Alexandra Mselati and Julia Muûls’ classic Paris chic

Longtime acquaintances, lifelong friends and co-creators of the gifting site bemygift.fr, a shopping destination that “teems with ideas for gifting yourself and others,” Alexandra Mselati and Julia Muûls’ welcome Paris Inspires into Julia’s apartment for a visit made lively by Julia’s twin daughters and a chance to lift the lid on the Paris they love.

Profession: Founders of www.bemygift.fr.

Saint Germain des Près, Paris’ 7th arrondissement.

If Paris were a gift what would it be?

Julia Muûls:
A luxurious, insider city guide. I often give these little Paris guides packed full of great addresses to my friends -- even the trendiest of Parisians -- and I’ve only ever had great feedback.

Alexandra Mselati: A white tuberose candle, mainly because the scent reminds me of my childhood and our childhood homes. Plus, I admit that I love giving friends a gift I love so much.

Name three places that evoke the Paris you love

1/ Place des Vosges, it’s so romantic. 2/Saint Germain des Près with its hidden courtyards -- there are some incredible ones. 3/ The natural charm of Place de Furstenberg, especially when the trees are in bloom.

1/ The Palais Royal gardens, which are endlessly relaxing. 2/ Le Pré Catalan restaurant, which I consider to be a personal escape, especially during the week. 3/ Le Bon Marché: I love their beauty, fashion, design and interiors departments, I could just buy everything in there.

Name a favorite Parisian sweet treat.

A warm croissant. It’ll never lose its crown as my Parisian favorite, even if I’ll admit to having a penchant for Ispahan’s rose and fresh lychee macaroons.

Alexandra: Coconut macaroons are the best. But, in second place, without doubt are Paris-Brest cakes with their praline chocolate centers, and chocolate brioches….

Do you have any strong or particularly moving memories of Paris?

Of La Place des Vosges again, because it’s where my husband asked me to marry him a few years ago.

Alexandra: The apartment where I spent a good part of my childhood on the Champ de Mars. Whenever I go past in the car my heart misses a beat.

How would you describe the typical Parisienne?

For me she’s a beautiful blend of fashion types: sporty chic, glam rock, gypset -- and all with a twist. Only a Parisian can pair sneakers with a faux-fur coat.

As a woman who’s part bohemian and part sexy working girl, but looks just as chic wearing flats as heels.

Describe your beauty routine

I’m a fan of the less-is-more look. Every morning I cleanse my skin with a good micellar water-based makeup remover to make sure I get rid of any nightime build-up. Then, I follow up with a splash of thermal spring water and a good dose of moisturizing cream.

Alexandra: I have my morning routine figured out, right down to the last millisecond. On the product side, I go for plenty of micellar water so I can gently remove makeup, thenI follow that up with a day cream. As for makeup, I use a good bronzing powder and a transparent lip gloss. Otherwise, in the evening I have a little more fun, especially with the eyes which I love to do really smoky.

What are your beauty no-nos?

Going to bed without taking my makeup off! That’s unthinkable for me…

Alexandra: Ooh la la, I have plenty, I can’t just pick one! Bleeding lipstick, chipped nail polish, a tan that looks too orange?

What thought gets you out of bed on difficult mornings?

The thought of getting to work with my coworker Alexandra so we can brainstorm any ideas we’ve had overnight. Especially as we’ve probably already sent them by text!

Alexandra: Thanks to my daughter Bianca’s kisses and cuddles, mornings really aren’t difficult any more!

What little things make you smile?

Finding my twins’ bottles in my bed after their morning cuddles and cartoons. That’s a good start to the day.

Alexandra: Being aware of how lucky I am to be doing what I really love, at my own pace with a coworker I love. It’s a huge luxury.

Have you made any life-changing beauty discoveries?

Konjac! It’s my slimming ally. Although it doesn’t have many calories, it really makes you feel as if you’ve eaten a hearty bowl of pasta. It’s a guaranteed appetite suppressant too. Try it with a good homemade tomato sauce. It’s perfect for those times you’re watching your weight.

Alexandra: Exfoliation, for the way it tones and exfoliates. We’re wrong to think that exfoliation just cleanses skin. By scrubbing away dead skin cells, exfoliation also encourages skin to replenish itself with a hydrating serum which tones and boosts glow, allowing skin to do its job better.

Name three favorite Paris hotspots:

As a lover of good coffee, Café Coutume is like an Ali Bhaba’s cave for me. Ethiopian and Costa Rican (beans) are all roasted on site. It’s a real treat for the eyes. Otherwise, to see and be seen, I head to colette, my favorite concept store. For family time, I go to the green alley ways of the Parc du Luxembourg. With pony rides for some and tennis courts for others, there’s something to make everyone happy.

Alexandra: For a sweet treat, head to Carette, the terrace is legendary and the chocolat liégeois dessert there is marvellous. For a great Italian lunch after a morning of shopping, I highly recommend the delicious Primo Piano on the third floor of Bon Marché. Finally, I love to take my daughter to Fondation Louis Vuitton followed by a stroll in the Jardin d’Acclimatation.

© Saskia Lawaks