special displays and tapped barrels serving up glasses for those taking part. But what’s so special about Beaujolais Nouveau? Beaujolais Nouveau is a very young wine. In fact, the grapes that make this wine were picked just six to nine weeks ago during the late summer harvest period each year. Most wines distill much longer, even years, but the Beaujolais Nouveau is fermented in a flash for just several weeks to produce a light and fruity young wine with a very specific taste. Such wines are called primeur wines and the Beaujolais is the most famous of its kind. It’s intended to be enjoyed quickly, within a few months of its release versus wines that are better kept for years on end.

Some wine snobs won’t go near the stuff, but most love taking part in the release of the Beaujolais, certainly because there is always hype and celebration around it. As a result it’s a hugely popular wine, not just here in France but abroad as well, as France exports millions of bottles of it each year at this time for it to be enjoyed by Beaujolais fans around the world. If you're curious to try, a good Beaujolais Nouveau should arrive soon to a good wine vendor near you.

There are very serious rules for when one can enjoy the Beaujolais Nouveau. Even if the bottles have arrived, it is strictly forbidden to sell or open them before the Beaujolais holiday on the third Thursday of November. But at 12:01AM on that very day, the corks can be popped and the festival begins. The displays go up at all the wine vendors who invite you to pop in for a tasting of the various Beaujolais Nouveau wines they picked to stock this year.

While it’s not quite a Thanksgiving feast, the release of the Beaujolais Nouveau each November is something I really look forward to here in France. I always rendez-vous at a cafe with a friend, or a few, on this third Thursday to try this year’s Beaujolais and take part in this fun French tradition. I had my first glass last Thursday. Fittingly, this year I wore my new L'Absolu Rouge lipstick in Lie de Vin, which literally translates to “of wine” or “burgundy” when referring to colors, in honor of the Beaujolais Nouveau. Burgundy is also the region where the grapes for this wine come from. It was the perfect creamy shade for a gorgeous wine stained lip worthy of the Beaujolais holiday!

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<![CDATA[The New L’Absolu Rouge: A Fresh Update for a Lancôme Classic]]>

They say lipstick changes everything, and I couldn’t agree more. It can completely makeover your mood, and your look. In that spirit, Lancôme decided to give their L’Absolu Rouge lipstick a little makeover of its own. Don’t worry though, no one has gotten too carried away! This Lancôme staple and favorite is as iconic as it has ever been. A few small changes have gone a long way and if you’re like me, they’ll only make you love L’Absolu Rouge even more!

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First off, there’s a sleek new design. Nothing makes me feel more like a woman than wrapping my lips in satiny color. There is just something so feminine about it. The new packaging opens with a click, making it even more secure and yet easy to open, and adding a fun little flick to the act of applying lipstick. Just press the rose emblem and it pops right open for you.

Then, there are new colors of course, making a grand total of forty-four shades! A whole spectrum for your luscious lips from plum to nude to bright pinks and reds, all with that same amazing color payoff L’Absolu Rouge has always delivered. And for the finish, a range of choices in sheer, cream, and matte options mean there is something for everyone, every occasion, and every look.

Some things haven’t changed though, like most of your favorite colors (Capirice anyone?) and an amazingly moisturizing formula that is ultra luxurious for your lips. That means L’Absolu Rouge never dries out your lips even with its all day wear, thanks to antioxidant-rich Vitamin E and moisture-boosting Pro-XylaneTM. Its hydrating formula is extra replenishing meaning your lips look and feel healthier with it day after day.

So what are my favorite shades of the new L’Absolu Rouge? Trust me, with forty-four options it’s not easy to choose! In fact, I haven’t even had the chance to try them all just yet. But a real stand out for me is Champagne, a pétillant pink with just the right amount of sparkle and a creamy finish. I love it for day or night. For an every day red to achieve the utmost Parisian pout, Lie de Vin is fast becoming a favorite too, in its sheer formula that you can build depending on the desired coverage. Lastly, for something soft and neutral, Café Parisien is a creamy beige with a hint of blush in a matte finish that won’t dry out your lips and is perfect for any casual look. Not a day goes by in Paris now that I don’t have one of my favorite shades or two on hand in my purse. I absolutely love the new L’Absolu Rouge and I think you will too...

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<![CDATA[Auda[city] in London: A New City Chic Palette]]>

The first time I ever went to Paris was actually via London exactly 20 years ago this month. It was the very same year the Eurostar was inaugurated in fact. I was 8 years old and my mom took my sister and I to the British capital on vacation to visit my cousin. She decided to pop over with us to Paris for one day on the new high speed train across the English channel. For a young American girl abroad for the first time in my life, it wasn’t easy to understand how one could go from country to country so quickly, or how trains could go under water for that matter. So needless to say, the experience had quite an impact on me and ever since there has been a sentimental link between Paris and London in my heart

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Since journeying between the two is so easy on the Eurostar, I still pop over to London from time to time to visit friends and enjoy all this sister city has to offer. London is like the trendy and quirky sibling of Paris, but with its classic roots still firmly grounded. It’s a bit bigger, a bit busier, and a bit faster. I just love London, from cute cafes in Notting Hill, to beautiful views on London Bridge, to lively nights out on the East End. I also love to people watch here and remark how Londoner’s style varies from the Parisians. Isn’t it fascinating how a city can inspire your style so much?

Lisa Eldridge designed the new Auda[city] in London palette with exactly that in mind. As creative director for Lancôme, she is often between London and Paris, and wanted to create a city chic palette inspired by her hometown here and a counterpart to the Auda[city] in Paris palette that Lancôme released last year. The idea is to mix and match, layer and build, to create countless looks with a palette as versatile and playful as a London lady and her style

With sixteen shades the possibilities are positively endless, and Lisa has already shared some of her favorite looks with the palette and the story behind it in her tutorial. I traveled to London myself last week just for fun, and Auda[city] in London was the perfect packing companion to bring along and change up my look over a few days there. Here are a few London inspired combinations I came up with using it to make your eyes pop...

London Fog — Apply “Rich History” all over the lids, and then “London is Callin’” to the outer crease. Blend well then add “Purple Pageantry” with the flat brush for definition to the outer corners of the eyes. Finish with a touch of “Tower Bridge” applied with your finger to the inner eyes to illuminate the look.

Green Park — Apply “Queen’s Lace” as an all over base up to the brows, and then “Fresh Garden” all over the lids. Add a touch of “Woody Bar” to the inner thirds of the lids. Blend “Misty Morning” into the crease, and finish by lining the under eye with “Midnight Haze”.

Soho to Shoreditch — Use “Steel” all over the lids, then with the flat end of the brush use “Midnight Purple” to create a smokey cat eye effect at the outer corners of the eyes. Using your finger, apply “Soho Lights” to the inner eyelids and inner corner of the eyes.

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<![CDATA[The Spooky Guide to Paris]]>

Halloween is here and I, for one, am very happy about that! Not only do I love the colors of the autumn season and the brisk air that comes with it, but I also happen to love a good fright and an epic Halloween costume. Halloween isn’t a well celebrated holiday in France, although it gets more and more popular every year. That doesn’t stop me from getting in the spooky spirit though with friends who love to dress up and a few Paris Halloween traditions of my own.

Paris Rendezvous

Each October I visit my favorite places I’ve discovered in Paris over the years that put me in the Halloween mood. It’s my own personal Spooky Guide to Paris that I thought I would share with you. If you don’t feel up for a fright then don’t worry, most of these places are beautiful and historic stops in the city worth visiting regardless. You’ll leave with your wits about you, but if you have a bit of an imagination and a taste for the terrifying around Halloween like myself, you’ll enjoy the eerie feeling lingering around these potentially haunted places this time of year. Let’s take a little tour together here...

The Catacombs

Sometimes called The City of the Dead, the Catacombs are winding underground roads lurking below Paris filled with the bones of over six million people that have gone before us. Finding enough space for graves within and around Paris became a serious problem in the late 1700’s. Eventually bones excavated from the cemeteries were relocated underground. One could never know this dark damp underworld lies beneath Paris unless they have passed through the "Barrière d’Enfer” (Gate of Hell) on Rue de la Tombe-Issoire and into the Catacombs. While spooky, it’s also an incredible historical monument classified as a museum and visited by hundreds of thousands every year.

The Vampire Museum

Behind a little red door on the outskirts of Paris is an entire little museum dedicated to the history of vampires. Visits are by appointment only, but if you’re a fan of vampires and their mythology, you will devour this eerie collection of curiosities and literature on the blood sucking sub human species.

The History of Medicine Museum

Musée d’histoire de la médecine is a wonderful little museum that is relatively unknown. It’s a journey through strange and sometimes terrifying medical practices of centuries past. Filling the glass cases are creepy diagrams and frightening antique medical apparatuses that make brave visitors cringe. One can almost here the echoes of the mad doctors and strange science experiments that might have once filled the halls here.

Cemeteries of Paris

Call me strange but when I travel I love to visit old cemeteries. The three main cemeteries in Paris are all beautiful, paved in cobblestone and this time of year, lined with trees changing color to orange, red and yellow. Try the Montmartre Cemetery and you might have a run in with the ghosts of Alexandre Dumas and Edgar Dugas who are buried here, or with Oscar Wilde, for example, on the other side of town at the Père Lachaise Cemetery. Lastly, if you’ve visited the Catacombs, the Montparnasse Cemetery is just next door.

Le Manoir de Paris

If you’re really in for a fright and feeling brave, visit Le Manoir de Paris for an animated haunted house experience. Created in an old abandoned ceramics workshop in the 10th district of Paris, you never know what lurks around the corner here. It’s a fun way to have a fright night with friends around Halloween.

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<![CDATA[Lancôme Loves St. Jude: Spread the Love]]>

Dear friends, a new post comes a little early this week as I wanted to share with you something special. Each year Lancôme raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. If you don’t already know St. Jude, it is a leading research and treatment hospital for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

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Lancôme has made it easier than ever to make a donation to this special place. All you have to do is spread the love by sharing a photo of your hand heart on Instagram or Twitter before the end of this week with the hashtag #LancomeLovesStJude. For every hand heart shared, Lancôme is donating $1 (up to 10k) to St. Jude. Also, for every purchase you make until October 24th Lancôme will donate another dollar to St. Jude. Both are small gestures that go beyond just a donation, but are also heart filled ways to show the kids fighting tough battles everyday at St. Jude that we support them.

And what about after this week? I am happy to announce that Lancôme will be fundraising for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital year round now with the new option each time you shop on lancôme-usa.com to make a donation at checkout. Make a purchase. Make a difference.

I’ve already posted my hand heart on Instagram this week with a photo I took at sunset on the beautiful Pont Alexandre III. Even though in Paris I’m on the other side of the world from the children at St. Jude, I wanted to send them a little ray of sunshine from the City of Light. I hope you will join me in doing the same by making a purchase this week and sharing your own hand heart with #LancomeLovesStJude before October 24th or donating every time you shop on lancome-usa.com year round.

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<![CDATA[Halloween à la française : Chic Makeup-Centric Costumes]]>

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because it’s a great excuse to play with the transformative power of makeup. While it’s a rather anglo holiday, I still celebrate with friends here and am happy to see it gaining popularity in France. I thought I would infuse a little “Frenchness” into some costume ideas for a very chic Halloween! Whether you’re one to plan your costume weeks in advance, or just throw something together last minute, these makeup centric Halloween looks are meant to be easily achieved with items that are likely already in your drawer and closet at home…

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Sorcière (witch)

This is a chic French take on the traditional witch costume. It’s all about eyes so sultry they look supernatural, and dark luscious lips that send chills down the spine. Pair it with a black dress and any black hat and you’ll be bewitching.

You need — Your most extreme mascara, black or grey eyeshadow, black liquid liner, black pencil liner, and your darkest shade of lipstick (I’m wearing Color Design in Bow and Arrow).

How to — Apply shadow to each eyelid and blend well at the crease. Use your liquid liner to create a bold cat eye. With the pencil liner, line the lower and upper waterlines heavily in black. Line the under eyes with a touch of shadow for a smokey look. Apply two to three coats of mascara to the upper and lower lashes for a spidery effect. With the help of a lip brush if needed, apply lipstick and accentuate the points of the lips at the cupid’s bow for a witch-like touch.

Amélie Poulain

Amélie is one of the most adored French film heroines of all time. Her short black hair, fair complexion, ultra expressive brows, and bright red pout are easy to recreate. Pair it with a classic cardigan and you’ll look just like Amelie on her Parisian adventures.

You need — A dark brow pencil, your fairest shade of foundation, your brightest red lipstick, and a wig like mine if you don’t have dark hair.

How to — Apply your foundation heavily for a doll like porcelain effect. Exaggerating the arch and length of your brows, pencil them on heavily with your brow pencil for an almost cartoon like touch. Apply your red lipstick and voilà! It’s that simple.

Magritte Masterpiece

Belgian artist Magritte is known for his surrealist masterpieces. As a massive collection of his work is currently exhibiting in Paris, I was inspired by his strange and discombobulated portraits. Much easier to achieve than his beautiful paintings, this makeup look still captures the essence of his work with a quirky effect perfect for Halloween.

You need — Primer or concealer, a red lip liner, red lipstick, blue or green eye crayon or shadow, a white or light pearlescent shadow, and black liquid liner.

How to — After applying your foundation, camouflage half of your lips to blend in with your complexion. With your lip pencil, slowly draw the outline of off-center lips before filling in with lipstick and the help of a lip brush. On the eyelids, start by priming and creating the whites of the eye. Then create the iris with your colored shadow or lip pencil before using your black liquid liner to add the pupils and eyelashes.

Trying out a few of these looks for Halloween? Here's one last little tip: makeup removal is magically made easy by Lancôme's Bi-Facil double-action formula. When the Halloween festivities are done, just reach for this award-winning makeup remover and you'll be back to your normal self.

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<![CDATA[Madeleines: A Quick and Classic French Recipe]]>

One of the most magical things about living in Paris is walking through its streets filled with the scent of fresh baked goods. There is a bakery on nearly every corner in this city and each Parisian has their favorite. Having an abundance of fresh baked goods at hand is definitely one of the greatest perks of living in the French capital. But with a few classic recipes, you can bring them to your own home and kitchen wherever you are. In autumn I love to cozy up inside to cook and bake more, so I thought I would whip up some madeleines and share this classic French recipe with you.

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Madeleines are a moist little light cake. They are modest in size and baked in the form of a shell, thanks to the traditionally beautiful madeleine moulds, which can easily be found at any baking supply store. In France they are a symbol of conviviality, a sweet and simple treat often served to guests around a friendly table with a hot drink. Thus, they are the perfect French recette to have on hand for those who love to host small gatherings.

There are three ingredients that make these little French cakes especially delicious. The first is a marrying of lemon zest and orange blossom extract, the latter of which is a French culinary favorite. And then of course butter, which the French certainly have a reputation of using generously, as I am sure you all know..

French Madeleines

Before beginning, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare your pan by greasing it with butter and dusting it with flour to prevent sticking. Then, gather and measure the following ingredients...

• 2⁄3 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
• 1 tablespoon of orange blossom extract
• 1 pinch salt
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup of melted unsalted butter
• 2 large eggs

Start by mixing the sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest, and orange blossom extract in a large bowl by hand or with a mixer. Then add the flour in increments and stir each time. Once the ingredients are well mixed, add the melted butter slowly and beat until blended. Fill your madeleines moulds 2/3 with the batter and bake them for 13 minutes. Let them cool before removing from the pan.

For a bit of an extra touch, dust them in powdered sugar or even melt some chocolate to dip them in if you are feeling extra indulgent. Then simply brew up a warm cup of coffee or tea to serve with your madeleines and enjoy. Bon appétit!

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<![CDATA[Makeup Trends from Paris Fashion Week]]>

Here we are on the heels of another Paris Fashion Week and “fashion month” around the world. As usual in Paris during this time, it’s the ideal moment to scope out trends from the runway shows and on the the streets. I’ve been inspired all week to be fashion forward with my wardrobe and makeup choices to attend some fun events and spectacular parties with friends.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, makeup really is one of the best accessories! A simple outfit can become a complete look totally transformed by a bold statement with your makeup. Here are a few of my favourite makeup trends of the moment so you can do just that. Don’t be shy either...any of them can be pulled off by pretty much anyone and are easily achieved in just a few minutes.

Ombre Lips — I’m totally taken with this trend since seeing Lancôme Creative Director, Lisa Eldridge, pull it off. All you need is two corresponding lip colors. The first trick here is to stick with similar hues but different shades, one darker for the outer and one lighter for the center. The second trick is to keep similar finishes, i.e. both matte or glossy but it’s up to you. I went for a darker shade of the Color Design Matte Lip Crayon (Only Wine Will Tell) and L’Absolu Rouge Definition with its demi-matte finish in a lighter shade but still in the warm reds family. Start with the Lip Crayon on the outer edges and then fill in the middle with your lighter shade. Simply blend with your finger or a lip brush and the effect is ultra full looking lips with amazing definition.

Graphic Eyes — Nothing made me feel more confident to try this trend than having the Grandiôse Liner in hand. The ergonomic bendable wand and ultra fine tip make it nearly impossible to go wrong when creating this look. My best advice is just go for it and be creative. A double or even triple wing is the most wearable graphic eye look and easiest to create. But sketch away because Lancôme has shown us with #bendtheline there are no limits to what you can create with the control of this liner.

Extra Bold Brows — Bold brows have been in for some time now, thanks to a few top models rocking them on the runway in recent years. This look is more accessible and in than ever thanks to brow products like Sourcils Styler. The Sourcils Styler is specifically designed to color the hair and not skin (like a pencil per say) so you get dense brows that look naturally full and wispy. Extra bold brows are the perfect way to transform jeans and a white tee shirt into a total “model off duty” look.

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<![CDATA[Journées du Patrimoine : Peek Behind Paris’s Closed Doors]]>

There’s a peculiar thing I like to do in Paris. As I walk around, I peer up into the windows of apartments along the boulevards and wonder what beautiful spaces are hidden inside. Little glimpses of chandeliers, fireplaces, or art set off my imagination. Sometimes, I even run to catch a peek inside private courtyards before the doors close behind someone on their way out. Perhaps you’ll think I’m nosy. However, I fancy myself more of a Grace Kelly type in Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” — curious. Something tells me I’m not the only one.

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So you won’t be surprised that I, and others like me, look forward to the semiannual Journées du Patrimoine in France. On these exceptional weekends, spectacular places across the country, normally closed to the general public, open their doors for what we call in French ouverture exceptionelle. The Journées du Patrimoine bring a sense of community and celebration of national history, heritage, and citizenship.

Last weekend I woke up early to take full advantage of exploring these otherwise off limits locations in Paris. I applied a bit of my new Teint Idole Ultra Cushion, Définicils, and L'Absolu Rouge and was out the door. I visited three new places in just one day and wondered, if these walls could talk, what would they say? Here are some stories I heard...

At the Villa des Arts in Montmartre, only forty or so artists lucky enough to call this place home have the key. Most are still unknown, but someday they may be household names like Cézanne, Dufy, or Signac, all of whom once worked and lived in the Villa des Arts since its construction in 1888. Passing through the entrée des artistes, an art deco staircase from the historic World Expo of 1900, joins the three floors of ateliers where artists work. One such painter let us inside his workshop, Didier Lambert, who has lived and worked at the Villa des Arts for more than 50 years!

Down the road, I was welcomed by La Sauvegarde de l’Art Français, whose offices are inside the apartments of Michel-Victor Cruchet. Cruchet is the most instrumental Rococo architect and decorator in French history. A master of the ornate moldings we sometimes call “wedding cake” interiors, he is responsible for some of the most beautiful rooms in France. Some of his greatest architectural achievements have been destroyed by time, and so his apartment here in the same style, perfectly preserved, serves as an important reference to historians for his body of work.

And in central Paris, I made one last stop at the Banque de France. The bankers and finance ministers were gone for the day, and as we passed through the meeting rooms and private offices of the Minister of the Treasury himself, I had to wonder what paramount economic decisions have been made here throughout the centuries. The bank’s “Hall of Mirrors” can be outdone only by Versailles, but the frescos are every bit as beautiful. The gold moldings here hint at a little secret I’ll let you in on. Somewhere in the bank is a secret passage leading to a vault beneath the Seine river where the entire gold reserves of France are kept and guarded. One can only wonder where exactly...

Now, as I walk past these otherwise secret places on an ordinary day, I know a little bit more about what lies inside. Paris is truly a museum though, and there is still so much to see and learn. That’s why I am already looking forward to the next Journées du Patrimoine.

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<![CDATA[Rendez-Vous with Laura Sfez: Designing, Makeup, & What the French Think is Sexy]]>

In Molière’s L’École des Femmes, the main character is a middle aged man so intimidated by femininity that he seeks to control it, much to his romantic demise. Fast forward a few centuries and Laura Sfez wears a tee shirt she created that reads une femme libre (a free woman). But unlike the doomed protagonist, this Parisienne designer knows more than a thing or two about femininity. She practically defines it. Liberated, sensual, and unapologetic, she embodies the philosophy of her own designs and made a name for herself modelling them for her 95K Instagram followers. She named her clothing line, L’École des Femmes, because she wanted it to be as timeless as Molière and as sophisticated as a woman. And of course, like Molière, utterly French.

Paris Rendezvous

Laura herself however spent her childhood between Paris and Los Angeles. As she prepares to open her new store there on Beverly Blvd. October 15th, I thought I would interview her about her unique perspective on the difference between French and American women when it comes to beauty and sex appeal, as well as her inspirations for her dresses that have become a staple in my own wardrobe and are adored by francophile fashionistas across the world.

Are you more Parisienne or American?
I embrace both. Growing up in Paris, school is rigid and demanding. But education is rich outside of school too. Everywhere is full of history, which cultivated my love of art, music, and cinema. Like a true Parisienne I’m confrontational, outspoken, and love to break the rules. But always polite. I embrace my femininity, yet I love fitness and sports, which has been one of the greatest influences of the time I spent in Los Angeles growing up. America gave me freedom to dream about entrepreneurship and be ambitious. Even so, I’ll never be American, no matter how convincing my accent is. France will always feel like home.

What is the influence of French clichés and Paris on your designs?
I think everything that will ever look good on a woman has already been made. The problem is finding these items in our modern shopping world. So I make things that I dream of wearing and can't find but I’ve seen in French films and photography, like Buñuel movies and runway looks from the eighties and nineties. I love French uniforms, clichés like the beret, and peter pan collared dresses. I dream of buying these outfits in Paris but today you can’t, so I design them myself instead.

Do you think French women approach beauty differently from American women?
They’re very different. Parisian women have good taste in makeup as to what’s appropriate when and where. There are simple rules and everyone owns the classics. It’s almost like homework to do so. In my opinion, American women are more extreme in their approach to beauty. They want to wow and go between opposites, and thus beauty in America seems less effortless. Also, American women like big hair. French girls work less on it and leave it be. Overall the Parisian approach to beauty is more low-key.

What do you think the sexiest makeup is for a woman?
The sexiest look for a woman is personality — makeup that is subtle and conveys personality is lovely to me. It’s not about concealing anything but instead to communicate a style. Also, a touch of red is magical. Red is incredibly seductive to the eye and the color of passion.

What’s your signature makeup look and favourite products?
I love winged tips. I feel like I'm cat woman as soon as I put it on, and use either a black liquid liner or a pencil eyeliner. I love a red lipstick to compliment a black outfit and make it pop; I wear it when I am most proud of who I am and want to show off my good spirits. But I can’t live without my moisturiser and toner because my signature look is no foundation, ever.

Any French beauty secrets to share?
Indulge a little and enjoy life! It makes for a happier face.

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<![CDATA[Maison Lancôme: A Journey to the Source of the Finest Ingredients]]>

To celebrate the release of the new Maison Lancôme fragrance collection, I thought I would take you all on a little journey. In fact, that’s what I love about perfume. It’s not just an olfactory experience, but almost a way of being transported to taste and feel a place too. This was my experience recently at the Lancôme Institute on the Rue Faubourg Saint Honoré, when I stopped in to smell the Maison Lancôme fragrances for myself.

Paris Rendezvous

I reached first for Lavendes Trianon. Its name caught my eye because lavender is one of my favorite scents since I was a little girl, and also happens to come from one of my favorite places in France and the entire world — Provence . But my journey with this fragrance was not just through its scent. In fact, just a few days later, I knew I would be returning to the region for a little trip with my family. The fine lavender that is the base for Lavandes Trianon is as precious as this place that it grows. Provence is covered with fields of lavender in spring and summer, the scent of which is carried by the famous Mistral breeze throughout its villages and landscapes. In late summer once fully grown they are cut, and we arrived just in time last week to get some bundles from the 2016 crop harvest by the monks at the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque

Fine lavender, unlike ordinary lavender, can only be grown above 1000 meters, which is why you will find much of it on the Plateau de Valensole . My first visit years ago took my breath away, the hills blanketed in purple as far as the eye could see. It takes no less than an entire hectare of these fine lavender fields to make just ten liters of essential lavender oil, obtained through a process of distillation. Lavender has such a fresh and light smell, somehow floral and herbal all at once. I love how it has been blended with hints of vanilla for my gourmand (indulgent) side into a fragrance that will always lift my spirit the way Provence itself does. When I returned to there last week, I took my Lavandes Trianon along with me, almost like a little pilgrimage home to its very source.

I tell you about this place and this lavender not just because they are majestic, but to show you how truly precious each ingredient selected for this range of scents are. They are the story of France, and this is just one chapter of the many notes thoughtfully sourced and artfully blended in the French capital for the Maison Lancôme fragrances by some of the greatest contemporary perfumers of our day. The best ingredients combined with an artful blending is why they are called Grand Cru Fragrances , just as you would refer to the finest wines.

These beautiful blends are bottled into precious glass and gold flacons designed by artists Alex & Marine, a fitting capsule for the masterpieces they are. Through them we can see just how the abundance of France inspired Lancôme founder, Armand Petitjean, to start a fragrance house so many years ago, and the Maison Lancôme collection certainly carries on that dream.

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<![CDATA[Tea Time in Paris]]>

The beginning of September in Paris is the time of la rentrée, the moment when Parisians come back from their month of holidays to get back into the swing of normal life. With everyone returning to town, we’re all eager to catch up with friends we haven’t seen in weeks. Starting September 1st, every free moment on the calendar begins to fill up with rendez-vous amongst friends. In fact, as I sit and write this, I’m in a tiny café tucked away below Pigalle waiting for a friend to join me over tea and catch up.

Paris Rendezvous

And so, there is no better time to visit Paris’s many tearooms and enjoy them during such visits. Like wine or perfume, the French take tea very seriously. All it takes is one visit to the Mariage Frères here to understand. Gentlemen dressed in white coats stand in front of rows and rows of tea in canisters behind them at the counter, cataloged to a T (pun intended) for you to sample to your heart’s desire. They have so many, in fact, that the menu for the tea room is actually an entire book, each with an in-depth description of the hundreds of teas they have on hand from all over the world. It’s a well kept little secret, but it is actually the French Mariage Frères that supply the tea to Harrod’s in London that is rebranded as British. Even though our neighbors to the North are typically more known for tea time, France’s history with tea is utterly evident at Mariage Frères and beyond.

Another one of my favorite tea rooms in Paris is Nina’s. Here things are slightly more simple. In fact, Nina’s is known for one tea in particular, a light rose blend with a hint of apple. But not just any apples, apples that come from the garden of Versailles. So it’s fitting that here you can enjoy tea in typical Marie Antoinette style, perched on perfectly pink Louis XVI chairs. If you ever visit, I recommend indulging in a slice of their cake as well. I can’t think of a more perfect place for a tea time this time of year to catch up with girlfriends.

Should you find yourself in Paris, here is a list of my favorite places for a quintessentially French tea time.

Le Peninsula — The Lobby restaurant at The Peninsula Hotel in the chic 16th arrondissement offers a beautiful modern French tea service complete with savory and sweet snacks and your accompanying tea served hot or iced... rcomme vous voulez!

Mariage Frères — My favorite Mariage Frères location is in the Marais. They have probably the most extensive selection of teas you will find anywhere in the world, and you will even find a charming small tea museum upstairs. It’s also the perfect place to pick up some teas as souvenirs to take home.

Nina’s Paris — As I mentioned, this is one of my favorite places in Paris. Hidden just behind the Place Vendôme, it is always quiet with a very kind staff to welcome you.

Lily of the Valley — This sweet little spot in the Haute Marais is a very welcome new addition to Paris in recent years. Their collection of vintage tea cups is simply adorable, and their wide selection of teas can be enjoyed with a few of their fresh made desserts.

Ladurée — For another very special tea time in Paris, visit Ladurée’s location in the 6th arrondissement. The tea rooms decor is Asian-inspired, infused with the iconic pastels of the brand and utterly peaceful. I suggest their Marie Antoinette tea with a Rose Religieuse pastry.

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<![CDATA[Double Take: The Suarez Sisters Take Paris to Try Grandiôse Extrême + Liner]]>

Do you know the Suarez sisters? These girls are all over the internet as prominent fashion bloggers. Dylana also works as a photographer and Natalie as a model, so the two often collaborate for work, with their adventures even bringing them to the French capital from time to time. That’s how I met them at Paris Fashion Week last year. Since then, I jump at every opportunity to show them around Paris when they’re in town because they are honestly a bundle of fun.

Paris Rendezvous

In fact fun is what I have always loved about their two personalities on and offline, and when I invited them to my place last week to get ready for a Friday night out in the City of Light, we had some fun playing with Lancôme’s new Grandiôse Liner and Grandiose Extrême Mascara.

It turns out Natalie has already gotten hooked on the Grandiôse Liner since she got her hands on one a few weeks ago. She wears liquid liner almost every day, and the ultra fine tip is both supple and resistant so she can get the perfect super fine wing she likes to wear on and off duty. When Dylana tried it, I told her to try bending the wand. “Wait, really?! I feel like I’m gonna break it!” she said before I clicked it back and forth to show her the full extent of its ergonomic design, making it easier to manipulate around the shape of the eye for hard to reach places without ever slipping up.

The ultra black matte liner pairs perfectly with the new Grandiôse Extrême Mascara. It’s equally black fiber lash formula makes lashes even longer, thicker, and darker than the original Grandiôse for when you want an extra pop or for short lashes that need an extra push. All with the ergonomic design of the Grandiôse wand of course, so application is easier, cleaner, and more effective, boosting lashes by grabbing them good from root to tip.

“I love how thick this mascara is. It’s dramatic...you can really see it”, said Natalie later that night, as she reached to touch up her makeup post dinner along the Canal Saint Martin. The two posed for a few pics for me here to show off their Grandiôse Liner + Extrême Mascara looks. As you can see, the pairing is a winning combination (just like the Suarez sisters themselves!) to make eyes really pop, looking bigger and brighter.

I asked the two fashion bloggers if this Fall they would dare to try the new “graphic eyes” trend, like the double or even triple flick cat-eye and they said “Definitely. What a fun way to get more creative with this new liner we love!”

One other thing is for sure, after our few days together here last week, Natalie and Dylana love Paris too! Until their next trip, whenever their missing Paris you can find them at their favorite French spots at home in New York City that I asked them to share here...

The Suarez Sister’s Favorite French Spots in NYC

• Café Collette, 79 Berry St. in Williamsburg
• Balthazar, 80 Spring St. in SoHo
• Ladurée, 398 W Broadway in SoHo
• L’Imprimerie, 1524 Myrtle Ave in Bushwick
• Café Gitane, The Jane Hotel, 113 Jane St. in the Meatpacking District
• Le Barricou, 533 Grand St. in Williamsburg

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<![CDATA[Teint Idole Ultra Cushion Foundation: Fall Back in Love with Full Coverage]]>

The waiter at my usual cafe on the rue de Rivoli kept telling me I look tired. I told him that it’s not a very nice thing to tell a woman she looks fatigué. He didn’t seem to care but I on the other hand went straight home to take a long hard look in the mirror, wondering what would provoke him to say such a thing.

Paris Rendezvous

With Paris so quiet this month I admit I’ve been slacking off on my makeup, and, while others are off on holiday, I’ve been burning the midnight oil trying to get ahead on new projects. Autumn is on the horizon though, so it’s time to get myself together. Replenishing my Énergie de Vie has been a good start, and when it comes to my makeup something new just arrived too — Teint Idole Ultra Cushion Foundation.

In recent years, I feel like full coverage foundation has fallen out of favor. With lighter beauty balms in the spotlight, it became associated with heavy, matte, and even caky complexions. But since I had just been pushed into thinking I was in a bit of a beauty rut, I was willing to give it another try. I opened up the box, took out the compact, popped in the cushion, and I haven’t looked back since. I take back everything I ever said about full coverage. Lancôme’s three years of development have made the perfect oil-free, high-coverage, long-wearing liquid foundation in a portable cushion compact that I adore. Here’s why...

What I love about Teint Idole Ultra Cushion Foundation

It’s incredibly lightweight and breathable. Nothing about it feels heavy, caky, or less natural than more sheer options like Beauty Balm or Miracle Cushion.
Undeniably dewey results. In Paris we tend to prefer this dewy complexion, but if you prefer something more matte just top it off with Dual Finish.
The full coverage is ultra efficient. Just one dab on the cushion is enough for the entire face, but it’s buildable to your liking and can even be dabbed on as concealer if needed.
It’s silky and soft, so not only does it glide on so smooth but leaves skin ultra pleasant to the touch.
• With SPF 50, not only is your foundation full coverage, but your skin is totally protected as well, making it ideal for any season.
It’s free of bad stuff like parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, as well as being oil free and non comedogenic.
The refillable compact is clean and easy. With no leakage and no spills like a bottle, the Double Matrix Technology cushion dispenses the perfect amount each time!
A more ecofriendly option. When you run out, simply pop out your empty cushion and pick up a new cartridge, meaning less environmental waste for the environment and more savings for you.

With my new Teint Idole Ultra Cushion Foundation, I think my complexion looks brighter, more even, and more rested. And as for the rude waiter next time I went to the cafe down the street? Who cares. He can still keep his opinions to himself as far as I’m concerned.

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<![CDATA[Les Croisières: Cool Off with a Parisian Cruise]]>

To be honest, it’s almost a shame so many people leave Paris in August. There are a whole myriad of wonderful seasonal activities that spring up this time of year around the French capital, just in time for the perfect weather to match. A few of my favourites are the open air cinemas in the park at night and the carnival in the Tuileries gardens on warm evenings.

Paris Rendezvous

Water plays a big roll in the geography of Paris, and in summer, little pop-up bars, cafés, markets, and sporting activities suddenly appear, animating the banks of the Seine and the canals in the east. These are called Paris Plages (or Paris Beaches) and are put on by the local government for remaining city dwellers to make the most of this gorgeous summer weather. Here you’ll find the best way to cool off on a hot summer day — a Parisian cruise.

Along the Seine, you can hop aboard one of the many croisières taking travellers up and down the river to kick back and relax for some site seeing. These offer a unique perspective of the city from the water, and are quite a convenient way to get around as some, like the Batobus, let you on and off at each stop as you please. What might look like a tourist trap is actually an extremely fun way to see Paris. So much fun that locals, like me, take them every now and again.

But the real local’s favourite in recent years for a summer cruise is the Marin D’eau Douce. In the northeast of Paris, you’ll find these fun little electric boats at the Bassin de la Villette which feeds into the Canal Saint Martin, another one of my favourite summer hangouts. This basin is actually technically considered a lake, and is the largest one in Paris. The others you’ll mostly find in the large parks, particularly the Bois de Boulogne in the west where you can rent row boats. But here at La Villette, you’ll be captaining your own motor boat.

This week, before leaving on our own vacations, my friend Katie and I packed a little picnic and took turns driving one another up and down the canal in our own petit bateau. How nice it was to feel the breeze blowing through our hair, waving to other boats as we sailed on by, and even make some new friends.

Of course, when the sun is out, so is the sunscreen. I can not reiterate enough how essential SPF is this time of year. Lancôme makes it easy for us though, with their SPF products offering extra sun protection. A summer day out in the city for me begins with Bienfait Multi-Vital SPF 30, which is always on hand. And as I head out of town to the beach next week, rest assured... Bienfait UV SPF 50+ will be on double duty, while still oil free, light weight, and fast absorbing so as never to clog my complexion. And there you have it, my city and beauty tips for making most of summer while it lasts!

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<![CDATA[Énergie de Vie: Today's Fatigue, Tomorrow's Aging]]>

I was walking home the other night across Paris thinking how remarkably empty the streets are this time of year. Nearly silent in fact. I passed the small newsstand down the road from my place. The headline of the Figaro Magazine read “En août, on se repose”. In English this means that in August, we rest.

Paris Rendezvous

Indeed, August is a sacred time in France. Most Parisians head out of town to rest and recharge, for all or at least some of the month. Many shops and restaurants close, and what remains practically slows to a halt. Emails hardly come in at the office and away messages are abundant.

Americans might find it hard to believe that an entire city more or less shuts down for the greater part of a month each summer. But in France, this is just part of life. I admire this work-life balance the French seek to maintain. Being ambitious in a world capital can really take it out of you, most of all, in our late twenties and thirties when the modern woman strives to have it all — a career, love, family, adventure. All this effort can make us thrive, but it’s our skin that usually suffers. Lancôme’s Énergie de Vie skincare is for just this sort of woman. Young women, like me in fact, running full speed at all our dreams from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed.

I had the pleasure of discovering the collection in conversation with Lancôme’s lead chemist several months back. Her words really spoke to me — the thought put into how each product feels immediately on a woman’s skin, the integrity of the ingredients and their benefit to changing complexions, and the moments they serve us most in our busy lives. As I listened to her talk about its three main antioxidant plant extracts, I tested each product and was astounded by their silky effects. The collection covers all of a woman’s skincare needs around my age...

A cleanser to detox and purify, removing makeup and dead skin.
Antioxidant liquid moisturizer to refresh, protect, and hydrate.
Lightweight day cream to energize and invigorate, infused with water and lemon balm.
An invigorating lotion for when skin needs that extra boost.
The night mask to recover and restore with vitamin E and goji berry extract

Personally, I feel like this is the best Lancôme skincare yet for women of my age in their twenties and thirties. Today’s fatigue can be tomorrow’s aging, and these products are light in weight and scent, formulated to reveal a dewy complexion for today and many tomorrows.

Énergie de Vie means energy of life, a reinvigoration for the face we put forward to the world, and in return touching the mind, body, and soul a bit too. This is the French essence of rest and balance we focus on this time of year, and Énergie de Vie is the skincare collection to bring that to our complexion each and every day. August or not, it has now become my skin’s daily source of energy from the outside in.

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<![CDATA[Saint-Germain-des-Près: A Mini Guide]]>

I never shy away from a good excuse to explore another part of Paris. The release of the Sonia Rykiel x Lancôme collection put me in the mood to spend some time across the river in Saint-Germain-des-Près. This neighborhood in the heart of the Left Bank is both the home of the Sonia Rykiel brand and a huge inspiration behind the fashion house’s latest beauty collaboration with Lancôme.

Paris Rendezvous

As one of the most distinguished quartiers in Paris, it seems to have struck the perfect balance of sophistication and la vie bohême. Its two biggest draws are chic shopping and unrivaled café culture. Seeing as it is a must visit on a trip to Paris, I thought it might come in handy if I share my mini guide to this part of town if you ever happen to visit, and some history of my favorite places here for those who are just a little bit curious!

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK

Café de Flore — A Parisian classic if there ever was one. A favorite of the fashion elite and intellectuals alike, it has managed to be a major tourist destination without losing its charm. On late nights I come by for a croque monsieur and, in the summer, cool off with one of their milkshakes.

Brasserie Lipp — This café has been a Parisian institution for over 130 years, with its rotating glass doors at the front. Famous writers and artists have long congregated here, like Hemingway, for the sake of mentioning another American in Paris. From escargots to baba au rhum, you can find all the French classics here.

Le Bonaparte — One of the most perfectly Parisian terraces to sit on with a refreshment, overlooking l’Église Saint-Germain and the beautiful square just in front, and the perfect place to people watch.

La Palette — Slightly harder to find than some other famous cafés in the neighborhood, but every bit as happening and worth trying. This is a sweet spot to spend summer nights sipping rosé or winter nights cozied up with a great bottle of red on a romantic date.

Le Relais de l’Entrecôte — Steak frites anyone? While slightly touristy, locals like this place too because frankly the only dish on their menu, steak frites, just can’t be beat!

WHERE TO SHOP

Sonia Rykiel — I couldn't possibly leave this one off the list. Inside their flagship store, you won’t just find some amazing clothes and accessories but also a spectacular display of merchandising, as the interior has been transformed into a vintage library with more than 30,000 books lining the shelves.

Deyrolle — This amazing collection of taxidermy animal curiosities from around the globe is truly fascinating. Don’t despair! There, every single creature you will find within Deyrolle died of natural causes and is artistically preserved for those with acquired tastes to buy and admire forever.

