My Saddest Bye from Paris and My Best Buys Too

This is a difficult post to write because I’m covering two subjects at once and I honestly don’t know where to begin.

A couple of days ago I received a request on Instagram to list favorite items that I buy in France—I’m pretty sure it was meant to mean beauty products.  And I was all set to start writing about those products last night when I realized something.

I realized that when this blog post would be published, it would be on the 17th.  Two years after Bonaparte’s aunt, Danièle Delorme passed away.  Today marks the second anniversary of her passing.  And she’s been on my mind since I woke up this morning.

From Gigi to Femme Fatale to a best-seller about her life and career. She was one of a kind and I am missing her badly.

If you are familiar with this blog, then you are very familiar with Bonaparte’s and my stays with Danièle’s apartment in Paris.  When she was alive, her apartment was our second home.  She was my French mama.  And we had a blast together.

And so, on this day, I would like to link a few posts so that you can either familiarize yourself with her or have another look at some of my  memories of her:

Here’s the First of Three Parts about our stay during Daniele’s Funeral. The second and third installments are immediately following Part Un.

One of my favorite photos of Daniele.  I forget what movie this was from.

Paris Without Daniele–Part Un

Those blue doors. I could cry just looking at this photo.

The shocking news that hit me when I found out the apartment was being sold:

Au Revoir to Our Little Paris Apartment

Place Dauphine. Lively in the summer and at rest during the late fall through the early spring.

Our trip to Paris last November. It was bittersweet. Read the entire four posts about it!

Three Days In Paris. Leave the Chic at Home and Enjoy Being a Flaneuse

Now that you have a bit of a background on my many stays in Paris over the years,  I’ll touch on a few more things.

First of all, Paris is a very special place for me.  I’m a city girl.  I miss living in Manhattan.  My two favorite cities are NY and Paris—but that’s another story.  I love Paris because of her imperfections.


Just one of the many reasons I love Paris. The morning views always make me feel very comforted.

And within an hour of Paris you get to see cool places like this…

And come back to this at dusk!

Paris is an incredibly romantic city. And not just romantic in the way it brings lovers together. It is romantic in other ways as well–buildings are ancient.  Stairways are worn.  Floors are uneven.  Walls have peeling plaster.  The streets are too narrow. I could go on and on and on—but with these imperfections, she is a city of beauty, history, culture, and splendor.  And that’s what makes Paris romantic.

My version of Paris is not the one most bloggers write about.  I’m not that blogger running down a side street in a pair of six-inch stilettos, wearing a midi-length fluffy tutu skirt with a tight-fitting Breton shirt, hair extensions blowing in the wind, carrying a Chanel bag in one hand and a box of Ladurée macarons in the other.

That’s because I’m the blogger who makes my own macarons.  Here is mine with chocolate cream filling, pistachio filling, and almond cream filling.  I think it’s time to make more.

Nor am I going to write about the starred Michelin restaurants that are spread throughout the arrondissements.  Most of my meals over the years have been cooked by Danièle ’s various housekeepers.  And might I add, she hired some mighty fine cooks!

Casual, informal table for three.  Fathia was by far the best cook–she made couscous by hand!!!!  Her tagines were the greatest!

Instead, I want to focus on one thing.

Shopping.  As in normalized shopping.  That’s right.  You can go shopping in Paris and get really nice things without breaking the bank.  The average French woman does not walk along Boulevard du Montparnasse carrying a Chanel bag.  You will most likely see a Longchamp Le Pliage or a La Bagagerie shopping tote hanging off the shoulders of local femmes.

This La Bagagerie Shopping Tote is the bag you will see more women in Paris carrying than Chanel.  I promise you.

Whether you will be traveling to Paris for the first time soon or in the future, please remember that Paris offers affordable shopping—and not just during the winter and summer soldes.

Let’s shop!

City Pharma:  (Click the Bold Name to link to the website–I don’t know why it isn’t turning purple–WordPress!) How much do I love this treasure trove of all things beauty?  Enough that I make it a point to shop there every time I go to Paris.  This might be inappropriate, but during the three days that we stayed for Danièle ’s funeral, I made time in between family visits to get there.  The discounts on brands such as Caudalie, Nuxe, Roche, Bioderma and all other French brand names is ridiculous! Even brands that aren’t well-known to those outside France are worth trying.  I found one of my favorite toners here—a simple orange blossom water for less than 5 €. In fact, I hoarded and am now down to my last bottle.  Time to get back.

