Blog posts tagged with 'camille k jewelry'

I like to say that a day in Paris holds many lifetimes.  That's how it feels to me anyway-- so much can happen in a day!  
My street wakes up early around 7:30AM with restaurant deliveries at Le Cherche Midi and Atelier Vivanda (two great bistros to note).  A bit later, apartment windows open, horns begin honking, and dogs begin their morning strolls off-leash -- yes, they know what they are doing and where they are going just perfectly!  Beautifully dressed Parisians whizz by on their bikes (Vélib is the great bike-sharing system here) on their way to work avoiding all the traffic snarls. Cigarettes begin to light up (one of my least favorite things...), the sun begins to touch the tops of the buildings, and I finish my coffee and leave my kitchen window perch to start my day.

My spring sejour is coming to a close but before it does, I want to share my idea of the perfect Left Bank shopping day in the neighboorhood!  Ready?

  I walk down the street to Poilâne -- one of the most famous Parisian bakeries, to buy my croissant and return home to have it with my coffee and watch the City wake up. If you are up early,  I recommend having a café au lait and Poilâne toast at the charming Cuisine de Bar next door to the bakery-- they open at 8:30AM. Take your time, no need to rush as most of the boutiques in the area don't open until 10:30-11:00.  I like to take a brisk morning walk up to the Seine River and back to breathe the fresh air and gear up for the day.  The view across the River is always breathtaking!

Shopping in this 6th arrondissement is heavenly!  Just at the corner of the rue du Cherche-Midi is the intersection called the Croix Rouge. You'll know it by the huge Centaur sculpture in the middle of it ( Centaure de Cesar). From this intersection, any of the little streets you decide to go down will take you to some of the best boutique shopping on the Left Bank.  There are the obvious favorites like Céline, Christian Louboutin, Maison Margiela, Inès de la Fressange and Prada and that's just on the rue du Grenelle alone!  

I like to go a bit off the radar with a stop at one of the most gorgeous leather goods shops around, Peggy Kingg. She was the art director for Madame Grés as well as Balmain, Céline and Cartier and has now opened her own atelier/shop on the Left Bank.  If you must have a more well-known brand of leather goods, Hermes Left Bank store is just around the corner on the rue des Sevres.  Even if you aren't in the market for a Birkin, just a look inside at the architecture of what used to be a public swimming pool is worth it.  Afternoon tea in Le Plongeoir upstairs is worth every penny you spend on tea and cake! For shoes, I love Laure Bassal.  These are classic hand-made shoes that can be made-to-order in a full color range.  My personal favorite is called Dijon-- it reminds me of my dance days....

For their beautiful white porcelain dishes, paper goods and perfume, Astier de Villatte just opened on the Left Bank.  I always bring home table candles in the many luscious colors offered by Cire Trudon, and for the perfect gift, I go to Buly 1803 for their many potions, creams, soaps and fragrant matches. Love the fragrant matches!  For beautiful silk and cotton caftans, Liwan has long been a favorite. She also carries beaded coin purses and unusual costume earrings. For antiques and home treasures, try Yveline Antiques and Galerie Salon.   For cult beauty products, I go to CityPharma on the rue du Four. It's always crowded, but the pharmacy staff is so knowledgable and quite organized in their own French kind of way. I just stocked up on my two favorites: La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 and Redermic R Corrective.

And then there is jewelry....!!!! For vintage costume jewelry, I go to L'ibis Rouge-- Vivianne's knowledge of the history of costume jewelry is remarkable and her shop is full of treasures. If you are looking for a particular piece or designer, be sure to ask. She has a basement archive that has been stocked and added to for 35 years!  For antique fine jewelry, my absolute favorite is Curiosités on the rue des Grands Augustines. Monsieur Brisbois has a remarkable collection of bijoux and the prices are reasonable. He is only open in the afternoons so plan for a later visit in the day.

Ready for lunch? Try Brasserie Lipp-- an institution in Paris for 135 years! Another classic is Josephine Chez Dumont.
Restaurant Christine
 is pure charm and great food. It's on a very small and quiet street if that is your mood!  It's best to make a reservation for any of these restaurants. There are so many cafés and bistros in Paris. If you want to be spontaneous,  dine early (before 12:30) or later(after 2:00PM)  and you shouldn't have trouble being seated.  Bon Appétit!

At the end of the day, go to Jade d'Orient for the best accupressure foot massage you can imagine.  You'll deserve it after all that hard work called shopping!

Paris is a place where we can leave behind who we think we are and reinvent ourselves. It's a City of art, beauty, fashion, and love. As John Berger put it, "Paris, I believe, is a man in his twenties in love with an older woman."  
I'll sign off by chiming in with Gertrude Stein to say that "America is my country and Paris is my hometown."  À bientôt!


Poilâne: 8 rue du Cherche-Midi

Cuisine de Bar: 8 rue du Cherche-Midi


Peggy Kingg: 9 rue Cöetlogon

Hermes: 17 rue de Sevres

Laure Bassal: 3 rue de Grenelle

Astier de Villatte:  16 ru de Tournon

Cire Trudon: 78 rue de Seine

Buly 1803: 6 rue Bonaparte

Liwan: 8 rue Saint-Sulpice

Yveline Antiques: 4 rue de Furstemburg

Galerie Salon: 4 rue de Bourbon le Château

CityPharma: 26 rue du Four

L'ibis Rouge: 35 Boulevard Raspail

Curiosités: 26-28 rue des Grands Augustines



Brasserie Lipp: 151 Boulevard Saint Germain

Josephine Chez Dumonet: 117 rue du Cherche-Midi

Restaurant Christine: 1 rue Christine



Jade d' Orient: 11 rue Monsieur le Prince

xx Carla 



My love of string instruments began in 4th grade.  I had the opportunity to take violin lessons at school with Mr. Kantack and persuaded my parents to buy me a used violin. I was so excited! I sat in my chair with my music stand in front of me-- sheet music staring me in the face... I had no idea how to read it! Mr. Kantack wasn't very patient and so I made the decision to play the music by ear. It was easy for me and everything was going well until the day came that I didn't turn the song page at the right time and I was caught!  There was no flexibility or kindness on the part of Mr. Kantack, so I quietly put my instrument away and never went back to class.  Fortunately my love of the violin never left me.