Elbé — By chance, I stumbled upon this shop selling authentic vintage French posters and advertisements from the last one hundred years, and now a favorite address in Paris. There are some real treasures in here to be found.

Cire Trudon — Cire Trudon dates back to the French monarchy when they made candles for Versailles. Still in its original location, they are one of the most magnificent candlers in the world. They recently uncovered a plaque on the façade with Louis XIV’s “Sun King” emblem that was covered up during the revolution. Just one more bit of history to add to what you’ll already find within their Antiquaire de la Bougie mini candle museum.

Le Bon Marché — Le Bon Marché is one of the first department stores in the entire world, and still one of the best. It is home to perhaps the best and most extensive collection of clothes, shoes, makeup, and more - even food!

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<![CDATA[Wedding Season: French Beauty and Fashion Tips for Brides and Guests]]>

The only thing that could possibly make me love summer more than I already do is the fact that it is also wedding season. Who doesn’t love a beautiful wedding? There seems to be so many things to celebrate on these days, like love of course! But also friendship, family, and a great excuse to dress up and look your best.

Paris Rendezvous

I seem to be in that time of my life when all my friends have started tying the knot. Last weekend I was overwhelmed with joy getting to see two of them get hitched at a chateau in the French countryside during what must have been the most beautiful weather France has seen in 2016. I had been looking forward to this day for nearly a year, but my schedule afforded much less time to plan the perfect outfit, hair, and makeup.

As you can imagine, weddings anywhere, but particularly in France, are extremely sophisticated. The dress code for French weddings is “effortless, chic, and qualitative.” Personally, I’m going to add in conservative, as I think it’s safe to err on the side of caution, as most traditional weddings here take place in a church. I managed to pull off my whole look last minute with a few Parisian style tips I’ve learned over the years. For one, a silk scarf around the neck always adds drama to any outfit, and a bold lipstick instantly transforms an otherwise boring face into a perfectly coordinated look. Throw on a piece of statement jewellery with your best heels and any little black dress or in my case, raspberry separates, and you will look ready for the pages of French Vogue.

As you can imagine, I have a few beauty tips in mind for such days as well! Here are some of my wedding beauty essentials for brides and guests alike...

My Wedding Beauty Essentials

Waterproof mascara — Weddings always give us a good cry. On such a big day, waterproof mascara is essential for brides and guests alike to avoid makeup running down their face. Hypnôse Waterproof mascara is just what you need to get dramatic photo worthylashes that last through tears of joy during sacred vows and heartfelt toasts.

Matte lipstick — Not only is matte lipstick on trend at the moment, but it also happens to be one of the longest lasting formulas for lips. My favorite this wedding season has been Color Design in Racy, a creamy dark pink just bold enough to stand out but with a touch of softness perfect for the romance of a wedding.

Teint Idole Ultra Longwear Foundation Stick — For an event like a wedding, the Teint Idole Foundation Stick is your complexion’s best friend. The long wear formula will have you looking flawless for hours on end, and also conveniently fits in even the tiniest of handbags for touch ups during the festivities if needed. Made for long days like these, where you need it, when you need it.

A special scent — Scent is the strongest sense tied to memory which is why brides will often select a new scent just for their special day. Guests like me will be sentimental about these beautiful celebrations share with friends, and what better scent than La Vie Est Belle to bring back those moments?

Vive les mariés!

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<![CDATA[Sonia Rykiel x Lancôme: A Limited Edition Collection]]>

Oo la la! I’ve had this launch marked on my calendar for months now, and I couldn’t be happier to finally be able to talk about (and wear!) the new Sonia Rykiel x Lancôme collection. As if I wasn’t already excited enough, the launch party last week just added to my enthusiasm. What happens when two iconic French brands collide?

Paris Rendezvous

Well, every year Lancôme collaborates with a fashion brand, and this year it just happens to be one of my all time favorites. I’ve adored Sonia Rykiel for about long as I’ve been wearing Lancôme makeup, which is before I even had a driver’s license. I turned twenty-eight a few weeks ago so if you do the math that’s about a decade and a half. But Sonia Rykiel has been around much longer than that.

For me, the fashion designer defined a style all about capturing the playful side of French fashion. She has always made clothes that are comfortable and practical, yet extremely fashion-forward through her bold color choices, loud stripes, and oversized accessories. Moreover, Sonia Rykiel showed that chic can be fun and flirtatious too

For this collaboration, Julie de Libran, the now creative director of Sonia Rykiel, asked the famous French Graffiti artist, André, to sketch the art for the packaging. For me, this is an ode to some of the landmark moments in the history of the Sonia Rykiel line. You may not know but Sonia Rykiel was the first designer to put words on clothing. But what’s inside is just as good as what’s outside.

What I’ve always loved about Sonia’s clothes is that they are versatile. The wearability of the makeup in this collection is simultaneously about creating a subtle beauty look to compliment a bold outfit and making a statement with your makeup on its own.

For example, La Palette and Parisian Lips Le Crayon in Parisian Spirit are perfectly paired. The soft pink tones create a sweet and subtle look for daytime that goes perfectly with the glossy tinted end of the double sided lip crayon. For night, switch it up by using the opaque side of the pencil for bolder lips, and building up your eyeshadow with the purple tones for a sultry night look. These two have got to be my favorites from the collection, but if you’re looking for cooler tones you’ll love the blues in the Saint Germain version of the eye palette, named after for the home of the Sonia Rykiel brand. It pairs perfectly with the orangish red French Baiser lip crayon, but the idea is to mix and match and create your look as playfully as you please

Even the Cushion Blush offers buildable color for a soft Sorbet Rose cheek or a bright Splash Coral. And for the perfect beauty accessory, a few Left Bank inspired nail colors, new as well with the launch of the collection, like Joie de Vivre and Café Blanc.

The Sonia Rykiel x Lancôme collection officially launches July 21st and will move fast, so if you want to make this fashionable makeup collection your own, be sure to scoop it up then

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<![CDATA[Party in Paris: Night Out on the Left Bank]]>

“Are you going to the Lancôme x Sonia Rykiel party?” This was the question buzzing about Paris last week as fashion week returned to town for another Haute Couture season. What a perfect time to throw a party for Lancôme’s soon to be released makeup collection with the famous French fashion house, Sonia Rykiel. And lucky me! I’m not always on the list for such fabulous things, but with my invite in hand I had been looking forward to this extravaganza since I caught wind of it!

Paris Rendezvous

It’s only natural that the party took place on the Left Bank. The venue was the spectacular École des Beaux-Arts in the 6th arrondissement, the more than 350 year old college of fine arts that has trained some of the most famous artists of all time. This Saint-Germain district is also the fashionable home of the Sonia Rykiel brand, with their beautiful flagship store perfectly positioned on the boulevard Saint Germain. The party took inspiration from both the store and the neighbourhood with a recreation of the Café de Flore as the “Café des Fleurs”, the bouquinistes that line the Seine selling old books and trinkets, and the shelves and racks of the Sonia Rykiel store as cabinets lining the bar filled with vintage pieces from the brand. The nightculminated with a diva showdown on stage and an epic dance floor as It’s Raining Men played and confetti covered the crowd. What a blast!

But my favorite thing about attending events during fashion week is the people watching. The chance to see so many stylish individuals congregate in one place is a fashion feast. Everywhere you look there is beauty and outfit inspiration. I would expect no less from a Sonia Rykiel and Lancôme party. Everyone was dressed to impress, even the hostesses! Their ultra voluminous hair created by Kérastase and topped of with berets was a throwback to some of my favourite looks from the Rykiel runway in years past. Bright cheeks, doe eyes, and bold lips were the perfect compliment to the tee shirts they donned featuring the same illustrations as the collection.

It was a Parisian party definitely worth sharing, but also the perfect excuse to share with you all here a sneak peek of the Sonia Rykiel collaboration before it launches. I’ve been told by my friends at Lancôme that the coveted collection is going to move fast, so get ready to snatch it up and make it yours as soon as it becomes available. Keep following Paris Rendez-Vous this month to be the first to know when it’s released! I can’t wait to show you the actual makeup next week...this party is just the beginning!

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<![CDATA[The Golden Birthday: 28 Years Young in Paris]]>

I’m not one to make a show of my birthday, but this year it’s my golden one. I turned twenty-eight years old on the 28th of June. I usually let this day fly by like any other, but this year I thought I ought to treat myself to something special.

Paris Rendezvous

With no shortage of ways to celebrate in Paris, I chose to book a suite at the Hotel Raphael in the 16th arrondissement for a five-star stay in this historic place I always dreamed of spending a night. I bought a sweet little cake from Laduree down the road and shared it with one of my best friends in the whole world. I indulged in more than my fair share of the most luxurious Lancôme products in my cabinet — the Absolue Precious Oil, Silky Day Cream, and Nourishing Lip Balm. Nothing less than the gold standard for me on this golden birthday. And of course I thought about what it really means to be me at this age.

I never look forward much to being another year older, but this year something has changed. Twenty-eight is a pivotal number. To some of you that may seem very young; in life, age is all relative. I’m officially in my late twenties now. Supposedly it’s the age women reach their sexual prime. They stop calling themselves “girls” because, like me, you might have a few grey hairs and some wrinkles to show for your time here on earth. But it’s more than that, a sort of calm that comes over you as you can finally say “Okay...this being a woman thing, I’ve got this.” It’s an air of confidence in yourself inside and out. A wisdom that only comes with time, and the great privilege of going through this life as a woman.

So on that note, here are twenty-eight of my thoughts on beauty and life, one for each of my years, that I would like to share with you...

Age is just a number. You’re never too young or too old to be the woman of your dreams. Don’t dwell in moments where you feel down about your looks. You'll just look back 25 years from now and wonder why you wasted all that time. You’re never too young to start thinking about anti-aging skincare. Wear sunscreen. Let there be one entire day each week where you don’t look in a mirror. Looks are not everything in life. Invest in quality cosmetics. Your face is worth it. Smile, not because people say it makes you prettier, but because it’s good for you. Try new things, starting with any color of lipstick you dare to. Compliment other women, you might just make her day. Any man that doesn’t make you feel beautiful just as you are isn’t right for you. Never aspire to look perfect, you’ll only set yourself up for failure. Learn to love yourself at your natural body weight — life is so much more fun this way. Eyebrows make all the difference. No matter how late, always remove your makeup before bed. Don’t pick at your skin. Aspire only to be the best version of you, never somebody else. Embrace flaws, they keep things interesting. Don’t hoard beauty secrets, sharing is caring. Throw out expired cosmetics. Bad skin days...these too shall pass. Don’t scowl, it gives you bad wrinkles. Invest in a silk pillowcase for hair and skin. Eight hours of sleep, no more no less. Enough said. Hydrate from inside and outside. Don’t squint at the sun, put on those sunglasses! Laugh a lot because those lines are the best kind of wrinkles. Never use regular soap to take off your eye makeup. And beauty is not proprietary, it belongs to each and every one of us!

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<![CDATA[Fête de la Musique: The Sound of Summer Solstice]]>

If you want to see Paris like you’ve never seen it before, then you must absolutely spend a summer solstice here. Or should I say “hear” Paris because summer solstice in the French capital is celebrated each year with the annual Fête de la Musique. This tradition, now more than twenty years old in the City of Light since it was first introduced by the Minister of Culture, is an evening of free song and dance nearly everywhere you go.

Paris Rendezvous

From large concerts in some of the most famous landmarks to little local jazz bands on every corner, music fills the city with life. We all look forward to this day as it draws us out to welcome summer. On this longest day of the year it seems like the sun takes forever to set, the night easing into itself just like the music blending together in the streets as you pass from place to place.

For this day, I decided to wear some of my favorite summer makeup to go with the theme of the day — my Juicy Shaker in Cherry Symphony and Hypnôse Dazzling in Brun Acoustique. And this year my musical journey began in the historic Saint Eustache church. It would be impossible to outdo the acoustics of this place. From the massive organ pipes overhead, the sound of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Toccata And Fugue In D Minor from Disney’s Fantasia were hauntingly beautiful. But it was the delicate Claire de Lune which followed that nearly moved me to tears as each note floated through this 16th century chapel.

A symphony in front of La Comédie Francaise, a rock concert in the Palais Royal, gentlemen's jazz bands on the bridge, school choirs in the Louvre, it was hard not to stop at every turn and so we did. With every genre there is something for everyone.

I think Fête de la Musique is one of the most alive nights of the year in our city, the feeling is nothing short of magic, something I can’t quite articulate and so I decided to try and capture a bit of the feeling for you all in a short video. You can watch it HERE. I hope in it you’ll see why this is such a special day...

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<![CDATA[Ô de L’Orangerie: My Summer Scent & A Secret Garden]]>

My habits tend to change with the seasons. I find myself in new corners of Paris when summertime rolls around, drawn outward to open spaces on the edge of the city. But not only just that, a different wardrobe, lighter makeup, and for me even another fragrance.

Paris Rendezvous

Summer is the perfect season for what we call eau de toilette, which is the fancy French way of saying perfume with a weaker concentration of its aromatic ingredients. Long days, warm weather, and a relaxed summer vibe certainly lightens the mood this time of year, so it makes sense that our fragrances are lighter too. Starting now we begin reaching for the eau de toilette version of our usual scent or even a new one. In my case it’s Lancôme’s Ô de L’Orangerie

I love discovering all of the Lancôme fragrances because they are such an essential part of Lancôme’s history. After all, Lancôme began as a fragrance house, launching its first five scents in 1935 at the World's Fair in Brussels. Fast forward to a few weeks ago and I treated myself to a Lancôme set of those darling miniature perfume bottles you often find at Duty Free. Inside was a little bottle of Ô de L’Orangerie, and as soon as I smelled it for the first time I knew this would be my summer scent.

Its fruity floral notes are light and radiant with a hint of citrus from fragrant orange blossoms, evoking the feeling of a serene French garden. And I happen to know just the garden in Paris that might have inspired it. It’s a local’s secret but I’ll share it with you...

In the heart of the Bois de Bologne on the western border of Paris you will find a garden within the woods called the Parc de Bagatelle. Surrounded by golden gilded gates, inside you’ll find a little Shangri-la. Waterfalls run into petite lakes with swans swimming across them, and peacocks roam freely from one precious pagoda to the next, spreading their green and blue feathers to show off for the visitors. Follow another path and you’ll be led to a beautiful rose garden with rows of blooming bushes and trees this time of year. And of course, the beautiful 18th century Orangerie which is a host to all kinds of events. On a summer evening, you can catch classic concerts here, with the sound of Chopin drifting out its beautiful french doors and floating away into the night. Perfectly planted with citrus trees around its perimeter, a little pause beneath them for some shade is an aromatic delight.

If a scent is a story, then Lancôme has many beautiful ones to tell. For me, Ô de L’Orangerie is the perfect way to lose yourself in a summer tale of in this secret French garden at Bagatelle. Smell it for yourself and perhaps it will transport you there...

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<![CDATA[Le Diner en Blanc]]>

If you want to attend the chicest picnic in the world, you might not be surprised when I tell you you’ll have to come to Paris for that. Leave it to the French to take a casual picnic to the next level, dress code, decor, and location, location, location. It’s called Le Diner en Blanc and it takes place once a year in June in the French capital.

Paris Rendezvous

The history of the Diner en Blanc is a very Parisian story. One summer evening nearly twenty years ago, a Parisian gentlemen invited some of his friends for a picnic dinner in the Bois de Bologne in the west of Paris. In order to easily find one another in the large park, he suggested they all wear white. The dinner was such a success they decided to continue the tradition. Each year the dinner grew and today one can expect about 10,000 people to show up for the Diner en Blanc, which translates to the “dinner in white”.

But here’s the catch, no one except the organizers know the exact location of the event until thirty minutes prior. One hour before the event the location is released, but only travels by word of mouth — no website, no tweets, no nothing. Just phone calls from friends to friends to spread the word. All at once the masses begin showing up dressed in white and setting up their picnic tables, candelabras, and dinner plates. Some of the spectacular locations have included the Palais Royal, Place de Vosges, Notre Dame, and Place de la Concorde.

The choice for this year’s location for Le Diner en Blanc seemed a natural one, the beautiful Place Vendôme. Place Vendôme has been undergoing some renovations the last two years, with the historical obelisk at its center and the iconic Ritz Hotel both obscured with scaffolding for far too long. Now that construction is finally finished and the Ritz newly reopened, Le Diner en Blanc here last week was the unofficial inauguration of the Place Vendôme’s return to its glory as one of the most stunning places in Paris.

We truly lucked out with the weather this time, as the dinner took place on a warm summer evening from dusk until dawn beneath the stars. If you haven’t guessed the dress code, it’s head to toe white. For my makeup I kept it summery and simple too, with Dual Finish for a clean complexion, my Vanilla Pop Juicy Shaker, and my French Nude Color Design palette to create a subtle smokey eye that was warm just like the night. And because at Le Diner Blanc a picnic dinner can easily turn into a white night out past one’s usual bedtime, I spoiled my skin with a healthy dose of Advanced Génifique the several nights since to recoup the hours of beauty sleep I forewent in the name of fun…

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<![CDATA[Visit French Wine: A Summer Escape From Paris]]>

One of my favorite things to do in Paris is visit my neighborhood wine shop, or cave à vins as we call it, to discover new wines for specific occasions. Perhaps a meal I’m preparing, a friend I’m visiting, a special gift for someone. Parisians take selecting wine very seriously, but also with great pleasure because wine in a way is the story of France itself.

Paris Rendezvous

In fact, French wines are the only ones to be named not for their variety of grape but instead for their region of origin. Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne and so on…these wines are all regions in France. The list goes on. Through wine we can taste the rich culture of the country and often what distinguishes each region. Our wine is rooted in so many of the things that make France great: the terroir, gastronomy, savoir faire, and joie de vivre.

With summer upon us, it’s high time for travel in France, and when I received an invitation from the local tourism board for a several day excursion to visit French wine, I immediately accepted. I packed my bags with my Lancôme 2016 Summer Color Collection in tow, it was just the warm look I needed for my sunny journey south. I boarded a train from the Gare de Montparnasse and my little trip took me to a region called Gaillac where grapes have been cultivated for the last 3,000 years!

Whether it’s the science of cosmetics or the savoir faire of wine, I just love learning how things are made. For three days I had the pleasure of talking to wine makers, walking their vineyards, and tasting their Gaillacois wines. I learned about how different soil suits different varieties of grapes, and how most of what goes into making a wine takes place in the vines, a year round dedication to tending to their vineyard to obtain the best harvest. But every single step of the process is important, from selecting which grapes to blend, which barrel to age them in, how long to let them distill, the shape of the bottle, the style of the label, and so on and so on. This entire region is blanketed in vineyards and scattered with beautiful historic hilltop villages worth visiting, as well to take in the view from above.

Wine is an industry that has long been dominated by men who historically continued these family businesses. But more and more, we, as women, are making our place in it as analogues, sommeliers, and winemakers themselves. In Gaillac there is now an association of female winemakers who have together set out to restore many of the historical structures in old vineyards and bring new methods to the region.

So whether you’re tasting French wine at home, enjoying some at a café in Paris, or visiting French wineries in person, to appreciate French wine is to appreciate France itself. What a wonderful and delicious way to discover the country Lancôme calls home.

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<![CDATA[La Nuit des Musées]]>

There are few things more spectacular than watching a sunset over the Seine. Last Saturday I sat on the bridge between the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, taking in one of the most vibrant ones I’ve seen in a while. Orange, magenta, purple, and then blue…it was like Paris’s own masterpiece.

Paris Rendezvous

But this time of year the weather is warm and friendly, so the day doesn’t end when the sun goes down. One night each spring there is the annual La Nuit des Musées, where the city’s hundreds of museums stay open until midnight for visitors. I actually hadn’t even realized it was Museum Night in Paris until I found myself there watching that sunset and noticed a public service announcement about it on a small sign at the end of the bridge. Conveniently there I was, in between two of the greatest collections of masterpieces from the art world. One of the many perks of living in Paris I suppose…

So I made the most of it! Seeing Paris’s museums by night is a whole new way of visiting them. Something about it feels mysterious, like you’ve snuck in after hours on a caper. It certainly adds a sense of adventure to museum going. As you wind in and out of the halls of the Louvre, you can peer out on the City of Light at night and imagine what it might have been like to call this place home hundreds of years ago when it was the palace of the royal family. And by night across the river at the Musée d’Orsay you can peer through the clock tower for a spectacular view over the city, imagining what it might have been like to be a Parisian, arriving here on an evening train a hundred years ago when it was a train station.

But museums are changed by more than just the hours on this night. For La Nuit des Musées there are spectacles, performances, concerts, dancing, workshops, and more. On this night, Paris and France’s commitment to culture, new and old, converge in the city and it is truly a thing to see.

If you can’t make it to Paris on this one night a year, you may be pleased to know that almost every major museum in the French capital has one night a week that they call the nocturne. On these nights their doors are open late and sometimes entry is even free so that their collections can be enjoyed by all into the night. So on your next visit to Paris, be sure to check their schedule and you too can enjoy une nuit dans dans le musée.

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<![CDATA[Dual Finish — A Photographer’s Friend + My Photogenic Tips]]>

Multitasking? I happen to know a thing or two about that. For example, directing and posing for a photoshoot at the same time. It’s much easier said than done, but it’s how I capture stories to bring to you here each week.

Paris Rendezvous

As a photographer, I spend many days in Paris behind the camera. But as a long time blogger, the rest are spent on the other side of the lens. My beauty tip from each end is one and the same - Dual Finish Foundation. It’s as good at multitasking as I am, and comes with a puff and a sponge so you can apply it dry or wet for sheer or full coverage. Where my camera goes, my Dual Finish always follows for quick touch ups and serious shine control before being photographed.

When it comes to the rest of my expert advice, over the years, this dual role as photographer and model has given me a unique perspective on beauty. I believe anyone can look amazing in a photograph. Yet as soon as I take out my camera, many women I know immediately voice their insecurities. To be honest, it makes me sad. I found myself in this exact situation at a dinner party the other night. As I went to snap her portrait, my friend started to panic. So right then and there I decided to share my tips for posing for pictures. With a few tricks of the trade she could immediately see the difference before and after. Her camera confidence was completely boosted and the result was darling photographs of a birthday celebration we’ll never forget.

I want every woman to feel beautiful enough to have her picture taken, because she is. So I’ve decided to share those same tips with you here. Give these a try and I promise that next time the camera comes out you’ll be looking your best and feeling yourself in front of the lens.

HOW TO POSE LIKE A PRO

Find your light. Most people think this means they can’t hide their imperfections, but in fact it’s just the opposite. Lots of light in a photograph washes out flaws and rids of unflattering shadows.

Move around. Don’t stand static and stare straight at the camera. Get into action and take lots of photographs. You’ll find movements in between “poses” often turn out best and look most natural.

Instead of “cheese”, repeat A - E - I - O - U. One of the oldest tricks in the book. Repeating the vowels creates lots of different expressions on camera and one is bound to suit you.

Define your jaw line. Relax your shoulders to elongate your neck. If you’re being photographed from straight on, without exaggerating too much, stick your head out just slightly towards the camera and drop your chin a bit. This takes practice but does wonders for bone structure.

Know your angles. Have a browse through photographs of yourself and make note of your best angles. While subjective, the important thing is you’ll be more confident when you use them next time you pose, which is really what makes all the difference.

Cheat to the side. 2D on camera is always less flattering than real life in 3D, so if you’re worried about your silhouette, turn to one side a bit by about 30 degrees. It’s slimming.

Be yourself! That’s to say, don’t try to pose like a super model unless you are one. You’re gorgeous just as you are so embrace you’re personality and let your true beauty shine.

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<![CDATA[Spring & Summer Nail Art: Fruity Accent Nails Inspired by Juicy Shakers]]>

I love a little accent nail. It’s a fun and easy way to switch up your manicure without having to start from scratch to match your outfit or makeup. If you opt for a nice neutral manicure for the week, you can choose just one or two nails on each side to coordinate with your changing looks. This is called the accent nail, and it’s the perfect way for anyone who is short on time or a bit reluctant to go full on with more complicated designs to try out some nail art.

Paris Rendezvous

I know many women like to coordinate their makeup with their manicure. Lately I’ve been matching my nails to my lips and created some fruity designs inspired by my favorite colors and flavors of the new Juicy Shaker, Lancôme’s addictive new Pigment Infused Bi-Phased Lip Oil.

Nail art can be a bit tricky, which is why it can come at a high price (an additional $5 to $15 dollars per nail in salon). But getting these cute designs at home in 15 minutes or less is affordable and fool proof, tried and tested by your’s truly!

Here’s a few tips to paint more precisely when you try these designs…

• Remove or let most of the excess polish run off the brush before painting.

• Let each step dry thoroughly before proceeding to the next.

• Protect each one by finishing with a shiny top coat.

Juicy Shaker Accent Nails

Cherry Symphony — Recommended Colors: Very in Love, Rouge in Love, Vert Tuileries.

Start with the main color of your manicure as the background color. Using a cherry red polish, paint two red circles in the center of the nail and let dry. Add a second coat here if necessary to get a bold color. Using a lighter red, add a thin line to the outer edge of each cherry to create definition. Using a shade green, paint a stem from the top of each cherry, and bring them together in the center with two tiny leaves.

Wonder Melon — Recommended Colors: Rouge in Love, Vert Tuileries, Noir Caviar.

Begin with a base coat to protect the nail. Place two coats of an orangey red over the entirety of the nail and let fully dry. Paint over one side of the nail with a shade of green to create the watermelon rhine, applying a second coat here if necessary. With a black polish (or any very dark shade) use the corner of the nail brush to create the tiny watermelon seeds with a very light touch.

Berry in Love —Recommended Colors: Rose Bagatelle or Midnight Rose, Vert Tuileries, Noir Caviar.

Begin with a base coat to protect the nail. Paint two coats of a shade of light purple or deep pink polish onto the nail, leaving some negative space near the base of the nail. Use any dark shade of polish to add small seeds to the design. Paint several sprigs of green at the top to create the berry stem.

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<![CDATA[Canal Saint Martin: A Mini Guide to this Casual Corner of Paris]]>

The temperatures are finally catching up with the sunshine here and our Parisian spring is in full swing. The newly reemerged freckles on my nose are a dead giveaway that I’ve been out and about taking full advantage of these glorious longer days, and I’m not the only one.

Paris Rendezvous

This time of year, you’ll find me and many other Parisians living la vie bohême near the Canal Saint Martin. This lively neighbourhood in the north east of Paris is one of my favorite places in spring and summer, but one often overlooked by tourists. Some call it the Brooklyn of Paris, as it has a casual and laid back vibe that is a side of the city much different from its fancier west.

Life here centers around the canal of course, which dates back to 1800 when Napoleon ordered its construction to create an artificial waterway supplying Paris with fresh water. It is also a passageway for river boats to access the Seine from many other natural canals coming from the east of France. This past winter for the first time in nearly two decades, the canal was drained to undergo renovations and a serious cleanup. Since the water has returned, so have the visitors and this neighbourhood is even more alive than ever before.

When I’m headed here, I keep it casual with a pair of jeans and some simple makeup. My Lancôme Beauty Balm with SPF 15 is a beauty essential this time of year. Paired with my new favourite Cushion Blush Subtil, the two give a radiant and dewy complexion perfect for days outdoors. A little bit of Définicils mascara and L’Absolu Rouge lipstick in a “your lips but better” shade like Rose de Ville is all I need to complete the look.

Now that you know what to wear, here is my mini guide to the Canal Saint Martin so you know where to go should you find yourself in this corner of our city…

Hotel du Nord, 102 Quai de Jemmapes — the perfect spot for a romantic dinner.

Chez Prune, 36 Rue Beaurepaire — a terrace for a glass of wine or the house Bloody Mary.

La Marine, 55 Quai de Valmy — delicious destination, foie gras, oysters and more.

Ten Belles, 10 Rue de la Grange aux Belles — great coffee to go from this hip coffee shop.

Dante & Maria, 3 Rue de la Grange aux Belles — a sweet boutique filled with treasures.

Le Comptoir Général, 80 Quai de Jemmapes — brunch by day and dancing by night.

La Chambre Aux Oiseux, 48 Rue Bichat — a quirky spot for brunch, lunch, or tea.

Liberté, 39 Rue des Vinaigriers — a bakery where one should never resist grabbing a treat.

Du Pain et des Idées, 34 Rue Yves Toudic — another irresistible bakery with many specialties.

Quai de Jemmapes — park yourself along the banks of the canal with a picnic and friends.

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<![CDATA[Eye Did It! 3 Instant Beauty Updates in a Flash]]>

I’m probably busier right now in my life than I’ve ever been. It seems to be a sign that you’ve reached your late twenties. Maybe someday I’ll have kids to add to that equation and know what busy really means. Even now though, between work, friends, the search for love, and all of the other things I want to achieve, time is of the essence and always going too fast.

Paris Rendezvous



But this week, I was reminded by Lancôme’s little #EyeDidIt campaign that being busy doesn’t mean that beauty has to take a back seat. In fact, it might just be our ultimate sidekick and the solution is right before our eyes with a few products that are likely already in our makeup drawers.

Don’t believe me? Watch and learn…

Dilemma ➝ Morning Rush

Idea ➝ Pump up your brow!

Solution ➝ Les Sourcils Definis + Définicils

I confess, I’m not a morning person. So for me makeup in the AM has to be easy or it’s simply not gonna happen. The quickest way to get ready and out the door is to pump up my look with brows and lashes. Les Sourcils Definis has an ultra fine pencil to give your brows a naturally full look, while its handy brush whips them right into perfect formation. Defining brows keeps the face looking neat, rested, and alert. The next step is lashes. I always give mine a nice bend with Lancôme’s Le Curler to really open my eyes, and never hesitate to reach for my Definicils Mascara that’s been a beauty favourite of mine for over ten years. It’s the perfect mascara for dark defined lashes without being too bold for daytime. Voilà two products and five minutes flat and I’m out the door ready to face the day.

Dilemma ➝ Love Emergency

Idea ➝ Turn up your liner!

Solution ➝ Artliner + Grandiôse

For a last minute date, makeup is no excuse to be late! When cupid calls I turn up my look... with a bit of liquid liner. I think a classic cat eye is a fast and fool proof date look that is equal parts sophisticated and sexy. Artliner’s super sharp sponge brush makes it easy to get the perfect wings on the first try every time when there’s no time to lose. And to feel extra flirty in a flash, I’m ready to bat those lashes with Grandiôse mascara. Gorgeous lashes are easier than ever with this swan neck wand that make maneuvering a thing of the past. Corner-to-corner, root-to-tip it gives the ultimate in length, lift and volume.

Dilemma ➝ Party Calling

Idea ➝ Trigger the smokey!

Solution ➝ Auda[city] in Paris + Hypnôse Drama

It’s not too common that I get an invitation for a big night out on the town, so when I do I like to go all out with my makeup. But that doesn’t mean it has to take a long time. The perfect smokey all is almost instant with the Audacity palette and a little bit of blending. For added drama, I reach for Hypnôse Drama mascara for ultra feathery lashes that amplify my eyes all night long.

See how easy it is to switch up your look in a flash with a few beauty basics? #EyeDidIt and you can too!

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<![CDATA[La Coulée Verte: Spring Blooms on Paris’s High Line]]>

Have you ever heard of the High Line in New York City? Perhaps you know this park perched on an elevated strip of abandoned rail line. It’s the perfect place for a stroll when the weather is nice and definitely a local’s favourite in The Big Apple.

Paris Rendezvous

You might be surprised to know that Paris has a high line of it’s own called La Coulée Verte that actually pre-dates the one in New York by several years. Not far from the Gare de Lyon in the 12th arrondissement, this beautiful walk can be easily missed if you don’t know where to look, which is why you usually won’t find any tourists here. It begins up a fairly discrete flight of stairs at the intersection of Rue de Lyon and Avenue Daumesnil.

In French there is an expression that goes “To err is human. To stroll is Parisian” and there is no better place for a Parisian stroll on a Spring afternoon than here. La Coulée Verte is also often referred to as La Promenade Plantée, which translates to the planted walk. Along it at this time of year you will find tons of trees and flowers in bloom, including my favorite cherry blossoms which I came to admire on this afternoon. Perfectly punctuated with benches along the way, it’s also a great place to bring a book and read in the sunshine.

Another thing I love about this high line walk is that it provides a unique perspective of the city’s architecture. One flight above any cars below, there is peace and quiet at an optimum elevation for gazing down residential streets and even peering into the windows of some nice real estate. It’s almost like being a little bird flying throughout these neighbourhoods of Paris. But alas, on foot it’s three miles long and so the perfect place to stretch your legs and call it your exercise for the day.

And what’s the perfect beauty companion for a casual afternoon walk on Paris’s high line? This Spring it’s my my new Juicy Shaker in Walk The Lime, a shade of warm red I’m loving as of late. It would be hard to leave home without it though as I’m totally addicted to these new Lancôme pigmented lip oils. I do recommend you give them a try, as well as La Coulée Verte should you find yourself in Paris!

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<![CDATA[My Fragrance, My Engraving — A Gift Filled With Beauty]]>

If there is one fragrance for me that is most iconic to Lancôme, it's La Vie Est Belle. The name itself sums up the spirit of the brand — life is beautiful, and the scent is just as lovely. I was so excited to hear that Lancôme is now offering custom engraving on their fragrance bottles. Lancôme gifted me my own La Vie Est Belle last week with my initials and I will treasure it forever as a reminder of these wonderful years working with them to tell stories on Paris Rendez-Vous here.

Paris Rendezvous

The C in my monogram is for Chastain, my mother’s maiden name. It’s not common that children wear their mother’s last names as well, but I feel so proud to have my mother’s name too. Technically it is my middle name, but over the years I have adopted it as a part of my last name. From graduations to film credits and more, I have always insisted that Chastain be listed and announced. Especially since settling down in France, as Chastain is the Americanized version of the French name Castaing and my link to the French part of my ancestry.

And speaking of mothers, I couldn’t help but think that a Lancôme custom engraved fragrance would be the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Each year I struggle to come up with a gift special enough for my mom, but this year I had the perfect idea.

Living on the opposite side of the world from my mom isn’t always easy for either of us. Because of the huge distance and other responsibilities, we don’t often get to visit one another. La Vie Est Belle is about the choice to live one’s life to the fullest and fill it with beauty, and my mother has always encouraged me to do just that, even if it means my dreams take me far far away. She is my ultimate cheerleader, and without a doubt the first one to read and like my Paris Rendez-Vous posts each Sunday night. From time to time I send her little teas and chocolates from local places here so she can taste and smell Paris whenever she misses me. She calls these her “little Paris moments” and it’s so precious when I go home to visit her and see the treasures she has collected here and the treats I’ve sent her displayed at home. I know they make her feel a little bit closer to me so I wanted to give her something to add to that this year.

So this Mother’s Day I’m sending her a custom engraved bottle of La Vie Est Belle as well. At nearly twenty-eight years old I still call my mother “Mama” and I don’t think that will ever change. I had Mama, je t’aime engraved on the bottle, and while she doesn’t speak much French I know she understands these words. Now each time she misses me in California she can reach for the same scent that I’ll be wearing at home in Paris. Two sides of the world, one fragrance, and always in each others' hearts. Maybe you’ll remind your mom how much you love her by sharing your fragrance with her too this Mother’s Day

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<![CDATA[Ban the Boring! Juicy Shakers Are Here!]]>

Shake shake shake, dab dab dab! What’s all this buzz about? Perhaps by now you’ve caught wind of Lancôme’s newest lip revolution, and I’m here to tell you the hype is real! I don’t like to play makeup favorites, but the truth is I’m totally addicted to the new Juicy Shaker lip oils.

Paris Rendezvous

Combine the iconic Juicy Tubes of the 90’s with the original Lancôme Cocktail Shaker lipstick from the 1940’s, then add a little modern magic and voilà! you have Lancôme's new Juicy Shakers in 20 delicious shades here to ban the boring, nourish your lips, and keep the color on the go.

The truth is, I’ve been dying to tell you about the new Juicy Shakers for a while now! Two months ago at the beautiful Lancôme press evening in Paris, I had the pleasure of watching Lancôme’s Global Creative Makeup Director, Lisa Eldridge, reveal this exciting spin off. From the moment I tried them, I knew they would be the next biggest and brightest thing, but my tongue was tied until they were released in the States! And now, the gloss is finally out of the tube and into these fun new shakers with a cushion applicator. Let me tell you more…

WHY I LOVE JUICY SHAKERS

They’re as delicious as they look! These lip smackers taste and smell amazing with fruity inspired flavors to make your lips lovely and your mouth water. A few of my favorites are Lemon Explosion, Berry Tale, Apri-Cute, Mangoes Wild, and the limited edition Mint to Be in an intriguing shade of blue that actually goes on clear with a touch of sparkle.

They make your lips extra luscious. Juicy shakers are made of a bi phased formula that pairs nourishing lip oils with beautiful pigments, giving your lips an extra plump glossy effect. I feel like my pout is extra luscious as I layer them on. They are everything I love about a lip stain with the shine of a gloss.

The cushion applicator is heavenly, and fool proof.It’s super pleasant to the touch when applying, and also soaks up a ton of the pigmented oil and gloss to deliver it straight to your lips. You’ll never go outside the lines, and a little dab, dab, dab action lets you layer as you like.

HOW TO WEAR JUICY SHAKERS

Shake them up! Just like when you’re mixing a cocktail, give your Juicy Shakers a good shake before applying to mix up the bright pigments and nourishing oils inside. It’s part of the fun!

Mix and match! Juicy Shakers are all about having fun, and you can double and even triple the fun by mixing and matching different colors to layer and create so many different shades. My outfit yesterday was a raspberry colored dress and a lavender sweater, so I mixed two shades to get the perfect hue to pair with my look du jour.

Pair them with a dewy foundation and a bright blush. A light weight foundation like Miracle Cushion is the perfect amount of coverage to go with Juicy Shakers, and Lancôme’s bright new Cushion Blush will be the extra punch of color you need to compliment any Juicy Shakers shade. The three together are the perfect light weight, casual, and cute spring and summer look.

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<![CDATA[Summer Bliss Collection: Somewhere in Paris, It’s Always Summertime]]>

There’s a place in Paris where it’s always summertime. Lucky for me it’s never too far from home. Just a stone’s throw across the Seine and a quick stroll leads me to the southwest corner of the Jardin des Plantes. Here, inside a beautiful greenhouse dating back to the end of the Belle Époque, is our little local tropical paradise.

Paris Rendezvous

One step inside and I feel completely transported to another place. The light from above shines through the leaves of the thousands of trees, illuminating a fine mist floating through the air. Most people don’t know such a quiet and magical place even exists in the French capital. In normal conditions, this garden would never survive a Paris winter. But this little jungle can be visited all year round, protected by a delicate ecosystem sustaining the exotic equatorial plants in its warm and humid atmosphere, as well as the dedicated team of botanists and expert gardeners you can see tending to them all day long. Instantly, even on those rainy and cold days, visiting this place manages to warm my soul and make me dream of far off places.

I was instantly reminded of it the other day when I received the Lancôme summer color collection, Summer Bliss. It seems to have the same effect on me. It’s actually the first collection to be created by our Lancôme Global Creative Director, Lisa Eldridge! The Color Design 6 Pan Palette was inspired by the Amazon jungle, and has got me planning some summer travels of my own imagining all the places I can wear this new palette. The Belle de Teint compact is perfect for giving a light sun-kissed look on the face and body until I can catch a few rays and get that real summer glow. In summer, the creamy and blendable Ombre Hypnôse Stylo in new shades of purple, olive, and bronze will be the perfect no fuss eyeshadows for a shimmery finish. Pair them with the new waterproof version of Grandîose mascara and the new lighter version of La Vie Est Belle Eu de Toilette, and you’re all set for summer!

The season might have to wait a bit longer, but I couldn’t resist already trying out one of these new looks for my little escape to Les Grandes Serres of the Jardin des Plantes. Wearing this beautiful new collection to this magical warm place, I certainly found my summer bliss…

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<![CDATA[Spring Fling: Getaway to the French Countryside]]>

Ahhhhhhhh…..Spring is here and aren’t we all breathing a small sigh of relief? At the end of winter it’s like a weight has been lifted from our shoulders. It’s the perfect time to pack light (leave the coats behind!) and head south for a little spring fling. That’s exactly what I did this weekend. The chance to get out of Paris with some friends for a few days was just what I needed to welcome the season. Just a short drive into the french countryside, we checked into a gorgeous chateau with a few dozen friends. I found myself outside in just a tee shirt for the first time this year, lying in the sun spreading my wings like the little birds that sang to us all weekend.

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And what else does one do to pass the time in the french countryside? Wine tastings, horseback riding, reading, napping, you name it. Food is certainly a focus at any large gathering in France. Leisurely days are punctuated with hearty home cooked meals gathering everyone around the table together. On Sunday you might pop out to a local flea market in a nearby village, but almost everything you need you’ll find right here at the chateau, friends, food, and fun. But strolling around the grounds to discover the new spring blooms is one of my favorite things. It’s so nice to take the time to marvel at the smallest wonders of nature blooming about to color the campagne. That’s how we do spring break à la française.