THIS is the store that rocks my bateau! Bonaparte can wait outside and people watch while I go candy-pickin’!

Part of my haul from last year…most of this stuff is gone….

I think I may have paid tops 20 euros for this. It retails for $79. here in the States!

Mama is runnin’ low.  I need to get back to CityPharma!

Freaking Bioderma’s small micellar water was a whopping €2.49. Here in the States, the same small bottle sells for about seven bucks.

That tiny bottle of micellar water by Bioderma cost me two euros and change. Here it cost almost seven bucks.  The middle Fragonard lotion was purchased at the Fragonard Boutique.  The Orange Blossom water is another CityPharma steal. I picked up three or four bottles. I’m dowm to my last one!

One euro and the best lip balm I’ve ever purchased!  I also purchased this at Geant Hypermarche in Mandelieu-la-Napoule.

Located on the corner of Rue du Four and Rue Bonaparte, the place gets crowded as the day goes by. Get there early. Wear flat shoes.  Be ready to shove your way through the narrow aisles.   Grab a basket as you go in because I can guarantee that a lot of stuff will be leaving the store with you.

You’ll know that you’ve reached City Pharma when you see a ton of French men smoking cigarettes outside. They are waiting for their significant others.

Fragonard:  This boutique at 196 bd. St. Germain is one of the most charming shops I’ve ever been in. It’s so adorable.  During the summer, we always make a stop at the Fragonard in Grasse. But there are quite a few locations scattered around Paris.  The scents here are very affordable and the selection is good. The perfumed body lotion is a steal at around €10 or 12.  Soap sets make great gifts and my favorite, Fleur d’Oranger is always in stock.  Don’t forget to have a look around at the cute fabric bags that Fragonard sells for various uses such as laundry and shoes.

Yes. The Fragonard shop in St. Germain is as cute as this illustration!

And even though I purchased the Fleur d’Oranger Intense (pictured on the right),  These scents are always in stock at the boutiques in Paris.

This adorable fabric sac was purchased way back when–at the Fragonard St. Germain. I’ve had years of use from it. I pack my ballet flats in it when we travel!  All for about ten or twelve euros.

Sophie Sacs: I found out about Sophie Sacs from a friend of mine.  She also introduced me to Nat et Nin bags.  Sophie Sacs is a discounted bag shop at 149 Rue de Rennes—a great shopping street, and affordable shops to boot!  Sophie Sacs also sells a varied selection of Nat et Nin bags.  The bags are like buttah and at the discounted rate come in at less than €200 for a decent bag.

Monsieur Sophie Sacs will take care of all your Sac needs!!!

Image result for sophie sacs atypical60

It’s a small shop, but packs a whallop of bags!

Some of the Nat & Nin bags I’ve purchased at Sophie Sacs.  Yes. There’s more. 

La Bagagerie:  64 b. Haussmann.  Another affordable brand.  The shopping totes are a cross between a nylon Longchamp bag and a Birkin bag.  You’ll see them all over the City. Beware though. If you purchase the shopping tote, make sure you buy a dark color.  I had the cream color and it got so filthy that I had to trash it.  Thankfully, it was very affordable.

Another brand of affordable bags with locations throughout Paris. If your luggage gets messed up you can buy new here!

Jeanne Danjou: 15 Place du Pont-Neuf.  Hold on!  I need a moment here. ……….. OK.  In writing this post, I just found out that this jeweler is selling on Etsy.  This.  This is the smallest little bijou boutique on the corner at Pont-Neuf.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve passed this shop because I can’t count that high. But I’ve gotten gifts here and treated myself to a few things.  The prices are crazy inexpensive proving that you can bring home a piece of French jewelry without going all Cartier!

Thankfully, Daniele’s apartment was up the street because this shop has unusual hours!

Aren’t these red earrings the cutest?

A coupla more pieces.  Now that I know these goods are on Etsy……..

Monoprix:  Various locations throughout Paris and all through France.  Everyone raves about ‘Monop.  It’s like the Target of France but a few years back, the prices were really cheap.  Over the years, the chain has raised prices. I think you can get better prices on toiletries at Carrefour, Casino, and Geant. Just my opinion.  But the great thing about Monoprix is the little nylon tote bags that you can get for one euro.