This week in Paris, I learned that spring concerts were starting at the Sainte-Chapelle.  This intimate chapel is located inside the Palais de Justice and was built by King Louis IX.  It was finished on April 26, 1248 and since April 26th is my birthday, I decided this was my sign to attend a concert there! I chose the Vivaldi, Mozart, and Haydn concerts for violin, cello  and bass.  To say that this 1 hour music concert was wonderful, is an understatement. It was more a transportive experience-- The beauty of the gothic-style chapel, the expertise of the musicians (from the National Superior Conservatory of Music) and the charm of the notes written by their composers,  easily took me someplace far away from which I didn't want to return... There is something about the sound that comes off the strings that penetrates the heart more deeply than most instruments.  As the 18th century French writer Edmond de Goncourt once said: “A poet is a man who puts up a ladder to a star and climbs it while playing a violin.”

I watched the violin players mostly-- especially, the young woman in her pencil skirt and classic Louboutin black heels-- the red soles showing with each twist.  As she stood and played, I realized that the posture required to hold a violin is quite beautiful in and of itself.  Everything about this evening made me feel so alive!   I highly recommend the concerts at Sainte-Chapelle for your next visit to this City of light, poetry, music and romance! 

La Sainte-Chapelle: 8, Boulevard du Palais:

Have a glass of champagne at the Brasserie des Deux Palais (3, Boulevard du Palais) across the street before or after the performance

Concert website:


xx Carla



One of my favorite places in Paris is the Palais Royal. When you step into the gardens and look at all the apartments surrounding you, you can imagine the grand 16th,17th, and 18th century parties, the gambling disputes, and the ladies of the night strolling in the galeries. There is so much history inside these arcades-- it just feels full of secrets! Louis Philippe opened it to the public in 1780 as a shopping and entertainment complex that housed 145 boutiques, cafés, salons and bookshops-- it became the most prestigious Parisian gathering place. On occasion, classical music floats down from one of the apartment windows and into the gardens-- its easy then to imagine the glamorous scenes from the 18th century court gatherings. Today, the Palais Royal consists of private apartments, restaurants, theatres and shops. The perfectly manicured gardens run down the center of two long arcades; the Galerie de Montpensier and the Galerie de Valois. It is here that you find unique shopping and dining. There is no need to rush to arrive early as most shops don't open until about 11:00am. I usually stroll across the river from the Left Bank to the gardens ( the Palais Royal is located on the Right Bank in the 1st Arrondisement) and take in the sights from the bridge along the way. I pass through the arcades of the Louvre and then down the rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau. A wonderful short cut through the Galerie Vero Dodat is a must! You'll see the original boutique of Christian Louboutin and the gorgeous cosmetics of By Terry. When I finally enter the Palais Royal, I remember my own history there-- I can still see Camille playing with delight in the sandbox at the end of the gardens. Less happy were the tears that were shed when a little French boy threw sand in her face... Thankfully, the charming toy store , The Boutique de Palais Royal was close by to offer the perfect distraction! The many lunches shared with friends, sun-soaked moments in the gardens, and the fabulous people watching over the years makes this one of my all-time sentimental favorites in this great City! I hope you'll take the time to stroll the galleries, have lunch and sit in the sun on your next trip here. Below, are some of my favorite places to eat and shop while in the Palais Royal. Enjoy!

Viillalys Restaurant: 

Garden seating, I order the asiette Villalys and a glass of Morgon wine

30 Galerie de Montpensier

Bistro Valois: 

Just outside the Palais Royal--lovely terrasse, Whatever the plat du jour is, is what I order!

1 Place Valois

Serges Lutens Perfumes: 

Incredible sensory experience!

142 Galerie de Valois

Acne Studios: 

Swedish Fashion Design House

124 Galerie de Valois


One of the last handmade French shoe artisans--classic. Their gloves are their best secret!

15 Galerie de Valois

Didier Ludot and Gabrielle Geppert: 

The reputable dealers for vintage Chanel and Hermes

24 Galerie de Montpensier and 31 Galerie de Montpensier respectively

Galerie d'Art Joyce: 

Always provocative art and fashion

168 Galerie de Valois 


Medals, coins and antique heraldry

7 Galerie de Montpensier

xx Carla



Last April, we realized a long time dream to buy a Paris apartment.  We closed escrow on my birthday and we floated on champagne bubbles for days and days after.  The process of purchasing real estate in France is not for the faint of heart  but I will spare you those stories for now.  There is a 16th century expression in French  Chercher Midi à quatorze heures which translates to  something like Looking for noon at two o'clock. It basically implies that you are making things more difficult than need be-- that you are attempting to accomplish the impossible.  I think that this expression speaks perfectly to the French real estate buying experience!  Let's just say we knew we were in for an adventure when, ironically,  the apartment that we loved was located on the rue du Cherche-Midi!  

So... off I go! I've packed my carry-on with few clothes and all of my favorite Camille K jewelry pieces!   I'll have 10 hours from San Francisco to Paris to enjoy  a good book -- The Swans of Fifth Avenue-- and to dream of all the things I want to do once there.  Watch your mailbox for my Letters from Paris-- I can't wait to share it all with you!  À bientôt! 

xx Carla