And speaking of packing light for a spring adventure of your own, right now Lancôme is offering convenient travel-sizes of some of their most popular products! That way you’re covered at home and on-the-go. Get ready for your next getaway with these travel essentials!

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<![CDATA[The Absolue Difference — A Little Luxury, A Golden Glow]]>

There is something about silk that just connotes absolute luxury. A certain magic to its touch. In fact, silk pillow cases are one of the best gifts I have ever given myself. No more linens tangling my hair and tugging on my delicate skin at night. But in more ways than one, silkiness and beauty just seem to go hand in hand. The softness, the shine, it’s something we all want for our hair and skin. And if silk is the absolute luxury, then Lancôme’s Absolue Precious Cells Silky Cream is the pinnacle of pampering for your skin.

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Absolue was originally developed and introduced in 1965 by the founder of Lancôme himself, Armand Petitjean, as the perfect union of science and luxury for your skin. It has since grown into a range of products all designed to reveal your skin’s golden glow. In each one, Lancôme’s patented age-defying molecule Pro-Xylane™ is married with the revitalising power of one of nature’s most beautiful gifts — the rose. Each precious drop of this essential rose oil contains 150 rose petals, bringing to your skin the moisturising and revitalising properties of the rose in a potent elixir. Its for this very reason, combined with its beauty and scent, that the rose has long been the symbol of Lancôme.

From the first time I used my new silky cream recently, I could tell it was on the next level. It has the ultimate smoothing effect, gliding on effortlessly with a softness between my face and fingertips I had never felt in a cream. It was like wrapping my skin in a silk sheet that protects, nourishes, and reveals my skin’s own silky and luminous qualities. This is what we call the Absolue Difference. This silky rose experience is fast becoming my ultimate little luxury for my face. Here’s why I think every woman should have some of the Absolue golden bottles on her vanity to reach for now and then…

• Anti-Aging — The properties of the Absolue range are all about preventing and repairing age damage. Fine lines and wrinkles seems to melt away with this luxurious cream, and skin is left feeling plumped and smoothed.

• Stress Soothing— When your lifestyle gets your skin down, the Absolue products are the ultimate soothing experience. The range offers a sensory experience: a rose aroma that envelops you with a calming scent and energy, a silky sensation for the touch, and results the eyes can see. Absolue is the ultimate antidote for stress.

• Little Luxury — One of the things I have loved absorbing from the French is the concept of little luxuries. It’s okay to indulge a little, it’s okay to spoil yourself now and then. I think our beauty routine is the perfect opportunity in life to do that. Absolue Precious Cells Silky Cream doesn’t have to take the place of your regular moisturiser or night cream. How about making it something special you reach for each Sunday evening before bed, or when you’ve had an extra stressful day with work or your kids? Treasuring the opportunity to do something extra lovely for yourself does wonders for the soul while Absolue absolutely spoils your skin.

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<![CDATA[Eau Fraîche Douceur: A French Beauty Essential Ideal for Every Woman]]>

As you can imagine a lot of things have changed with my beauty routine over the years. Especially since moving to France. I think for most women, our skincare routine is a constant evolution. We adapt to our age, seasons, and environment. But there is one French beauty essential that I discovered when I moved here that I know will always be a mainstay for my skin — a micellar water.

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The science behind micellar waters makes them much milder than chemical cleansers. Micelles are emulsifying cells, and when they come in contact with oil and dirt molecules, like those on your face per say, they penetrate, disperse, and then lift them from the surface they adhere to. Add these cells to some water and voilà, you get micellar water. Lancôme’s Eau Fraîche Douceur is also enriched with Rose de France for an extra soothing and refreshing effects as well as a beautiful scent. It also happens to be one of the most iconic and popular on the market.

So who is micellar water perfect for? Honestly, every woman (or man!) of any skin type and age. That’s one of the many things that is great about micellar water. Essentially, they’re a very gentle yet effective cleanser that purifies your skin and removes makeup from any part of the face, waterproof and eye makeup included! Afterward, there is absolutely no need to rinse and your skin is left feeling revitalised, soft, and clean. This is such a versatile product because it can act as a makeup remover, cleanser, and even a toner.

Here’s a few more reasons why I love micellar water so much and would recommend it to any woman…

• A deeper clean — I often feel like washing my face just once never gets all my makeup off. Use your Eau Fraîche Douceur on a large cotton pad to remove makeup before cleansing to make sure you really purify your face.

• Perfect for travel — Rather than packing a whole repertoire of cleansers, toners, and eye make remover, just pack your micellar water which does all three in one! C’est pratique!

• Amazing for combination skin — If you’re like me and have combination or sensitive skin, this product is so right for us. Toners can be too strong for some people and really dry out the face. Instead you can use micellar water just as you would a toner after cleansing for most of the same benefits.

• Quick and easy — If I’m in a rush, a bit lazy, or simply haven’t worn makeup on any given day, I often just cleanse with some Eau Fraîche Douceur and don’t even need to turn on the faucet!

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<![CDATA[Rendez-Vous with Peju Famojure: An Editor’s Paris Fashion Week Beauty Essentials]]>

This week Paris is bustling with yet another fashion week jammed pack full of shows, presentations, and press events. In fact in Paris, fashion week isn’t just a week, it’s a full ten days! In my opinion, the fleet of fashion women managing to make it through in style are warriors. To give you some insight into how they do it and what Paris Fashion Week is really like for a woman in the business, I thought I would introduce you to editor, stylist, and street style star Peju Famojure. I gave her a few of my Lancôme beauty favorites to test out and she’s revealed some of her fashion week beauty essentials and survival tips…

Paris Rendezvous

Can you tell us a bit about you and what you do in the fashion industry and how it brought you to Paris?

I am a freelance fashion editor from New York that works between NYC and Paris now. I have worked with titles such as Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Interview and Elle where I research and curate the offerings in each market, and fashion week is when I get to see next season’s collections. From the trend pages to the fashion editorials, I get the chance to work with renowned fashion industry talents and travel the world. I was instantly seduced by Paris. From the beauty of its architecture to the inspiring exhibitions, it left me in awe. Of course, as a fashion capital I had always wanted to experience what it’s like to live and work here and when I got the opportunity a few years ago I knew I had to take it.

What are a few of your fashion week beauty essentials?

I try to spoil my skin at night with a luxurious serum and sometimes even during the day for an extra moisture boost. My signature cat eye is my go-to look and I like to use a very black eye liner. Artliner’s felt eyeliner in black is perfect for me. The Teint Idole Ultra Longwear Foundation Stick is great to brighten up the under eye area, and perfect for fashion week because it is made for those long days to give lasting but comfortable full coverage. I also really like the highlighting and strobing trend lately, especially that it universally looks great on women of all skin tones and so I’ve really enjoyed Le Duo Stick.

Do you have a favorite spot in Paris during fashion week, maybe for people watching or to escape the madness?

During fashion week I actually like to try to get home as much as possible! It's so nice to go to somewhere really cozy after long work days running around. But if I can't get home, you might find me at Cafe Castiglione. It's central to fashion week madness as it’s right on the rue Saint Honoré so not far from the shows in the Tuileries. And of course, it’s quintessentially French and has a great menu.

Can you give us some fashion week survival tips?

Fashion week always means late nights and early morning wakeup calls, so I always try to plan my outfits the night before to make the morning easier because I know the moment I head out of the house it’s going to be non-stop. I have found that drinking a glass with dissolved Berocca tablets before bed every night really helps too. That extra boost of Vitamin C and Zinc helps to fight off any killer colds you can catch. Also, it's often hard to find time between shows to get a bite to eat so keeping snacks on hand is essential.

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<![CDATA[Parisian Pop: Effortless French Chic with a Pop of Color!]]>

I was walking through one of my favorite gardens in Paris the other day when I came across something incredible. In fact, it’s nothing I hadn’t seen before but each year it never ceases to amaze me. Pops of bright pink magnolias budding at the tips of the otherwise barren branches, nearly frozen in the winter air. “Already? Could Spring possibly be here?” We are all anxiously awaiting. But no, not quite yet.

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The magnolias blooming in the trees are always the first sign though — nature’s way of telling us it’s not long now before winter thaws and we are all watching spring flowers bloom across the city leaving little pops of color for us all over! I stopped to marvel at them a while. Each person that passed seemed to pause and take them in as we turned to one another to say “Aren’t they magnificent?” Once magnolia flowers bloom and drop to the ground, their bright green leaves will follow, filling the trees for the first time since shedding them last fall.

This must have been the inspiration behind Lancôme’s new Parisian Pop collection, a gorgeous grouping of new vibrant eyeshadow palettes and bright liquid liners to bring back the color and make your eyes pop! There are even two new shades of Hypnôse Dazzling called Chromatics in an Amethyste and gold called Saint-Honore after one of Paris’s most famous shopping streets, off of which I just happened to find these magnolias blooming in my favorite garden.

The philosophy of the collection is effortless French chic with a pop of color for a makeup look that is never undone but never overdone. After a drab winter it’s what we all need to liven things up a bit. Personally, as much I have enjoyed the simplicity of the “no makeup makeup looks” and monochromatic color schemes that have been trendy on the beauty scene for some time now, they leave me longing for something more. So I say minimal is out...bring back the color because we’re ready to play! And play with this gorgeous eye collection I did!

For me, they are the perfect way to liven up a simple outfit. I can easily see a Parisienne in a crisp white shirt and relaxed jeans giving a pop of color to her simple chic outfit with the Rose Tempete Color Design Eyeshadow Palette and Amethyste mascara. I loved to bring out the color of my blue eyes with the Bleu Riviera palette and the Saphir Artliner, and know the Olive Soleil is just perfect for green and brown-eyed beauties paired with the Menthe or Jade Artliner.

Whether you pick just one bright liner to stand out, or try the whole collection, Parisian Pop is perfect to mix and match, bringing a pop of color to any outfit and your beauty routine!

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<![CDATA[One Enchanted Evening: Lancôme’s Paris Press Event]]>

For the past several weeks there has been one particular rendezvous on my calendar that I was especially looking forward to. It’s not that often that I have such an invitation— the kind worth pulling out that special dress I’ve been saving and spending one hour on my makeup. It was the Lancôme press event in Paris and I knew that in true Lancôme style, it would be one very enchanted evening. And it was, certainly one worth sharing with you here.

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The event was at one of the chicest addresses in Paris, the Hotel Salomon de Rothschild, a beautiful old mansion in the west of Paris. During Fashion Week, some of the most exclusive runway shows happen here, but this night the place belonged to us. As I arrived at twilight and passed through its grandiose gates, the building was glowing with pink light and bundles of bright roses aside the front door. Stepping inside was like arriving into the Lancôme universe, where stories around my favorite products were brought to life in every room.

Among some highlights of the night were actually some that I can’t share yet! But they involve exciting new product launches this spring that I’ll be sharing more of when the time comes. To give you a little teaser though, Lancôme skincare will be getting an exciting energy boost and in the makeup department they’re shaking things up in one of the most fun lip products I’ve ever seen!

What I can tell you though about this enchanted evening is that I had a few starstruck moments. I got to chat jetset beauty and finding your inner zen amongst the madness of life in your twenties and thirties with the beautiful Daria Werbowy, who has been one of the faces of Lancôme for as long as I can remember. Diving into the science of skincare and learning about the source of glowing skin with Lancôme’s head of skincare was truly fascinating. And then there was Lisa! The darling Lisa Eldridge who I have watched for so many years online and learned so much about makeup from was there in the flesh! It was honestly one of the most starstruck moments of my life testing new products with her. Her creativity and enthusiasm lit up the whole room!

This enchanted evening was truly a dream come true for me. As the night drew to a close, I sipped a farewell flute of champagne in the grand salon. Dangling above me were a hundred bottles of perfume suspended from the ceiling. I looked up and read the writing literally on the wall — “La Vie Est Belle”. Yes, it is...

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<![CDATA[From Lancôme With Love: A Playful Spring Makeup Collection]]>

Nothing speaks to my style quite like spring, and I was nearly speechless last week when I received the new Lancôme spring collection, From Lancôme With Love! I didn’t conceal my excitement either. “This has to be one of my favorite collections yet!” I told my friends at Lancôme.

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And honestly for me that is exactly what this collection is all about — bringing back spring cheer with fun colors and playful products. Isn’t it funny how something small like makeup can brighten our day, bring joy, and truly inspire? The collection is just the coup de pouce (little push) I needed to get me through the end of winter and into a brighter season!

It’s truly a pastel fantasy, and honestly inspired a little fantasy of my own — a spring moment on the rooftops of Paris, wearing my new favorite dress that perfectly matches the Bleu Ciel Parisien color that to me is a real star throughout the collection. I knew to share it here, I wanted to photograph it just like the gorgeous campaign, balloons and all, starring Lancôme ambassador, Alma Jordowsky, balloons and all.

The collection must have brought me some luck with it because my fantasies collided one beautiful morning last week when all at once the sun came out the day the Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal invited me to discover their perfect Parisian view! I had passed this chic five-star hotel so many times, and since it was chosen as Europe’s Best Boutique Hotel last year, I wondered what it would be like to stay there. I felt like I had the keys to the city when they lent me their luminous top floor suite with panoramic views from it’s beautiful terrace overlooking the Louvre and Palais Royal. It was just like the adorable illustrations on the packaging of the collection, floating over the rooftops of the French capital with my head in the clouds. And of course, a perfect moment to capture and share my look du jour with the From Lancôme With Love collection.

May favorite things about the collection...

• It can be both fashion forward and subtle. Le Stylo Waterproof in Bleu Ciel Parisien and the Vernis in Love nail polish in a gorgeous yellow called Jaune Grand Blvds are a great way to make a statement with color, while the eyeshadow palettes are sweet and subtle to go with a soft pink lip.

My Parisian Pastels really infuse some fun into makeup. I love to be playful with these shimmer cubes, combining them for highlighters or blush or using individual shades as eyeshadows. If I could have just one thing from the collection this might be it — innovative, versatile, and downright adorable!

My Parisian Cream Blush! I fell in love with the cream blushes from Lancôme’s summer collection last year, and was so excited to see these new ones for spring. They are lightweight but give an amazing pop of color.

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<![CDATA[Le Saint-Valentin: Paris’s Most Romantic Places]]>

It’s no secret that Paris is one of the most romantic places in the world. People come here from all over to get engaged, married, honeymoon, celebrate anniversaries, or even just with the hope to fall in love! I myself have fallen in love in Paris, a few times actually, but the city itself was perhaps the first great love of my life.

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There are so many things that make the French capital romantic. Its beautiful architecture for starters. Then there are the sweeping views with lights sparkling on the horizon, quiet little corners perfect for stealing kisses, and benches in every café for couples to cozy up next to one another. Paris is pure poetry for lovers, and a picture perfect stage for lust or true love to play out.

Since love is in the air, most of all this week during Valentine’s Day, I thought I would share with you my top picks for the most romantic places in Paris...

Pont Alexandre III - This beautiful bridge in the west of Paris crosses over the river from the Grand Palais on the Right Bank to Les Invalides on the Left Bank. In addition to its incredibly beautiful design with gold accents and ornate light fixtures and statues, it offers gorgeous views of Paris in both directions so you can watch the sunrise over the Louvre to the east or the sunset behind the Eiffel Tower to the west. It seems to be the spot for photo ops for lovers, as you may have noticed many engagement and wedding photoshoots taking place here. It’s also where the final scene of “Midnight in Paris” takes place as Owen Wilson’s character comes across his crush, played by Léa Seydoux, on a rainy summer night.

Hotel Amour - The first thing you’ll notice about the hip Hotel Amour in the 9th arrondissement is its flickering red neon sign reading Amour (love) lighting up the tiny street where you’ll find it. Inside this beautiful hotel particulier converted to a small hotel, is the perfect little haven for lovers to retreat to for a quiet romantic lunch or late night drink. The red leather chairs and benches keep with the love theme, and the discrete staff will let you linger as long as you like flirting away the afternoon inside the café or on the beautiful terrace. The hotel upstairs is also a great place for lovers to stay on a romantic weekend getaway to Paris.

Musée de la Vie Romantique - For any true romantic, a visit to the Musée de la Vie Romantique cannot be missed. This charming little museum will transport you back in time to one of the most romantic eras in Parisian history. Its collection of art and original decor in the house have lived side by side with many of the greatest romantics to ever live, including poets, musicians, and painters who the original owner Ary Scheffer entertained here. Perhaps names like Frédéric Chopin, Charles Dickens, and George Sand might ring a bell! The little tea house and its garden are the perfect place for a sweet little date in spring.

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<![CDATA[Haute Couture: A French Tradition of Fine Fashion]]>

On the heels of the latest Paris Fashion Week, I thought it would be the perfect time to talk about a tradition in fashion unique to France — Haute Couture. Paris is the birthplace of Haute Couture, and a treasured tradition still kept alive today in France.

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Fashion in the 21st century is so synonymous with designers themselves it would be hard to imagine it any other way. We know them for the trends they pioneer, their name on the labels of our clothes, and even their personalities that often grow into celebrity. But travel back a few centuries and dressmakers were simply seamstresses. It wasn’t until Marie Antoinette’s dressmaker, Rose Bertin, began to gain acclaim that the concept of a designer’s specific vision latched onto the garments they made. Fast forward to the early 1900’s and Paris was the fashion capital of the world. Wealthy women traveled here from afar to shop for clothing and accessories. Certain dressmakers began to gain prominence, presenting pre-designed collections in portfolios and on live models for customers to commission and have custom fitted to their figure. And voilà, there you have it, the birth of Haute Couture and the modern fashion designer — a most pivotal moment in fashion right here in Paris.

Couture translates literally from French as “dressmaking” and often abroad the word is thrown around arbitrarily to imply an element of prestige. But in France, Haute Couture is not something that is taken lightly. The term is protected by law and regulated by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, who enforces strict guidelines that designers must follow in order to be considered a Haute Couture house. They must...

• Design made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings.
• Have an atelier (workshop) in Paris that employs at least fifteen staff members full-time.
• Have at least twenty full-time technical people, in at least one atelier.
• Present a collection of at least fifty original designs to the public every fashion season that includes day and evening garments.

Today, the concept of Haute Couture is less suited to the contemporary commerce of fashion. Haute Couture collections have evolved into something less about generating money for designers and all about prestige. As I attended a few Haute Couture shows at the most recent couture fashion week, I was reminded that in these gorgeous collections designers can show off their savoir faire and bring their wildest sartorial visions to life, inspiring concepts they will often revisit in their prêt-a-porter (ready to wear) collections. Haute Couture are the dresses of dreams we covet as they walk down the runway and red carpet. They are fashion elevated to an art form that go down in history in fashion museums throughout the world. They are the garments that keep the dream of fashion alive in a way nothing else quite can...and we have Paris to thank for that.

Images Courtesy of Patuna Couture of their FW 2016 Collection.

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<![CDATA[Bright Lights Paris: How to Shop, Dine, & Live Parisian Style]]>

Here on Paris Rendez-vous, I try to give you some insights into the life of French women. Particularly those of Parisiennes. As you can imagine though, there are many kinds of Parisian women. They may share many things in common, but each will define her own version of what it is to be iconically French, and of course evolve and play with various versions of Parisian throughout her life. But in the meantime, the quartier or arrondissment she chooses to make her home is one of the best ways to understand her style and how she may define herself.

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Enter Bright Lights Paris, a new book from my friend and author, Angie Niles. Angie wanted to shed a special light on Paris by taking readers through the many neighborhoods of Paris via the fashion and habitudes of the women that live there. Part lifestyle and part guide book, I knew exactly what Angie was getting at when she wrote me one day many years ago and asked me to photograph it! Last year we finally had the chance to bring her book to life and spent a few magical weeks working our way through Paris to snap the photographs that now fill its pages, and in the course became great friends!

Now that Angie’s book is finally released, seeing my pictures of Paris in print and on bookshelves worldwide is truly a dream come true. When Angie and I went to see copies of it filling the window displays of the W.H. Smith bookstore here on the rue de Rivoli, it was truly a pinch me moment for both of us!

The book is filled with darling illustrations, french fashion tips, amazing addresses, and some of your favorite celebrities' and bloggers' Parisian memories and tips they shared exclusively for the book. In the author’s own words, here is what Bright Lights Paris is all about...

“I had never been able to find a chic guidebook sharing hidden gems of Paris centered around the eclectic neighborhoods and the stylish woman who live in each area. Bright Lights Paris introduces you to each neighborhood girl, shares where she shops for chic accessories, picks up sweet pastries, and goes to relax for a picnic or to read her favorite novel, among so much more. There are also tips on how to follow her French beauty routine, select your signature scent, home décor ideas and more; all to help you infuse the French way of life at home.”

For any Francophile, Bright Lights Paris is a must buy, which is why I wanted to share it here with you. Not to mention that it is a publication especially close to my heart, my life, and my work in Paris. Should you choose to pick up a copy for yourself, I hope you’ll enjoy visiting Paris with us through Angie’s words and my photographs...

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<![CDATA[All About Brows: The ABC’s of Shaping & Sculpting]]>

If eyes are the windows to the soul, then eyebrows are the soul’s frame. For most of my life I struggled to get mine right until finally whipping them into shape recently once and for all. And wow...I can’t tell you what a difference it has made in my overall look. If you’re looking to get your brows in tip top shape, here’s why you should and how to do it...

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THE DIFFERENCE BROWS MAKE
• Well-shaped brows make our eyes look lifted and more open, and our face alert and rested.
• Properly sculpted brows flatter our face by making it look more angular and shapely.
• As we age, our brows thin out and sometimes go grey. Using makeup to create fuller and darker brows makes us look more youthful.

MY EYEBROW ARSENAL
• Brow Brush — Brushing brows before plucking is essential to proper shaping and the best way to rid of excess foundation that can collect in them before penciling.
• Tweezers — Sharp tweezers save time and allow for precision when shaping. Two advantages of plucking are shaping your brows by tweezing below them, and cleaning them up by tweezing above to remove stray hairs. Be careful though to never get too tweezer happy.
• Micro Scissors — Use micro scissors when a few hairs have grown longer than the others, but never trim too much to maintain a natural look.
• Brow Pencil — Your brow pencil is to fill in sparse spots, darken color, accentuate shape, and add brow length. The key to a natural look is small repetitive strokes in the same direction to mimic hair growth.
• Highlighter — A bit of highlighter on the brow bone adds a bit of extra oomph to further accentuate your arch.

ABC’S OF BROW SHAPING
There are three essential points to your brows: the start, arch, and end. Align these points with the help of your brow pencil and the tips below. This should be the guideline for plucking and penciling.
A. To find where your brows should begin, simply follow a straight line directly up from the interior corner of the your eye.
B. Line your pencil up from the corner of your nose and through the iris of the eye to find the ideal arch of your brow. Wherever this line intersects the brow is where your arch should peak.
C. To plot the end point for your brows, line your pencil up from the outermost corner of the nose to the outer corner of the eye. Where this line intersects the eyebrow is where your brows should taper and end.

MY FAVORITE BROW PRODUCTS
Les Sourcils Definis — My go to brow product from Lancôme, this pencil twists instead of requiring sharpening, lasts all day, and is ultra fine allowing you to create a natural look.
Sourcils Tint — This product is a fine tip brow marker that is perfect for creating extra bold brows that make a high fashion statement.
Modèle Sourcils — These tinted brow gels are an amazing all in one weapon to darken, add fullness, and sculpt brows so they’re whipped into shape for a casual day in a few seconds flat.

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<![CDATA[Galette des Rois: A Fun & Delicious French Tradition]]>

If you’re walking around Paris in January you will notice something quite special in the window of nearly every bakery. There are rows of cakes with crowns atop them. This cake is called the Galette des Rois, or Cake of the Kings, and it happens to be one of my favourite French traditions.

Paris Rendezvous

The cakes can be dated back to Roman times as part of the winter solstice festivities, but later on the Catholic Church moved the tradition to January to celebrate the three kings, or wise men, which is how it got its regal name. Today the tradition is still alive and well in France.

While the official day for the Galette des Rois is January 6th, the French eat them all throughout the month of January. Each cake is sold with a crown, and has delicious buttery layers of flakey crust. Inside it’s filled with frangipane that can also be found in chocolate and other varieties. But that’s not all. Hidden inside the cake is a small token or prize which the French call the fève. This is where the fun comes in!

When it is time to eat the cake, the tradition is that the host cuts the cake into however many pieces as there are guests, while the youngest of the group hides underneath the table. One by one, he or she will call out names until each person at the table has their slice. While eating their piece, whoever finds the fève is the winner and crowned the king or queen! You can even throw in a real prize if you want to drum up some competition. Whoever wins is responsible for bringing the cake to the next party.

I love this fun tradition as it's the perfect excuse to keep gathering with friends and family and indulging together even after the official end of the holidays. So last week I went around town to some of my favorite bakeries to photograph their beautiful displays of galettes. Eventually I settled on a chocolate one from Sebastien Gaudard, as this year the famous baker was honoured with the title of the best Galette des Rois of 2016!

While the cake is delicious and not difficult to make, the truth is you can recreate this French tradition even if you can’t find it at your local bakery. All you need is a special little charm or token to hide inside, a paper crown, and the rules above. It’s a fun thing to do with friends that I thought you might all like to try this January. And in case you’re wondering what to serve it with, how about some champagne?

Bon appétit!

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<![CDATA[Visionnaire Nuit: Make the Most of Every Night]]>

As part of the industry for a few years now, I’m what has come to be referred to as a “beauty junkie”. The French emphasis on skincare especially has my nose in every article about anti-aging, and my fingers dipping into more than my fair share of products to see what they’re all about.

Paris Rendezvous

Even though I’m in my mid twenties, I’ve done the research and know it’s never too early to think about your skin’s future. Time will only fool you for so long! In fact, there are a dozens of ways we sabotage our skin in our twenties. The stress of starting a career, being to busy to eat right, not drinking enough water, exposing ourselves to second hand smoke, and of course those nights out. Sometimes I’m tucked in before the stroke of midnight for my eight hours of sleep. Often times, I’m not.

If those late Paris nights that turn into early mornings leave me with a few wrinkles to remember them by, I’m okay with that. They’re some of my best memories with my friends and my city. The beauty in aging is that no matter what, the experience of a wonderful life is something we will end up wearing. To do so gracefully though requires taking care of our skin through it all.

Whether you’ve had eight hours of peaceful slumber, or just a bit of shut eye before getting up again, the new Visionnaire Nuit makes the most out of your beauty sleep. Over the past year, Visionnaire has been part of my morning skincare routine. Before my makeup I apply it and can immediately see and feel how it smooths fine lines and overall texture. Over time, it makes my pores smaller, evens my skin tone, and gives my skin a buoyant and rested quality. With the introduction of Visionnaire Nuit, my skin perfecting routine now works around the clock with the new Lancôme night moisturizer. Its amazing gel-to-oil texture goes on incredibly smooth with an instant calming effect, and wears well through the night while working its magic. For me personally, I love that its unique formula has all the benefits of a night cream without their typical heavy and greasy feel. My skin likes it too, as its non-comedogenic and light formula means that my pores, which at my age are still sometimes prone to breakouts, don’t get clogged and bogged down with too much oil.

Whether I was in bed early or stayed out late, I always wake up to a moisturized, resilient, and radiant complexion. With Visionnaire Nuit I make the most of every night and so does my skin…

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<![CDATA[Champagne Etiquette: Selecting, Serving, & Enjoying One of France's Greatest Exports]]>

Once upon a time I worked in an antique shop in my hometown. On slow days I would browse books from the shelves and one day I came across a little paper back titled French Wines so old its pages were coming loose. I turned straight to the chapter on champagne to learn all about how a monk named Dom Pérignon once tried to solve a corking dilemma and ended up accidentally creating the first sparkling wine. Little did I know reading this book would be the first of several chapters in my life centered around champagne.

Paris Rendezvous

Later on in Paris I ended up working for one of the most famous champagne houses in the world. During that time I had the chance to visit their vineyards, explore their underground cellars, taste some of the finest champagnes ever made, and even sit down for some champagne lessons with their famous cellar master. Needless to say I got a rather fine education in champagne during this time!

If you’re like me then you will be ringing in the New Year with some bubbly. Seeing as it’s one of France’s greatest exports and flowing freely this time of year, I thought it would be the perfect moment share some of my knowledge of champagne etiquette with you here…

SELECTING YOUR CHAMPAGNE

• True champagne only comes from the Champagne region of France and made according to the champenois method. Otherwise it’s just sparkling wine! Check the label carefully.
• To impress a discerning palette go for a Grand Cru, which comes from the finest grapes on designated plots of land in an area known as the Golden Triangle.
• If you prefer less sweet, choose a bottle of Brut, meaning that no sucre was added.

SERVING YOUR CHAMPAGNE

• Chill your bottle between 45-50°F in order to best taste its flavors. This equates to about thirty minutes in an ice bucket or four hours in the fridge.
• When it comes to your glasses, certain shapes like the typical tulip and flute glass are ideal for aromas to develop. However, I prefer the retro-chic champagne coupe. Some rumors say that the shape of this historic glassware was formed around Marie Antoinette’s breast!
• Uncork it by holding it down with your thumb when releasing the wire caging to avoid premature popping. With a napkin, hold the cork and rotate the bottle in your other hand to loosen it gently.
• Wrap the bottle in a napkin or tea towel and place your thumb in the impression at the base of the bottle. If you need, balance the bottle with your hand from underneath while never grabbing its neck.
• You may need to make several pours to avoid overflowing with bubbles, and when finishing twist the bottle to avoid dripping. The tea towel will catch the rest.

ENJOYING YOUR CHAMPAGNE

• Champagne is typically best enjoyed before or after a meal, either served as an aperitif with some small savory snacks, or with dessert. It also makes a great substitute for dessert.
• Champagne can also be served during a meal like other wines. This, however, takes thoughtful pairing so study the notes of your champagnes before to know which plates they are best paired with.
• And don’t forget, champagne is best enjoyed in good company, and always in moderation and responsibly!

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<![CDATA[Le Grand Palais des Glaces: Ice Skating in Paris]]>

Ice skating has always been close to my heart. When my mom was a child, she fell in love with it and trained as a competitive figure skater. In her twenties she gave up competing but continued teaching skating to kids to earn money while going to school. When she had girls of her own, me and my sister, she taught us too!

Paris Rendezvous

Growing up it was always a special treat to go skating with her. Our hometown didn’t have a rink so we would often drive several hours to go. As much as I enjoy gliding around the rink myself, it has always been watching my mom do her little twirls and axels that delights me the most. Going ice skating together has since remained a festive tradition in our family. It’s always on our agenda during the holidays and over the years we’ve skated such iconic places as Rockefeller Center and Central Park. I knew when we got the chance to finally ice skate in Paris together, it would be absolutely unforgettable because Paris has a way of making even the most special moments that much more magical.

And so one starry Paris night we bundled up and got out our skates and headed to the Grand Palais. I never imagined that one day we would be gliding across the ice together beneath the glass ceiling of this iconic Paris building. The Grand Palais was constructed at the turn of the 20th century in the style of the beaux-arts with its glass vaulted ceilings that can be spotted from nearly anywhere along the Paris skyline. The Palais has hosted some of the most historical events in Paris in its lifetime including many of the World Fairs and greatest art expos, auctions and fashion shows! In addition, many years during the holidays it’s now home to the world’s largest ice rank!

Beneath the twinkling lights shining across the rink and the music filling the Grand Palais, we spent the evening twirling, spinning, jumping, and gliding. Best of all though we were laughing and smiling. Just as I expected, it was an unforgettable magic night in Paris that I wouldn’t have rather shared with anyone else! I hope if you make it to Paris this time of year you too will treat yourself to this enchanting experience at Le Grand Palais des Glaces!

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<![CDATA[The Gift of Beauty]]>

What is the art of French gifting? In France, there are a few customs we follow with gifting of course. Some flowers are appropriate for certain occasions and people, yet not others. Bouquets should be given in odd numbers and never even. If you don’t know someone well, play it safe with some fine chocolates or champagne, and so on. But the truth is, the virtues of good gifting are universal.

Paris Rendezvous

That is to say that quality counts above all. It’s better to give nothing at all than a gift of poor quality. But that doesn’t mean one needs to spend more money. Rather, it’s about choosing wisely. Presentation counts too, as beautiful packaging always adds to the joy, as does a handwritten note or card to make it sentimental. Above all, it’s being thoughtful that is paramount in a great gift.

And so to me, the ultimate gift for the women in my life this holiday season is French after all. What one gift could I possibly find that ticks off all these boxes for so many women in my life? Lancôme of course. To give the gift of beauty and femininity is a very French gift indeed. Giving a thoughtful gift spreads happiness, and not only does Lancôme know how to make everyone woman happy this holiday, they also believe happiness is synonymous with beauty.

If there’s not already a Lancôme gift set with perfectly paired items for someone on your list, build your own starting with one of this year’s stunning gold gift boxes. In just a few easy steps you can put together the perfect present. Simply start by picking a style from the list that most matches your recipient. Then choose from beauty, fragrance or skin care products and a price point to suit your budget. After that, you can browse curated items picked specifically for that special someone until you assemble a dreamy gift box. Perhaps a gorgeous shade of lipstick for a friend is perfect for her to flaunt one of her best features. Maybe a luxurious night cream will pamper a sister who has worked hard all year. Or how about a classic fragrance for mom as the perfect thing to remind her of you everyday. Remember, it’s the thought that counts.

I already made my gift boxes for the most important ladies on my list, and then added a few extra personal touches of my own while cozying up in front of the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate. There is nothing quite like a chocolat chaud and preparing presents to put you in the holiday spirit. Now that they’re ready, I can’t wait to head out and deliver these Lancôme gifts on Christmas Day!

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<![CDATA[Montmartre: A Mini Guide to One of Paris's Most Vibrant Neighborhoods]]>

From almost anywhere in Paris you can look up and spot the Sacré Coeur watching over the city. This beautiful basilica whose name means sacred heart has become the emblem of Montmarte, one of the most enchanted neighborhoods of Paris.

Paris Rendezvous

It seems all winding cobblestone streets in Montmartre lead to the Sacré Coeur. Follow them there and along the way you will see why Montmartre is such a special place. The metro exits at Abbesses through the original Guimard structure the artist designed in the Belle Époque. Tucked between beautiful old mansions, you’ll find little ateliers and galleries selling the works of the many artists that have made Montmartre home for its inspiring qualities. They seem to congregate at the famous Place du Tertre, where you’ll find many willing to paint your portrait. With the climb to the top of the hill there are vantage points in every direction offering sweeping views, including sights of the old windmills still standing today in this neighborhood. They were once used to grind flour and press local grapes, but today they are simply treasured historical monuments. Montmartre does however still have a vineyard! Imagine that…a vineyard in Paris!

You may have seen some of this iconic neighborhood on the big screen in famous French films like Amelie, or moments in Montmartre captured by painters like Vincent Van Gogh and his famous painting Le Moulin de la Galette. If you find yourself there, here are some of my favorite spots I recommend you visit…

La Maison Rose, 2 Rue de l’Abreuvoir — This darling little pink house with green shutters on the corner of one of the cutest streets in Montmartre is a darling place to stop in for a bowl of French onion soup!

Tombées du Camion, 17 Rue Joseph de Maistre — This quirky little shop’s name translates to “what fell off the truck” which is fitting considering inside you’ll find a mix of the most random vintage objects. From old eyeglasses, to fun old games, to beads, there are many treasures to be found here!

Refuge des Fondus, 17 Rue des Trois Frères — The Refuge des Fondus is a dining experience unlike any other perfect for large groups. This place is all about fondu, and you won’t go home hungry. Dinner is served with your choice of red or white wine in baby bottles for an extra kitsch touch.

Spree, 16 Rue la Vieuville — Spree is one of my favorite clothing stores in Paris, and just happens to be found in Montmartre. They carry a gorgeous selection of apparel, accessories, and even a few home objects and art from the best French creators.

Belle du Jour, 7 Rue Tardieu — Belle du Jour is a precious little shop specializing in beautiful hand painted perfume bottles and unique scents.

Montmartre Carousel, 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre — At the foot of the Sacré Coeur, this beautiful old carousel is the most whimsical corner of Montmartre.

Clos Montmartre, Rue des Saules — This secret vineyard is still hardly known, and a remnant of an earlier era of Montmartre in which this quartier was actually located outside the city limits and covered in vines.

La Mascotte, 52 Rue des Abbesses — Whenever I’m in the neighborhood with friends, I love to pop into this traditional French brasserie for some oysters and white wine.

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<![CDATA[Parisian Holiday: A Collection As Enchanted As Paris Itself]]>

The onset of winter isn’t always easy on us. I know I’m not the only one who struggles with the abrupt time change and shorter days this time of year. Suddenly things seems to slow with the the arrival of the chill and darkness. At 4:30PM daylight disappears and we find ourselves inside asking “How has the year gone by so fast?”. November in Paris always seems this way. Until…

Paris Rendezvous

One enchanted winter evening, something magical happens. Mid way through the month those short days turn into nights where Paris shines brighter than any other time of year. The city is covered in a golden glow, twinkling with holiday decorations as they go up in each quartier. It seems we can’t wait for the sun to go down and see the city sparkle each night. The Grand Roue goes up at Place de La Concorde marking the official start of the holidays in France. Everyone from the Grand Magasins (department stores) to the charming little shop keepers decorate their window displays with great pride, even more whimsically with each year that passes. Paris is dripping in gold, glowing bright through the night with Christmas lights. As my little tradition, I pick one evening to bundle up and head to the top of the Eiffel Tower and take it all in from the highest point in the city.

From up here one can see that nothing sparkles quite like a Parisian holiday. It is a thing to marvel at, and this year I see more than ever how Lancôme has captured this magic Paris moment in their holiday collection. Hypnose Dazzling in Givre Doré reminds me of the beautiful gold boxes stacking up in my favorite stores when the gifting begins. The Hypnose Stardust Golden Top Coat must be one of my favorites, giving a twinkle to the tips of your eyelashes like the lights draped across the avenues and wrapped around the street lamps. Another one of my favorites is Le Poudre de Lumière that illuminates your complexion with a dewy brilliance just like the glow enveloping the city.

The entire collection is a play between the rich dark shades and dazzling golden lights of a Parisian night this time of year. Can you imagine a more captivating ode to a Parisian Holiday? I can’t, which is why you must experience Parisian Holiday for yourself or give this beautiful gift to someone special this season…

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<![CDATA[The Parisian Kitchen: Rendez-vous With Chef Bénédicte Mesny]]>

It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is here already. This distinctly American holiday is celebrated by most American expats I know in Paris, and Parisian friends are typically keen to join in. Particularly this week as the city of Paris is trying to get back to normal life after recent events. We are all counting our blessings and looking for reasons to be thankful. So in the spirit of gathering friends around food, I met up with Bénédicte Mesny, the founder of The Parisian Kitchen.

Paris Rendezvous

Bénédicte is a natural beauty and a young mother of two, and after spending her twenties in the corporate sphere, she wanted a change and a day-to-day life more flexible for her family. Bénédicte’s first love is cooking, which she has combined with her business smarts to launch her culinary classes out of her family apartment in the chic 17th arrondissement.

The kitchen has always been a central place in Bénédicte’s life. This born and bred Parisian has been cooking since she was a little girl, learning a long list of family recipes as she cooked alongside her mother. Today her business is all about opening her own kitchen to visitors, to pass on those precious French recipes through her cooking classes.

Her Lunchtime Experience brings guests on a visit to the typical Parisian market, Marché de Lévis, which is one of the most famous food markets in the capital. After sourcing fresh ingredients together, Bénédicte gives a two hour interactive cooking course to prepare one of her favorite three course meals before the group digs in to enjoy the fruits of their labor over a friendly lunch. She also offers a pastry class, where guests can choose between an array of sweet family recipes to try their hand at.

For our rendez-vous, I asked if Bénédicte would teach me a festive and easy French holiday recipe. So many of us will be hosting between this week and the end of the year, and this simple but beautiful recipe for Bénédicte’s charlotte aux fruits rouges will be the perfect French touch for your holiday party.

And in the spirit of giving, I shared some things with Bénédicte too. My favorite Lancôme products for the holidays! I asked Bénédicte about her own beauty routine as a mom. For her, skincare is paramount in achieving that gorgeous complexion, which she likes to let show through a sheer foundation and a subtle blush. A natural beauty approach I am sure she will pass on her to own daughter along with her delicious family recipes…

If you’d like to give her Charlotte Aux Fruits Rouges recipe a try you can find it HERE!