Load up on these.  I’m not kidding. These also make great stocking stuffers!

Nicolas: Also, locations throughout Paris and France.  The best place to buy wine but Nicolas also sells these one-euro totes as well.  I’m demanding that you buy at least five of these bags.  When you get home put one in each of the purses you use the most.  These come in handy when you need to make a stop at the grocery store. But—if you aren’t aware, grocery stores in France do not offer free bags for your groceries.  These little totes are essential.  Better yet, buy twenty of them and hand them out to your friends.

All folded up…

This thing is in constant use–who knew that a little, nylon, one-euro wine store sac would be used over and over and over and over again!

If you get the chance, drop into the Guerlain Boutique at 68 Champs-Elysées. When Snow White bit into that poisoned apple and fell into that deep slumber, I’ll bet she was dreaming of this place because it is a girly dream!  As a lover of Guerlain scents, I had yet to shop in this magnificent shop until Danièle decided to take me on a spending spree!  I have never had an experience to rival this one and my damned phone broke so I wasn’t able to take photos!

Image result for guerlain paris

This was where the magic happened. And from the ceiling, flowers were floating down.  My damned luck the phone broke! 

Well, I’ll always have Pushy Pink as a memory…

And my perfume!!

When we arrived at the shop, the sales staff greeted Danièle as though she was royalty. And when she introduced me as her niece from America, I was treated like the princess I was meant to be! The red velvet rope at the end of the stairs leading to the second floor was opened for us and I walked into a room with a larger-than-life lazy Susan filled with every Guerlain scent imaginable.  I was ordered to pick whatever I wanted—and the large  bottle of La Petite Robe Noire was put aside for me. Then it was off to buy some makeup!  To this day, Guerlain’s Pushy Pink remains one of my most revered lipsticks and I use it sparingly.  I cannot even describe the feeling of shopping in that store.  But—I can tell you that if you do want a lovely, girly, fairy-tale shopping experience.  Visit this flagship boutique.  And buy am eyeliner pencil. It’s affordable!

Galeries Lafayette:   Oddly enough, this isn’t my favorite place to go shopping. I prefer the smaller shops. But, during Christmas, the décor alone will put even the biggest Scrooge in the spirit!  It’s beautifully decorated!  Lots of little “galleries” in this huge department store—and at times can be downright overwhelming.

The ceiling last year at Galeries Lafayette. I was so happy that we were there for the Christmas decorations!

It was gaw-jus!!!!

Randomness:  I hoard sugar substitute and those little candies in the tin.  I don’t know why but I just do.  Back in the summer of 2016, I discovered Adopt’ scents at Geant and now I’m hooked.  I have various little spray bottles in different purses. My favorite is Oud Ambre. It’s one of those masculine scents but feminine at the same time. The little spray bottles run for about €6 and are a stellar buy!

If you are in Paris or any other area in France and you see adopt’ perfumes, buy a couple!  This scent is the perfect autumn scent–it’s like tweed and leather and wool wrapped into one!

I must have 25 of those sugar substitute thingies. I buy them every year then forget about them–and those candies!

Think outside the box for gifts.  I received this scarf from Daniele after she went on a shopping trip. It wasn’t something that I would have selected but I’ve worn this year after year after year since I received it. It is a lightweight wool and the threading is silver. But somehow it works.  And notice in the small photo with the Antik Batik tag. The plastic is still there. You would think I would have cut it out?  Non. I’m that lazy!

Don’t forget about airport shopping!  I picked this solid scented perfume by Diptyque at CDG last year. I could not resist the packaging but this is some strong stuff!  I must use very carefully! 

Etam:  Various locations. Great for underwear and pj’s.

And there’s always window shopping!  But seriously folks.  You don’t have to be the one percent to enjoy Paris or the shopping that it has to offer.   There is something for everyone here.

I took this photo of a window display somewhere in the 6th.  The dress is made of scarves and you can take photos have them printed and frame them–for a great memory!

I could go on and on and on, but right now, I’m going to leave you and re-read a letter I found that Danièle wrote to me ten years ago. And I’ll place it with her other letters!

Listen to this song by Henri Salvador “A Saint-Germain des Pres.  It’ll put visions of sitting in a cafe in Paris on a lazy afternoon into early dusk, perhaps you will start off with a cup of coffee and end with an aperitif. This song is beautiful.  Bonne Nuit!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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36 Responses to My Saddest Bye from Paris and My Best Buys Too

  1. Jill Barth says:

    What a sweey post. The little things, they do matter. Now I have my little shopping list! Merci!

