Le Grand Musée du Parfum–Paris’ perfume museum

6D5C3899-BFFD-45FA-95DE-0130CE4A65AFYesterday I went to Le Grand Musée du Parfum, Paris’ recently opened perfume museum that should be on the to-do list of any perfume lover.

Located on the French capital’s rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in a townhouse that previously housed the headquarters of Christian Lacroix, the perfume museum takes visitors on a multi-sensory fragrance journey. Fragrance enthusiasts can learn about the history and the science of perfume, and all about the role of the perfumer.

You can smell different perfume notes and selected scents–a special mention goes to Frederic Malle’s Portrait of a Lady composed by perfumer Dominique Ropion, which might actually be my new favourite fragrance.

Perfumes are available to smell and buy in the gift shop, as are various books on fragrance.

Le Grand Musée du Parfum
rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
75008
Paris

 

Seafood and Spritz at Polpo

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If you’re looking for somewhere a bit different to go for dinner or drinks, look no further than Polpo, a seafood brasserie.

This bar-restaurant is in fact a 600m2 barge on the banks of the Seine in the Parisian suburb of Levallois-Perret. You might have to walk along the side of a busy road to get to the place, but once inside, the relaxed vibe makes you feel as though you are on holiday.

Food options include oysters, lobster and mussels (I had the fish and chips, since I’m a Brit), although there are pasta and steak options available if seafood doesn’t float your boat. Dessert is delectable–I had a chocolate mousse to die for.

When it comes to drinks, I’d recommend going for Happy Hour, from 5-8pm, when a spritz is €5.

Polpo
47 quai Charles Pasqua
92300 Levallois Perret
Metro Pont de Levallois (Line 3)

Chimney cake and cappuccinos

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The Marais district of Paris is known for its cool and quirky shops, bars and eateries, and  Alma the Chimney Cake Factory is a perfect example of the latter.

This cool cafe serves great coffee and sweet and savoury versions of Hungarian treat kurtos kalacs, aka chimney cake.

I had the soup and a mini herb chimney cake (because I’d been to a spinning class and had developed notions of becoming a fitness fanatic and starting a healthy eating regime), and my friend had a tomato, mozzarella and pesto chimney cone. We sat on the table you have to climb a ladder to reach, which is not for the fainthearted but affords a great view of the chimney cakes being prepared and a sense of superiority as you look down on people.

We’ll definitely be back to sample the sweet versions–options include cinnamon, almonds or praline.

And apparently you can make chimney cakes at home, so I might just have to give it a go.

Alma the Chimney Cake Factory
59 boulevard Beaumarchais
75003 Paris

L’appartement Leboncoin

French classifieds website Leboncoin has created an apartment in Paris, furnished entirely with things bought on the site.

 

 

 Open until 19 November, it features different animations each day, including DIY workshops and “job-dating”.

Today was a vide dressing, with bloggers selling clothes, shoes and accessories-perfect for me as I can never resist a fashion bargain!

And on the last day-19 November, everything in the apartment will be up for sale.

So whether its a cushion, lamp or even a sofa you’re after (there’s a bed, too), be sure to pay it a visit.

 

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L’appartement Leboncoin is at 3 Rue Française, 75001 Paris.

Behind the scenes at Dior


Ever wondered about the craftsmanship behind designer handbags, haute couture gowns and men’s tailoring?

Well, today I got to find out thanks to a behind the scenes visit at LVMH-owned Dior in Paris as part of the group’s Journées particulières open days.

(If the Dior haute couture gown to the left looks familiar, it’s because it’s Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar’s dress).

 

 


From men’s tailoring to embroidery, haute couture to Baby Dior, the visit shone the spotlight on the materials, skills and time needed to create some of Dior’s most emblematic and eye-catching pieces.

To create the iconic Lady Dior handbag above, it takes 140 components, one full day and four people (once all the pieces are ready). A Baby Dior dress can take 30 hours to make, a haute couture gown 250, and there was even a one-of-a-kind bracelet that represented a year and a half of work.

 
The visit continued with a gallery of miniature Dior dresses, then down to the perfumes where we could smell the scents in Dior’s Collection Privée and admire a model of Dior’s La Colle Noire chateau near Grasse in France (La Colle Noire is also the name of the latest fragrance in Collection Privée).

  

And as if it wasn’t amazing enough to get a sneak peak behind the scenes of one of the world’s most coveted luxury brands, we were presented with a gift in a beribboned Dior bag on the way out.

Meeting the Queen of chicklit


Today I met the fabulous Sophie Kinsella at a book signing in Paris, and it was a bit like how I imagine meeting royalty to be.

Having rushed there from work (hence the ‘just been dragged through a bush backwards’ look), I was alarmed to be told that the queue for signed copies had closed 15 minutes earlier. After seeing my crestfallen face, someone kindly took pity on me and I was mercifully allowed on the other side of the gilded rope.

Half an hour later and I was in front of the Queen of chick lit.


I think I finally understand how One Direction fans feel when they see Harry Styles – I have been a huge fan of Sophie’s books for as long as I can remember, and meeting her in person induced a level of excitement in me that I hadn’t felt since Christmas day 1999.

In person, Sophie is as witty and warm as the characters in her books.

I love all of Sophie’s books – they are guaranteed to put a smile on your face and I’ve re-read them all more times than I care to remember. I’m a massive fan of the Shopaholic series in particular, and can’t wait to curl up with the kitty to read my signed copy of Shopaholic to the Rescue.

Spring time in Sceaux

 


As much as I love Paris, it’s sometimes nice to get out of the city, so that’s what we did today, on what turned out to be a suitably sunny Saturday.

We decided to head to Parc de Sceaux, which straddles the communes of Sceaux and Antony in Hauts-de-Seine and is about 20 minutes from Paris on the RER B.


Popular with runners and picnickers, Parc de Sceaux is particularly nice at this time of year because its blossoming cherry trees. Tomorrow, 17th April, is the fête de cerisiers en fleur, a Japanese festival to celebrate their flowering. Everyone packs a picnic, and can participate in a dance workshop in the afternoon, which sounds like a pretty fun way to spend a Sunday.