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<![CDATA[Breathless: My Favorite Black & White Film Heroine Reinvented in Living Color]]>

Whenever I’m in search of some beauty and fashion inspiration, one of my favorite places to turn to is classic French cinema. Films from the Nouvelle Vague genre of the 50’s and 60’s are always a feast for my eyes. The French economy was booming at the time, politics and style were churning with revolutionary ideas, and French directors sought to capture the mood of society in this edgy new style of impromptu and fast paced film making. Names like Goddard and Truffaut might ring a bell, whose films are jam-packed with design and decor, fashion and beauty, music and more that never ceases to inspire me with their retro details.

Paris Rendezvous

At the top of my list is À Bout du Souffle, or “Breathless”, the story of a petty thief named Michel and his misadventures and love affair with his girlfriend, Patricia, an American student and aspiring journalist. From the Champs Elysées, to Parisian street cafés, to racing around town in a convertible, Michel is on the run, dodging the police until Patricia learns the true extent of his crimes and begins to question her loyalties. Patricia is played by none other than Jean Seberg, who like me was an American in Paris. The actress became a heroine of the French New Wave cinema and François Truffaut even called her "the best actress in Europe” at the time.

Nothing about Seberg’s ensembles and makeup in the film are complicated. They are simple, so french, and timeless. Her pixie cut is perfect for her round youthful face, and we never see her without that little swipe of black liquid liner French girls are so fond of, even while just lounging around her apartment. But seeing as the film is in black and white, some details of her style are always left to my imagination.

So I thought why not reinvent some of her looks from the film for today with a touch of color using my Color Design Matte Lip Crayons. The names of so many of the shades almost seem to be inspired by the film itself! I can see Patricia pacing up and down the the Champs Élysées selling The New York Herald Tribune and wearing a shade of “Lipstick Avenue” when she appears for the first time in the film. Or a bright red in “Oui, Monsieur” as Patricia is duped by the handsome Michel into allowing him to hide out in her apartment. And lastly, a bright pink shade of “Partner in Crime” as she agrees to go on the run with her wanted beau.

The movie is such great fun! If you're curious you can watch it in its entirety these days on YouTube, or just browse its most famous clips there! And with a few Parisian Wardrobe Essentials and a touch of Lancôme’s Lip Crayons you too can embody its famous heroine’s cinematic style…

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<![CDATA[Hydra Zen: 24 Hour Stress Free & Hydrated Skin]]>

For me, the last several weeks have been non-stop travel. Days on airplanes and nights crashing on friend’s and family’s couches have left me and my skin exhausted and stressed. When I’m away for a while, like I have been recently, I miss relaxing at home in Paris and having the time to keep up with my skincare routine. My skin misses it too, and it’s been showing. So what’s a girl to do?

Paris Rendezvous

When I landed in Los Angeles this week I headed straight to a facial. It’s not something I usually treat myself to but once or twice a year it’s great to check in with an esthetician and see what your skin is in need of. “Are you hydrating enough?” Kelly asked. I sure thought I was, I use a moisturizer every morning. But she told me that moisturizing and hydrating aren’t the same.

In fact, you might be surprised to learn that moisturizers merely provide moisture to the surface of the skin. Hydration products however go deeper to infuse water content into your skin at a cellular level, plumping and smoothing. There is a difference, and an ideal skincare regimen (in the coming winter months most of all) involves hydrating after cleansing, and then following up with a moisturizing product that helps lock in all that great hydration by covering the epidermis. I was so surprised!

So post facial I checked into my hotel for an evening of rest and relaxation with me, myself, and Lancôme’s new Hydra Zen. I knew it’s been flying off the shelves at Lancôme, so I had been dying to try it. But until my facial I didn’t know just how badly I needed it!

The Hydra Zen Masque helped me get some serious beauty rest. Apply it before bed time and overnight its intense hydration will work to make your skin more radiant and toned. In the morning, rinse and apply one of the Hydra Zen moisturizing creams to lock in that hydration and further protect and preserve your skin. My favorite is the Hydra Zen Gel-Crème because gel formulas are particularly good at delivering hydration and smoothing skin. For a lighter option, the Hydra Zen Beauty Essence is the perfect balance.

So it turns out a night of good sleep and some serious skin hydration was all I needed during my travels to take me back to the zen of being home in Paris…

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<![CDATA[La Manufacture du Chocolat: Alain Ducasse’s Truly Parisian Chocolat]]>

It’s 9AM on rue de la Roquette and the smell of chocolate is floating out onto the street. It has a similar effect on me as coffee, which is a good thing considering I skipped my morning espresso for this early rendez-vous at La Manufacture de Chocolat. I’m not having chocolate for breakfast though. Instead, I’m learning to make it and from one of the greatest chocolatiers in the world, Nicolas Berger.

Paris Rendezvous

After twelve years working around the globe for the renowned Alain Ducasse, the famous chef asked Berger to lead the way in achieving his dream of a truly Parisian chocolate. But bringing Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse vision to life was no easy feat. It began with the search for the perfect factory in the heart of Paris. Easier said than done considering the sheer weight of the machines most old buildings’ foundations in Paris are not constructed to support. Eventually they renovated an old garage in this revamped industrial zone of the French capital that seems to be abuzz with culinary talents in recent years. This morning is no exception, as when I arrive Berger’s team is folding pistachios and nougat into ganache, tending to truffles gliding down conveyor belts, and delicately packing the chocolates into beautiful boxes. But Berger leads us right to the source: the cocoa beans.

In fact the only part of their chocolate making that doesn’t take place in Paris is the growing of the beans themselves, which are carefully chosen from growers all over the world for their various nuances of flavor. Once arrived, the beans pass through two millstones and other machines, heated by friction and melting the cocoa butter to form a cocoa paste that makes up the chocolate most “chocolatiers” buy and reinvent in their particular flavor and form. But not Berger. His chocolate is made from A to Z right here in the 11th arrondissement by his own hands and savoir-faire.

The tastiest part comes next though, as an array of flavor and ingredients are added to make up this incredibly indulgent line of ganaches, pralinés, and truffles. There are 48 different types in fact, each one as tasty as it is beautiful once perfectly packaged on the shelves of their two Parisian chocolate shops, one right here on the Right Bank in front of the factory, and a second on the Left Bank tucked behind the Café de Flore. Inside them, bars are carefully stacked by flavor, and truffles displayed like delicate little bijoux in glass cases.

I couldn’t help but think Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse is the perfect thing to treat yourself to when in Paris. I myself couldn’t resist leaving with some chocolate this morning. If you’re looking for a little indulgence yourself, how about some gourmand inspired makeup like Le Crayon Khôl in Chocolat Chaud or Color Design Matte Lip Crayon in Berry Haute? Today I’m guilty of treating myself to both…

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<![CDATA[Pretty Kitty: Last Minute Makeup for a Chic Halloween!]]>

When it comes to Halloween costumes, I’m almost always scrambling to throw something together last minute. If like me you’ve been busy with work and the festivities have crept up on you to find you unprepared, here’s a last minute makeup idea to get you all dolled up. Whether you’re off to a party or sticking around to greet trick-or-treaters, with just two of my favorite Lancôme products and a bit of artistry you can be a chic little kitty just in time for Halloween. Here’s how…

Paris Rendezvous

Step 1: Cat Eyes — Now is the time to get dramatic with your Artliner! The secret to serious cat eyes is to also line the lower eyes and the inside corners to point downward. At the other end, where you usually draw on sleek little wings, triple the size for a more exaggerated look. I added a bit of extra definition to mine with a few shades from my Auda[city] palette too, and few swipes of mascara.

Step 2: The Nose — Using Artliner again, draw on a cute little cat nose. Outline it first in the shape of a heart at the tip of your nose, then color it in all the way underneath down the bridge of your nostrils.

Step 3: Kitty Whiskers — Three or four on each side will do. They’re as easy as a flick of the wrist outward from the nose with Artliner again, then add a few dots just below.

Step 4: Lips — The trick to getting the perfect pout for this look is to make your lips appear more narrow. You might want to add a bit of your regular foundation to the outer corner to disguise them. Then, take a shade your favorite shade of red or pink L’Absolu Rouge and with a lip brush, shape a heart following the points of your upper lip.

I threw on my favorite black lace cat ears from the Parisian hat company, Maison Michel, that I bought at their atelier on Rue Cambon. They’re a fun little accessory I keep around all year just for this reason. But even if you don’t have some cute cat ears at hand, no fear! Tousle your hair a bit and throw it up into two messy little top knots a top your head to mimic cat ears. Finish off your costume with your favorite chunky necklace just like a collar, et voilà! You’ll be the chicest little kitty to cross people’s path on Halloween night.

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<![CDATA[Père Lachaise: A Spooky Place in Paris]]>

The truth is there are some things from home in the states that I miss here in France. Celebrating Halloween is one of them. It happens to be one of my favorite holidays, but it goes relatively unacknowledged in Europe. There’s a certain je ne sais quoi floating in the air this time of year. A slight chill, an amber glow, something just a little bit eerie in late October that puts me in the mood for a good spook. But part of making a home abroad is reimagining your old traditions for new places. So every year when the leaves begin to change and Halloween is upon us, I take an afternoon off to go for a spooky walk around the Père Lachaise. This time, to set the mood, my outfit of the day is my favorite black cape, a smokey eye with the new Auda[city] palette, and a sultry shade of L’Absolu Rouge Definition in Le Pourpe.

Paris Rendezvous

The Père Lachaise is Paris’s biggest cemetery. In fact it’s so large it even has it’s own street names, or rather cobble stone alleys lined with trees and marked with names and districts to help people find their way. Down some of which you’ll find the graves of its most famous permanent residents. Among them are writers like Oscar Wilde and Balzac, composers like Chopin and Bizet, and even the resident American and rock star, Jim Morrison. Despite the tourists they draw to come visit, most corners of the cemetery remain quite still and lonely. But That’s what I like about it here.

My annual stroll through this hauntingly beautiful place is a time to find solitude, watch the golden leaves fall, and explore the ornate beauty of the graves from so many eras of France all here in this city of souls laid to rest. Above all, the Père Lachaise is just another place in Paris to appreciate history. But every now and then here, I turn a corner and the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Suddenly I’m reminded that in Père Lachaise, one is never truly alone. And voilà, just my kind of Halloween spook I was looking for…à la française of course. ]]> <![CDATA[Nail Art: An Adorable DIY Manicure that Gives New Life to Old Makeup]]>

Achieving awesome nail art out of the salon isn’t usually as easy as it looks. But recently I’ve been testing out a few looks from my friend Souchka’s new book, Nail Art. Souchka is a local manicurest in Paris, and one of the first beauty experts in the French capital to spread some avant-garde nail fashion. When I’m out and about in the city and spot someone with a unique design, I always ask where she got her nails done. Often they say Souchka, and so it was only a matter of time before someone asked her to do a book! And so she has, complete with twentyfour easy to master tutorials.

Paris Rendezvous

Since Souchka’s book is only available in French at the moment, I decided to translate and share one of my favorite looks from it with you here. It’s the perfect way to make use of an old eyeshadow you’ve had lying around but couldn’t bare to throw out. Souchka calls this her Fard à Paupière look, which is how you say eyeshadow in French. Give it a try!

WHAT YOU NEED

A base coat, one shade of Lancôme’s Vernis in Love, Lancôme’s Gel-Like Top Coat, one eyeshadow, a nail file or orange stick, and a small brush.

STEP 1: Before painting your nails, select an old eye shadow that will contrast your polish well. If it’s compressed, use the edge of a nail file to crush it into a lose powder, and set this aside. I selected a bright blue I never use that I thought would contrast the nail color well.

STEP 2: Apply a base coat to protect your nails and ensure your nail polish will adhere well and help your nail art last longer.

STEP 3: Apply two coats of your preferred color of polish. I used Lancôme’s Madame Tulipe from the Fall Color Collection. Let it dry well before proceeding to step four.

STEP 4: Once your polish is dry, proceed with the following steps one nail at a time. Apply Lancôme’s Gel-Like Top Coat. Quickly before it dries, place a small amount of the crushed eyeshadow onto the tip of your nail file and sprinkle it generously over the nail. Leave the shadow in place as you proceed with the rest of the nails.

STEP 5: After waiting about ten minutes to let your top coat dry and the powder adhere to it, take the small brush and gently dust off the excess shadow. Remove any remaining eyeshadow from your cuticles and skin with a moist towel, and now you’re ready to show off your new manicure!

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<![CDATA[Markets of Paris: Seasonal Shopping à la française]]>

Sundays are a special day in Paris for me. At the start of each week, I wake up early and throw on something casual. On days like these, Lancôme’s Fall Color Collection is my go to makeup routine. The subtle and effortless palette is just right for my Sunday morning outing. So with a swipe of this and a touch of that I’m out the door with my little basket in hand.

Paris Rendezvous

Where to you ask? The Marché d’Aligre of course. Just a hop and a skip past Bastille and around a corner or two…and voilà. One of Paris’s greatest outdoor markets is buzzing with shoppers passing through to fill their own baskets with the season’s offerings. With Mon Regard Parisien, I scan the market for my favorite vendors. This time of year, the stands are filled with figs, mirabelles, and late summer squash. In the center I pass by to marvel at my favorite flower vendor’s heaps of roses, recalling my shade of L’Absolu Rouge in Rose de Ville. I rarely resist spoiling myself here with a bouquet to carry home.

Doing my shopping here is a habit I’ve picked up in Paris, one that brings more charm to everyday life than browsing the isles of the supermarché. Parisians know exactly when their neighborhood market will pop up on a nearby boulevard. After all, local open air markets are a way of life in France. It gives a sense of community to each arrondissement, socializing and sustaining us. No matter what quartier a Parisian calls home, one of these markets is never far. Here are a few of my favorites I frequent in Paris that I hope you get the chance to explore…

Marché d’Aligre — The Marche d’Aligre in the 11th arrondissement is just a quick walk from Bastille. The open air part of the market spans about three blocks and offers everything you could desire, including one of my favorite flower stands. The covered part of the market just next to it houses many gourmet vendors of olive oils, cheeses, and more. On Sundays the market also has antiques!

Marché des Enfants Rouge — If you’re dining versus grocery shopping, you must absolutely visit the Marché des Enfants Rouge. In this covered market in the haute Marais, you’ll find a smorgasbord of vendors serving up fresh food of every origin, from Italian to Moroccan to Japanese. There is also a selection of fresh produce and flowers if you’re looking to bring something home.

Marché aux Fleurs — Specializing in plants and flowers, this gorgeous market in the heart of Paris on Île de la Cité is where I head at the beginning of every season to source plants for my window boxes. It’s particularly eventful on Sundays when the bird vendors show up with prize winning chickens and other beautiful feathered friends on display.

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<![CDATA[Day Trip to Giverny: Discovering Monet’s Garden & Lancôme’s Matte to Measure Collection]]>

For this week’s rendezvous I thought I would take you all along on one of the dreamiest day trips from Paris to the home of Claude Monet. The Parisian born artist once said that his greatest masterpiece was his garden in Giverny. He must have loved it very much considering that today; a single one of his paintings can sell for up to ninety million dollars.

Paris Rendezvous

On this little trip, I discovered a garden as lovingly looked after as ever. It was incredible to see the iconic scenes I know so well from his oil paintings coming to life before my own eyes. Dwelling the rows of flowers in front of the house, you can see the colorful blooms that speckle the landscapes of his paintings. Passing over the bridges of his pond, you’ll find his precious waterlilies floating on the surface. Around the premises, weeping willows blow in the wind making the light and shadows dance around this magic place, furthering the sensation that it is brimming with life.

Surrounded by Monet’s garden, one can’t help but see how the artist was completely overcome by the inspiration that he cultivated and immersed himself in here. As an impressionist, he was a master of light and color, and this garden was his greatest muse. His commitment of capturing its nuances during his many years in Giverny eventually built one of the greatest collections of paintings from any one artist, many of which you can find right here still on the walls of Monet’s home.

I was so happy to finally make it Giverny to see the garden transitioning from summer to fall. And speaking of other great color collections this season, I just received Lancôme’s new Matte to Measure selection. Twenty-seven matte shades in lipsticks, lip stains, and lip pencils means you can find the perfect matte lip look for you. I wore my favorite to Giverny, L'Absolu Rouge Velours in “De Petale”, an ode to Monet’s floral inspirations. I’m sure you too will find the perfect color in the new collection to inspire you…

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<![CDATA[Parisian Inspiration: Lancôme’s Fall Color Collection by Caroline de Maigret]]>

Here in Paris, the weather is already softly falling into autumn. There’s a gentler light in the day, and cooler nights after sundown. So I see no reason to wait any longer to share Lancôme’s Fall Color Collection with you…

Paris Rendezvous

This year Lancôme has collaborated with their Parisian muse, Caroline de Maigret, to create a collection that epitomizes effortless chic. If you don’t know about Caroline, you should. She is the definition of parisienne, so much so she even wrote the book on being one: How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are. Caroline’s beauty and style have earned her the unofficial title of international “it girl”, while her wit and humor have made her a bestselling author and widely adored personality. She is a regular street style fixture at Paris Fashion Week, and a symbol of the quirky and natural beauty French women embrace. So it’s only natural that Lancôme would call upon Caroline to create their fall collection!

The creamy textures and warm colors of Caroline’s collection blend together effortlessly for easy to create, soft looks that flatter any complexion. The colors are inspired by everyday items in the life of this Parisienne, like her morning coffee, her favorite leather bag, or evening glass of wine. A new Color Design eyeshadow palette in Mon Regard Parisian is perfectly complimented by an exciting new color of Grandiôse mascara in a bronzed bordeaux shade. The rest is about simple beauty, with new subtle shades of L’Absolu Rouge and Blush Subtil Duo in soft roses and nudes. Best of all the collection is playful and fool proof, made to mix and match, re-purposing your favorite blush as a shadow, a shadow as a brow filler, and so on. It’s beautiful. It’s soft. It’s versatile. It’s effortless!

And what was Caroline’s motivation behind the collection? To create the incontournables de Parisienne, or the makeup must haves of a Parisian. Tried and tested by yours truly here in Paris, this gorgeous collection will certainly be among my beauty essentials this season…

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<![CDATA[French Foulards: Master the Art of the Scarf]]>

Oh the French and their scarves! Is anything more cliché? But like many of the best clichés about them, this one is true. Paris is the perfect place to study the art of the scarf. Throughout her life, the Parisian woman will collect any number of beautiful silk scarves from the major French fashion houses, and most likely she will pass them on to her daughters. These little silk squares they call their foulards can be reinvented in a seemingly unlimited numbers of ways to add style to any outfit. Here are some of my favorites…

Paris Rendezvous

FIVE WAYS TO WEAR A SCARF LIKE THE FRENCH

1. The headband — Whether it’s a bad hair day or your looking to add an extra oomph to your outfit, this is the perfect way to make your hair instantly sleek and chic. Lay your scarf flat and fold it inward until it’s a long band about two inches wide. Tie it around the crown of your head and under your hair for a sophisticated look, or on top of your head in a bow for a cute and casual style.

2. The belt — Folding your scarf the same way as you would for the headband, simply wrap it around your true waist and tie it in a simple knot. This is the perfect way to accentuate your waist line, give shape to loose fitting clothes, or jazz up an otherwise boring look.

3. The necktie — Tying a beautiful silk scarf around your neck is the French way to dress up a plain tee shirt and jeans, make a deep cut blouse more modest, or simply stay warmer in the autumn. Gather your scarf at each end in each of your hands. Fold it in half and wrap it around your neck, pulling the ends through the loop and synching it to fasten it.

4. The capelette — Fold your square scarf in half to make a triangle. The, drape it over your shoulders and tie it in a double knot in the front. This is a chic way to show of the print of your favorite scarf, cover your shoulders to keep warm, or change up your favorite outfit.

5. The bag bow — If you want to bring a bit of color to your outfit, or coordinate your accessories, tie one of your favorite scarves in a cute bow to an otherwise basic tote. This is also a great way to help keep larger bags closed when you are out and about in the city. So has the scarf met its makeup match? I think so. Lancôme’s new release, Auda[city], let’s you create a vast array of looks from just one palette thanks to the ultimate range of colors inside. With this epic eyeshadow set and a beautiful French foulard, there are no limits to how you can reinvent your everyday look…

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<![CDATA[Rendez-Vous with Carrie Anne James: French Lessons with the Founder of "French is Beautiful"]]>

I fell for the darling Carrie Anne James the way many modern romances begin nowadays…on Instagram. Her daily posts teaching darling French phrases to her aspiring francophile followers are always a favorite in my feed. Like me, she is an American in Paris, and I knew her la vie en rose approach to daily life in France would make us a wonderful friend match. Carrie Anne has in fact made a career out of teaching French with her friendly and approachable flare through her online French school. I had a rendez-vous with Carrie Anne on a summer day in Montmartre to talk about learning the language of love, life in Paris, and French beauty…

Paris Rendezvous

Why do you think French is called the language of love? French not only sounds sensual, but it looks sensual. It’s produced in the front of your mouth and articulation takes place mainly via the lips. Notice how many different sensual contortions French people's lips make while speaking and you'll see what I mean!

What’s different about your approach to teaching French? I teach my students what they need to know to feel fluent the fastest. We tackle whatever intimidates them the most about the language first to ensure their journey feels effortless and joyful. In my first lecture, we practice the difficult French R to make pronunciation effortless like a true Frenchie. We also tackle the present, subjunctive, and most popular forms of the past tense right away in my Level 1 course, while typically these are taught much later.

What are some of your favorite French phrases? Some of my favorite phrases are just little things I use every day among friends, and others that really inspire me as words to live by, remembering to see the beauty in the world and leave room for surprises in life…

J’adore! → I love it!
Merci, ma beauté. → Thank you, my beauty.
La vie est belle… → Life is beautiful…
Et si tu te laissas surprendre? → And if you let yourself be surprised?

What have the French taught you about beauty? In fact, my mother was my first lesson in l'élégance française. She taught me as a little girl to always take care of my skin. I remember her at her vanity before bed applying her Lancôme creams, and how thoughtfully displayed them in front of her mirror. It was her daily ritual. But the French have taught me less is more and no beauty routine can overcome the veil of insecurity. I've stopped blow drying my hair. I've learned the art of the red lipstick, to celebrate one feature at a time, and the pleasure and benefits of self-care. Simply valuing and taking care of yourself, inside and out, including treating yourself to your favorite beauty products.

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<![CDATA[Auda[city] in Paris: A Little Bit of Paris in an Epic Eyeshadow Palette]]>

Audacity (n.) — a willingness to take bold risks

By now you know about la rentrée in Paris, this won’t be the first time I’ve mentioned it. It’s the time of year the Parisians come back from their annual month long holidays, and return to the city feeling refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the year. Much like the New Year, it’s a moment for new resolutions and new outlooks, and for me the perfect time to reboot my wardrobe and beauty arsenal. Right now my coup de coeur cosmetics obsession is the exciting new Auda[city] palette from Lancôme.

Paris Rendezvous

This epic offering of eyeshadows designed by Lisa Eldridge is inspired by the city of Paris and the parisennes that call it home. To be audacious means to be fearless, bold, and willing to be however you want, whenever you want. French women are the masters of this, always brave enough to be themselves with no apologies. Fittingly, this palette is all about liberating your style, and giving us the ultimate beauty resource to experiment with the many facets of our personality through makeup. What better time is there than la rentrée for us to play up our personalities through this amazing new Auda[city] eyeshadow palette?

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT AUDA[CITY]

1. It’s an all in one — Especially when I’m traveling, I often find myself packing a handful of eyeshadow palettes just to use one individual color from each. For the beauty junky, Auda[city] simplifies this giving you a huge selection from light to dark and matte to shimmer, so you always have what you need in a one stop shop.

2. Perfect for layering — Whether you’re feeling sweet and simple, or sultry and sexy, this palette is perfect for layering looks throughout the day. You can start out with something subtle in the morning, and as the day goes on and your agenda evolves, you can keep layering darker shades to create bolder night time looks. It will easily take your makeup from day to night without ever having to start from scratch.

3. Endless possibilities — Lancôme has dreamed up twelve fabulously French looks for any occasion that you can easily create with the Audacity palette. The possibilities are endless though. With 16 shades in the palette, it’s all about being fearless and experimenting to create looks to suit whatever style you’re ready to try.

4. A larger mirror — From a practical stand point, I loved having this palette with me on the go as the mirror is nearly triple the size of the average compact. The bigger size makes it so much easier to do all my makeup whenever and wherever I need.

5. An amazing brush — There’s no minuscule sponge brush that comes with this palette. Auda[city]’s amazing double sided brush is the real deal and amazing to work with!

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<![CDATA[Piscine Molitor: Swimming in Paris’s Historic Pool]]>

I have long been fascinated by the Piscine Molitor in the west of Paris. In 1929 this gorgeous swimming complex opened to the public in an inauguration ceremony with Olympic swimmer Aileen Riggin and Johny Weissmuller. Its Art Deco design proved Parisians do everything in style, even aquatics. Hundreds of private cabins for guests and members lined three balconied levels overlooking its two pools: the winter basin indoors and the summer basin in open air. Piscine Molitor quickly become a hot spot for sport and leisure alike. In summer the crowds flocked here to beat the heat, and in winter the pool was turned into a beloved ice rink for skating. Perhaps the most famous moment here was the day designer Louis Réard revealed the bikini to the world for the first time in 1946, making history right here at Piscine Molitor. From its opening, thirty years of splendor brought life to the Molitor year round.

Paris Rendezvous

But in the late 1980’s the pool began to fall into disrepair. The glory days were fading away, and due to budget constraints, Molitor was closed permanently in 1989. The complex stood completely abandoned for a while, but before long evolved into a squat for subculture. Its walls were covered in graffiti, the empty pools repurposed as makeshift skateparks, and the balconies as bleachers for impromptu grunge concerts. But for the most part, life at Molitor was dormant for twenty odd years as it awaited its renaissance.

At last, in 2014 Piscine Molitor was finally reborn in Paris. After a massive renovation, it has been restored to its original Art Deco glamour. Today the pool functions mostly as a private club, but offers glamorous public swim sessions to small groups topped off with breakfast or lunch from one of its delicious eateries. The surrounding Hotel Molitor also welcomes its guests to the facilities. Since its reopening last year, it has been a dream of mine to spend a day here, swimming in its waters on a hot summer day in Paris! So I finally booked myself a little staycation at the hotel this past weekend and dove right into the famous pools!

It was the ideal opportunity to play out the final days of summer, and use up the last of my Lancôme summer color collection. A few pool proof beauty necessities came in handy too, like my go to Définicils Waterproof Mascara and Le Stylo Waterproof in Marine Chic. It was the perfect Parisian day at the pool and a dream come true I wanted to share with you. I hope if you grace Paris with your presence in summer you too will consider a dip at the Piscine Molitor!

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<![CDATA[Paris Plage: A Beach on the Banks of the Seine]]>

For those Parisians who can’t make it to the beach in August, the beach comes to them! For one month each summer the banks of the river are made into a place for a Seine-side holiday called Paris Plage.

Paris Rendezvous

Plage means beach in French, and no beach is complete without some sand! For Paris Plage the city hauls in ton after ton of sand to create an actual sandy shore stretching from Hotel de Ville to Pont Louis Philippe. It’s the perfect place to lounge and catch some sun, Parisian style of course so no swimsuit required! If you prefer the shade, there are comfy recliners and umbrellas galore ideal for an afternoon read by the river. And if you forgot your book, no problem. This year Paris Plage even installed a miniature library lending books to visitors! If you want to beat the heat, cool off with some scoops of ice cream from one of the many vendors in French floral flavors like orange blossom, lavender, and violet as well as all the usual favorites.

When evening rolls around, the boats docked at the shores of the Seine for summer turn into cafes and bars hosting diners aboard and at tables along the banks. Here with a verre of your favorite French wine you can listen to live jazz and more from local and international bands who come down to Paris Plage to serenade the Seine-goers. From the tables you can people watch the passersby (a favorite Parisian past time), feel the last rays of the sun set before your eyes, and let the sundowner breezes brush through your hair.

For a moment, you might even forget you’re in Paris at all. But then again, why leave this amazing city when in summer we have it all, even the beach! See you at Paris Plage

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<![CDATA[Fête Foraine: A Summer Treat in the Tuileries]]>

One of the best things about Paris in the summertime is that everyone gets to feel like a kid again. It’s not just the students that are off the hook for a while. As work slows down and vacation commences, grown-ups get a break from the usual responsibilities too. And to make up for all of the regular spots that might close for the month of les grandes vacances, city hall sets up seasonal activities to keep us entertained. One of my favorite is the fête foraine in the Tuileries…

Paris Rendezvous

Fête foraine means fun fair in English, and while stateside they aren’t really my thing, this cute carnival à la française is something I look forward to every August. You don’t have to go far to take part. In fact, you’ll find it smack dab in the center of the city in the 1st arrondissement, setup on the edge of the gorgeous Tuileries. Our first stop is always the swings. There is nothing quite like flying over Paris, round and round with a bird’s eye view of the gardens, the Louvre museum, and all the way to the Eiffel Tower on the Left Bank. From high in the sky you feel as though you could reach out and grab it! It’s such an adrenaline rush. But the fun doesn’t stop there, as there are tons of games, rides, and barbe à papa (cotton candy!) to fill up a Parisian afternoon.

Since summer in the city is all about letting loose, I say pull out the pink. The rest of the year Paris is busy being chic and sophisticated. But August is all about kicking back and feeling casual for fun in the sun. So there’s no better time than now to paint on a hot pink Rosa Bonheur shade of Vernis in Love. Finish off your look with Color Design lipstick in Poodle Skirt pink like me and you’re ready for summer in the city!

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<![CDATA[Les Grandes Vacances: August in Paris]]>

August is a peculiar time in Paris. On the first of the month there seems to be a mass exodus from the city. The tables on the cafe terraces that were once full all day long, are now left untouched. The streets usually busy with Vespas and pedestrians are calm and empty. In some arrondissements it seems only the local pigeons are left to look after the place. It’s no mystery though as to where all the Parisians go. Anyone on a highway headed south or towards a beach will find many of them stuck in traffic jams in route to their annual month long holiday, les grandes vacances!

Paris Rendezvous

In the weeks prior to les grandes vacances, things in the city really slow down. Productivity levels drop, people stop answering the phone, and the annual closure notifications go up in the windows of shops. There is one topic of conversation amongst Parisians and that is “Where are you taking your vacation this year?” as they size each other up feeling a bit smug anticipating who will have the better holiday.

In France, six weeks of vacation a year is practically a birth right, and one that I would argue does the population a world of good. In September, Parisians return tanned, refreshed, and eager to get back to school and work. But for those of us who stay behind in Paris during the month of August, we typically don’t complain. In fact, it’s one of our best kept secrets that many of us actually prefer Paris in August. Once we’ve managed to get over our favorite restaurants being closed and most of our friends missing in action, we see it as an opportunity to enjoy the city with fewer crowds. Not to mention, the Mairie, or local government, makes sure we have plenty of seasonal activities springing up to keep us busy!

So that is precisely what I’ve decided to share with you during the month of August on Paris Rendez-vous, all the spectacular things to do in the city in August that can in fact only be enjoyed this time of year. Stay tuned and you’ll find, despite the many closures, there is plenty to do in Paris during les grandes vacances to delight locals and visitors alike…

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<![CDATA[French Faux Pas: Cultural No-Nos in France]]>

The phrase faux pas literally translates to a false step, but the French expression has been widely adopted by the English language to be known as something one shouldn’t do. In France, knowing what faux pas to avoid can make or break being accepted into a family, a group of friends, or a company. Should you find yourself in France or amongst the French, or looking to polish your etiquette à la française, here are my top ten you should try to avoid…

Paris Rendezvous

1. Don’t smile at strangers on the street — Smiling at random people is considered odd and interpreted to be a deliberate invitation to engage in conversation. Thus doing so can often send the wrong message, inviting unwanted interaction and awkward situations.

2. Don’t wear too much makeup — In France, wearing too much makeup can be interpreted as vulgar and in bad taste. Sophisticated French women have told me those who wear too much makeup can be regarded as low class. Here, it’s better to focus on one part of the face you really want to highlight versus all of them at once, and go easy on your foundation with something light like Miracle Cushion.

3. Don’t discuss money — Discussing money is generally seen as very rude in France. But if you must, apologize prior to bringing it up.

4. Don’t talk about politics in public — In France we leave debates to the pros. Instead people keep their political opinions between them and their newspaper. This topic should be avoided most of all at the dinner table.

5. Don’t ask for a doggie bag at a restaurant — In the event you find yourself with leftovers, don’t ask for a doggy bag. While some French waiters may oblige, it's locally considered a tacky and strange thing that the French themselves would never do.

6. Don’t touch the produce at the market — At fruit and vegetable stands in France, it is a no no to poke and prod produce. In fact, it is often customary to not serve yourself at all. Vendors take great pride in their selection and will be happy to serve you.

7. Don’t cut your lettuce with a knife — This is considered bad table manners in France. If your lettuce is too big for one bite, you simply fold it instead.

8. Don’t turn up to a dinner party empty handed — French hosts are very polite, and will often tell you there’s no need to bring anything. But it’s always polite to grab an extra baguette or even some flowers to arrive with.

9. Don’t be overdressed — Arriving to an event overdressed implies that you are trying too hard to be liked. In France, it’s better to be under dressed than overdressed.

10. Don’t hug people you don’t know well — To the French, hugging is considered an extremely intimate act. Instead we employ the double kiss on the cheek.

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<![CDATA[Vive la France! Celebrating Bastille Day in Paris]]>

“Vive la France!” If you were in Paris last week you would be hearing this phrase a lot. It’s the patriotic exclamation of the French cheered in the streets on the 14th of July. What’s commonly referred to as Bastille Day abroad, and locally referred to as simply the 14 juillet, is the national celebration of France. Everywhere you go in Paris the French flag is flying high with national pride throughout the festivities.

Paris Rendezvous Much like the 4th of July in the states, the 14th of July brings us all together at the height of summer to celebrate our red, white and blue and commemorate the founding of the French Republic in the aftermath of the revolution. In fact, both the American and French revolutions happened on the heels of The Enlightenment, with ideas inspiring the masses to take action and balance the power in favor of the people in a time when monarchies were the norm. Today, you can replace the barbecue with picnics, the beer with wine, and the Statue of Liberty with the Eiffel Tower and voilà…you can begin to imagine what the 14th of July is like here in the French capital.

The celebrations in Paris are the biggest in the nation of course. On the morning of the 14th, the Champs Élysées between Place de l’Étoile and the Tuileries is paraded with stunningly coordinated military spectacles. The French Republican Guard lines up on horseback in their traditional uniforms, marching for the people in perfect unison. Overhead, the French Air Force wows the crowd as they appear in the sky above the Arc de Triomphe in perfect aerial formation, leaving behind ribbons of red, white, and blue in the sky. Even the President makes his appearance here.

But oh the night! 14 juillet goes out with a bang in Paris that is bigger and brighter than any spectacle I’ve ever seen…fireworks at the Eiffel Tower! This year I braved the crowds taking their places on the Champ de Mars and Trocadéro to see it first-hand. It exceeded my every expectation. With nearly 50 different designs worked into this year’s celebration, the combination of fireworks, changing lights, and music spiraling out wowed us all. All of Paris was a glow with Eiffel’s light, and reeling with excitement. I couldn’t help but feel proud to call such a beautiful country my home along with Lancôme, and honored to be able to share a taste of the 14 juillet with all of you here. Now say it with me…vive la France!

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<![CDATA[Ma Vie Quotidienne: Life is beautiful in Paris]]>

“What is it like living in Paris?” I’m often asked this by new acquaintances on my travels. Moving abroad can begin as a strange and overwhelming experience. In a new country, it may seem as though everything is different. Inevitably though, we begin to settle in and call it home.

But what makes a place our home? Is it where friends and family are never far? Is it where surroundings feel safe and familiar? Or is it simply where our mail goes and our Wi-Fi connects automatically? Only you can answer that for yourself.

Paris RendezvousFor me, it’s the little things. My daily life, or ma vie quotidienne as we say in French, that make me feel most at home in Paris. Like knowing nearly every street name as I walk across the Right Bank, which shop to browse in Saint Germain for the perfect summer dress, or where to find the best baguette near Canal Saint Martin. These are the things that make me feel like a local, like day in and day out that Paris is my home. In fact, the last couple months I’ve been hard at work on a guide book featuring all of my favorite local spots for such things, and my daily life has played out much like this…

I charge my batteries each morning while sipping on a cup of tea, then pack my bag for a full day out with a few beauty essentials. The city is simultaneously my office and my muse, as I run about town snapping scenic photos between rendezvous with press contacts or small business owners whose shops, restaurants, galleries and more I chose to feature. I may have as many as five to photograph in a day, but in Paris we always make time for a friendly conversation, and for me, to commute everywhere on foot. It’s an essential part of my daily life to see and get inspired, and to burn off those croissant calories. In between, I stop into my favorite cafes and coffee shops to refuel and open my laptop to write a few pages. After a couple of months like this six days a week…voilà! My book is done.

La vie est belle in Paris, most of all when the fruits of our labor pay off. And so now, after nearly two years of sharing some of my best address in the city with you here, you can own some of those and many more in paperback with my local guidebook The HUNT Paris! It features nearly 150 of my favorite places, for eating, drinking, shopping, strolling and more. Happy exploring…

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<![CDATA[La Vie Nocturne: Nightlife in the City of Light]]>

They say New York is the city that never sleeps, but take it from me: no one stays up all night in better style than Paris. Parisians have been partying all night in superior fashion since Maxim’s during the Belle Epoque, and today such a place is still a happening spot. La vie nocturne is another of the city’s greatest draws. There are swanky cabarets in Pigalle, caché cocktail bars in the 2nd arrondissement, and dancing discos off the Champs Élysées just to name a few…

Paris Rendezvous So how do Parisians hit the town? As for all good things in their life, they never rush. The night starts slowly with a rendez-vous at a friend’s apartment for a few glasses of champagne before heading out. But faites attention! Parisians are sure to drink in moderation to keep their chic and avoid committing any faux pas. Prime time for bars doesn’t even begin until the stroke of midnight, and around 2am the crowds migrate to clubs, or boîtes as the French say, for great music and dancing. My favorite night spot to dance until dawn is without a doubt Le Carmen. This fancy townhouse located in Paris’s 9th arrondissement, was once the home of the famous opera composer Georges Bizet. These nights, its ornate rococo interior has been repurposed as a chic club named after his most famous work, “Carmen”. With spectacular ambience, top shelf liquor and cocktails, and an impressive DJ lineup it’s my best tip for Parisian nightlife.

When it comes to the dress code, one can never be overdressed for a night out in the City of Light. Don’t expect to get past any doorman here in sneakers. Women can’t go wrong with a pair of heels or some ultra-stylish flats to pair with their little black dress and a sultry shade of lipstick. For me as of late, the perfect complement to any evening attire is a fine misting of La Nuit Trésor. Lancôme’s elegant new take on Trésor is perfect for night time with its romantic and mysterious merging of rose and orchid into this sweet scent. It will surely be my fragrance of many memorable Parisian nights to come…

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<![CDATA[Paris Terrasse: Outdoor Drinking & Dining in the French Capital]]>

Summer is a generous time in Paris. The sun is never stingy, shining upon us and hanging high in the sky until nearly 11PM each night. These warm afternoons stretch into magical summer evenings that seem to never end, drawing us all outdoors to spend time with friends. Cafe goers spill out onto the terraces in exemplary Parisian fashion, refusing to vacate their table for hours on end. They are the definition of leisure. After many summers in Paris, I’ve done the rounds and picked my favorite Paris terraces to recommend to you!

Paris Rendezvous The Raphael Terrace — Tucked atop the fabulous Hotel Raphael in the ultra upscale west of Paris is their amazing rooftop terrace complete with a restaurant and bar. With some of the most iconic views in the city, the Eiffel Tower just to the south and the Arc de Triumphe just to the north feel within arm’s reach from this bird’s eye view. A perfect place to stop by in the late afternoon for an ultra refreshing virgin cocktail served a delicious selection of macarons.

Le Perchoir — Another spectacular rooftop bar, Le Perchoir is perched high in the sky in the east of Paris. An urban and trendy atmosphere, in spring and summer this bar is a hot spot to drink and mingle while watching the sun set behind Le Sacre Coeur in the distance.

Ralph’s — This Franco-American restaurant create by Ralph Lauren on the fashionable left bank is one of my summer dining experiences. The quiet and cozy patio just off Boulevard Saint Germain has ultra plush seating so you can sit back and relax while you order up a fresh salad at lunch or one of their delicious burgers for dinner.

Saut du Loup — Hidden along a less frequented stretch of the Louvre is one of the best terraces in Paris, the Saut du Loup. On their patio you can sip rosé all day long and well into our warm Paris summer evenings. To your left you can marvel at the Pyramid du Louvre, and to the right a long shot view over the Tuileries to the. Surrounded by the gardens of the Louvre, I find it one of the dreamiest places to relax in summer.

Faust — Cool down in summer along the banks of the Seine at a new Parisian favorite, Faust. Especially on the weekend, their terrace under the Parisian sun is a great spot to gather with friends for drinks and music.

