Tuesday, June 23, 2009

For the Love of Perfume, Fashion and All That's Fabulous: Paris (Part 1)

I am back from Paris with a heart that’s bittersweet. On one hand, it seems surreal to be back: I can’t believe I’ve left this gorgeous, grand city behind and I would be lying if I said it doesn’t pain me that when I open the door to get out it won’t be to set foot in its beautiful streets. My brain is struggling to catch up with the change and I find myself constantly trying to talk to people in French. On the other hand, I’ve exhausted myself so very much during my visit, depleted my energy reserves to such extent, that my bed feels like the most fantastic piece of furniture in the whole world. Too, there’s something to be said about the coziness of a small place like Holland. Even its capital, Amsterdam, has a wonderfully laid back mentality. There is no pressure to look good at all times, people consciously live for the small things in life, things happen slower and there is a warm simplicity to everything which I adore. I’ve walked so much in a short week’s time that my shoes no longer fit my swollen feet. After just three days in Paris I couldn’t even withstand the pressure of my buttery soft Dior ballerinas and had to break one of my cardinal rules of fashion: I trekked all the way to the official Birkenstock boutique to buy a pair. The particular sandal which is ever ubiquitous here in Holland (EVERYONE seems to have a pair) and just about every place selling shoes seems to sell them, proved to be almost impossible to find in Paris. Blindly walking into every place big and small, from big department stores like Galleries Lafayette to small shoe boutiques proved both tiring and frustratingly fruitless. Thankfully our hotel had WiFi and after a search on the internet on our third evening I managed to find where the official boutique was through a forum where several French girls were also wondering where they could find the German shoe of comfort. Tragically, after a small respite during which I was paying hourly thanks to the Birkenstock altar, by the fifth day my feet were even more swollen even in the anatomical sandal and on the morning of the day we were leaving I was actually limping. That of course did not stop me from stoically walking all day up until seven in the evening when we had to go to Gar du Nord to catch our train.

We stayed at a hotel in the beautiful 7th Arrondissement, really close to the Eifel Tower and literally a step away from Rue Cler, a fantastic street with which we fell in love with due to its cozy, neighborhood feel and the fact that it contains just about anything one could ask for: Great, lively bistros with good food, a number of vintage shops on the little streets perpendicular to it that sell everything from Fendi to Dior to Chanel, the best (and I mean the BEST) delicatessen I’ve ever laid eyes on, fruit stalls with produce so colorful, ripe and shining to rival and best any other I saw in the rest of the city, and much, much more, including a small shop selling certified organic essential oils, perfumes and all manner of lotions and potions.

The shop in question bears the name of the brand, Florame, and serendipitously –since it is so close to where we were staying- it was not only the first perfume shop I walked into, but also my first discovery while in Paris. Florame sells beautifully smelling massage oils in various compositions (relaxing, sensual, meditation etc.), soaps and gels, pure essential oils as well as compositions of essential oils to compliment the various diffusers available (I was seriously tempted by their electric diffusers), creams and eaux de toilette. It was of course the perfumes that got me in the shop in the first place, especially since during my stay there was an ongoing sale and the already well-priced eaux were retailing for below 15 euro each with a soap gift to boot! The brand currently produces eight different eaux: Rose, Vetiver, Patchouli, Neroli, Lavender, Citrus, Vanilla and Verbena. They all smell beautiful, but I was especially interested in the Vanilla. Composed with cacao & vanilla absolutes and further nuanced with spicebush resin, and citrus essential oils, this lightly sweet beautiful blend had me entranced. Despite the great price, I resisted the urge to impulse buy (it wasn’t hard as I’d just arrived and the gracious SA was not pushy at all) and decided to take a walk before committing. This was a great decision, because an hour later I could hardly detect the edt on my skin. A disappointment to be sure, especially considering I went to Paris on a quest: To find the ONE Vanilla, the vanilla I’d been dreaming about and craving for the last few months. (…to be continued)

Please click here if you wish to visit Florame’s website and come back on Thursday to read more on my adventures in Paris, perfumed and otherwise!

Images: Yours truly with the offending shoe in question (AND de Nicolai purchases!),
the best delicatessen, found on Rue Cler and
Florame electric diffuser & EO’s via Florame’s website.


11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Welcome home! What a fab vacation! It sounds heavenly. Cant wait to hear more. I'm still loving my samples that you sent me. Sylvia

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Mon Dieu! I am so jealous! I adore Paris- lived there for six months when I was in university, studying abroad. Your Birkenstock story made me laugh out loud. It does almost seem like a sacrilege to wear them in the city of light but I can totally relate... when I was there I was walking so much I had to wear the FRUMPIEST shoes! I think they were easy spirit or aerosoles- the kind made for a 90 Grandma... lol. I'm so glad you had a wonderful trip... xo

Anonymous said...

WB Divina :o)
I actually own a pair of birkenstocks myself, they are a rage here too! Did they really hurt your feet? They're so comfortable!

Divina said...

Hi Sylvia! I am so glad you are enjoying the samples :) Thank you for the welcome, it still feels really strange to be back. Even though I wasn't gone that long, it was so very intense it seems sureal to be back.

Divina said...

LOL Daily! I thought I was being sensible by packing two pairs of ballerinas - they usually keep me comfortable. But it turns out NO shoe could prove comfortable for the program I was following :P

Divina said...

Hey Anon, they are really popular here but not everywhere. I was in Thessaloniki, Greece right before Paris and they just got them there. They're only being sold by one boutique specializing in sandals & comfort shoes like GEOX. To be honest, I don't really see them catching on in Thessaloniki. The ladies there have at least one blowout a week and never go out without makeup. It's hard to imagine them giving up their heels (which they wear while shopping no less) for Birkenstocks! Where do you live?

Jenavira13 said...

Give your feet a rest and get crackin on the vanilla journey.

Divina said...

*hugs!* I'm working on it as we speak :) Tomorrow's devoted on Guerlain :)

Anonymous said...

Oh sorry Divina, it was me, Christine. I live in Ghent (Belgium) although my husband and I are thinking of moving to Antwerp.

Divina said...

Ah, I thought it might be you! Ghent is beautiful but let me be an enabler and say that Antwerp is a dream city! I LOVE it! I sometimes wonder where life/career will take me after my studies. When I consider Antwerp, my heart and mind rest there. Yes, I wouldn't mind at all living there. It is one of my favorite cities in the world.

Ines said...

Hey! You're finally back and in the blogging mode. :) I was away a week and I already feel I missed so much. :) Glad you enjoyed yourself, and I wonder how many perfume purchases happened while in Paris... ;)