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<![CDATA[Travel Trousse: Beauty Essentials to Pack This Summer]]>

The Parisian’s favorite summer past time has little to do with Paris in fact. When summer roles around they become great adventurers. They’ve saved up their vacation days all year long to get away from the city and get the most out of summer with vacations galore on the horizon. Who’s going where and when becomes a constant topic of conversation amongst colleagues and friends as everyone gears up to get out of town. Perhaps they’re headed to the shores of the Cote d’Azur, a summer house in Provence, or the island of Corsica. No matter where summer takes the parisienne, her beauty essentials come too in her travel trousse. As I prepare to embark on summer trips like the rest of the French, here are some of my Lancôme summer travel essentials and packing tips for you…bon voyage!

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Leave the brushes behind — Brushes not only take up a lot of space in your makeup bag, but they also get dirty when you travel. Leave them behind by packing makeup you can apply without a brush, such as BIENFAIT TEINTÉ BEAUTY BALM for your foundation and BLUSH SUBTIL CRÈME light weight cream blush. Options like these can both be applied and blended with your fingers alone.

Pack a compact — Bringing a compact like DUAL FINISH multi-tasking powder & foundation in one, or MIRACLE CUSHION liquid makeup in a compact, are also brush free options that will make it easy for you to keep your complexion looking great on the go. In addition, the fact that they both can double up as your pocket size mirror is ultra convenient.

Be serious about sunscreen — Sun damage is irreversible, and in summer most of all we need to protect the skin we’re in. During summer travels, we’re out and about more than usual absorbing some lovely but very harmful rays. If you’re not using a B.B. Cream that has SPF, be sure to pack an an oil free sunscreen suitable for the face and neck like Lancôme’s BIENFAIT UV SPF 50+ sunscreen. You can also consolidate your moisturizer and sunscreen to save space with dual action skincare like BIENFAIT MULTI-VITAL SPF 30 CREAM.

Stay Hydrated — Travel can be exhausting, for your skin most of all. Planes, trains, automobiles, and the great outdoors with changing climates will no doubt leave your skin and lips dehydrated. No matter what, don’t slack off on your skincare routine. And for a great solution to prevent chapped lips and keep them luscious, bring along an ultra-moisturizing shade of SHINE LOVER. More than just great color pay off, its Rose de Muscat Oil acts like a balm to hydrate and rejuvenate lips on your journey.

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<![CDATA[Vintage Shopping: Discover Paris' Fripperies]]>

When I first moved to Paris, vintage became a bit of a wardrobe obsession. I was a student on a shoe string budget. With time to kill after school I would wander into the many vintage clothing stores near my home in the Marais. The excitement walking in each time overwhelmed me. I never knew what treasures I would find that day, sorting through dresses from the seemingly endless racks and magically stumbling upon one that fit me like a glove. Such fortune is priceless, yet only set me back a few euros each time

Today I still love shopping Paris’s “fripperies” as we call them, and vintage shopping recommendations might just be the most common inquiry I receive about Paris. Paris is a place where the past is celebrated, so it makes sense that it is a sort of Mecca for this kind of thing. With time and age my vintage tastes have evolved and become more sophisticated as well, leading me to uncover some more refined specialty shops dealing in the finer fashions of decades past.

I’d like to think so much time dedicated to the art of vintage shopping makes me a bit of an expert, so here are my best tips for vintage shopping and favorite addresses if your ever looking to do some yourself in Paris…

Paris Rendezvous

Vintage Shopping Tips

Feel it out – If there’s too much to see, scan the racks with your hands and feel for quality fabrics. This is a good way to find gems amongst the undesirables without having to pull out every piece.

How to skip the dressing room – Don’t want to hassle with the dressing room? Here’s an easy tip. Take the waist of skirts, pants, and dresses and wrap it around your neck. If the two ends meet then there’s 99% chance it will fit your waistline.

Avoid buying fixer uppers – If you really love a piece and it needs some tender loving care, go ahead and buy it. But for every other reason, forego items in need of repair, chances are you’ll never get around to it and it will go to waste.

Check the labels – In Paris’s vintage shops, you’ll find amazing old French brands with beautiful labels and that are no longer in production. These are little treasures so look out for them!

Vintage Clothing Shops in Paris

Didier Ludot, 24 Galerie de Montpensier 75001 – The place to shop high end and designer vintage from historic French fashion houses.

Vintage Désir, 32 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 – A sweet spot for a cute selection of summer dresses, old leather goods, and hats.

The King of Frip, 33 rue du roi de Sicile 75004 – A wide selection for browsing and searching for great bargains!

Come On Eileen, 40 Rue de Rivoli 75004 – A well sorted selection of quality second hand prêt-a-porter from popular French designers.

Pour Vos Beaux Yeux, 10 Passage du Grand Cerf 75002 – A beautiful selection of perfectly preserved vintage eyewear organized by decade.

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<![CDATA[Go For Gold: Absolue Precious Oil]]>

One of the things I love about Paris is how it withholds its beauty from no one. Its best assets aren’t hidden behind closed doors reserved for the elite, they are on display in the streets for everyone to see. Parisians often complain that living in Paris means apartments are small, which is true. And while this may inevitably mean that for most of us our home lives are simple in humble abodes, there is no shortage of ornate glamour and opulence to more than make up for it once you step outside.

Every where you look the city is detailed in gold: the dome of Les Invalides, the details of the Pont Alexandre III, the gates of the Petit Palais, the fences of the Palais Royal, and the statue atop Bastille just to name a few. Paris is woven from east to west with gilded accents for the city’s dwellers to marvel at. Belonging to no one and everyone all at once, it is one of Paris’s luxuries that brightens daily life here. That is one thing Paris has certainly taught me over the years, a little bit of luxury in life now and then can go a long way. It’s also something us women deserve.

For me, that’s just what Absolue Precious Oil is all about. There is always room for a little luxury in our beauty routine as well, and this spring and summer this golden elixir is it. Whether it’s something you choose to apply everyday, or once a week for an extra special treat for your skin, applying Absolue Precious Oil is an intensely luxurious moment. The oil delivers moisture revitalising ingredients to your skin for a satiny finish with the delicate scent of the Absolue signature fragrance: Majestic Rose Heart.

Paris Rendezvous

The result? Your skin’s beautiful golden glow is revealed giving you a dewey and luminous face to show off in the sunshine. With Absolue Precious Oil, you’ll be as radiant as ever just like the little rays of gold shining throughout Paris.

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<![CDATA[A Wedding in Paris: Rendez-Vous with Fête en France]]>

Ever wondered what it would be like to get married in Paris? Many couples make this dream a reality each year with a destination wedding in the city of lights. Whatever festivities they plan, Paris is sure to be a picture perfect backdrop. And when it comes to taking care of all the rest, there are wedding planners extraordinaire like the ladies at Fête en France.

To coincide with the release of Lancôme’s 2015 Bridal Collection, I met the gorgeous duo Anne and Nancy at Le Saint Régis cafe on Île Saint-Louis to talk Parisian weddings. Both American, about a decade ago they each relocated to Paris and teamed up to build their Parisian wedding planning business. They’re now the go-to-gals to plan the perfect Paris wedding and gave me some great insights about nuptials in the French capital…

Why do most of the couples you work with choose to get married in Paris?

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“Often times the brides we work with are American and the groom is French, so Paris is a natural choice for their wedding. Other couples have a special connection with Paris. Either the first trip they took together as a couple was here, sometimes they even met here, or they got engaged here. Lastly, Paris is such a beautiful and romantic place, it's the perfect backdrop for any wedding whether it be a small elopement or large event.”

What are some Parisian wedding traditions?

“Often in France, the groom and his family are very involved in the planning of a wedding, unlike in the states. Since the French typically don’t have bachelor and bachelorettes parties, a lot of the fun family and friend humiliation will happen at the reception, with a funny slideshow or performance, especially from the groomsmen. Of course there is the question of the cake. A traditional French wedding cake is the croquembouche consisting of choux pastry balls piled into a cone and bound with threads of caramel. They’re spectacular!”

What are some of the most beautiful places to get married in Paris?

“There are so many choices, but definitely the private mansions. They have gorgeous ornate interiors and gardens. The famous five star hotels like the Hotel Crillon and The Ritz are popular venues as well. You can also get married in a gorgeous private chateau in the countryside near Paris.”

How do brides want their makeup to look on their wedding day?

“The best bridal makeup is timeless, soft, feminine and warm, just like the colours in the Lancôme bridal collection. It should be about highlighting the brides natural beauty. Of course, it’s important to remember that you need to stand out on camera, so you will probably end up wearing more makeup than usual. When doing your makeup on your wedding day, you can take it in phases. Start with less, and add more until you feel the look is just enough for the lens without being too much to the naked eye.”

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<![CDATA[Paris à l'air libre: Discover Paris by Bike with Vélib!]]>

À l’air libre…in French this means “in the open air”. In spring and summer there is no better way to experience the city than by bike. Paris is an incredibly friendly place to cycle in. Bike paths are clearly laid out, the terrain fairly flat, drivers surprisingly courteous, and then of course there is Vélib! Vélib is the revolutionary public bike system introduced to the city about a decade ago. Paris’s progressive public bikes have since inspired similar systems in New York, Vancouver, and beyond. With stations every several hundred meters you can pick up and drop off a bike at your convenience for a very small fee, and thus Vélib has become one of the best ways for tourists to see the city affordably and efficiently.

I recently talked to the expert, Lindsey Tramuta, journalist and author of Paris à l’air libre, the official Vélib guide to get some insights on biking Paris! Here’s what she had to say…

Why is Vélib a great way to see Paris?

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“Firstly, it makes you feel like a local! Vélib helped establish Parisian bike culture. Now locals of all ages use Vélib to go to work, run errands, meet friends, or simply traverse the city for pleasure. As a traveler, I often look for ways to experience a new place as a local. With Vélib you'll ride alongside locals and more easily allow yourself to get lost in the warren of side streets and impasses. That's where the magic is!

Secondly, it keeps you active. Exploring Paris by foot is incredible and certainly very easy but there's something about feeling the air whip through your hair as you ride along the river banks that just can't be topped. Not only that, if you're like me, you'll be consuming quite a number of indulgences so getting your heart rate up does a tremendous amount of good!

And of course it streamlines your visit if you’re short on time. By bike, you can optimize travel time to see as much as you can. Seeing the city on two wheels is a great way to maximize that time and get to your must-see spots as quickly as possible.”

Do you have a Vélib itinerary to recommend?

“One of my favorite itineraries will take you along the Seine. Start at Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis and continue via the left bank to the Musée d’Orsay. Then, cycle around Les Invalides before heading toward the Eiffel Tower nearby. You can loop around and then head back the way you came.”

Follow Lindsey on her blog for more great Paris tips! No matter where you are, exploring by bike is one of the best ways to enjoy where you live. So this summer, why not do as the Parisians do and cycle your city?

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<![CDATA[Parisian Apartment Decor: Interior Design Tips to Achieve French Flare]]>

Before I moved to Paris I found a little book at the store called The Paris Apartment. It sounded interesting enough, so I found a spot to sit between the book shelves and flipped through every one of its page filled with interiors of dreamy Parisian apartments and French inspired interiors. From that moment on it was my dream to one day have a Paris apartment of my own to decorate with such beautiful details.

Fast forward nearly a decade and that dream has come true. I have a little piece of Paris to call my own and decorate. And yet another dream of mine came true. I had the chance to meet Claudia Strasser, the author of the little book that made me dream big, and the founder of The Paris Apartment.

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Claudia is an expert on Parisian decor, a true insider of Paris’s famous brocantes and flea markets, sourcing spectacular furniture, linens, light fixtures, and more and styling them into the homes of her many clients as an interior designer. I asked Claudia to share her Parisian decor tips on Paris Rendez-Vous for some easy and beautiful ways to add some French flare to your own home. Here’s what she had to say…

Parisian apartments are cozy, well worn, loved, collected, curated, timeless, romantic, elegant, inviting, comfortable, eclectic, and chic. Just a few of these touches are magnificently transformative. Just remember it's a work in progress and enjoy the process. Paris wasn't built in a day after all!

Flea markets — Every weekend go armed with your list of one or two items that will add charm and panache to create the apartment of your dreams in just a couple weeks. Go early so you beat the crowds and get the best pieces before they're gone!

Add architectural elements — Many Paris apartments are blessed with built-in features from the past such as crown and wall mouldings or a fireplace mantle. Don't have the original details? Look for small architectural fragments to hang on or over a door, columns, stained glass, or a pair of corbels. For smaller touches, change door knobs and key holes or dangle a key out with a tassel. An authentic antique chandelier is also an excellent touch.

Find a few great furnishings — Aim for a a few stand out french pieces, like a petite mirrored vanity, a Rococo bed, slipper chairs, a chaise lounge, or a Louis XV reading chair by to place by a window. With larger items, an apartment can be sparse as long as what's inside is exquisite and useful.

Mix and match textiles — The markets have the finest linens imaginable from bedding and blankets to tablecloths, napkins, dishtowels and curtains. Don’t be afraid to mix and match these with bright white linens for an antique French touch.

Add pretty little details — Everyday items can transform a place from ordinary to extraordinary by adding vintage dishes and tea cups, old books, trays, small trinkets like magnifying glasses, and a few beautiful perfume bottles or powder boxes. The secret to making a Paris apartment special is all in the detail.”

If you want more of Claudia’s expert Parisian interior design insights, you can also download her app, Keys to the Fleas, follow her regular posts on her blog, and shop her beautiful online store!

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<![CDATA[Rendez-Vous with Nathalie Colin: Parisian Beauty & Style with Swarovski’s Creative Director]]>

Nathalie Colin is one of those women who is really doing it all. She is shimmering with style, raising a family, and has an impressive career. I started following Nathalie two years ago on her blog WINK, where she shares her sparkling daily routine as Swarovski’s creative director.

For me Nathalie has always embodied Lancôme’s French philosophy, that happiness is synonymous with beauty. When I met Nathalie for a rendez-vous last week at Swarovski’s design Head Quarters in Paris, she was chic, smiling, and enthusiastic just as she has always come across to me. As one of my favorite parisiennes, she was so kind to share some insights into her lifestyle and some coveted French style and beauty secrets!

Paris Rendezvous

What’s a typical day in your life in Paris like, as a mother and creative director?

My daily beauty routine is very focused on cleansing. With my makeup each morning, I always decide based on my mood as well as my agenda of occasions I know are filling my day at work and after. Before heading to the office, I try to prepare ingredients for dinner to make cooking for my family easier when I get home from work. It’s important for me to find time to do that with them. At the office we’re constantly working ahead of trends, identifying colors, themes, and styles emerging in culture and dream up ideas for future collections. For example we started on our spring collection, Crystal Gardens, almost two years ago. The pastels are very much in style right now, with floral inspirations for a timeless and romantic look. We also brought a bit of edge with some plexi glass and futuristic accents, and its been so rewarding to see it finally released this spring!

What are some trends and styles you love for this spring and summer?

When it comes to jewellery I really love the “ring party”, mixed and matched stacks of many different rings. I love to see them paired with bright nail colors especially. I also love maxi earrings, really large ones that make a style statement to contrast a simple outfit and clean makeup look.

How do you design with the modern woman in mind?

Women today are so multifaceted. Like me, they are raising a family, working hard in their career, and also love to play with their style. I always strive to design jewellery that are simple solutions for woman and their busy lives. My designs are fun and versatile that women can easily wear to feel beautiful and empowered by their accessories.

Some beauty essentials always in your handbag or desk drawer?

I always have two lipsticks in my purse. One bright with a touch of orange for day time, and one a bit darker to switch things up later after work. Lipstick, and jewellery really are two of the quickest ways to look put together and infuse a bit of style. When I’m often travelling for work, skincare is so essential and I make sure to always carry a hand cream and lip moisturiser for the plane.

Any French beauty secrets you would be willing to reveal for us?

I believe beauty also works from the inside out. It’s so important to eat right. When I’m stressed and feel I look tired, I have a little remedy that always helps. I brew some ginger in water and add lemon juice, for a great detox drink. Sometimes I add herbs like rosemary, thyme, and lemon grass as well. It works wonders for your well being and skin.

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<![CDATA[Miracle on the Move: Complexion Confidence All Day Long]]>

Some mornings I wake up, look in the mirror, and am ready to face the day. It doesn’t take much. There’s those other days though, the ones where I wake up on the proverbial wrong side of the bed, feeling like it will take a small miracle to put myself together for a full day in the city. Better yet, how about a few tiny miracles throughout the day, compact enough to fit in my purse and take with me on the go? That’s Miracle Cushion, Lancôme’s innovative new liquid foundation with all the convenience of a compact. Follow me for a day and find out…

In the morning I start my day with a bare face, and foundation is the first of my makeup to go on. With my Miracle Cushion, a few firm presses fills up my cushion with enough product to give my face the full coverage I’m looking for when I apply my makeup for the day. No blending necessary. Voilà the first miracle of the day. I’m up, ready, and out!

Paris Rendezvous

I take on a few morning meetings, running between the right bank, left bank, and back again as I tackle my agenda. Then, time for lunch where I usually find myself back at my favorite cafe in the Marais. After running around town, wiping my face with a napkin, and leaning my head in the palm of my hand as I catch up on a bit of work at the table with my laptop, I need a touch up. Just another tiny miracle to get my makeup through the afternoon. A gentle press with Miracle Cushion covers the cushion just enough to give me a sheer refresh on my complexion. Miracle number two of the day.

Onto a few more hours of shuttling around town finishing errands and maybe even having to pose for a few photos or two for the blog. The work day is up and I’ve got a last minute invitation on my phone to dinner and drinks with my favourite people. Time is of the essence and there is none left to pop home and fix myself up. I reach for my Miracle Cushion with just enough foundation already left on it to banish a blemish or two. Miracle number three of the day, my complexion is in tip top condition to carry on into the night.

There it is. One day, three tiny Miracles for a dewey, flawless, and fresh complexion on the go all day long. Three miracles makes a saint, right? Take it from me Miracle Cushion is a godsend for complexion confidence.

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<![CDATA[Le Temps des Cerises: A Moment to Treasure!]]>

I had been watching and waiting anxiously for our cherry blossoms to bloom here in Paris. It’s a special moment every Spring that I remember each year as I stop to photograph and marvel at them everyday for as long as they last.

There are several clusters of them throughout the city, and when they bloom each April they’re like pink clouds floating in a Paris sky. We sit underneath them shaded from the sun and bathed in their delicate pink light, like an official festival of Spring we’re all drawn to.

Their delicate little blooms spring forth so quickly, a sheer force of nature, only to fall and be blown away with the wind a week or so after. We all know the cherry blossoms go as fast as they come. In a matter of a week or so they appear and disappear, pushed off their branches by the budding green leaves of the tree. Each year I think “wouldn’t it be magic if our trees were pink all year round? If they just stayed this way?” But nature has its plans and its lessons I think. Its the ephemeral nature of the blossoms that make us stop and appreciate them because we know the moment is precious. The kind that only comes around so often and thus we savour every minute of it while it lasts. Le temps des cerises, as we call it in French, teaches us to treasure each moment because before we know it, it will be gone.

Paris Rendezvous

I used to believe in the signature fragrance of a woman. That once you find the right one, it’s something you wear everyday. But now I’m not so sure. Some moments are special, days or weeks that just aren't like the rest. And so one quiet morning this week I found myself reaching for a scent I hadn’t smelled in a while. Doused in a bit of Trésor, I was off to visit the Parc de Sceaux and sit beneath this year’s cherry blossoms. A special scent for a special day that will always recall a morning beneath the cherry blossoms. A reminder to me to treasure these magic moments in life before they slip away…

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<![CDATA[French Paradise: A voyage from Paris to the South of France]]>

If Paris is heaven, then the south of France is paradise. The Côte d’Azur has long been the iconic getaway of all Parisians. When the weather warms up they flock to this gorgeous place for sea and sun stretching from Cassis to Nice.

Their getaways begin in Spring around the time of the Cannes film festival, and peak in the summer when it seems nearly all of Paris has flown south for the month of August. That’s how I first discovered this part of the country, one August now many summers ago on the annual Parisian getaway. Immediately I was hooked.

Paris Rendezvous

My love of the south is very unique though. For me places like Nice are where my two worlds collide. A mélange of the sea, sun, and palm trees from my roots in Southern California, and the culture and architecture of the French from my home in Paris. For myself in particular it’s a most welcoming combination. And so I find myself returning often whenever the opportunity presents itself. In fact the office of tourism in Nice invited me to come down for several days and discover the city with them. So last Monday I boarded a train at Gare de Lyon in Paris for the five hour scenic ride to the south. The next two days were nothing short of paradise spent strolling the famous Promenade des Anglais along the coastline and lounging by the sea at the private beaches beneath those striped umbrellas. When the days are hot in the south of France, you dip your toes in the vibrant turquoise waters of the Mediterranean and let the cool breeze of the Mistral winds brush over your skin. And in Nice, it’s hard not to finish every day by watching the fiery pink and rouge sunsets from atop the Chateau de Nice reflecting on the Bay of Angels. If this place isn’t paradise I don’t know what is.

And so naturally, every Parisian returns from their time in the South revitalised, rested, and inspired. I imagine that’s how Lancôme dreamed up the summer color collection, French Paradise. I see the blues of those perfect Mediterranean waters in it’s shadows, the golden rays of the sunshine in its shimmer, and the vibrant reds of those sunsets to tint our lips and cheeks. Luckily the collection arrived just in time for my little voyage, tossing some of my favorites in my suitcase before disappearing to paradise. But don’t worry, next week I’ll see you back in Paris...

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<![CDATA[A Picnic in Paris: Let Spring Shine]]>

I love Paris in the Spring time! ♫ Sing it with me! Yes I’m singing because the sun is shining on Paris and spring is here! I love how much life in the city differs each season. Paris has a different rhythm at each time of year as Parisians pick up their seasonal habits for enjoying the city.

When Spring gets in full swing you can count on me to throw the first Parisian picnic to get outside and soak up that sunshine we all love and miss so much in winter. Paris RendezvousWith acres of gorgeous parks across our city, it’s not easy to choose where to spread out the inaugural picnic. The Buttes- Chaumont in the 19ème? The Jardin du Luxembourg in the Latin Quarter? How about right down the street from my home in the Marais at the Place de Vosges.

Now it wouldn’t be a proper parisian pique-nique without some local essentials. If you want to picnic like a Parisian wherever you are this spring here are all the ingredients you’ll need...

Parisian “Pique-nique” Essentials

• Baguette sandwiches — fresh from your local French bakery or homemade.
• Cornichons — those cute tiny little French pickles perfect for savory snacking.
• Rosé — nicely chilled and the perfect shade of pink.
• Fresh fruit — a nice light lunchtime dessert as the French are all about seasonal produce.

And how about my beauty essential for this perfect day of spring sunshine? Lancôme’s new Shine Lover vibrant shine lipstick! This bright range of lipsticks has Rose de Muscat Oil to hydrate, rejuvenate, and smooth lips in a formula that melts on your lips for an easy, emollient finish. Yet another shining reason to keep me smiling all afternoon!

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<![CDATA[French Cooking Classes with Le Foodist]]>

A word to the wise...do not go to a cooking class hungry! Now that I’ve shared that tidbit of wisdom with you I can let you in on my other latest and greatest Parisian tip... Le Foodist.

After seven years in Paris it’s still possible to have new experiences. Surprisingly I managed to go this long in such a culinary capital without taking one of the many esteemed classes one can find here. But I finally caved and signed up for an afternoon of cooking at Le Foodist which seemed like the perfect fit. Here’s why...

Paris Rendezvous

For one, all classes are in English, which means all the easier to share with you and for you to try if you make it to Paris. Secondly, Le Foodist is as much about the experience of cooking as the result. Lastly, their focus on mouthwatering French classics like macarons, croissants, and tons of savory dishes will have you feeling like a true francophile, as the purpose of Le Foodist is to help you discover culture through food.

An afternoon at Le Foodist can go something like this. After arriving at their gorgeous dining and cooking space not far from Notre Dame, you’ll wash up for the kitchen, throw on an apron and get straight to work. Or, you’ll kick off your class by all heading to the local open air Parisian market, selecting the freshest ingredients for your dishes. Once you’ve mastered their French cooking techniques in the kitchen, your small class will sit down with the two head chefs in the dining area to eat and hear the history and array of stories about the French food you’ve just cooked up. How’s that for a mouthwatering Parisian afternoon?

Since I’ve already given you the run down on France’s most popular culinary export of the moment, the macaron, Le Foodist and I are sharing with you their vanilla macaron recipe for you to try at home in your own kitchen. You can download it HERE. The best pointer I can give you from my class is to be VERY precise with all your measurements.

Bonne chance in the kitchen and bon appétit!

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<![CDATA[80 Years: A Lifetime of Lancôme]]>

This year Lancôme celebrates its 80th anniversary. Can you imagine the lifetime of stories they could tell from eight decades of excellence in their field? Stories of chemists constantly at the forefront of science and innovation in skincare.

Stories of creatives continually on the cusp of trends and style. The story of a man named Armand Petitjean who began with a fragrance and a dream to make happiness synonymous with beauty in the French way, and ended up creating an empire. Those are all great stories, but to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Lancôme I’ve chosen to tell you a different one.

Like many great stories, it begins with lipstick. Three lipsticks in fact that showed up in the mail last week addressed to me. I took out the shades of L’Absolu Rouge created for Lancôme’s 80th anniversary in coral, red, and pink. I tried them on and thought about this very assignment, wondering “What’s in a lipstick?”.

You see, over the years beauty has become my business too. Day in and day out I write, photograph, and film the world in and around these products we use everyday as women and why. Some might say that’s superficial. That makeup and skincare are only about what’s on the surface. That beauty is an industry just skin deep. I disagree.

Paris Rendezvous

Because in a lipstick, a serum, a fragrance, I see the hundreds of millions of women that have worn Lancôme through the last 80 years. Like a young girl who smiled at the odds and left home to start a new life in Paris and chase her dream of becoming a photographer and writer. Or of Oscar wining actresses with blushing cheeks and tears of joy before the world as they accepted the highest honor in their field. Or the stories of the millions of women who have fallen in love in a Lancôme fragrance. Or the millions of lipstick kisses mothers have planted on the cheeks of their family to let them know they’re loved. I see the millions of women who between starting and ending their day with Lancôme, have shaped the past, present, and future to be a better place. They are the architects of their own happiness, the women who choose to put their best face forward each day as they make the world go round.

These are my stories and they are yours. We as women are the incredible life of Lancôme each day for the past 80 years, and that is something worth celebrating. Life is beautiful with Lancôme, let’s continue to make it an incredible one for many years to come...

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<![CDATA[PRINCESS FOR A DAY: A Visit to Versailles]]>

What would it be like to be a princess for a day? A little trip to Versailles just outside of Paris may be the closest a girl can get. Walking through the great hall of mirrors, beneath its dozen crystal chandeliers, I look out the window over the grounds of this great palace. I pause a moment each time and wonder what it would have been like to call Versailles home, to live a life of leisure here as the most famous princess of all, Marie Antoinette...

Marie Antoinette came to Versailles at the age of fifteen. She was married to Louis XVI, becoming the Dauphine of France while just a young girl. She was fair skinned, tall, and slender, with straw blond hair. Her beauty and friendliness made her initially popular with the French. But her charm was not enough to make life at Versailles easy for the princess. Political obligations and the oppressive rules and procedures of the daily court took their toll on their princess’ youthful spirit. So she sought refuge beyond the walls of the main palace. Which leads us to my favorite part of Versailles...La Domaine de Marie Antoinette.

A few kilometres through the forest, we find a more dainty palace bestowed upon the princess soon to become queen — Le Petit Trianon. Here Marie Antoinette’s extravagance would have free reign, filling the rooms with plush Louis XVI furniture upholstered in pastel silks, and hosting parties for ladies in waiting and foreign friends. On the surrounding land she constructed a hamlet as a home for the many animals she adored. Today it seems virtually unchanged, perhaps just the laughter of her children and many visitors missing. As for the rest, the animals still roam the garden, the furniture still sits in its place, and the princess herself still reigns over her domain from the famous portrait of her hanging in the upstairs salon.

Paris Rendezvous

All did not end as well as it began for Marie Antoinette as the French Revolution vacated the throne and threw the country into turmoil. But Marie’s years at Versailles as both princess and queen must have been spectacular in all their decadence.

I returned home from Versailles that evening feeling inspired from my little day trip. I indulged in a relaxing bubble bath followed by some luxurious cosmetics like Tonique Confort to spoil my skin, before lying down for some beauty rest on my silk pillow case. While we may not be princesses, I see no reason why we can’t pamper ourselves like one now and then...

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<![CDATA[Bardot & Birkin: Becoming these iconic French beauties]]>

Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin — surely you’ve heard these household names! While Bardot is a born and bred Parisian and Birkin an anglo transplant from London, the two alike have embodied that certain je ne sais quoi it takes to achieve French icon status. On screen and in real life they personified the French free spirit of the sixties and seventies. They owned their sexuality, honed a carefree bohemian style, and embraced their natural assets as well as their flaws when it came to beauty.

Discovered at the age of just sixteen, the soon to be blonde Bardot made a name for herself as a model in Paris before achieving international super stardom with her breakout role in And God Created Woman. Birkin was a budding star in London, but when she when came to Paris to audition for the 1969 film Slogan, it would be the beginning of the affair that would define her and her new life in France. Individually the two became the most adored and provocative stars of the time in France, and still in the hearts and eyes of the young and old fans alike here today.

In real life and on screen their lives often intertwined. They appeared in the steamy film Don Juan together in 1973, and both were lovers and muses of French singer and ladies man, Serge Gainsbourg. His hugely successful song Je t’aime was originally written for Bardot during their brief affair. But when it was released two years later, the female part was sung by Jane Birkin, who had since started up a relationship with Gainsbourg. Because of this, the two have often been considered rivals, but both stars denied the competition over the years, eventually becoming great friends.

Paris Rendezvous

Black and white photographs of the two together enjoying summers in Saint Tropez remind us why they’re still great icons of French fashion and beauty. Their look is timeless. And since you’re never too old to play dress up, my best friend Audrey invited me over to try our hand at recreating our favourite looks from these two icons of France.

Lancôme’s new Le Duo Stick was perfect for contouring and highlighting areas of the face to mimic the shape of the stars, like their gravity defying cheek bones. On Audrey we recreated Birkin’s doe eyes, and on me, Bardot’s heavy charcoal look she loved in the 70s. It was great fun to see our transformation. If only for an afternoon, we felt like the stars whose beauty and fashion has been inspiring us for years!

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<![CDATA[The Runway the Real Way: My Paris Fashion Week Makeup]]>

Fashion Week has come around again in Paris and as usual, it’s such an exciting and inspiring time. I love to see the looks that come down the runway each season as my favorite French designers showcase their new collections. Each time I find myself lusting after new trends in hopes of wearing them soon.

The reality is though that fashion isn’t always as accessible as we would like. With beautiful design and craftsmanship often comes a pretty price tag that can easily break the bank for the average woman. But the challenge to be clever and find ways to recreate my favorite looks always excites me. One of my favorite ways to do so is with makeup.

Fashion week for me is filled with networking, meetings, odd jobs behind the scenes and more. It’s important for me to dress to impress and look and feel in style. But there’s no need to own my favorite looks from the runway to do so. The color stories, textures, shapes, and patterns from the Parisian runways can be reinterpreted and captured with a bit of makeup artistry. Throughout fashion week I’ve been referring to my favorite snapshots from the Spring runways as I do my makeup, infusing elements from my favorite looks into my ensemble du jour with the flick of a brush and the swipe of some lipstick.

Paris Rendezvous

One of my favorite faces this week was inspired by a peach silk look designed by Cedric Charlier. The colors felt warm and welcoming for spring. The texture and cuts were light and airy, and a bit of bronze metallics in the shoes and jewellery completed it with the perfect accents. It inspired me to create a wearable daytime look that was still fashion forward. Blush Subtil Shimmer in Blushing Trésor gave me intense color for sweet cheeks. L’absolu Rouge in Fleur Impressioniste created luscious lips. Color Design Infinité Eye Shadow in Perpetual Pink with a heavy application from the lash line to the brow, and bit under the eye created soft yet bright eyes. And that touch of bronze? Le Stylo Waterproof long lasting eyeliner in Bronze helped define the eyes to complete the look with smokey corners.

Et voilà! My wardrobe basics were all dressed up for my fashion week rendez-vous of the day with my runway the real way makeup look. I hope you’ll be inspired to recreate some of your favorite runway looks this season with your makeup too!

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<![CDATA[The Scenic Route]]>

So often here during our rendez-vous, I say Paris is the most beautiful city in the world. It is in my eyes at least. But I have to wonder, “Do I show you enough?”

I thought it was about time I take you on a little tour of some of the city’s greatest monuments. What better way to whisk you around Paris than in the back of a vintage French Deux Chevaux with a driver who knows Paris’s scenic route like the back of his hand! Enter Paris Authentic and our driver du jour, Arno, who will pick us up for a sunny morning drive.

First stop, Bastille! Here we join Arno and meet the patriotic red white and blue painted Deux Chevaux. This iconic French car has been around since it was created to replace horse drawn carriages for farmers in the countryside. There is no road this little vehicle can’t handle, and they were built to last which is why you see many still on the road today in Paris. At the foot of the historic Bastille we hop into the back seat. There was once a prison here, but during the French revolution the people stormed it and tore it down, eventually replacing it with the large obelisk at its center today, creating a monument of the revolution.

Paris Rendezvous

Onward we go crossing over from the Right Bank to Left Bank via the charming Île de la Cité in the middle of the Seine river. Heading west we pass Les Invalides, the beautiful gold domed building where thousands of wounded military men were once looked after. Today it is a museum, and home to the tomb of the great French conqueror, Napoleon Bonaparte!

Not far away, we soon reach the Eiffel Tower, perhaps the most iconic structure in the world and the symbol of Paris! Passing by we stop for a while and marvel at it from afar. We drive closer for a better perspective of just how tall is, looking up through transparent ceiling of our Deux Chevaux overwhelmed by its sheer size!

Returning to the Right Bank, we approach the beautiful Arc de Triumphe. The ornate arch was constructed to honor the brave French soldiers that lost their lives in the revolution and Napoleonic wars. It is also one of the craziest roundabouts in the world, a swirling free-for-all of cars! But Arno is calm, cool, and collected, turn about several times for a good look.

Onward and upward we go to the beautiful village on the hill. Montmarte is home to the artists and free spirits of the city who love its sweeping views. We complete our tour at the foot of the Sacré Coeur church, with a minute to spare to powder my nose for a photo op or two before making our way home!

Now can you see why I think Paris is the most beautiful city in the world? Mais oui!

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<![CDATA[Fool Proof Nail Art for Spring]]>

You know those women who always find the time to get a manicure, the ones whose fingernails are polished and shaped to perfection any day of the week? I wish I could tell you I was one of them but I must confess, I’m not and I never have been.

Someone said to me recently they think a woman’s fingernails say a lot about her. If that’s the case then mine probably tell the world that I’m very busy. That is true, but when it comes to my nails I do always make sure they are clean and evenly filed. But polishing them is something I only occasionally find the time for, let alone an appointment for a proper manicure and some fancy nail art. I’ve had no trouble getting away with it here as French women are surprisingly low maintenance when it comes to their nails. But beauty trends go both ways between The States and the French capital here, as frequently now I’m finding my Parisian counterparts doing more with their manicure.

So along came a rainy day in Paris and a little time to stay inside and find a moment for my fingers. I invited my friend Ana over to test some foolproof, do-it-yourself, nail art looks I dreamed up and see if I might be able to find the time for them in my day-to-day life after all. Turns out beautiful nails are not as difficult as I thought! Maybe you too will give these looks a try...

Paris Rendezvous

Tiny Hearts (with heart stickers and two shades of polish)

Apply two coats of the background color of your choice. Let it dry thoroughly and then place the heart stickers in the center of each nail. Paint over with the second color to fill in the heart. This works both ways depending on what stickers you have, either painting around the heart to create the shape or filling in the negative space. Let them dry thoroughly and then gently apply a clear top coat.

Linear Fade (with tape, one base color, and varying tones of the same hue)

Apply your neutral background color and let it dry. Place the pieces of tape at an angle covering the bottom part of the nail to protect the base polish. Then, with varying colors ordered from light to dark, paint over the tips and let dry thoroughly before removing the tape. Finish with a clear top coat.

Half Moon (with circular labels and two shades of polish)

Apply one or two coats of the color you want for the half moon shape. Let dry thoroughly and place the round stickers to cover the lower third of your nail. Then paint over it with one to two coats of the second polish. Let dry thoroughly, remove the stickers gently, and finish with a top coat.

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<![CDATA[CULINARY CLASS: How to Make Classic French Crêpes!]]>

One does not need to attend the prestigious Cordon Bleu academy in Paris to learn how to serve up a delicious dish from France!

In every French chef’s repertoire is a classic crêpe recipe. Sweet or savory from morning to night, there is no wrong way to serve them. That is as long as you follow this one rule: don't break the crêpe! That takes a little bit of practice. But I’ve done my fair share in my little Paris kitchen over the years, so I think I’m qualified to teach you this classic French recipe on Paris Rendez-Vous this week. Shall we begin?

You will need...
• 3 ⅓ cups of flour
• ¼ cup of melted butter
• 6 eggs
• a pinch of salt
• a glass of milk
• a large non-stick pan
• a whisk, ladle and spatula

Paris Rendezvous

MIX — In a large bowl combine the flour and salt, giving them a nice stir. In separate bowl beat the eggs until they are mixed well. Add the melted butter and stir, then pour the liquid into your dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add milk as necessary until your batter is runny but not watered down.

COOK — Preheat the large frying pan on the stove just below medium heat. Butter the pan and then pour one full ladle of batter into it. With the bottom of your ladle, start at the centre and spread the batter out evenly in gentle circular motions. Once the batter solidifies showing tiny bubbles, very delicately loosen the crêpe from the pan and flip it over. Before long, it’s ready!

SERVE — Let your crêpes cool for several minutes before garnishing them to your liking and serving. For breakfast, I like to top mine off with some homemade confiture that’s as easy as slicing your favourite seasonal fruit and simmering it with honey in a pan. For lunch or dinner, heat up your crêpes on the stove with some ham, cheese, and a sliced tomato. And for dessert, sprinkle them with sugar and a squeeze of lemon before topping them off with a bit of ice cream.

Once you have this classic recipe down, there is no limit to the ways you can serve up French crêpes easily at any time of day from your very own kitchen. Bon appétit!

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<![CDATA[FRENCH INNOCENCE: Parisian Spring Captured in the Perfect Collection]]>

For me, the heart of Paris Rendez-Vous is visiting Paris every week with you to discover Lancôme’s many inspirations in the city we call home.

Sometimes it’s the way a Parisian woman might go about her day in the city, and the role beauty plays throughout it from her makeup to her skincare. Other times it’s the colors, the light, the seasons and more making Paris a visual delight that inspires the creativity behind each collection. The moment I saw the French Innocence spring collection, I knew this was one of those…

Each year as winter draws to an end and spring slowly blooms, the city undergoes a magical phenomenon. Suddenly to all of us, Paris feels entirely new again as we return to outdoor spaces that laid dormant all winter long. The leaves and flowers are fresh, the air pure, and the city bathed in a gentle light. It is a time of innocence as Parisians rediscover the city as if seeing it for the very first time…

Paris Rendezvous

Suddenly, beneath the sunshine, the colors brighten. The greens of the iconic lounge chairs in the parks and gardens that inspired the Vernis in Love in Vert Tuileries, are filled with loungers once again. The taupe stone buildings like those lining the Rue de Rivoli, radiate warmth from the sun onto passers by, inspiring the warm beige of Vernis in Love in Gris Rivoli. My new Color Design lipstick in Pink Drink recalls the color of the rosé wine we sip on the terraces of our favorite cafés as they begin to fill up again. For our eyes wide open and bright again as the days grow longer, we find the spirit of spring in Paris is the colors of My French Palette. Each shade fades from pinks to blues for day and night, like the changing colors of spring sunsets along the Seine river.

It is my absolute favorite time of year, and each year as February drags on, the sun eventually comes back out to tease us saying “It’s not long until Spring is here.” There is no better way to capture my excitement than with Lancôme’s French Innocence collection, as I wait patiently just a little longer for it. I truly fell in love with this collection just like I do again with Paris each spring. I think you will love it too…

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<![CDATA[PARIS PASSAGES: Historical Precedents of the Modern Mall]]>

If there is a place that can ignite a person’s passion for history and architecture, it is Paris. History here is not the stuff of boring text books, it’s the city that lives and breaths around us each day telling stories of how they came to be.

Paris Rendezvous

If you’re wandering the streets of central Paris’s 1st and 2nd arrondissements, you are bound to stumble into one of the city’s passages. The old clock below the glass ceiling, still ticking, reminds you that despite appearances, time has not stopped here after all. The old tile floors of the narrow passageway are lined with shops and craftsmen’s ateliers, each one with their original wooden façades and glass street lamps. The passages are like a little maze of history you can walk through and see Paris of the past, yet somehow they go largely undiscovered by tourists. Some better known than others of course, each with their unique name, Passage des Panoramas, Passage Bourg L’abbé, Passage Brady, and so on…!

Paris’s passages, or arcades and galleries as we also call them, are the true precursors of the modern indoor mall. They were constructed in the early 18th century as places of commerce, covered by glass and iron roofs to shield pedestrians from the elements, but leaving each space bathed in a delicate light. A century later most of them had fallen into disrepair, all but forgotten as the commercial spaces competed with new large department stores. Luckily though, their charm endured and history and architecture lovers like myself restored them to their original glory, repopulating them with quirky little shops, booksellers, woodworkers, cafés, wine merchants and more.

I learned about the passages in my French history course at university here in Paris, but it took me some time to actually go and discover them. Now they are some of my favorite places to return to, wander, and discover. I wanted to share this little secret with you so if you make it to Paris you can experience them too, and of course be reminded that wherever we are, there are beautiful little corners of our cities worth revisiting and being inspired by every day…

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<![CDATA[SOLDES: Paris’s Semi Annual Sales Heat Up Winter!]]>

While the holidays may be over, the shopping frenzy in Paris doesn’t calm down with the debut of the year. In fact, quite the opposite.

Hot ticket items are piling up at the registers for the semiannual sales all of the Parisians look forward to. Any given day of the year, Paris is one of the world’s most incredible places to shop. Its beautiful flagships from the world’s top brands, Lancôme included, take our breath away and small boutique creators are ready to be discovered. Just like the shopping, the sales here cannot be rivalled!

Paris Rendezvous

SOLDES means sales in French, and France restricts them for all stores in the country to take place only twice a year. That’s right, twice a year for one month businesses are allowed to mark down prices and advertise sales, but the rest of the year they’re legally forbidden from promoting with discounts. So that means when the sale window comes around each January to February (and each summer in July) they go all out, and so do the shoppers! SOLDES season here is practically a national sport, and definitely one of every Parisienne’s favorite pastimes. Sometimes people get so heated power shopping for amazing prices that things get a bit out of hand. I once saw a woman faint shopping in the frenzy of the SOLDES and escorted out of the store by a paramedic.

Parisians hold out for months trying to resist buying some of the season’s best items, knowing that when the sales roll around now they can score them at amazing discounts. If you’re a shopaholic coming to Paris, my little word of advice is to schedule your trip during the SOLDES for some serious souvenir shopping. My favourite places to check out the sales are at the grands magasins , including Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, and the Bon Marché, as well as rue Saint Honoré and the Palais-Royal.

In the spirit of the Parisian SOLDES, Lancôme is set to let you in on some great deals online too, with their Friends & Family sale. But you’ll have to stay tuned for more details on that... à bientôt!

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<![CDATA[Habitudes: Simple Parisian Pleasures for Your Daily Life]]>

I owe much of my decision to move to Paris to the allure of a simple life. As seductive as all of its glitter and glamour can be, it wasn’t what sold me on living here.

A two week stay in a small studio apartment below the Jardin du Luxembourg on one of my first visits convinced me that one doesn’t need a lot to be happy in Paris. Paris in my opinion is almost as much a mindset as a destination. The Parisian habitudes I’ve adopted allow me to savor little joys throughout each day. Wherever you are, try out a few aspects of the Parisian way of life and see for yourself…

Paris Rendezvous

• Mornings at the boulangerie - Many Parisians first stop before work is the corner bakery for a croissant or pain au chocolat. Can you imagine a better way to start the day than the smell of fresh baked goods?

• Proper greetings - The French ease into the work day starting with properly greeting colleagues. Say hello, ask them how they are and wish them a great day. We don’t just barge in on colleagues and ask for something we need. We show a friendly interest in their well being with a bit of conversation before getting to the point. It may seem tedious, but it goes a long way to create a pleasant community at work.

• Walking whenever possible - Parisians prefer to walk than ride. The city is beautiful, and best appreciated up close and personal on foot, finding joy in the beautiful details and amusing little encounters we stumble upon.

• No working lunches - You will rarely find a Parisian eating over their keyboard. The lunch hour is sacred whenever possible. Do as the Parisians do and step away from the office, savor your food with colleagues and talk about anything other than business. It’s not just more agreeable, but you’ll find yourself happier and more focused the rest of the day.

• The coffee pause - I love that we call coffee breaks a pause in French. Putting life on hold a minute (or an hour or two!) is exactly what they’re for here. It’s an afternoon ritual enjoyed in good company or alone and should never be rushed.

• The apéro - When work is done, we celebrate. A small drink out with friends or colleagues or at home before dinner while cooking is a little indulgence the French never deny themselves the pleasure of.

• Fresh markets and traiteurs - Rather than one stop shopping at the supermarché (supermarket), Parisians take great pleasure in their quartier’s farmer’s market and each individual traiteur. From the butcher to the cheese monger and so on, it’s a delight, not a hassle to get the regular’s welcome at each stop they make in search of the perfect ingredients for dinner.

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<![CDATA[Modern French Cuisine]]>

The mere mention of French food conjures up images of fine dining with white table cloths and indulgent dishes with no shortage of butter. Traditional French cuisine boasts some of my all time favorites on the menu; confit de canard , gigot d’agneau , blanquette de veau, and French onion soup to name a mouthwatering few.

But a more progressive take on French food is being served up in Paris in recent years and winning over the taste buds of the city’s most discerning diners. Young chefs with influences from abroad are reinventing traditional plates in new ways, and repurposing typical French ingredients for new concoctions. Their hip bistros once popping up in the edgier east of Paris, are now culinary landmarks for foodies and make Paris’s 11th arrondissement the epicenter of Modern French Cuisine. Modern French Cuisine is all about veering away from conventional cooking, and so the new rules are more like ideas and tendencies the capital’s innovative chefs are adopting...

Paris Rendezvous

More spice — Typically, the French shy away from spices in their cooking, especially if they’re hot. But adding a bit of an exotic touch with unexpected flavors from abroad in marinades and sauces is one of modern French cuisine’s big draws.

Vegetarian delights — Most traditional French plates are heavy meat dishes, but Paris’s best chefs today shop the freshest produce at the city’s morning markets and build ultra satisfying recipes around seasonal vegetables much to the vegetarian’s delight.

Less butter, more oil — The generous use of butter in French cooking has traditionally made it heavy and rich, but many chefs opt for olive and other oils instead now to create lighter dishes that let the flavor of the other ingredients shine.

Perfect Pairings — Wine is still very much the perfect accompaniment to bring out the flavor of different French dishes and vice versa. Nowadays Paris’s best eateries for modern french cuisine focus on natural and organic wines exclusively for optimal taste and quality.

Casual is Cool — It doesn’t take white table cloths and high price tags to get a great meal in Paris. My spots for modern french cuisine are casual no fuss dining experiences where the emphasis is on the food, not the fancy!

If you make it to Paris and want to try some of my favorite spots for this new era of French cooking, book a table at Septime, Le Servan, Le Dauphin, or Au Passage and you won’t be disappointed!

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<![CDATA[New Skin for the New Year with the New Visionnaire]]>

A new year always gives me the urge to start fresh on so many things. Beauty is no exception and by January winter has has taken its toll on my skin. As a California girl, I wasn’t always so used to the season’s extreme effects on my complexion.

Where I grew up, winter means a sweater and fewer beach days, but in Paris winter is the real deal well into March. Cold air zaps moisture from our skin, leaving it dry and making wrinkles more pronounced, and long gone is the bit of sun kissed glow that helps hide my uneven skin tone in warmer months. But the only thing I want to be flaky and white this time of year is the snow…

Paris Rendezvous

So until the cold goes away and those beautiful spring blooms return to Paris, I need a little something more to pull my peau out of its annual rut. Luckily Lancôme has a new start for me with their new Visionnaire. The second generation of this advanced skin corrector serum has has a Double Jasmonate Complex. In nature plants depend on Jasmonate to protect them from poor environmental conditions, like winter per say! The benefits of it for our skin along with other ingredients in this new Visionnaire is that is helps correct and smooth wrinkles, pores, and skin texture both immediately and over time.

From first application, this serum glides on like silk, making skin instantly smoother and softer. After just several days of use, pores become smaller and skin’s texture becomes more refined. And one month later, skin correction wonders are more visible than ever. So I say bring home those botanicals we’ll be missing outside all winter, and cozy up indoors with Visionnaire for better skin. That’s where you’ll find me!

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<![CDATA[New Year’s in Paris: Bonne Année!]]>

Excusez-moi if I sound a bit sentimental today but I tend to get this each approaching New Year. It reminds us that time flies and is above all precious. Some years are more challenging than others and make us happy to wave goodbye to them and start new.

Others exceed expectations and feel like a wild ride we wish we could take all over again. That was this year for me, and a huge part of that is the many days of 2014 I spent wandering the French capital discovering stories to share with all of you on the Lancôme blog. Writing and photographing it has been the highlight of my week throughout this past year. Paris is just that much better when I can share it will of you.

Paris Rendezvous

The beginning of 2015 marks the start Lancôme’s 80th year in Paris, and one year of Paris RDV! My passion for our is city is as strong as ever, and in the spirit of reflection, I wanted to celebrate this moment with a bit of sparkle and looking back on some of my favorite posts from the last year. It is often said that Paris is a city for lovers. While that may be true I believe above all, its a city for what in France we call bon vivants, the ones that live and love life to the fullest.

For those of us that taste every last bite, we had the best brunches in the city and sampled France’s iconic treats from the macaron to mille-feuilles and more. For those us whose curiosity leads us down every charming street, we got to know Paris’s geography with my favorite destinations in each quartier and the best parks to enjoy the great outdoors.

We decided to put our best selves forward each day with the Parisian wardrobe and beauty essentials, and gave Lancôme’s new Grandiôse mascara and the modern French manicure a try. We opened up and embraced new cultures with a few French lessons and tips for being the perfect French hostess, and made new friends with inspiring Parisiennes.

So this New Year I raise my glass to living it up in Paris with Lancôme and all of you. Thank you for joining me on these adventures, and cheers to more ahead of us in 2015! As we say in France... bonne année!

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<![CDATA[Christmas in Paris]]>

This year the holidays are extra special for me. I’ve decided to forego the annual trip back to the states and stay in town for my very first Parisian Christmas.

Paris Rendezvous

Growing up in California, each year at this time my family would pile in the car and drive from neighborhood to neighborhood to see all the house’s Christmas lights. Flash forward many years and my city has changed, but old traditions can be reinvented for new places. My mom just arrived in Paris to spend the holiday with me, and instead of our annual drive, we took to the city by foot to see all the Christmas lights. All bundled up in a cozy coat of course and Lancôme’s eye brightening Hypnôse Dazzling in gold for some truly festive eye makeup .

In Paris, the local government of each twenty arrondissements is responsible for decorating the quartier for the holidays, so as you stroll between neighborhoods the decorations change. Each street is draped with different twinkle lights, lined with trees covered in different bulbs, and local monuments illuminated in festive colors. It is truly magic which must be why many people choose to visit Paris at this time of year. I’m so happy about spending my first Christmas in the City of Lights that I just had to share the magic of it with all of you.

La Grande Roue — Each December the giant ferris wheel known as La Grande Roue in French returns to Place de La Concorde. A few spins around on it offers breathtaking views over Paris from high in the sky!
Les Grands Magasins — The unveiling of Galeries Lafayette and Printemps’ department store holiday windows is always festive. It’s a must do each season for Parisians to stop by and see the animated Christmas and winter scenes they’ve dreamed up.
Marché de Noël des Champs-Elysées — Europe is famous for its Christmas markets, selling an array of goods and also serving delicious treats. Paris’s best is on the Champs-Elysées, and a great place to stroll and cozy up at night for a hot spiced wine, candied apple, or crepes.

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<![CDATA[The Perfect Rouge]]>

I have a small confession. I’m guilty of doing a little bit of shopping for myself while out and about in Paris the last couple days looking for Christmas gifts. A little refill was in order for my go-to red Lancôme lipstick, so I stopped into the Lancôme Institut de Beauté on the rue Saint Honoré. As a Parisian beauty essential, it gets its fair share of wear...

Paris Rendezvous

A bold red lip is a timeless classic that can be paired with so many different styles. It’s also my little beauty trick for looking done up and put together on the fly when I’ve had little to no time for hair and makeup. Just slick your hair back in a tousled ponytail and swipe on a bit of rouge, et voilà , no one will even suspect you popped out of bed ten minutes ago! Red lips can look great on anyone, as long as you know how to pick out the right rouge for your skin tone. Of course we can play with all ends of the spectrum with lipstick to achieve different effects, but for a classic red rouge à levres look here are the general rules of thumb...

• For fair skin tones like myself, go for cooler reds. Also sometimes referred to as blue reds, they won’t clash with our pink undertones so as not to look shocking or bring out imperfections. In terms of brightness, the more fair your skin is the less bright you need your red lipstick to be, as it’s already going to stand out. I found L’Absolu Rouge in Rose Lancôme is a great match.
• For medium skin tones with more olive complexions, a true red in the middle of the spectrum is perfect for you: not too cool and not too warm. It’s okay so go slightly brighter than fair tones would, as you’ll need a bit of oomph to make your red stand out. L’Absolu Rouge in Saffron Silk will look gorgeous on you. in Rose Lancôme is a great match.
• For darker skin tones , you should lean towards reds that are warmer, with hues of orange in them. Brighter shades will contrast with your skin more, and make your red really pop out from dark skin. L’Absolu Rouge in Absolu Rouge is a classic warm and bold red that is perfect for you.

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<![CDATA[French Lesson: Season’s Greetings & Conversation Starters]]>

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year of Paris Rendez-Vous with Lancôme! In that time we’ve gotten to explore so many amazing highlights of the French Capital in food, fashion, beauty, and more. I hope by now you feel a little closer to the City of Lights that is home to Lancôme, and like a budding Francophile...

Laugh

Of course one of the best ways to connect with a place is the language, and French is one of the most beautiful of all. I shared a few of my tips and useful phrases in the past in a little French 101 post that will come in handy should you find yourself here. But by now we’re ready to move to the next level, so if you end up amongst the French in a soirée or other social setting this holiday season, here are my suggestions for engaging in a little Parisian conversation. Of course, it takes time and good practice to be well-equipped to converse in any language, but we all have to begin somewhere. Study these expressions and try them out the next time you have the chance to strike up a conversation en français...

Conversation starters (formal / informal)...

Comment vous appelez-vous? / Comment tu t’appelles? → What’s your name?

Comment allez-vous? / Comment ça va? → How are you doing?

Vous connaissez qui à la soirée / Tu connais qui à la soirée? → Who do you know at the party?

When making a toast...

Sante! → Cheers! (casual)

À la vôtre! → Cheers! (formal)

Chin chin! → Cheers! (friendly)

To show gratitude...

Merci du fond du coeur. → Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Merci à tous d’être venu. → Thank you everyone for coming over.

C’ést un plaisir de vous avoir parmi nous. → It’s a pleasure having you here.

Season's greetings...

Joyeuses fêtes! → Happy Holidays!

Joyeux Noël! → Merry Christmas!

Bonne année! → Happy New Year!

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<![CDATA[Parisian Holiday Style]]>

The holiday season is here, and for Parisians just like the rest of us this means plenty of parties to attend and dress up for. For the Parisian woman and her wardrobe, now is the time of year to have a bit of fun with what she's wearing to get into the holiday spirit.

Her favorite black escparins, or pumps as we call them, suddenly appear in a bolder color such as red or burgundy, with the intention of adding some festivity to her ensemble.

Her standard little black dress is swapped with something a bit more holiday, like a similar cut but in traditional plaid, beautiful black lace, or bright red. It’s her way of mixing things up a bit while still staying true to her classic Parisian esthetic.

Paris Rendez-vous

Temperatures have really dropped in Paris by the end of November, so when it comes to staying warm, cozy knits go on and the tights come out. Bye bye bare legs, in Paris it’s never chic to look inappropriately dressed for the weather! A plush faux fur coat and earmuffs are cute and cuddly at the holidays, and the politically correct option for the Parisian who usually forgoes wearing real fur.

And what about that holiday glitter? Sequins are a bit much for the parisienne, you won’t find them on many French women. Instead she opts for a touch of metallic, either with a fun metal clutch, some sparkle over her usual red nail polish, or some shimmer in her eyeshadow, like the eye brightening Hypnôse Dazzling in gold from Lancôme’s Parisian Lights Collection. The rest of the shine she leaves to the city’s Christmas lights lining the streets of each neighborhood. I’ve already welcomed their arrival with a glass of champagne at my local café and an evening stroll to admire them...

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<![CDATA[OYSTER BARS: PARIS’S CULINARY PEARLS]]>

The first oyster I tried was in Paris late one night at a Brasserie called the Pied du Cochon. It was my first several months in France, and thus it was important to be in the spirit of trying new things.

While they may be a bit of an acquired taste, they’ve since become one of my favorite things to eat. Paris may is landlocked, but the shores of Normandy and Bretagne with some of the best fruits de mer aren’t far away, which is why it has some of the most renowned seafood restaurants in the world. Some of my favorites are the oyster bars. I follow the oyster rule and refrain in the months that don’t end in “R”, but as soon as September rolls around you’ll find me back at a few of these spots...

La Cabine Aux Huitres feels much like being in tight quarters on a boat, hence the name. The menu is mostly oysters, served by the dozen and accompanied by a house selected bottle of white wine. The communal tables and always friendly staff give the place a cozy family vibe, especially appreciated by foreigners abroad like myself.

Paris Rendez-vous

Le Mary Celeste serves up a rotating selection of mostly wild oysters. Befitting the oyster offering, its nautical name pays hommage to the great maritime mystery of the “Mary Celeste” ship, who’s crew disappeared at sea never to be seen again. Have no fear though, the staff at his bar is still very much on board seven nights a week serving up great cocktails along with those oysters, the perfect pairing!

Huîtrerie Régis is a culinary pearl near Saint Germain serving oysters exclusively from Marennes d’Oleron. They’re characterized by the blue green algae that cover their gills, and a refined nutty taste. Huîtrerie Régis’s great selection of wines are the perfect compliment, and prices reasonable so you can enjoy as many oysters as you like as they’re shucked before your own eyes.

Clamato is has a 20 foot bar that serves up oysters on the half shell from Normandy, Utah Beach, Maldon, and more. If you like your oysters with all the fixings, you’ll enjoy their spicy homemade tobasco sauce and shallot vinaigrette.

Can’t wait to get to Paris to try out these spots? In Los Angeles, La Poubelle is my favorite French café for them, while in New York Hotel Del Mano is my go to place to order up some oysters!

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<![CDATA[RENDEZVOUS WITH INES OLYMPE MERCADAL: Beauty & Design Through Generations]]>

Take it from me, stepping into the life of a Parisian designer for a day is a pretty dreamy thing. Since I discovered them, I’ve quite literally been stepping into the gorgeous shoes of Atelier Mercadal, one of my favorite Parisian brands. With creative personal style, lively attitude, and a keen design sense for what women want, the mother daughter duo behind the brand sparked my fascination.

Mother Marie-Laure Mercadal and daughter Ines Olympe Mercadal not only seemed like the perfect team, but also the greatest of friends. “Biensur…Mom taught me everything” Ines explained to me at my recent rendezvous with her in their Saint Germain flagship boutique and showroom. “We work together in perfect harmony now, two brands each unto our own world collaborating everyday to carry out our projects.”

Paris Rendez-vous

While design is a fifth generation legacy in the family, it’s evident that beauty is as well. With the striking resemblance between the two, I had to ask what French beauty secrets Marie-Laure taught Ines in addition to design while growing up…

When it comes to beauty, their “Best secret is to sleep well and drink lots of fresh juice! Of course skincare is of huge importance to French women, from the general to focused products like special creams. Splurging on a skin treatment now and then” like at Lancome's Institut de Beauté for example “Is definitely worth it” according to them. But the best beauty secret from this Parisian mother to daughter? “Mom taught me to be beautiful by smiling even through the tough times.” Such grace I am sure comes in handy when running a global brand.

And on designing in the French capital? “Paris is the framework of my design. I understand the desires of all sorts of women to remain beautiful across the challenges of the city, from the metro to paved streets, our heels take everything into account.” said Ines. Of course Parisiennes are also her muses with their “old-fashioned femininity and quaint charm.”

In the atelier I could see beauty is an integral part of Ines' days, touching up her pinup inspired makeup and hair at her desk throughout the afternoon. So to no surprise, after a few hours she waved goodbye to me as fresh faced as when we began, back to work on another great collection…

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<![CDATA[THE ART OF FRENCH GIFTING]]>

Waking up in Paris everyday for me feels like a gift in itself. It seems my favorite ones I have received here over the years are intangible, as many of the best gifts in life are. Friendship, wisdom, and this beautiful city itself are truly what come to mind. But now and then, a little token of those experiences and people here are lovely little reminders of them.

When it comes to gifting, at least one rule is universal, it is the thought that counts the most. That being said, in France there are certain customs that have come about as guidelines for gifting. The occasion for which arises often here, most of all with the upcoming holidays as the season’s gatherings begin filling the calendar. To gift in good taste, consider the art of French gifting, the golden rules of which I thought I’d share with you here…

Paris Rendez-vous


• Give a good quality gift, or none at all.

• Presentation is just as important.

• Be thoughtful and write a hand written note to accompany your present.

• Don’t be too concerned with price. It is the quality and thought that count, not the cost.

• If you don’t know someone well, play it safe with some fine chocolates, champagne, or flowers to show gratitude.

• Always bring something for a host or hostess of events. For dinner parties, avoid wine unless you know them very well as they usually prefer to choose themselves.

• If gifting flowers, be sure to gift them in odd numbers, except for 7, 11, and 13 which some consider bad luck. Also avoid white flowers as they are for weddings, chrysanthemums and lilies which are reserved for funerals, and red carnations. All others fit perfectly into proper French etiquette.

• Be personal. If you know someone well, don’t be afraid to gift them books or music you think they will enjoy.

Of course, if you’re looking for the perfect gift for the women in your life, the gift of beauty is always acceptable, so why not share with her your favorite Lancôme products this season?

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<![CDATA[MORE THAN A MACARON: French Pastry Lesson]]>

While it seems to be the dessert du moment, let’s not all forget that French sweets are so much more than the macaron. In France, even the average corner bakery will rarely disappoint, thanks to a national heritage of amazing bakers and recipes perfected over the centuries.

After years of indulging, I think I’ve eaten my way to calling myself an expert on the subject! Here are a few of my favorites you might like taste for yourself...bon appétit!

Mille-feuille
A mille-feuille is made of three layers of puff pastry, alternating with two layers of pastry cream. It’s name translates to “thousand layers” for its seemingly endless flakey sheets of pastry that crumble when eating it. I first had Mille-feuille in Paris at Mariage Frères, and it’s still my favorite place to eat it today.

Mont Blanc
The Mont Blanc is a dessert of puréed, sweetened chestnuts topped with whipped cream and sometimes placed on a meringue base. The name comes from Mont Blanc, as it resembles a snow-capped mountain. Where’s the best place to indulge in one in Paris? Angelina’s on the Rue de Rivoli...

Paris Rendez-vous

Eclairs
Eclairs originated in nineteenth century in France, and have since become a classic. The name comes from the French word éclair, meaning 'flash of lightning’, because it can be eaten in a flash! Typically in chocolate, coffee or caramel, bakers like L’Éclair de Génie are giving them a contemporary twist with passionate fruit, apple, strawberry mint and more...

Chou à la Crème
The eclairs little cousin, chou à la crème is made of the same dough, choux pastry, that is light and fluffy. While they’ve been topping cakes and other famous desserts like the religieuse for a long time, they’re having a bite sized moment in Paris right now thanks to delicious places like Popelini and Odette, both of which are worth a try!

Madeleines
Madeleines are very small sponge cakes with a distinctive shell-like shape . They make a delicious and easy dessert as they can be devoured straight from your perfectly polished finger tips. My favorite places to pick them up in the heart of Paris is the bakery Miss Manon at Saint Paul...

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<![CDATA[DRESSING UP FOR THE OPÉRA GARNIER!]]>

How often do you have the occasion to dress up and do something glamorous? It seems in the modern age these occasions are less and less. But one of the things I love about living in Paris is one can always find an occasion worthy of a gorgeous dress, heels, and makeup. One such occasion is the Opera.

Paris has two Opera houses. Both located on the right bank, the Opéra Bastille lies in the more contemporary east of Paris. The mise-en-scene of the operas and ballets performed here often follow this more modern approach in their interpretations. In the west, the historic Opera Garnier stands in all its glory as one of the most beautiful and ornate buildings in the world. It is a beacon of glamour and ceremony of ages past. Today its doors remain open and curtains pulled, for all those who still revel in its elaborate architecture and presentations that fill it.

Paris Rendez-vous

Several years ago I had the pleasure of attending the Opera Bastille, but seeing an opera or ballet at the more famous Opera Garnier has remained on my bucket list. I’ve always felt it’s important to save some experiences to look forward too. After six years in Paris, I’ve done so many incredible things but this was a moment I waited on to enjoy.

When I finally decided to go recently on a special night, I savored every element of it. From getting ready that evening to taking a seat in its famous burgundy balconies beneath Marc Chagall’s painted ceiling, to the moment the curtains drew to a close.

The Opera Garnier is an incredible experience I recommend everyone to add to their Paris bucket list. It’s more than worth dressing up for…I hope you’ll find a glamorous occasion to do so soon as well.

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<![CDATA[PARISIAN BEAUTY ESSENTIALS]]>

In last week’s Paris Rendez-Vous, I gave some insights into the closets of Paris’s stylish female inhabitants. Their simple and classic mode of dress mingles perfectly with the city and never distracts from a woman’s best asset, her natural beauty. Just like her wardrobe, when it comes to her beauty essentials, less is more. She always appears put together, yet is surprisingly low maintenance when it comes to makeup. She can easily fit her go to items into her small makeup bag at a moments notice for a weekend away. If we took a peak inside, what might we find? Here are some of the Parisian beauty essentials…

Paris Rendez-vous


Her Signature Scent — The Parisienne knows that both style and beauty are something that meet more than the eye…the nose to be precise! Her signature scent is carefully selected and always generously applied.
Her Go to Red Polish — Chic down to her finger tips, some red vernis is an easy way for her to always look put together.
A Classic Black Liquid Liner — The simple cat eye (think a thin, delicate line) is one of the Parisians favorite looks. She is so skilled from years of practice that she can practically create the perfect line right or left handed.
Her Trusted Skincare Routine— On thing we won’t always find in the Parisienne’s makeup bag is foundation. Women here love to go foundation free. That means their skincare routine is even more important, as they need a nearly flawless canvas. For a youthful complexion, Advanced Génifique is her secret weapon. When she needs a bit of evening out, Nude Miracle is the perfection foundation that only she’ll know is there.
The Perfect Red Lipstick— When it comes to lips and nails for the Parisienne, red is a neutral. It goes with anything and everything and is as bold as it is classic, just like her…

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<![CDATA[PARISIAN WARDROBE ESSENTIALS]]>

It was once said to me by an acquaintance here that the reason for Parisian’s often somber and simple way of dress is that the city itself is so bright and ornate. It’s true that the warm creamgrey stone constructing most buildings in the French capital makes the city feel light even on a dreary winter’s day. Similarly, the opulent details of each doorway, monument, and beyond are more than enough to entertain the eye. That being so, perhaps the city’s inhabitants do prefer to dress to blend in in that timeless way we know them for. But when it comes to French women, I have another theory…

Paris Rendez-vous

Before I giveaway all my Parisian secrets though, a few of you might be wondering just what one would find in the Parisian woman’s wardrobe. Here are a few of her essentials worth investing in if you want to give your style “the french touch”…

• The Trench — While the Brits may have invented the classic trench, it was the Parisians that made it chic. Rain or shine, women here will drape it over their shoulders or belt it at the waist for that signature effortless chic look.
• The Escarpins — Never with a platform, these shoes are just high enough to add some allure, and just low enough to be comfortable commuting about town. While “pumps” are regarded as more practical than appealing stateside, for the French they are sexy in a subtle way.
• The Marinière — When the Parisienne is feeling casual and a bit playful, she’ll put on her Marinière. This iconic striped cotton tee shirt in a unisex cut is reminiscent of sailors, and has been a french wardrobe icon for at least the last century!
• The Perfecto — For a night out, the Parisienne will pull out her favorite classic black leather jacket, and infuse her look with the tiniest bit of rock n’ roll (à la Serge Gainsbourg rather then heavy metal) to show off her laid back side.
• The Ballerines — This pretty and practical shoe became popular in France as the famous Repetto reinterpreted their ballet shoes for everyday wear. Today, they’re still a favorite for the Parisienne this shoe she wears so many days.
• The Smoking Le Smoking as one famous French fashion designer coined it, is a sleek women’s suit. In neutral shades or classic tweeds, the Parisian will mix and match the slacks and blazer with many ensembles, or wear it together for a meeting or glamorous event.

Now, what’s my theory behind the Parisian woman’s classic style? I believe it’s to let a woman’s true beauty shine. In her simple and timeless fashion, her outfit never distracts from her best asset, her own natural beauty she loves to highlight. That’s why next week on Paris Rendez- Vous I’ll share with you the Parisian Beauty Essentials. Until then…bonne semaine!

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<![CDATA[NUIT BLANCHE: Up All Night In Paris for the Annual White Night]]>

Normally I would advise you all to be in bed by midnight. Beauty sleep is so essential to looking and feeling good. But now and then it’s okay to break our beauty rules, and the annual Nuit Blanche is the perfect occasion!

Paris Rendez-vous

Once a year, on the first Saturday of October, the city stays up all night. This cultural celebration delights Parisians until dawn as each arrondissement organizes special events like street music, outdoor movie projections, and exhibitions welcoming us to enjoy our city after dark. Best of all, the de facto gallery that the city center becomes is free for everyone! Nuit Blanche translates to “white night”, and more than ever on this Saturday, Paris earns its title as the City of Lights. The lights stay on all night, and glowing installations go up all over Paris to light our way as we explore all the after hours offerings. On this night we gather our friends, lose track of time, and live it up all night long.

While Nuit Blanche is very much about showing the city off in new ways, I’m a sucker for little traditions. The city’s museums stay open late into the night with free admission, so I always visit the Louvre. It’s exciting to discover new corners of this massive institution that one can only come to know well after many visits throughout the years. From there, it’s onward to see what surprises the city has illuminated for us.

This year, Lancôme gave me a few tips for gorgeous midnight makeup that will stay on until sunrise…

La Base Pro Hydra Glow as a primer illuminates and hydrates skin with extended 24H effects
beneath your foundation.
Teint Idole Ultra 24H is the perfect foundation for a lasting flawless complexion that won’t
wear off.
Color Design 5 Pan Eyeshadow Palette allows you to create the perfect smokey eye for any
night out.
Hypnôse Star 24H Waterproof mascara gives you ultra voluminous lashes and stays on all
night.

Want to experience Nuit Blanche for yourself? While it began in Paris over twelve years ago, this recent French tradition has spread to cities big and small across the world! New York City, Toronto, Madrid, and Rome are just a few of them. Be sure to see if this October there is a Nuit Blanche near you!

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<![CDATA[FRENCH IDOLES: Rendez-Vous at Paris Fashion Week]]>

After New York, London, and Milan, fashion week finally comes home to Paris by the end of September. While Spring collections are walking down the runway right now, out on the street fall fashion is just getting started. Our Indian summer has slowly gone and we’ve been greeted with a gentle chill. Perfect timing for the city’s fashionistas to debut their autumn ensembles at the week’s bustling venues, like Palais de Tokyo.

Paris Rendez-vous

My friends and I wouldn’t miss such an opportunity, so we rendez-vous here each fashion week to do just that. Along with some fresh wardrobe additions, I wore Lancôme’s new Fall Color collection, French Idole, for the first time. The traditional smokey eye has been infused with a hint of malachite and amethyst, and the standard red lip now closer to a shade of garnet. The collection is classics with a jewel tone seasonal twist.

So who are the French Idoles of Paris Fashion Week? While models may steal the show inside, outside here the stars are French fashion magazine editors. Names like Emmanuelle Alt, and Carine Roitfeld might ring a bell. They and the rest of their kind arrive and make way through the crowd as beacons of understated style, looking sharp and chic amongst the fashion folly too often on display here. As much household names as the magazines they head up, they are French Idoles in the world of fashion.

And what are they wearing this season? After all, they are masters of the classics. They know better than to do away with what’s timeless. Never over the top, perhaps a simple white blouse is effortlessly draped with a beige trench or black moto jacket. They keep things fresh by incorporating trends subtly; a colorful clutch here, a statement belt or bold scarf there. This is the way of the French Idoles, a philosophy also inspiring Lancôme’s fall collection.

Street style shots of their sartorial sense are the most coveted, and photographers go crazy to get them. I didn’t manage to snap one of my own amongst the madness today, but I did capture a few moments and details from the afternoon. I hope you enjoy!

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<![CDATA[THE MODERN FRENCH MANICURE]]>

In case you’ve ever wondered, the French manicure is indeed actually French. Tracing back to Paris in the 1930s, its traditional nude or beige base with a white tip became popular in the United States in the 1970s. Fast forward to today though, and it seems less Saint Tropez, and more Jersey Shore. Thus a French manicure isn’t usually my first choice, but last week that all changed.

Paris Rendez-vous

Mid Fashion Week, a day off to get my nails done with my sister was just what the doctor ordered. I heard Paintbox in Soho was the place for a high fashion manicure, a bright idea to infuse a bit of glam into my otherwise down played work wardrobe (juggling cameras backstage and running about town between shows isn’t conducive to dressing up this week). Once inside, Paintbox felt more like a boutique or chic restaurant. With an iced coffee (on the house!) in hand, we browsed the menu of looks to find the French manicure reinvented in the studio’s FW14 collection.

I wanted to use my new Amethyste Brune vernis from Lancôme’s fall color collection, and Paintbox’s founder Eleanor Langston, a former beauty editor, told me how to complete the look…

“There are a dozen ways to modernize a French manicure. When you say, ‘French manicure’ many people think of thick lines and acrylic nails. But adding a chic swipe of metallic at the tips, like Lancôme’s Golden Riviera, is one of our most popular manicure looks.”

PAINTBOX’S TIPS FOR THE MODERN FRENCH MANI

• Use colors that contrast for the look to stand out.
• For short nails, keep a square shape. For longer nails, try a round silhouette.
• Keep the tip thin and dainty.

Feeling a bit more bold? Add a half moon to your French mani like my sister did with Lancôme’s Beige Dentelle.

Et voilà! The French manicure is chic and French again. So we did as the French would do and popped into the newly imported Ladurée down the street to show off our manicures and enjoy some fine pâtisseries. The perfect Parisian afternoon for any New York lady without even needing your passport!

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<![CDATA[NEW YORK RENDEZ-VOUS: Jason Wu for Lancome]]>

Just as I was ready to settle into my new routine for la rentrée, New York Fashion Week kicked off and swept me back to the states for work. As much as I love Paris, this occasion to jet off to the big apple twice a year is always exciting!

Paris Rendez-vous

For a few seasons now, I’ve worked backstage at fashion week in New York as well as Paris, photographing and filming for designers and the press. As glamorous as I know it is sitting front row at the shows, I love being behind the scenes. The transformative process of the makeup, hair, and wardrobe is so creatively inspiring. The energy backstage is palpable, as each of these teams dance around one another to bring these elements together, and with it a designer’s vision to life. Each time I’m reminded of how beauty is as much a part of fashion as clothing is.

When Lancôme invited me to come see their team of makeup artists in action at the Jason Wu show this season, I knew it would be the highlight of my trip. Wu’s elegant and fresh esthetic has an international appeal, and pairs perfectly with the french beauty sensibility of less is more.

The look for the show was all about flawless dewy skin, warm neutrals, and ultra high cheek bones. Modernly feminine, it was the perfect pairing for Wu’s sophisticated silhouettes in sage, navy, and amber he showed off on the catwalk. Fittingly, Jason Wu brought a bit of the runway to his Jason Wu for Lancôme collection, working in this same gorgeous color palette. If you want to wear the look from the Jason Wu runway yourself, I picked up a few tips from the artists backstage to share with you here!

GET THE LOOK

Visionnaire and La Base Pro Hydra Glow helped achieved a perfectly prepped complexion for foundation.

The Blush Subtil Palette gave a contoured look for dramatic cheek bones, with its illuminating blush and highlighter.

Aquatique eyecolour base in “noisette” was the perfect choice for eyes, smokey and ultra soft at the same time, and water resistant to last for all day wear.

Color Design lipstick in ‘Pink Slip’ looks like a naturally perfect pink lip, perfect for everyday wear.

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<![CDATA[La Rentrée: Say goodbye to summer with a fresh face for fall!]]>

Have you ever heard the French use the expression la rentrée? Each September, Parisians are abuzz with it, in a frenzy to suddenly get life back in order after their leisurely annual vacations come to an end. We all return to the city, kids go back to school, and the rest of us back to work, full of enthusiasm.

Paris Rendez-vous

This year la rentrée also happens to mark six years in Paris for me. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by! When I arrived that September I was just a student, and very much a girl. Six years later, school is a thing of the past and I feel like a woman. Honestly, I love the independence and wisdom that comes with those years. However, I know time can work against me too when it comes to my skin.

I always approach la rentrée as a fresh start. I see this as the moment to start new happy and healthy habits. I began buying myself my favorite roses each Monday to fill my home with life at the start of each week. This symbol of Lancôme also happens to be my favorite flower, a sign of beauty and love. It’s little gesture to remind me to love and respect myself, something I know can be hard for women to find time for the busier we get with family and careers. With age on my mind, I’ve also added something else to my routine for la rentrée — Lancôme’s Rénergie. As I say goodbye to summer, I’m ready to welcome fall with a fresh face. The system is simple and comprehensive targeting every age sensitive area of our face…

Firm & Protect
As my daily moisturizer, Rénergie Lift Multi-Action is perfect for hydration and firmness, targeting every facial zone to tighten and protect skin with broad-spectrum SPF 15.

Easy on the Eyes
Specially targeted for the delicate eye area, Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Eye smooths wrinkles and reduces the appearance of dark circles and under-eye bags. Our eyes are most prone to the telltale signs of aging, so its lifting action here goes a long way.

Beauty Sleep
With Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Night as my night moisturizer, I wake up each morning looking replenished. It works in my sleep to deliver a more youthful tone and further refine fine lines when my skin is most susceptible to active ingredients.

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<![CDATA[HAPPY HOUR IN PARIS]]>

You know how the saying goes…it’s five-o-clock somewhere! Throughout my travels I’ve found one of America’s most popular exports is the afterwork tradition of Happy Hour. Not surprisingly, unwinding with colleagues or friends after a successful day of work is a universal joy. Throw in a well crafted cocktail or some amazing French wine for half the price and it’s that much better!

Paris Rendez-vous

There’s a funny little thing about Happy Hour in Paris that always makes me smile. You see, in France they don’t exactly translate the phrase. Instead they’ve adopted it almost just as it is, calling it Happy Hours, with an “s” at the end. It makes a lot of sense considering it’s almost always more than one hour, especially in Paris where we all like to sit and take our time.

Now, you may be wondering how to keep your makeup looking fresh enough all day to head out after work. Try using La Base Pro each morning before your foundation to keep makeup set in place. I always carry my Dual Finish compact for touch ups on-the-go, and a slightly darker shade of my favorite Absolu Rouge lipstick to switch my look up for the evening.

Now you’re ready for the perfect spot to enjoy Happy Hours. If you happen to be in Paris, why not give some of my favorites a try? Tell them Haleigh told you to stop by…

Le Floréal | 73 Rue du Faubourg du Temple, 75010
The ideal spot for an hour of people watching, order up one of La Floréal's delicious and daring cocktails and enjoy it on the terrace in good company. The vibe is colorful and fun with a throwback to the 1970’s, but à la française of course.

Le Fumoir | 6 Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny, 75001
Over the years Le Fumoir has become quite a classic in Paris. Its dark leather and smooth lacquer paired with walls lined with bookshelves give it a timelessly handsome vibe. Just the kind of place to enjoy a classic cocktail like a martini. Don’t worry though, contrary to the suggestions of the name, you won’t find anyone smoking inside.

O Chateau | 68 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 75001
If you’re looking to try some great French wine while in Paris, look no further than O’Chateau. Rest assured any glass the friendly staff here recommends will please your palette. If you stick around long enough to work up an appetite, their plates of cheese and charcuterie are the perfect accompaniment to the wine list.

Les Etages Saint Germain | 5 Rue de Buci, 75006 Paris
If you’re looking for a bit of a rowdier vibe, this casual spot is known for their house mojito which you can either order as is or with a generous portion of strawberries in it. Perfect for larger groups, you’ll find plenty of places to sit with several stories to choose from to kick back and enjoy your drinks.

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<![CDATA[LES BALLERINES: Beauty Inspiration from Degas’ Beautiful Ballerinas!]]>

What do the Parisians do on an off day in Paris? When I have several days free in the city, one of my favorite things to do is buy an all access museum pass and revisit my favorites. With much of Paris away on vacation in August the city slows down. I took advantage of the quiet time and spent an afternoon reacquainting myself with the Musée d’Orsay.

Paris Rendez-vous

Home to some of my favorite impressionist works, the Musée d’Orsay is where you’ll find a gorgeous selection of Edgar Degas’ famous ballerinas. Every time I see them, I’m completely drawn in. I can see his affinity for the poise, discipline, and beauty of the ballerinas captured in his paintings. Degas’ work and story are very intertwined with that of Paris. A Parisian himself, he lived and painted in Montmartre most of his life. He fell visually in love with the ballerinas as a spectator of their performances at the Palais Garnier, eventually becoming a part of the daily life backstage there. He watched and painted the young dancers performances from every angle: practice to performance, above the stage and in the audience. The drama of the costumes, the way the light danced with them on the stage…all the movements, textures and colors we’re captured in his paintings.

I left my little visit to the Musée d’Orsay feeling inspired and took some cues for my own wardrobe and makeup this week. I brought Degas blending of pinks and blues to my eyes with Lancôme’s Color Design in shades of pink, lining them with Le Stylo Waterproof in Midnight Blue. To keep things soft, I paired it with Lip Lover in a creamy beige called Casse-Noisette for dewy and neutral lips. And to finish it off, a bit of drama fit for the stage with Grandiôse mascara, its ergonomic new design in perfect form just like the ballerinas for seriously poised lashes.

Et voilà, like Degas I found inspiration in these ballerina’s for my very own canvas, creating the perfect daytime look for any outing in Paris.

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<![CDATA[HATS OFF TO PARIS: Top off your beauty look with this perfect Parisian accessory.]]>

When you first think of hats and the French, the beret always comes to mind. Over the years it has become an iconic symbol of the French abroad, a cute cliché if you will. But it would be a shame to limit the French to just one style, when they’ve mastered this accessory in so many styles throughout the years.

The hat fashion for women was perhaps most outrageous in France during the 1700s. Marie Antoinette is most famous for such flare during this time, when women’s hats reached great heights attached to the tops of wigs, and sometimes took as long as two days preparing for a party!

Nowadays, the French woman prefers styles that are a bit more reasonable, but the art has not been lost. A gorgeous hat is still the perfect accessory here, and Paris is home to artisan hat makers and vendors very much appreciated by its stylish population. Here are some of my favorites you must visit when you make it to Paris. If you leave with the perfect new accessory, try pairing it with a bit of liquid liner to make your eyes pop and luscious berry lip like I did today…

Paris Rendez-vous

BRYKALSKI
9 rue St. Paul, Cour Verte, 75004 Paris
Tucked away in the Village Saint Paul this little corner shop is packed to the ceiling with all the fixings for a gorgeous custom hat. Stop in to create your own custom design, which they assemble in the shop right before your eyes.

LA CERISE SUR LE CHAPEAU
11 Rue Cassette, 75006 Paris
In Paris’s utlra fashionable Saint Germain neighborhood, La Cerise Sur Le Chapeau specializes in customizing classic hat styles and adding a cherry on top, a little decadence if you will from a selection of colorful ribbons, feathers, and more. In just a few minutes your hat is ready to wear!

MARIE MERCIÉ
23 rue Saint Sulpice, 75006 Paris
Marie Mercié’s Paris shop has been open more than 25 years, and has since made her an icon of this accessory, collaborating with the greatest fashion houses. Her Saint Germain shop houses both practical and whimsical designs all handmade in her Paris workshop.

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<![CDATA[GRANDIÔSE: Lancôme’s Mascara Innovation Bends the Rules!]]>

We all have that beauty item, don’t we? That one item in our beauty bag we would choose to never go without. Mine is mascara, and apparently I’m not alone there either. Did you know that 70% of us use mascara five days a week, and 30% of us use it every single day?

Imagine if we each get a little of that time back every day, and achieve better results? No curling, no contorting, no clean up. Just perfectly dramatic lashes every time. What a grandiose idea...

It’s possible though! “How so?” you ask. You’ve just got to bend the rules! Enter Grandiôse, the new innovation in mascara from Lancôme. Ready for a lash lesson?

Lancôme worked closely with women to suss out their mascara woes. Curved and round, the eye is the most multi-dimensional face feature. Mastering mascara can be tricky (and messy!). Here’s where the trouble comes in. To hug all our lashes’ curves and apply to both eyes we’ve been...

- crossing the brush over the nose.
- turning the wrist to reach our second eye (opposite of the hand applying).
- switching to our weaker hand.
- contorting to work the wand with the contour of the eye, not just up and down, but forwards and back too.

Paris Rendez-vous

Sounds tideous! Leave it to the innovators at Lancôme to sort out this dilemma. During my six years in Paris I’ve realized it’s the prerogative of the French to make chic effortless. Here’s how they’ve done it with Grandiôse... !

- The first ever swan neck wand bends perfectly to all the curves of the face and eyes with the simple flick of a wrist avoiding your cheek bones, nose, and brows.
- Its precision brush is shorter and smaller in diameter, designed to extend and lift even the shortest lashes, with each bristle petal shaped to grab and curve them.
- The ultra black formula is the perfect pigment for intense eyes, and actually beautifies lashes with native rose cells and its flexible polymer formula that’s silky and long lasting.

Longer, thicker, defined lashes are the key to sparkling eyes, making mascara our daily beauty ally, and Lancôme is the undisputed leader when it comes to lashes. I’ve been loyal to my Définicils for over ten years, and didn’t think it could get much better. But it just did...

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<![CDATA["An Antique Table"]]>

After sharing some of my tips for being the perfect Parisian hostess on our last Paris Rendez-vous, I thought you might be ready to do some entertaining à la française of your own! For your next soiree, check out some amazing dinner party recipes I've handpicked to share with you from Gourmet Magazine. Bon appétit!

In Paris, flea-market vendors pull up Louis XIV chairs and break for a midday meal, honoring a tradition as old as their wares. The oh-so-French spirit of putting lunch before work inspires these classic dishes updated with a global flair.

Butternut Squash Soup with Chestnuts
Serves 6 (first course)
Active time: 35 min Start to finish: 1 hr

While eating at one of the coveted counter seats at Les Cocottes, Christian Constant’s chic restaurant, food editor Paul Grimes was deeply inspired by the pumpkin soup, which surprised him with savory little chunks of foie gras waiting at the bottom of the bowl. Here, Grimes explores squash’s more savory side by cooking it with a touch of tomato and providing that little bit of sweet surprise in the form of chopped chestnut. With just a dollop of whipped cream, it is rich only in looks and spirit—a spoonful will reveal how unbelievably light it is.

4 large shallots, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
3 large thyme sprigs
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1½ lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into
(1-inch) cubes (about 3½ cups)
5 cups water
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
12 bottled cooked chestnuts, chopped (½ cup)
Accompaniment: softly whipped cream

- Cook shallots, carrot, celery, tomatoes, thyme and bay leaf in oil in a 4- to 5-qt heavy pot over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.
- Add squash, water, nutmeg, 1 tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper and simmer, covered, until squash is very tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard thyme and bay leaf.
- Purée soup in batches in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Thin soup if desired and season with salt and pepper.
- Ladle soup over chestnuts in bowls.
Cooks’ note: Soup can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered once cool. Thin slightly with water if necessary.

Watercress and Frisée Salad with Green Apple and Celery Root
Serves 6 (first course)
Active time: 25 min Start to finish: 25 min

After a rich main course, you’ll love the clean flavors of this minimally dressed salad. Watercress and frisée are tamed by slivers of celery root and green apple, which also makes for a seamless segue into the next course—Camembert with apple butter from a local market.

6 oz watercress, coarse stems discarded (6 cups)
¼ lb frisée (French curly endive), torn into 2-inch pieces (4 cups)
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
2 tsp finely chopped shallot
1 Granny Smith apple
½ medium celery root (½ lb), peeled
Equipment: an adjustable-blade slicer fitted with an 1/8-inch julienne blade

- Put watercress and frisée in a large serving bowl.
- Whisk together oil, vinegar, shallot, ¼ tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper in a small bowl.
- Julienne apple lengthwise using slicer until you reach core, then rotate and continue. Add to greens. Julienne celery root and add to greens.
- Toss salad with vinaigrette and salt and pepper to taste.

Chocolate-glazed Chocolate Tart
Serves 8 to 10
Active time: 30 min Start to finish: 2¾ hr (includes cooling)

A triple layer of crumbly crust, a truffle-like interior, and an almost patent-leather-shiny glaze make this tart the chicest take on chocolate we’ve come across in a long time.

For crust:
9 (5- by 2¼-inch) chocolate graham crackers (not chocolate-covered), finely ground (1 cup)
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
For filling:
1¼ cups heavy cream
9 oz bittersweet chocolate (not more than 65% cacao if marked), chopped
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
For glaze:
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1 ¾ oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp light corn syrup
1 Tbsp warm water
Equipment: a 9-inch round fluted tart pan (1 inch deep) with removable bottom

Make crust: Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
- Stir together all ingredients and press evenly onto bottom and ¾ inch up side of tart pan. Bake until firm, about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack 15 to 20 minutes.
Make filling: Bring cream to a boil, then pour over chocolate in a bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Gently stir until smooth. Whisk together eggs, vanilla and salt in another bowl, then stir into melted chocolate.
- Pour filling into cooled crust. Bake until filling is set about 3 inches from edge but center is still wobbly, 20 to 25 minutes. (Center will continue to set as tart cools.) Cool completely in pan on rack, about 1 hour.
Make glaze: Bring cream to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until smooth. Stir in corn syrup, then warm water.
- Pour glaze onto tart, then tilt and rotate tart so glaze coats top evenly. Let stand until glaze is set, about 1 hour.
Cooks’ note: Tart is best the day it is made but can be made, without glaze, 1 day ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before glazing.

Scarlet Poached Pears
Serves 6
Active time: 20 min Start to finish: 1½ hr

Though poaching pears in wine often results in a subtle, sophisticated dessert, it rarely looks as lovely as it tastes. Here, Grimes took inspiration from the saturated-red glassware that’s ubiquitous in Parisian flea markets and from a dessert at Le Chateaubriand, which uses beet to give the pears a lush garnet hue. As far as its flavor goes, the beet doesn’t lend anything more than a nice balance to the overall dish, but you’ll probably want to poach pears this way from now on.

2 cups Orange Muscat such as Essencia (from a 750-ml bottle)
1 medium red beet (¼ lb), peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
3 small firm-ripe pears (¾ to 1 lb total), such as Forelle, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cored

- Bring wine, beet, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and bay leaves to a boil in a 1½- to 2-qt saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
- Add pears and cover with a round of parchment paper. Simmer, turning occasionally, until pears are tender and liquid is syrupy, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer pears to a bowl. Discard cinnamon stick and bay leaves and pour syrup over pears. Cool completely in syrup, about 30 minutes.
Cooks’ note: Poached pears can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Reprinted with permission from Gourmet: “An Antique Table”

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<![CDATA[Perfect Paris Souvenirs]]>

Every time my father comes to visit me in France, he makes the same silly remark without fail: “I know why all women love Paris—there’s so much shopping!” He’s right, but by now after many Paris Rendez-Vous we all know there are so many more reasons to love this city, like macarons, flea markets and beautiful parks to name just a few. No matter what brings you to Paris one thing is for sure—at least a little retail therapy is in order so you can leave with the perfect souvenir!

“Souvenir” actually means “memory” in French, so the ideal one should always remind you of your time in Paris. The second requirement is that it should be special, meaning something you can’t get just anywhere. Lastly, on a more pragmatic level, it should fit in your suitcase. While the best way to find this perfect treasure is with a bit of exploration, here are a few places and ideas to keep in mind when seeking that memorable keepsake to bring home from Paris for yourself or your loved ones…

Sébastian Gaudard, 22 Rue des Martyrs, 75009
Edible souvenirs are always a great idea. Top bakeries and chocolatiers in Paris like Sébastien Gaudard for example, package beautiful boxes of edible gifts. While the treats won’t last forever, the incredibly decorative boxes and ribbons they come packaged in do. Such packages are especially nice for sharing with friends and family back home to give them a taste of Paris.

Mariage Frères, 30 Rue du Bourg Tibourg, 75004 Paris, France
If you don’t have a sweet tooth, stop by Mariage Frères to purchase some of its teas. While the tea is world-renowned, at their flagship in Paris they have hundreds of flavors that aren’t available elsewhere. They travel well, keep nicely for a long time and each cup you brew will bring you back to your time in the City of Light.

Paris Rendez-vous

Alexandra Sofjer, 218 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75007
Here’s something you really can’t get elsewhere: a beautiful artisan parasol or umbrella from Alexandra Sofjer. One of the most amazing things about Paris is that it’s home to artisans specializing in whimsical things. In this case, adorned umbrellas festooned with lace or crystals and fantastical prints fit for Marie Antoinette. Also, they’re just small enough to fit in your suitcase. This souvenir will have everyone back home remarking, “Ooh la la!”

Les Bijoux de Sophie, 1 Passage Rauch, 75011
Jewelry always makes a great souvenir. By nature it’s beautiful, sentimental and also incredibly practical for transporting back home. If you’re looking for a piece that’s unique and won’t break the bank, Les Bijoux de Sophie is the perfect stop to shop. Necklaces, bracelets and rings adorned with charms and sweet little cameos and more, are perfect for the lady who loves to accessorize. Later it will bring a wee bit of Paris to any outfit you wear.

Lancôme Institut, 29 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008
Remember, scent is the strongest sense tied to memory. If you want a souvenir that can really bring you back to Paris, stop in to the Lancôme Institut and select one of our many fragrances. The olfactory experience will always remind you of your visit to Lancôme’s hometown.

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<![CDATA["The Insider’s Guide to Paris: Where to Eat"]]>

When in Paris, you won't want to miss one of France's greatest attractions, its mouthwatering restaurants. In this haven for foodies, it's hard to keep up with all the hippest new places to dine, though. Thankfully, Bon Appétit has us covered with its article on where to eat with the “cool kids” in Paris. Enjoy!

What’s That? You Want to Eat with the Cool Kids? Right This Way …
You could spend an entire weekend—no, week—eating and drinking in the area around the Canal Saint-Martin, Goncourt and République. We asked our favorite locals at Le Fooding, the opinionated group breaking culinary boundaries with its guidebook and worldwide food events, where they go.

WHERE LE FOODING IS EATING:
Au Passage …for the former Spring chef’s unbeatable three-course lunch of market-driven cuisine, its Thierry Breton bread and its edgy graphics.
Caffé dei Cioppi …for the owners, who left the Plaza Athénée to open the best trattoria in Paris (get the red-wine-and-sausage risotto).
Le Dauphin …or its food-forward bar scene, featuring some of the city’s most adventurous dishes (tandoori octopus, whisky shrimp), and its marriage of two prodigies: architect Rem Koolhaas and Le Chateaubriand chef Inaki Aizpitarte.
Le Verre Volé …for starting the “wine shop cuisine” trend in Paris, casually feeding famous local chefs and American bands among the bottles (all for sale).
Septime …for Bertrand Grébaut’s gorgeous room and provocative dishes, such as veal tartare with fennel and tapenade.
Vivant …for chef Pierre Jancou’s tattoos, his radical natural-wine selection, and his interpretation of the purest Italian products.

WHERE THEY’RE DRINKING:
Aux Deux Amis …for the untouched 1950s Parisian dive-bar setting, the impossibly hot crowd and the amazing Franco-Ibérico tapas.
L’Entrée des Artistes …for some of the best cocktails on the new mixology scene (try the Chicharito), not to mention warm madeleines till the 2:00 a.m. closing time.

WHERE THEY’RE DRINKING:
La Pâtisserie by Cyril Lignac …for the adorable chef-owner and his contemporary interpretations of classic French pastries.

Reprinted with permission from Bon Appetit: “The Insider’s Guide to Paris”

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<![CDATA[A Scent to Remind You That Life Is Beautiful]]>

What’s in a scent? For me, there’s an entire story. A fragrance can recall places, people and feelings. Smell is the strongest sense tied to memory, and for that reason even the perfumes I no longer wear I keep to decorate my vanity, stopping from time to time to revisit them in passing and reminisce in the memories they bring back.

One of those particular memories is when I moved to Paris. After months of anticipation that felt like a lifetime, the day had finally come to bid farewell to California. I didn’t have to make the journey alone, as I had my lovely mother by my side the whole way to make sure I settled in nicely to my new city before seeing me off. Even then I was as nervous as I was excited. Having little idea of what I was getting myself into, my imagination was running wild with all the possibilities that awaited me. I had spent the prior half of the year working in an antique shop saving all my money in a little envelope of dreams of things I wanted to do, see and treat myself to during my first months in Paris. Hoping that it would be such a special time, before we boarded the plane I stopped into an airport shop and let go of the first of my hard earned savings. I purchased a new fragrance to wear in the coming weeks, knowing it would always be characteristic of this monumental era of my life. Even now many years later as I write this story for you, I open the bottle and all the butterflies come rushing back.

Today though, I’m in a new chapter of my story, enjoying living and working in Paris, and excited to be writing for Lancôme. Five years down the line, life in Paris is just as beautiful as I once could only imagine it. It’s only fitting then that my fragrance of the moment would be called La Vie Est Belle. Charming with notes of jasmine and orange blossom, sweet with an essence of vanilla and pear, and bold with hints of patchouli and praline: This is the scent of this season of my life. It’s just rich enough to suit the mood of chillier weather, and just light enough to carry me into the arriving spring. Choosing a scent is so important, whether it’s your signature for the season or many years to come. Even more important than how it presents you to other people is what it means to you. Treat yourself to something special, revel in the beauty of your new fragrance, and let it remind you that life is beautiful…

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<![CDATA[Rendez-vous with Tokyobahnbao]]>

A girl with a pseudonym like Tokyobahnbao is destined to have some personality, and after many years of following her online, I was looking forward to finally meeting this creative artist turned blogger for a Paris Rendez-vous.

As always, I’m a little shy meeting people for the first time, but striking up conversation with someone as friendly as Tokyobahnbao was easy. “What did you think of Lancôme’s collaboration with Albert Elbaz?” I asked the artist. “I loved it!” Elbaz’s colorful and quirky designs decorating Lancôme’s packaging reminded me a bit of Tokyobahnbao’s own illustrations. The fashion blogger is known as much for her art as for her outfits. From fashion personalities to food and more, her published comics (and those just for fun) are equal parts cute and clever. With “Globe-trotteuse” and “Serial Shoppeuse” she has carved out a niche for fashionistas in a genre usually dominated by superheroes. On her website she shares drawings ranging from those of her favorite Paris spots to head-to-toe looks from both street style and the runways.. Lucky for those of us yet to become Francophiles, she translates her adorable blog into English as well.

Paris Rendez-vous

I was curious to know about her life as an artist in Paris.

“I get inspiration from everywhere, but particularly just people I come across in real life.”

During Fashion Week she’s lucky enough to be invited to her favorite shows, “but even when it’s not Fashion Week there are so many stylish people to inspire me here” she says. I asked her how she works: “I sketch out my drawings by hand and then scan them into a digital format. Using Photoshop and a tablet, I color and shade them. That’s where they really come to life.”

When it comes to coloring inside the lines, one can’t help but notice Tokyobahnbao knows a thing or two about makeup, with her perfected winged liquid liner and gorgeous complexion.

“As I get older I tend to dress a bit more simply,” she tells me while wearing an outfit that can be described perfectly as Parisian chic. “I still play with my makeup though, in particular my lips.”

It was serendipitous: This day I happened to come with a little gift for her. Something new from Lancôme, L'Absolu Crème de Mat: a velvety cream lip color that glides on smoothly like a gloss and stays on like a lip stain. Coincidentally it paired beautifully with her accessory du jour — a beautiful leather satchel in the same berry shade.

After an afternoon of getting to know one of my favorite Parisian fashionistas and artists, I couldn’t help but think maybe our makeup is a way to bring out the artist in each of us…

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<![CDATA[Awakening the Senses at The Lancôme Institute]]>

Every now and then I get so busy that I’m swept away by my work life and the hustle and bustle of my 20s here in Paris. At night I turn up exhausted and fall into bed, skipping my skincare routine entirely. In the morning it’s back to go-go-go, and for several days I feel there’s no time to relax and look after myself. My skin shows the first signs of such stress, but soon my mood follows. I struggle to find my center, my focus, my peace of mind. Since a vacation isn’t always feasible to remedy such a rut, the next best thing I know to snap me out of it is a visit to the spa.

Lancôme’s invitation to get acquainted with L’institut Lancôme (The Lancôme Institute) here in Paris came just in time. I was in one of those ruts and my skin was fed up with too little sleep and no tender loving care. It was about time I took some cues from French women, who seem to have mastered always making time for a bit of pampering, or soin as they say. By now I was in desperate need of it, and penciled in a few hours for a morning at the spa.

Paris Rendez-vous

At The Lancôme Institute, science meets the senses. The experience begins as you walk in the door. After a friendly greeting you’re led up the spiral staircase to decompress with a hot herbal tea before beginning your treatment, the first step on your journey to awakening the senses. The relaxing treatment rooms have a comforting cocoon-like feel, draped in cloth and illuminated by an ethereal glow of blues, pinks and lavenders coordinated to each step of your soothing session. I opted for a Rehydrating & Replenishing treatment, restoring the moisture and nutrients my skin had been deprived of, and smoothing the fine lines that appear when I’m too busy to stay hydrated throughout the day. I’m sure the Génifique and Génifique Yeux my therapist applied had something to do with that. After just an hour and a half, I felt rejuvenated, rested and ready to face the rest of the day. Conveniently, on my way out a makeup artist gave me a quick touch of makeup to complement my newly fresh face. Finally, after a light misting of my favorite La Vie Est Belle fragrance, I was ready to face the rest of the day in Paris.

Perhaps you’ll make a rendez-vous at one of Lancôme’s Institutes yourself. Everyone deserves a lovely little indulgence once in a while. Treat yourself — you earned it.

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<![CDATA[Tips for Being the Perfect Parisian Hostess]]>

The French have a special talent for entertaining. I’ve taken some cues from them over the years on the art of the dinner party. After recently throwing my own little dinner soiree, I decided to share some tips for being the perfect Parisian hostess!

THE GUEST LIST
When throwing your dinner party, the first thing to consider is the guest list. In Paris, apartments tend to be small, so a host must be selective and thoughtful with whom they invite. While you may decide to invite a tight knit group of friends, a dinner can be the perfect occasion to make new ones. Be sure to consider the personalities and interests of your guests to ensure they’ll get along. The French will politely offer to bring something such as a bottle of wine (any more than that is considered rude). You are the host, so it’s solely up to you to wine and dine them.

SETTING A DATE
In France, it’s typical to throw dinner parties any day of the week, not just on a weekend. And it need not be a special occasion. Seeing old friends and meeting new ones is occasion enough. A typical dinner invitation is best set for 8 p.m., but dinner should not be served before 9 p.m. Parisians are not always punctual, so don’t get ahead of yourself preparing dinner. The French don’t like to rush!

L’APERO
As guests arrive, greet them with a nice apéro. An apéro is a friendly drink before dinner (and a great way to entertain while you finish up in the kitchen). Champagne is perfect, but wine or beer is fine if your guests prefer either. It’s always good to have something like sparkling water for those who don’t drink alcohol. Some hors d’oeuvres or amuse-bouche will hold your guests over until dinner is served. You can keep it simple with a plate of charcuterie, cornichons (those tiny little pickles), or if you really want to be French, paté!

Paris Rendez-vous

DINNER IS SERVED
Dinner should have at least three courses—a main course, cheese plate and dessert. For my main course, I prefer to cook up something reminiscent of my California roots. I have a family cookbook that I brought with me to Paris. It’s always the perfect place to look for a dish that reminds me of home and adds an extra personal touch to my presentation. After your main dish, a small cheese plate with a selection ranging from mild to strong is commonly served with a baguette and even some chutney or jam. Last but not least, dessert! If you’re baking, keep it simple and rustic. For finer patisseries, French bakers do it best, so it’s more than OK to serve some beautiful tarts. The French touch is all about mastering the art of pairing. Be thoughtful when selecting wines and flavors throughout your meal so each taste complements another.

TABLE TALK
In France there are some unspoken rules about what is polite to discuss at the dinner table. Amongst your closest friends nothing is off limits. Yet in French society, it’s generally polite to avoid topics like money, your diet or health, or your transportation getting there (no one wants to hear about how crowded the metro was). Politics can be a touchy subject, too, but it wouldn’t be a French dinner party without some level of intellectual debate. My tip for striking up dinner table conversation with any crowd? Travel! The French always have something to share about their latest voyages.

Now that you have some dinner tips, it’s time to decide what to wear! Remember, there is no outfit a little Lancôme lipstick can’t add a certain je ne sais quoi to. If you’re ready to throw a dinner party of your own with a little French touch, check back for our next post on Paris Rendez-vous. I’ll share with you some selected recipes from Gourmet’s archives.

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<![CDATA["Paris: City of Light & Love"]]>

With so much to offer in this city, even I need to be reminded of some of my favorite places and can always use new tips to discover new ones. From where to eat, to where to sleep, and some shopping in between, this article has got us covered. In fact, it might just be the perfect Paris itinerary for a romantic weekend in the City of Light.

Memorable meals
For the hottest (and most reasonably priced) gastronomic menu in town, reserve months in advance at chef Yves Camdeborde’s Le Comptoir (9 Carrefour de l’Odéon), near Luxembourg Gardens—where you can later walk off the five-course prix-fixe meal. If you can’t get in, try his wine bar, L’Avant Comptoir, next door. Another favorite is two-Michelin-star Apicius (20, rue d’Artois), where old and new blend, both in cuisine (classic French with innovative touches) and decor (modern chic in an 18th-century mansion). Good cheap eats abound, too: brie and baguettes at La Grande Epicerie Paris (lagrandeepicerie.fr) and buttery croissants at Le Flore en l’Île (42 quai d’Orléans).

Shop-till-you-drop streets
Paris is a shopper’s Shangri-la. You’ll find a cornucopia of fashion at Le Bon Marché (bonmarche.fr), where even the dressing rooms are beautiful, while chic boutiques line the streets of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. A surprising find is Yamina on Ile Saint-Louis (56, rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Île) for colorful clothing and accessories. Paris is also full of vintage treasures. Head to the flea market at Porte de Clignancourt (Saturday to Monday), where a maze of alleys offers everything from classic designer clothing to 18th-century antiques, and Mouton à Cinq Pattes (mouton-a-cinq-pattes.info), a thrift store carrying designer clothing.

Haute hotels
Watch old-world French society rub elbows with the hip designer crowd as you sip a café in La Gallerie. The 86-room Hyatt Paris-Madeleine (888/591-1234 or paris.madeleine.hyatt.com) is close to chic rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore. Check out the lobby restaurant, Café M, a favorite celeb haunt. Even the elevator at L’Hôtel (011-33-1/44-41-99-00 or l-hotel.com), a sexy 20-room jewel in Saint-Germaindes-Prés, will put you in the mood—it barely fits two people. For a private dip, head to the subterranean pool (it rents by the hour and comes decked out in candles—très romantique!). —Nicole Alper

Reprinted with permission from Brides: “Paris—City of Light and Love”

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<![CDATA[Coffee Break in Paris and Beyond]]>

A friendly, Paris rendez-vous is typically proposed in one of two forms; an apéro or a café, meaning a cocktail or a coffee. Either one is perfectly conducive to meeting to talk fashion, share beauty tips or even do a bit of business.

In France, you’re welcome to lounge for hours without so much as a suggestion for the check. I’ve always enjoyed these sort of leisurely rendez-vous punctuating life in Paris. In the afternoons, I’ll often meet a friend or take a meeting over a coffee: a little pick-me-up to get me through the rest of the workday. When on my own, I’ve written some of my favorite articles for Paris-Rendez-vous and Making Magique enjoying a café crème or flat white at my usual cafés and coffee shops.  It’s part of the culture that I’ve really adopted and indulge in even when I’m back in the states. As you can imagine, over the last five years I’ve become a regular at a few places. If you’re in Paris and decide to pause for a coffee break, you might find me in one of these spots enjoying Paris’ finest coffee. In the meantime, for those of you stateside, there are plenty of locations to rival the coffee and pastries of Paris, so I’m sharing my favorite Los Angeles and New York must-go-tos!

Paris Rendez-vousPARIS

Café Coutume, 47 Rue de Babylone Paris 7ème
Coutume opened to enrich the French coffee culture by providing its wide offering of seasonal award-grade coffees. Here, they are truly passionate about the coffee-brewing process. The minimal design inside is a peaceful atmosphere to sit, sip and savor the aromas of fine coffees. The treats are also delicious if you’re up for a snack.

Le Bal Café, 6 Impasse de la Défense, Paris 18ème
The opening of Le Bal Café several years ago marked a new era for this quartier in north Paris. This spot truly brings culture along with its coffee, as the space features art alongside your favorite brew. Hungry, too? The menu does not disappoint.

KB Cafeshop, 62 Rue des Martyrs, Paris 9ème
KB Cafeshop is a great stop in Paris’ trendy Pigalle area. It’s small but welcoming and an ideal place to strike up a conversation with other coffee connoisseurs or catch up on some work. Pair your coffee with one of the scones and you’ll be content enough to stay for hours.

La Caféotheque, 52 Rue de l'Hôtel de ville, Paris 4ème
This is my most regularly visited stop for coffee in the city, as it’s conveniently located in the Marais. It’s a great place to enjoy top quality coffee and sit and write. They have a beautiful green room with a living wall of plants that is unlike anything I’ve seen in the city. If you really love the java, you can purchase some to take home as well!

NEW YORK

Bakeri, 150 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn NY
A sweet little spot with antique European charm serving up delicious hot drinks and a menu of sweet and savory.

Blue Bottle Coffee, 160 Berry Street, Brooklyn NY
Carefully crafted coffee—freshly roasted and served at the peak of its flavor—makes Blue Bottle the place for true connoisseurs to enjoy some of the world’s best coffee.

Jack’s, 138 W. 10th Street, New York NY
Jack’s is a West Village fave I got to know while my sister was living nearby. Known for his special stir-brew method, the coffee and company are always great here.

LOS ANGELES

Bricks & Scones, 403 N Larchmont Boulevard
One of my favorite LA freelancer-friendly spots to sit and work over a mocha and one of its signature scones.

Graffiti, 180 S La Brea Avenue
A stylish and Zen environment passionate about quality coffee, Graffiti is another great place for friends to meet over café in Los Angeles.

Intelligentsia, 3922 W Sunset Boulevard
Intelligentsia’s internationally recognized baristas brew up coffee made to order and craft spectacular espresso drinks always worth waiting in line for. 

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<![CDATA["The Insider’s Guide to Paris: Where to Stay"]]>

Since starting my blog, Making Magique, the most common question I receive is "Where should I stay in Paris?" The city has some of the world’s most extraordinary hotels, big and small. However, you can also rent a Parisian apartment and live like a local during your stay. Get some tips and tricks for staying in the City of Light with this article from Bon Appétit!

Splurge on Food, Not Sleep.
Itʼs true, Paris excels at luxury hotels (Le Bristol, the Ritz, Le Meurice, etc.) like no place else. But you can still stay someplace chic for under $225 a night—no easy feat—without feeling like a backpacker. Check out:

Hotel Amour: A fave of young artists and fashion followers in Montmartre. Think shiny red walls and super-edgy art.

Paris Rendez-Vous

Hotel Joyce: Well-priced design hotel near the Opéra Garnier, the Louvre and Montmartre.

Hotel Thérèse: Quiet, classic-contemporary hotel near the Louvre and the Palais-Royal. —c.m.

Cook (and Live) Like a Local
Reasons to rent an apartment in Paris: They often end up being much more affordable than hotel rooms, especially for families, and are often larger and more private. Plus, they make it easier to pretend you live there (i.e., you can actually buy produce at the market). Hereʼs the crème de la crème of the sources for pieds-à-terre:

Chezvous.com
Specializing in the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th arrondissements.

Haveninparis.com
Luxury rentals around the city.

Parisluxuryrentals.com
Over the top—and still less expensive than a week at Hotel De Crillon.

Perfectlyparis.com
Apartments near the best food-shopping streets in the charming 9th and 18th arrondissements. —a.l.

Reprinted with permission from Bon Appetit: “The Insider’s Guide to Paris”

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<![CDATA[A Parisian Love Affair with Lingerie]]>

There are certain things the French are known for doing very well, such as pastry, couture and skin care. And of course, lingerie! Some even joke that Paris’ most iconic landmark, the Eiffel Tower, resembles a woman’s leg in fishnet stockings and its four feet, a garter belt. I’m sure that is just a coincidence.

The rest, however, is a long and historic affair with lingerie both practical and indulgent. Throughout Europe and America during WWII, lingerie evolved from elaborate corsets and bloomers into what it is today. As men were at war, women went to work, requiring less physically restricting undergarments. Much like makeup with a smoky eye or sultry colored lip, lingerie has since become an asset of seduction, yet another thing the French seem to be known for. In the postwar era, Paris’ fashion houses recognized the desire women had to reconnect with their femininity, and extended their designs into lingerie. A bit of the country’s world-renowned Chantilly lace certainly had a hand in adding a bit of glamour back to the bra and beyond.

Paris Rendez-vous

Alas, here we are in 2014 and the French have held on to their lingerie legacy, as some of the finest designers and manufacturers hail from Paris just like Lancôme. Their flagship boutiques are among the most beautiful shops to visit in the city, especially when on the lookout for the perfect souvenir. Over the years, I’ve become quite the collector, so if you’re looking for something special I know just where you’ll find it. It’s too close a call to say which is my No. 1 destination, so I’m sharing my two top favorite lingerie shops in Paris with you here!

Fifi Chachnil

Step into Fifi’s world of pastel silks and delicate laces. With retro flair and an ultra feminine esthetic, the designer has created a feast for the eyes in all three Paris shops decorated like a fabulous boudoir fit for a movie star.

Chantal Thomass

A household name, Chantal Thomass is sometimes called the Parisian queen of lingerie. The iconic designer’s boutique on the Rue Saint Honoré has become a landmark in its own right over the years. Its beautiful ornate façade alone is alluring, and the delightful collection of corsets, stockings, garters and more does not disappoint either.

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<![CDATA["Treasure Hunting: Editors’ Favorite Flea Markets"]]>

After introducing you to the joy of treasure hunting at Paris' brocantes and flea markets in my last post, I thought I would share with you Gourmet's favorite spots to do just that. Between the two of us, you'll know just where to look for that special souvenir.

LES PUCES DE SAINT-OUEN
Saturday through Monday
(More commonly known as Clignancourt, or simply as Les Puces. Note that there are a number of markets within Les Puces and numerous stands within each market.)
7 R. Jules-Vallès (Marché des Antiquaires); between Porte de St.-Ouen and Porte de Clignancourt, just outside the 18th.

At Marché Serpette (110 R. des Rosiers), I often frequent Le Monde du Voyage (Allée 3, Stand 15), where I rummage through a bin of old (mostly Hermès) scarves. If you have a bit more money, the vintage luggage—old steamer trunks, Hermès bags, pieces from Goyard—is wonderful. The stand doesn’t try to pass them off as new or never worn; they show the previous lives they have lived and are all the richer for it. —Amy Koblenzer

Paris Rendez-Vous

Françoise Schuler (Allée 1, Stand 33), at the Marché Vernaison (136 Ave. Michelet), has the most wonderful 18th- and 19th-century clothing, tablecloths and napkins. Everything is irresistible, and nothing was made later than 1930. —Ruth Reichl

Marie-Louise von Krusenstierna (first floor, Stand 195), at the Marché Dauphine (140 R. des Rosiers), is a fabulous vintage-photo dealer with very fair prices. At Nicole Aker’s Ma Maison (Stand 119), in the Marché Malassis (142 R. des Rosiers), the specialty is French housewares and kitchenware from the 1950s. It’s all reasonably priced and incredibly fun. —Alexander Lobrano

At the Marché Paul Bert (96 R. des Rosiers), you’ll find old cocoa and tea tins; boxy, crane-necked Jieldé architect’s lamps from the 1950s; cast-off school desks; and rusted, curlicued wrought-iron garden doors. The best deals are to be found at Le Passage (20 R. Jules-Vallès), which specializes in items (anything from wooden plane propellers to porcelain door knobs to 1970s psychedelic textiles) requiring serious refurbishment. —Marisa Robertson-Textor

Monday mornings at Clignancourt, everything is picked over, but it’s quiet, and I always find something that makes my heart sing. (Also, look in Pariscope for information on public brocantes , where there’s all sorts of sublime secondhand stuff.) —Jessica Harris

MARCHÉ POPINCOURT
Monday through Sunday
R. du Marché-Popincourt, 11th.
There’s an area in the 11th, around the Rue du Marché-Popincourt, where a group of collectibles dealers sells all sorts of architectural stuff. —Kemp Minifie

MARCHÉ D’ALIGRE
Monday through Saturday
Place d’Aligre, 12th.
This is great in part because it’s so unlike Clignancourt: not fancy, more like a bunch of yard sales set up on tables. —K.M.

MARCHÉ AUX PUCES DE MONTREUIL
Saturday through Monday
Ave. de la Porte de Montreuil, 20th.
“Used” bikes tend to turn up here. —Kate Winslow

MARCHÉ AUX PUCES DE LA PORTE DE VANVES
Saturday and Sunday
Ave. Georges-Lafenestre at Ave. Marc-Sangnier, 14th.
This market, where stalls and tables are simply set up on two intersecting streets, is especially good for glassware, crockery, porcelain and copper cookware, for linens—soft French tea towels, tablecloths—and for quirky things like tin canister sets and hooks and handles. The vendors aren’t necessarily the same on Saturday and Sunday, so you can go both days. —J.H.

PUCES DU DESIGN
Two weekends a year
Quai de la Loire, on the banks of the Bassin de la Villette, 19th.
This market, specializing in 20th-century furniture, clothing, and objets d’art , takes place two weekends a year, in May or June and October. Big-game hunters will find their Saarinen and Eames, but there’s something for everyone. A service ferries visitors up the Canal St.-Martin from La Bastille. —M.R.T.

Reprinted with permission from Gourmet: “An Antique Table”

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<![CDATA[Thrifting at Paris’ Best Spots for Antique and Vintage Treasures]]>

I like my cities with a bit of history. Perhaps I didn’t get enough of it growing up in Southern California. Everything there seems so new compared to Europe. Now in Paris, history is abundant.

You’re surrounded by it in the streets and visit it in museums and at monuments. You can even own little pieces of it from one of the city’s various brocantes and marché aux puces, or, as they’re known in America, flea markets. I’m no stranger to the world of antiques. As you might recall me mentioning, before moving to Paris I spent a year in an antique shop in California, working and saving up for my move. I look back on it fondly, and made some dear friends there. Antique dealers are always interesting characters. I like people who value the past, and don’t just toss things by the wayside. In addition to friendship, these dealers taught me a lot about antiquing, from hunting treasures to identifying each piece’s age and origin. I put that knowledge to good use each time I visit my favorite brocantes and marché aux puces in Paris. When I’m not in the market for anything in particular, I go just to be inspired—and for the element of discovery. As I pass by or pop in for a visit, I strike up conversations with some of the vendors, reminding me fondly of my old friends. As it turns out, for me there’s a bit of history in California after all.

Paris Rendez-vous

When it comes to Paris, here are my top picks for antiques and great vintage finds:

•  Porte de Vanves is the first flea market I ever visited in Paris, and to this day still my favorite. Prices here are slightly more affordable than other markets, and ideal for finding art, books, small furniture and other items for the home. It’s a weekend market, so pop by before noon on Saturday or Sunday.

•  Clignancourt might be the most famous flea market in the world. Rightly so as it’s practically a small town, with roads and passages lined with specialty vendors. It’s really an area comprised of many markets, and among the best are the Puces de Saint Ouen and Marché Paul Bert. Anything you can dream, you’ll find here as long as you’re willing to look hard enough! At Paul Bert, there’s a café that is the perfect place to pause during your day at Clignancourt.

•  Village Saint Paul is not only one of the most charming areas of the city, but also home to some of the loveliest brocantes. Between rue de Rivoli and the Seine, rue Saint Paul is lined with tiny shops stuffed with treasures. Au Petit Bonheur de Chance is among my favorites. Most Sundays in a large courtyard just off the street you’ll also find a flea market with even more to shop and explore.

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<![CDATA[Sleeping Beauty, Ageless Beauty]]>

There is a beauty in aging. As we grow a bit older we should treasure the added wisdom that life experience continually brings. After all, we've had more time to get to know ourselves, and feel more confident of who we are.

If you're like me, you might enjoy discovering that your face has slimmed down a bit to reveal a more sophisticated and womanly look more fitting of how you feel. I've found even a wrinkle or two can be of service walking into a boardroom or interview, reassuring people that you've spent some years getting the experience to call yourself a professional. Of course aging also requires a bit more finesse and the knowledge to embrace it as you please. French women seem to be masters of this, and I am lucky some of them have bestowed their knowledge and guidance upon me. Paired with the insights of my own mother and all the right products from Lancôme, I feel more than ready for the years ahead. I take it one day at a time, beginning before I've even gone to sleep.Paris Rendez-vous

Before bed, I take a moment to treat my skin so I can sleep soundly knowing I've done my best caring for it. It's a therapeutic ritual I take pride in, preparing my body and mind to make the most of beauty sleep each night when skin rests and repairs itself. After a thorough cleansing comes treating, and after that, a healthy dose of rest. From bedtime to rise-and-shine, here are my daily tips to achieve ageless beauty with radiant, smooth and healthy skin.

FOR NIGHT

•  TREAT YOURSELF — Before bed, use Lancôme's Génifique Night Repair. Each morning, apply Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Serum all over your face for radiant and smooth skin, followed by Génifique Eye-Light Pearl to illuminate your eyes.
•  SLEEP WELL — Sleep at least seven hours (ideally eight), allowing your skin, your body and your mind to de-stress and repair.
•  SLEEP RIGHT — Whenever possible, sleep flat on your back to avoid scrunching your face into a pillow. Years of doing so can cause unwanted wrinkles. Sleeping on your back also allows gravity to work its magic, encouraging skin to stay taught.

FOR DAY

•  PROTECT — Wear moisturizer or foundation with SPF, especially in spring and summer.
•  YOUR NECK — With anti-aging we focus mostly on our face, but don't forget about your neck and chest. Moisturize, protect and treat your décolletage as this skin is just as important.
•  WEAR SUNGLASSES — When the sun is out and you're without your shades, you'll inevitably squint. Years of that will contribute to crow's feet and other unwanted wrinkles, so be wise and wear sunglasses.

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<![CDATA[Unique Style, Right Down to Your Fingertips]]>

Audrey is another American in Paris, one who has become more popularly known as Frassy. Her quirky pseudonym embodies the spontaneous overflow of fashion that is her philosophy on all things personal style. With such as an approach, she stands out in Paris. That, and the fact that we're both Americans in a foreign place, made it just a matter of time before our paths crossed. When they did, it was the beginning of a great friendship.

Before we met, Audrey had already been chronicling her sartorial adventures on her website for some time before fashion blogging had grown into the industry it is today. She was a regular feature popping up in your favorite magazines and even on the cover of the first book published on fashion blogging. Somehow, I managed to miss all the buzz. When we met at a charity event and exchanged cards, I discovered her fashion universe online and completely in…like Alice down the rabbit hole.

Le Brunch in Paris

With her, it was a world of colors, textures, prints and shapes like I had never seen before, and a closet that had overtaken her home to curate every wall with her personal style. An international girl, Audrey takes influence from all parts of her exciting young life. Her unabashed individualism is an American trait, while her love of color comes from adolescent and teen years spent growing up in a vibrant corner of Spain. After studying in England, a certain quirk and East London edge only added to her look. And now...Paris! Like me, Audrey moved to Paris to be creatively inspired. Just like it has inspired Lancôme and myself over the years, this city inspired Audrey to launch her own fashion label, Audrey Leighton.

Without a doubt, Audrey's home here for the last four years has had some style influence best evidenced by slightly more somber palettes, sophisticated tailoring, and of course a love of French labels. Yet her current style is more of an evolution than anything else, as her Frassy philosophy still shines through. And today, it's shining right down to her fingertips! Although it was a rainy day, as it often is in Paris this time of year, I noticed immediately that even with her practical Parisian outfit suited to the weather, she had a pop of violette coquette color on her hands and lips — a Lancôme gift from me several weeks prior. I wasn't surprised, as Audrey always extends her style to her manicure and makeup palette, coordinating her outfits, trying the latest trendy color, or even her favorite, polka dots! Once again, her style had me inspired, and I snapped some photos.

What makes Audrey a great friend runs deeper than that though. From her style to her friendship, she believes women should chase their dreams, and find their individuality. Her style is just one more way of telling that to the world.

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<![CDATA[Fact and Fiction: A Few of My Favorite Books Set in Paris]]>

In Paris, the imagination reacts sooner than one can stop it—especially if you’re a writer. For this reason it’s certain the city will never fail to go down in history, in not one, but hundreds of versions. Its splendor sets the perfect scene for stories both real and imagined to play out, some that have become my favorite reads. From the classics to “chick-lit,” seeing Paris from the perspective of many different writers only reminds me how much I’ve still to discover here. Here are some of my favorite Paris reads:

“Almost French: Love & Life in Paris” by Sarah Turnbull

Le Brunch in Paris

I read Sarah’s account of transitioning her life into France from Australia before I moved to Paris myself. While she came for love, I enjoyed how she made Paris completely her own experience in the novel. Amused by all the peculiarities and charm of her new city, she recounts anecdotes of life in the Marais, remodeling a tiny Parisian apartment, learning the language, and many more cultural nuances, including some fashion and beauty observations. It’s a lovely and light-hearted read for anyone curious about what day-to-day life in Paris is truly like.

“A Moveable Feast” by Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway wrote, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” He would know, as his sometimes-fictional memoir is inspired by the years he lived in and wrote about the city. From the change of seasons to his favorite cafes, like Café De Flore, Les Deux Magots, Le Dôme and others, Hemingway’s history is still living in Paris today as we can visit these same shops and cafes. His work demonstrates that in every Parisian story, Paris is both a setting and character. It’s a classic that anyone who has traveled to, lived in, or aspired to visit Paris must read.

J’adore Paris by Isabelle Lafleche

Isabelle Lafleche’s delightful story of a Parisian newly returned to her hometown from New York City has all the glamour one would expect from a novel set in the city of lights. Couture and romance dazzle the life of Catherine, who works in high fashion and lives in a beautiful Parisian flat with her handsome French beau. Readers chase the suspense page by page when Catherine finds out her new high-profile job is more dangerous than she ever imagined. I can’t wait to see what is next for this character.

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<![CDATA[Le Brunch…in Paris!]]>

Whether you’re in France or America, there is no dispute that brunch isn’t just a meal—it’s an event. Lately, I’m not much a of a night owl on the weekends. I prefer my beauty rest, which means I am more than prepared to pop out of bed Sunday mornings and get glammed up for a rendez-vous with friends, clients or the latest issue of VOGUE at one of my favorite brunch spots. For me it’s the perfect excuse to put on something nice, get out and pay no mind to the time.

Le Brunch in Paris There are plenty of places ranging from casual to chic, and popular to well-kept secrets, that I frequent. Some of my recommendations are either longstanding favorites or new discoveries. If you decide to give them a try when you’re in town, don’t be surprised if you find me there with a few of my best friends…

Rose Bakery | 3rd / 9th/ 11th arrondissments

Rose Bakery has a delicious farm-fresh vibe. The food is both healthy and tasty combining British and French influences indicative of the multinational owners and friendly staff. Any of their egg dishes are scrumptious. I also love their freshly made juices and baked treats like scones, carrot cake and more.

Barbershop | 11th arrondissement

Another great spot that merges the best of two worlds. This cozy yet hip place in the edgier east of Paris lets you choose between a traditional French or traditional English breakfast. And there are plenty of other options on the menu too.

Le Comptoir Général | 10th arrondissement

I’m not a huge fan of buffets, but the Comptoir Generale’s brunch is an eclectic and unique experience. In their large and eclectic warehouse-like space tucked away off the Canal Saint Martin, there is a family-friendly and social atmosphere that you can enjoy for hours with friends.

Hotel Costes | 1st arrondissement

If you’re in the mood for something swankier, I always love the ambience on the terrace at Hotel Costes. The food and white tablecloths are all quite traditional, but the clientele can be anything but. It’s a fun spot to people-watch, and during the day, a nice sanctuary of calm amidst the busy city.  

La Loire dans La Théiere | 4th arrondissement

This might be the place I recommend the most of all in Paris, not just because it’s in my neighborhood but because I’ve never found anywhere quite like it. Brunch offers delicious savory tarts with rustic ingredients, or fresh mint and herb omelets among other things. Add a hot chocolate or rose tea and your brunch is complete!

La Favorite | 4th arrondissement

When I don’t feel like going too far or planning ahead, I run down to La Favorite. The corner café is quite similar to Le Charlot, and a great meeting spot for friends to join up on Sunday morning from across the city. The menu covers everything from eggs Benedict to breakfast sandwiches and more lunch-style items. It’s always a trusty go-to.

Eggs & Co. | 6th arrondissement

The name says it all — enjoy eggs of any style a la whatever you like! Their coffees are delicious as well, served with a chocolate-covered marshmallow bear that is a very cute touch!

Breakfast in America | 4th and 5th arrondissement

If you’re in Paris and really in need of a native meal, Breakfast in America is the place to go. Their typical American diner breakfast will make you feel like you’re anywhere but Paris. With your cup of joe accompanied by stacks of pancakes, waffles and breakfast burritos, it’s hard to leave here hungry.

Pamela Popo | 4th arrondissement

Pamelo Popo is a darling place to stop in for any meal or even just drinks, but their brunch is especially delicious with fresh-squeezed juices, gourmet bagel plates and plenty of egg options. The décor is feminine, quirky and colorful, and sure to start your day off on a cheery note!

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<![CDATA[Close Encounter with Louise Ebel]]>

Louise is a young woman whose face many know before her name. On the pages of your favorite magazine or a recent campaign from a French fashion house, her doe-eyed glance and poise aren’t easily overlooked.

Through the years as her alias Miss Pandora, we’ve watched her assume many roles in her photographs, for which she is both a muse and creative director in combination with various photographers. Despite the vast array of costumes, decades and attitudes she’s embodied, one thing stood out to me each time.

Miss Pandora

A signature beauty look of perfectly porcelain skin.

Her complexion is so doll-like I wondered if she was real at all to actually manifest on the afternoon of our rendez-vous. Low and behold she did, and incredibly punctual for a parisienne. Emerging from the Boulevard Montmarte during the harshest of the season’s weather, she was as much a vision as ever. As we headed up to the first-floor retreat of the Haussmanian building that was our location of the day, she recounted openly to me her personal skin woes that any woman could relate to—havoc from the elements and stress of city living. Despite appearance, Louise is a very real girl whose candid manner face-to-face charmed me as much as the allure of her picture-perfect appearance in photographs. As we discussed, she revealed how she manages the two: with a disciplined approach to skincare and a trusty makeup application she has down pat.

LOUISE’S BEAUTY PICKS FOR A PORCELAIN COMPLEXION

1.  Dreamtone
2.  Teint Visionnaire
3.  Dual Finish Powder

Throughout an afternoon of playing with products and posing for pictures, Louise enlightened me to her other passions, art history and writing. You see in a way, beauty is her business, being in front of the camera so constantly. On working on Miss Pandora full time she said, “I feel so lucky. I love what I do. If ever a day comes that I don’t or it doesn’t work, I’ll write books.” Novels that is, stories for young women in America and Asia about Paris and Parisians as dreamy as they imagine both to be. Take it from me that Louise is one of them. Beautiful, stylish and cultured, she is Paris-perfect.

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<![CDATA[Shakespeare & Company: A place that reminds me of home…]]>

It seems a paradox that such an iconic Paris landmark as Shakespeare & Company would remind an American like me of home. Nothing about the bookstore’s antique façade, view of Notre Dame or stone-walled interiors say America. The familiarity is stacked upon its shelves as it houses the greatest words ever written in the English language, words that Americans in Paris might miss more than they would like to admit.

I imagine it was such a longing that led Sylvia Beach, a New Jersey native, to open the original Shakespeare & Company in 1919. That, and certainly her love of books. American writers of the “Lost Generation” found a home here like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound. In “A Moveable Feast,” Ernest Hemingway recounts how Sylvia lent the then unknown writer books for free as he struggled to get his career off the ground while working as a journalist in Paris.

Shakespeare and Company

Nearly a century later, the Shakespeare & Company of today is actually a reinvention of the original. A decade or so after its closure during World War II, George Whitman reopened another bookshop inspired by Sylvia Beach’s original, eventually renaming it in tribute. It’s not the only thing George named after the original. He even bestowed the name Sylvia upon his daughter, who runs the Shakespeare & Company of today with the same philosophy of the first Sylvia. Selected writers and readers from across the world are invited to board at the shop during their stay in Paris. On the table outside, the books that could no longer fit on the shelves are given away for free. I share two common languages with the people here; English and literature. It’s a comfort speaking both with the staff and other Americans who come to the shop, as we pull our favorite novels in their original versions from the shelves, asking one another where they’re from and how they ended up here.

The more years I spend in Paris, the more it feels like home. When I’m away I find myself searching for little things that remind me of it here. Inversely, when in France I seek out reminders of my American roots. Somehow in this little bookstore the two merge. When in need of that or just a good read, I come here and take a seat outside, making myself at home in the pages of my favorite books.

Speaking of home, for our next Paris Rendez-vous, Lancôme and I have decided to share with you another excerpt from Brides article “Paris—City of Light and Love.” Catch the first half here if you missed it. See you then!

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<![CDATA[“The Insider’s Guide to Paris: Food of the New France”]]>

When in Paris, do everything in style, dining included! Lucky enough to be in the city for Fashion Week? Planning a future itinerary? Find the time for some of our favorite eats fit for the chic in this article I’ve selected to share with you this week…

The next generation of great bistros is about bare-bones spaces on untouristed blocks (this is the address…right?), where you’ll find brief but desirable, shockingly affordable menus prepared by bed-headed chefs in jeans. This is the food of the new France: plays on international classics made with all of the technique but a fraction of the attitude. Rabbit is rolled into an unforgettable take on porchetta, served with a mustardy frisée salad and, where the beets should be, a smear of ruby purée. Shrimp are flash-cooked in butter and “smoked” with a splash of Scotch whisky. As for dessert, the French can still do no wrong. Get a taste of the avant-garde.

New York Accent
Clearly the only thing missing in Paris was a place with a taxidermied deer on the wall, maybe some Edison bulbs (“urban woodsman” décor). The surprise is how well the vibe travels. New York chef Kevin OʼDonnnell left Mario Bataliʼs Del Posto to open LʼOffice near the Folies Bergère and brought the look with him. As for the food, it’s European country fare, like rabbit porchetta or a deboned osso buco.

Living on the Edge
Le Pantruche’s young chef, Franck Baranger, takes the best of what he learned about cooking, omits the pretension and the high prices, and delivers excellent translations of traditional bistro food. The oyster tartare, the sea bass roasted with tandoori spices and preserved lemon, the thick pork chop with a mustard pan sauce—it’s equal parts reverent and inventive. The vibe is friendly and laidback. Hard to believe, but yes, you’re still in Paris.

American in Paris
For a long time, American chefs went to Paris to prove they could cook French food. Finally thereʼs a couple who bring American food here, and proudly. Seattle expats Braden Perkins and Laura Adrian had so much success with their underground supper club that they opened Verjus in a stunning 1870 triplex. Adrian runs the tiny wine bar on the ground floor, which features small plates. Upstairs, Perkins sends out a produce-centric tasting menu, filled with dishes like grilled Basque pork belly with semolina gnocchi, Korean-style green onion salad and apple labneh. This is (cosmopolitan American) food worth crossing the Atlantic for.

This Woman Has Eaten Every Pastry in Town—Follow Dorie Greenspan, author of “Paris Sweets” and “Around My French Table”
Paris is a sweets-lover’s town, and the sweetest way to get to know it is to go on a pastry hop (preferably on a Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, when all these shops are open). Start at the top of Paris at the talented and adorable Gontran Cherrier’s shop in Montmartre, and munch your way to the romantic shop that is Du Pain et Des Idées. The apple turnovers or the pains au chocolat—especially the ones with banana—are not to miss. Now it’s time for Blé Sucré, near the Marché d’Aligre. Fabrice Le Bourdat’s madeleines are the best in town, and I love that they’re glazed.

Then cross the Seine and head directly to Hugo & Victor. After gasping over the museum-like displays and the chocolate boxes that look like Moleskine notebooks, treat yourself to any one of the seasonal sweets and, no matter what the month, a triangular grapefruit tartlet.

Reprinted with permission from Bon Appetit.

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<![CDATA[Honoring International Women’s Day]]>

Lancôme and I believe that every day should be a celebration of women, and as part of the beauty industry, every day is. Each day we’re inspired by all the ways women are beautiful, working to bring them the highest quality cosmetics across the globe and remind them that they are and deserve to be beautiful.

From the classroom to the boardroom, from homemakers to thrill seekers, there is no limit to what women can be and the ways they inspire us. Today in particular is an extra special day to celebrate the Lancôme woman and all the women of the world: International Women’s Day.

In France this annual celebration has officially been a tradition for nearly 60 years, as a day to bring attention to issues women still confront in certain parts of the world, as well as be grateful to the women and men who worked to achieve equality for women throughout the last century. Lastly, it is of course a day to give thanks to the special women in our own lives.

For each of us, there are certain women that have been paramount in our lives. For me, that’s my own mother, Jermaine. (You might notice I look just like she did at my age.) I collect and keep all the vintage and retro portraits we have of her so she is close even when we are far apart, she in California and I in France. In addition to her long blonde locks and dark brows, she’s also given me unconditional love and encouragement that I can be and achieve whatever I want. There are so many women that inspire me though, playing important roles in ways big and small throughout my life, and today I am celebrating them too.

Lancôme and I wanted to find a unique way to honor women on this special day, and what better way to do so than with the gift of beauty. In stores, Lancôme has created a special-event look with a fresh palette featuring L’Absolu Rouge lip color in “Misty Rose” and a hint of blush. In addition, Lancôme will be gifting roses to visitors, the feminine symbol of the house for more than 40 years now. I too wanted to take part in the giving, so I bought a dozen roses to offer to a handful of the women I’m thankful for today. We hope you will join us in this annual celebration in honor of women around the world…

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<![CDATA[“Your New Sexiest Color Red”]]>

Whether it's lipstick, an accessory or a whole ensemble, red exudes confidence and style. I shared with you earlier this week the cayenne shade of red I’ve been reaching for lately to warm up my wardrobe and beauty look. If you’re ready to do the same, here's an article I've handpicked for more ideas on wearing the vibrant power color this Valentine’s Day, and all season long...

Your New Sexiest Color Red!
Red lipstick should be every woman’s sultry secret weapon. These tricks customize red makeup for your skin tone—you’ll love how it looks on you.
By Tram Kim Nguyen

Everyday red
Even the least shy makeup color on the planet can be worn subtly. Apply a deep red. Blot until you’re left with a pretty berry stain. For cheeks, “run a fluffy brush over red-wine powder blush, swipe it across a tissue, then dust on,” says NYC makeup artist Ana Marie. Your finishing touches: black liquid liner and black mascara.

Your New Sexiest Red

Make your red last
On lips: A weird-but-good trick: “Once you’re happy with your lipstick, take an ice cube and run it along your lips,” says Ana Marie. “As cold and watery as it is, I swear it works—the color will never bleed.”
On cheeks: If blush tends to slide off (often the case with oilier skin), try a cheek stain; dab it on with a sponge.
On nails: Be sure they’re clean or your red won’t stick. Singleton does this on every client: (1) Remove old polish; (2) wash hands with soap and water; (3) swipe nails with a pad soaked in astringent. Then do your two coats. For extra chip protection, “swipe the polish brush horizontally across the top edge of your nail,” she advises.

4 ways to wear it
1. Scarlet fingernails and a black suit
2. Classic red lipstick and jeans
3. Rosy cheeks and very black lashes
4. Deep red toenails in peekaboo pumps

Your most flattering shade
Fair skin: A pink-y red looks best.
Medium skin: If you have medium coloring, reach for a true scarlet red.
Olive skin: Choose a deep wine red.
Dark skin: Pick orangey or brownish reds to play up skin.

Kiss-ready red
The how-tos: (1) Go sheer but shiny; try Lancôme Color Fever Lip Gloss in Mercury Rising. (2) Wear said color around cute guy. (3) You don’t need us to tell you what to do next!

City-chic red
“This season you’ll look put together—not cheesy—if you match your lipstick and nail polish,” says Ana Marie. To get lips lush, line yours with red pencil, then apply matching lipstick straight from the tube—it’s the only way to get such intensity. Keep nails short and round.

Reprinted with permission from Condé Nast archive: “Your New Sexiest Color Red.”

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<![CDATA[Rendez-vous With My Very Own Valentine]]>

Valentine was my very first parisienne friend. This is a very distinct moment in my life because I remember how nervous I was for our first rendez-vous. Somewhere after exchanging some emails and following one another’s adventures between our blogs, Hello It’s Valentine and Making Magique, I ended up making her a hat.

I have been known to do a DIY from time-to-time, but this was a very special hat—a straw boater I found and adorned with one-of-a-kind satin ribbon—that I had been hanging onto for something special. Valentine was to come pick it up on her way to the train station for her summer vacation in Provence, and I was to meet her at the entrance of the Metro. I knew it would be quick, but seeing as French was still a challenge for me, I practiced the words I would say over and over again in my head on the way there. When we both arrived I had totally forgotten them, but we got on so well those first five minutes, we decided to meet again in the near future. We have been dear friends ever since.

Artliner

The things that struck me about Valentine on day one still stand out to me now. Despite the many different haircuts and outfits she has shared with us over the years, her petite but incredibly poised stature, her vibrant smile and her beautiful brown almond eyes perfectly framed with cat-eye liquid liner have always been there. While the first two are inherent, the latter she is very adamant about wearing each and every day. I have even been on photo shoots with her where makeup artists suggested something other than her beloved winged eyeliner, and she refused. I like a lady who knows what she likes and who she is, unafraid to say so politely. As a result, this perfectly formed cat eye has become her signature beauty look.

On this day over three years after our first rendez-vous, Valentine and I met for a bit of beauty talk. I thought I’d see if she would give something new a try after all, without straying too far from the look we love her in. I brought along Lancôme Liner Design in Purple Jewels and Indigo Darling, and just in case that was pushing my luck, Artliner 24H in several shades. We especially loved the liner in shimmering Copper, a striking complement to her amber eyes and a romantic look meant to last from day to night. Valentine noted the strongly pointed shape of Lancôme’s Artliner 24H brush, teaching me how essential it is to getting the perfect cat-eye shape. Would she wear this copper version of her romantic cat-eye look again? “Bien sûr!” said Valentine, for an evening out with her sweetheart this Valentine’s Day, which fittingly happens to be her namesake.

Turns out, trying something different was a hit with Valentine after all. Those really are the best kind of friends, the ones true to themselves while still surprising you after all these years…

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<![CDATA[A Hint of Cayenne Warms Up a Parisian Classic]]>

For each of us with our respective cities, there are certain things, big or small, reoccurring and inspiring us. Paris possesses enough detail to design a collection around each corner you cross.

Yet it’s often the overall lightness of its white buildings and grey-blue rooftops that are said to encourage the average inhabitant to contrast it with a somber Parisian palette of dress. Personally, even after a half decade here, the California girl in me still refuses to shy away from color. I see the city’s brightest corners as my greatest wardrobe inspirations.

Cayenne

This season cayenne keeps catching my eye, from the occasional historic façade of a bakery, to a row of café chairs, to a beautiful shade of lipstick on a chic passerby. This stunning red hue with a hint of orange and a dash of pink borders on classic and daring. Which is exactly how I’ve decided to wear this currently trending color. Enter the trench, an iconic French wardrobe staple most commonly found in shades of khaki and grey. I figure midwinter, the city has enough shades of grey under the cover of cold and clouds. I’d rather complement its more colorful side whenever I can. So I’ve been stepping out with a different take on this Parisian look, in that very bold shade of cayenne, warming up my wardrobe and the streets of Paris now. There’s no better way to accessorize such a statement piece than with shades of lipstick as vibrant as Lancôme’s Color Design in Fearless or L’Absolu Rouge in Rouge Caprice.

My what-to-wear item of choice is actually an heirloom. My grandmother purchased this beautiful cayenne suede trench coat in Beverly Hills in the 1970s, wearing it many ways before passing it on to my mom. Somehow over the years this beautiful statement piece made its way here to live with me. Surely they didn’t imagine back then it would end up making a style statement in Paris. I guess it’s only fitting though to somehow merge these places yet again. It seems to be my way…

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<![CDATA[My Favorite Paris Destinations]]>

It seems like an anecdote fit for France, but indeed I was in California the day I met a boy in a coffee shop who taught me all I needed to know about Paris’ geography. “You live in Paris? I’m moving there!” I exclaimed, as if it was fate to find this rare breed on my side of the world.

He took his napkin and pen and began to draw what appeared to be a large snail, or escargot as the French would say. Spiraling out, he mapped Paris’ twenty arrondissements, finally adding a thin line across the middle proclaiming “the Seine, it’s the river” and labeling its respective sides Rive Gauche and Rive Droite.

As many ways as there are to geographically divide Paris, the city is incredibly united where each neighborhood transitions into the next seamlessly. Historically the world has viewed it in these two parts, the Right Bank and the Left Bank. The larger Rive Droite in the north makes room for the majority of the city’s most frequented tourist attractions and commerce. Meanwhile, the smaller Rive Gauche on the south side of the Seine became home to artists and intellectuals among its galleries and universities, emerging with a unique style that the late and great Yves Saint Laurent sought to capture in his Rive Gauche collections.

Laugh

While immune to much change, as its charm seems eternally preserved, Paris has evolved through the years, shifting these lines to define the city in new ways. Today it’s best understood by the traditional and chic west and the edgy and emerging east. Fittingly, I’ve landed somewhere spot in the middle of the two, in the heart of Paris in a neighborhood called the Marais, a geographical and stylistic compromise between these two sides that seems to resonate with many expats like myself. In Paris, your arrondissement says a lot about who you are and what you like. Here’s a run down of what you might need to know, grouping them into 11 general areas for planning activities along with some of my favorite things to visit in each…

The Tuileries to Opéra

•    SHOP along the Rue Saint Honoré and Printemps
•    EAT at Le Soufflé
•    VISIT the Place Vendôme, the Tuileries and the Palais Royale

The Champs-Elysées


•    VISIT the Arc de Triumphe for an incredible view
•    SHOP on the fashionable Avenue Montaigne

The Marais

•    EAT at La Loire dans La Théière
•    SHOP at Joy and Merci
•    VISIT the Musée du Carnavalet
•    DRINK at Mary Celeste

Ile Saint Louis & Ile de la Cité

•    VISIT Le Pont Saint Louis to listen to “La Vie En Rose”
•    EAT ice cream at Bertillon
•    VISIT the peaceful gardens behind Notre Dame to see it from another side

The Latin Quarter


•    EAT some French candies at Le Bonbon au Palais
•    SHOP the fresh market at Place Monge
•    VISIT the Jardin du Luxembourg

St. Germain-des-Pres


•    EAT at Café de Flore
•    SHOP at Sonia Rykiel and other great boutiques along Boulevard Saint-Germain
•    VISIT the Musée d’Orsay

Montparnasse


•    EAT at the traditional brasserie La Coupole
•    SHOP nearby at Le Bon Marché

Trocadéro

•    VISIT Trocadéro itself to enjoy the view of the Eiffel Tower
•    EAT at La Carette
•    VISIT the Champs de Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower just across the bridge

Pigalle & Montmartre


•    EAT & DRINK at the Hotel Amour
•    SHOP along the Rue des Martyrs
•    VISIT the Sacré Coeur

Bastille

•    EAT at Le Square Trousseau
•    SHOP unique boutiques along the Rue de Charonne
•    DRINK at Pause Café

Belleville

•    EAT & DRINK at Mama Shelter
•    VISIT the Buttes Chaumont

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<![CDATA[Paris Pratique! Language of Love: Introduction and tips to becoming a Francophile]]>

It is often said that French is the “language of love,” appropriately so because beyond the romance, it is truly a labor of love to learn. While I had some lessons before moving to France, it took much more than a bit of studying to become fluent.

Picking up any second language as an adult takes the four P’s; practice, persistence, patience and passion. The way the r’s roll off the back the tongue, the pursing of the lips with every vowel and the blending of words are all things that make French beautiful as well as challenging.

Laugh

When in Paris, you might find yourself in need of some basic phrases to get by. Don’t be shy, as despite a sometimes-intimidating reputation, the French respect even imperfect attempts at the language. While many are happy to speak English, it is always kind to greet them in French and demonstrate your cosmopolitan attitude. As for the rumored sentiments towards Americans in France, stereotypes exist anywhere in the world. You will be pleasantly surprised to find these have been greatly exaggerated over the years. With good manners and a few essential phrases, you will be a very welcome patron in any corner of this beautiful country.

Since practice makes perfect, let’s begin with a fun little lesson. Whether you’re preparing for a trip, serious about becoming fluent in French or just learning for fun, here’s a quick lesson and my personal tips for becoming a Francophile…

In general...

Bonjour / Bonsoir → Hello / Good evening

S’il vous plait → Please

Merci, beaucoup → Thank you much

Je vous en prie / De rien → You’re welcome

Au revoir / Bonne nuit → Goodbye / Goodnight

In the street...

Excusez-moi, parlez vous anglais ? → Excuse me, do you speak English?

Pouvez-vous m’aider? → Could you help me?

Je cherche… → I’m looking for...

In a restaurant...

Un carafe d’eau, s’il vous plait → Some water, please

Je voudrais… → I would like…

Où sont les toilettes? → Where is the restroom?

In a shop...

Combien ça coûte? → How much does that cost?

Est-ce que je peux l’essayer? → Can I try this on?

Avez-vous d’autres couleurs / tailles? → Do you have other colors / sizes?

Just for fun...

Je veux gouter tous les parfums des macarons! → I want to taste all the flavors of macarons!

Ma marque de beauté préféré est Lancôme... → My favorite beauty brand is Lancôme…

J'adore Paris. Je ne veux jamais la quitter! → I adore Paris. I never want to leave!


Tips for learning French...

•    Immerse yourself — visit France, Quebec, or even your locally owned French café and experience the language around you.
•    Watch movies with French subtitles — revisit your favorite films and add French subtitles. This will accustom you to translating thoughts from English to French.
•    Converse — find a local French conversation group; they are everywhere!
•    Fake it until you make it — confidence is key! Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Just go for it and you will find your way...

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<![CDATA[“Paris—City of Light and Love”]]>

There's something about Paris that is alluring to so many. I loved the way this article "City of Light and Love" has captured that in such a romantic way. It reminds me how lucky I am to be here, and I hope you find it inspiring, too...

Paris: City of Light & Love
A pair of lovers is strolling along the River Seine when 20,000 twinkling bulbs jolt the Eiffel Tower to life, illuminating the night sky. A couple share a kiss as they glide beneath the Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris, aboard a Bateaux-Mouches sightseeing boat. In this glorious city, romantic things happen everywhere, virtually every second of the day. Over the years, Paris’ unremitting beauty (a cleaning project has reintroduced major sparkle to its centuries-old facades) and artistic ethos have lured everyone from authors to musicians. The flower-and-fountain-filled Luxembourg Gardens feel purposely built for trysting, and the labyrinth of Parisian streets will transport your soul straight into a photograph. With a Michelin-star-studded dining scene and gilded palace hotels, Paris is the ultimate seductress among European cities.

City of Light

Dreamy days
Paris begs to be walked, one neighborhood (and museum) at a time. Stroll past the patisseries, boulangeries and chocolatiers of Saint-Germain-des-Prés on the way to the Beaux-Arts-style Musée d’Orsay; on another day, check out the hip shops and eateries of the Marais, the old Jewish quarter (pop into Vintage, a thrift store on rue des Rosiers with fantastic finds), on your way to the intimate Musée Picasso. Also making a splash on the Parisian arts scene is the Musée du Quai Branly, a celebration of world culture set along the Seine (tip: Go on a Thursday evening; it stays open until 9:30 p.m., and you can dine outside at the Panoramic Restaurant). Wander Les Jardins des Tuileries and visit the newly reopened Musée de l’Orangerie, where you will literally be surrounded by Monet’s masterpiece Les Nymphéas. Other musts: the just reopened Musée des Arts Décoratifs, showcasing fabulous furniture and ceramics, and the Musée du Louvre, the palatial home of the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and 35,000 other works.

Unforgettable nights
Slip past the city’s glittering bridges and monuments on a dinner cruise with Bateaux Parisiens, where the scenery is almost upstaged by the menu (duck foie gras with roast peach chutney). Many of the hippest night spots are inside hotels: People-watch in the art-filled bar at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme.

Reprinted with permission from Brides.

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<![CDATA[Dreamtone & Génifique: Fighting Off Winter Skin Woes]]>

When it comes to winter, as long as I can cozy up in a warm café to write, bundle up for a nice stroll in my favorite places or pamper myself at home while I wait for warmer weather, I for one don’t mind the cold in Paris. My skin on the other hand doesn’t take such a graceful approach to the season.

A perfect complexion has never come easily, most of all when the forces of nature are against me. I love to go foundation-free when my skin is at its best, meaning an even surface and tone. Even with makeup though, we all know a great complexion is an ideal base. Between December and March such skin seems a lofty goal. Old Man Winter’s icy wind zaps away moisture and the sun rarely shows her face to give us a bit of a glow. Suddenly, fine lines appear in places they’ve never been before and my frost bitten face is rosy in places I don’t consider cute.

DreamTone

Basic moisturizing is the first step to remedying these seasonal beauty woes, but good skin requires more than that. With a synergy of the right products to repair and prevent, Lancôme can give us the beauty break we deserve anytime of year. In three different tones, we can all find our match for perfect pigmentation with DreamTone. In the evening after cleansing, I apply DreamTone before bedtime and sleep soundly as it works its magic to fade dark spots and rid of redness, and even imperfections. In the morning I reapply it everywhere on my face before my moisturizer. Immediately my skin glows with its barely-there tint and its light scent. And those fine lines? Enter Génifique! The perfect winter companion to DreamTone. I use these youth-activating serums for face and eyes each day and night. Their powerful complexes smooth skin and restore radiance, visibly improving its surface and making it incredible to the touch. With these new favorites in my beauty arsenal, I imagine I won’t be too worried come Groundhog Day if winter decides to stick around a bit longer.

There you have it, my first beauty secret of the series! Next time I’ll share with you a dreamy article I’ve chosen from Brides magazine about the delight and romance of Paris. It will certainly put you all in the mood for more about the city on Paris Rendez-vous this season…

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<![CDATA[The Great Debate: Ladurée vs. Pierre Hermé]]>

When my American friends come to Paris, I see it as my ambassadorial duty to show them the best the city has to offer. After seeing the usual landmarks, no visit to Paris is complete without a taste of a proper macaron.

Composed of a cream filling sandwiched between airy egg white- and- almond cookies, they come in a rainbow of flavors. Since the once Queen of France Catherine de’ Medici brought them to the empire from her native Italy, they have become a pop culture symbol of the country. Lesser known patisseries have managed to impress on occasion, but not all macarons are created equal. There are two household names that take the cake—, Ladurée and Pierre Hermé.

Ladurée is a legend in the business of sweet as well as savory. Its rococo decor is as decadent as its pastries and a landmark spot to sit, sip tea, and eat an array of photogenic and tasty treats. The macaron, however, is hands down their best seller, with an estimate of 15,000 flying out the door in pretty pastel boxes on any given day. To visit is to experience France as it may have once been, including its flavors that err on the side of tradition with raspberry, chocolate, lemon, and more.

macaron

While Ladurée is the predecessor, Pierre Hermé has a legacy of his own. The pastry chef comes from four generations of bakers and began his apprenticeship at the tender age of 14 with none other than chef pâtissier Gaston Lenôtre himself. After some time at Fauchon, luxury French caterer and boutique, Hermé he ended up at Ladurée before soon creating his own line of macarons. Surprisingly though, he began his brand in Japan, not France, as one would expect. Upon tasting them his macarons, one notices Hermé aims for such surprise, trying out uncommon combinations of flavors and incredibly original ingredients, such as foie gras, lychées, and truffles. He’s taken cues from the Japanese in his cuisine as well as décor, adopting a Zen-like simplicity for his boutiques that allow the senses to focus on taste.

If it’s a simple matter of taste for you, here’s a break down. Pierre Hermé is noticeably sweeter than Ladurée. While Hermé-interpreted treats are balanced by edgy flavors, some prefer the less daring taste of its rival. Ladurée’s fillings are often lighter jams and creams, while Hermé dishes up decadent white chocolate ganache as the base of his. As for the cookie, I find Ladurée crunchier and Pierre Hermé densely moist.

So, if “‘Ladurée or Pierre Hermé?’ ” is the question du jour, in rebuttle I ask, “‘Why should a girl have to choose?”’ Macarons are like makeup. Some days we’re in the mood for something classic and comfortable with tradition. Others days we desire surprise with something edgy and unexpected. The beauty is in the choice and to that I say bon appétit!

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<![CDATA[Paris: Outdoor spaces to enjoy in any season…]]>

The first time I visited Paris, I was asleep. I was also only 7, but you might still wonder how that’s so. It was mostly planes, trains, and automobiles getting there and finally a big bus, which, for a tiny tourist like me at the time, was the perfect place for a nap.

As we passed Notre Dame, I opened my eyes only for a minute and felt so lost. But on my second visit just before my 19th birthday, everything changed. No longer behind a glass window, in those late May days it was like the city opened up to me. I had no guide, just my feet and curiosity, and I haven’t stopped since. Some of those earliest places have now become habits, running back to them at first chance whenever I return home to the city after being away. Each time I see Paris all over again like I did that May. So, in honor of wonderful second impressions, let me share some of them with you…

JARDIN DU LUXEMBOURG
A place for the chic and intellectual between the fashionable Saint Germain and Les Grandes Ecoles of the Latin Quarter…
WHAT TO DO: Stroll and people-watch stylish wanderers, or seek solitude for reflection in its quiet corners. France’s most famous scholars, such as Sartre and Camus were known to spend time here doing just the same from its iconic green chairs.
WHAT TO BRING: A fascinating book & your own journal for when you feel inspired.
WHAT TO WEAR: A colorful coat & a chic shade of lipstick.

gardens

PARC DES BUTTES CHAUMONT
A haven on the edge of the city for Paris’ bohemian at heart…
WHAT TO DO: Enjoy the season in nature and a view from the park’s sprawling hills and trails throughout. Later on before heading home, stop into Rosa Bonheur, the park’s kitsch café, for a snack, cup of tea and making new friends.
WHAT TO BRING: Your camera & your best friends.
WHAT TO WEAR: A flowing dress & moisturizer with a hint of SPF.

LES QUAIS DE SEINE
A paved path through the heart of the capital to stretch your legs and sight-see each Sunday…
WHAT TO DO: Walk or bicycle and just take in all the beauty of Paris along the way. Stop to sit along the riverbank and enjoy watching the passing boats.
WHAT TO BRING: Your best new playlist for listening & a guidebook to follow along with.
WHAT TO WEAR: Flat shoes for smooth sailing & a memorable fragrance.

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<![CDATA[Bonjour: A perfect day for a rendez-vous in Paris...]]>

This winter morning, the sun has come out to shine its bright gold rays on Paris. It’s a fitting forecast for a rendez-vous to welcome those of you who already know me to this radiant new corner of the Lancôme site, as well as to say 'enchantée' with an introduction for those just meeting me.

When I first moved to Paris I didn't know a single soul. The city was my best company and I explored it on foot finding little cafés, boutiques and musées to enchant me. Five years later and there is hardly a moment to spare on a day like this, my agenda filled with friends from Montmartre to Montparnasse and hundreds of things to inspire my work along the way. For me there’s no better place than here to be creative, with its abundance of inspiration everywhere you look. Just as it has in my own life, the city of Paris has played a unique role in the heritage of Lancôme and its art of capturing French elegance. In this capital of beauty and fashion, I am passionate about exploring through my writing and photography the way these two things fit into a woman’s unique lifestyle.

cafe

Three years ago I began giving readers a look into my life as an American girl in Paris on my blog, Making Magique. I couldn’t be more excited to open that window a bit further here as the voice of Lancôme in the New Year! As an official guest blogger, each week I’ll be sharing beauty secrets, fashion favorites, and my tips and experiences around the City of Light in culture, cuisine and more.

I’m so excited for everything we have planned for you here, so meet me each week on Lancôme.com for new ideas and adventures in our own Paris Rendez-vous. Later this week I’ll share with you some of my favorite places in Paris, but for now before you can say 'On y va!' I must be on my way. There's no time to fuss, just what a girl can't leave the house without and nothing less: a bit of lipstick, a touch of mascara and some light foundation. With my best face forward, anything can happen…

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