  2. Your aunt sounds like a very special lady. Great post! Paris is on my bucket list! Hopefully we can make it there before we move to South America.

  3. Debe says:

    Love everything you wrote! What a lovely tribute to Danielle.

    The stotes are awesome I am jealous! Keep writing you cheer me up I think of a field of sunflowers when you write!!!

    Thank you!

  4. nathalie says:

    hi Cathy , we had the pleasure to see her again in ” nous irons tous… “et “un éléphant…” last week because of the death of the great Jean Rochefort .Always a pleasure even after, may be, 20 times !!!! i keep following you and i love that , you are so natural and i think it’s a little bit french !!!!amitiés from France!

    • angelin2014 says:

      I meant food stores and markets! Damn autocorrect😀

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Nathalie! Oh…that movie makes me laugh so much and I think B and I need to watch it again and again and again. Rochefort was such a sweet man and very good friends with his family. It’s sad but ironic that Rochefort left within days of the anniversary of Daniele. Thank you so much–I’m glad that you continue to enjoy the blog!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  5. angelin2014 says:

    Lovely list! Will save it until next time I visit Paris:) But for us Swedes travelling from CDG there is literally NO airport shopping – that terminal where Scandinavian Airlines are (I think it was 2) is worthless as far as shopping is concerned. The same goes for Newark. And dont forget good stores and markets in Paris – I cant buy off – but just looking is a great inspiration!!!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Angelin! Can’t you go shopping at CDG before you get to the gate? Ugh. Don’t even mention Newark–I call it “Zoowark” I can’t stand that airport!!!! So many stores in Paris I can’t afford either!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  6. Juliet says:

    Such a sweet post – Danielle was obviously a really special lady, I’m glad she still brings you such love and happiness. You have just confirmed what I will keep reiterating- you’d make the best Parisian tour guide for us all


    • Catherine says:

      Thank you Juliet!!! Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…perhaps I can talk Bonaparte into our moving back to his hometown and we can start a tourist business: Masculin/Feminin–just like the film!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  7. Penny says:

    Oh so funny! Just read the comment about the tutu – that’s me minus the heels. I’m wondering whether to wear said tutu to London in a couple of weeks time but it won’t be with heels. I have to get some shoes that actually go with the skirt rather than clumpy bootees!! Love the descriptions of Parisian shops and boutiques. Btw, the Galeries Lafayette jeans I bought in Toulouse are a great fit. Can’t wait for a return visit to France. And bless your wonderful Daniele – you have some great memories. xxxxxx

    • Catherine says:

      Penny, I swear to God, I was dying when I saw the photo of you in the tutu. My reaction was. “Oh, shit! I hope Penny isn’t offended!” Yup! I got some beautiful memories and a great Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg story from her!!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

  8. fiona says:

    Bonjour Cathe,
    Thank you for my daily France fix….yesterday it was Tout Le Monde Veut Changer Sa Place on TVmonde5. It is obvious that you held Danièle in very high esteem, you always speak about her with such fondness, she sounds like a wonderful, generous, and fascinating lady.
    OMG I’m in awe of your macarons!…they should be in a shop window. Thanks for posting your French faves, I haven’t been to Paris for so long, something I need to remedy. Jeanne Danjon looks charming, CityPharma should be easy to find with all the types outside and I love the La Bagagerie bag. xxx

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Fiona! LOL. Your Tout Le Monde is the equivalent of my Vivement Dimanche on TV5Monde!!I’m glad that you enjoyed the post! Yeah. I have to run out later and get almond flour. I have a hankering to make macarons later today!!! XOXOXOXOXOXOX!!!!

  9. Susan D says:

    I am so sorry that you are currently without a job, but for us it means more Cathie which is a great way to start each day. This post was just wonderful; the shopping in Paris and reminders of Daniele. You are so lucky to have had such a special relationship with her. I’ve made a note of all the shops for when we next visit Paris.
    Thank you for your continued work to entertain and inform us and I wish you luck in forging a new career in writing and remuneration from your wonderful blog.

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Susan!! In all honesty, I like writing much better than schlepping to an office everyday. And I like the company better. You, the friends of Atypical60, Chippy and me! Makes my day better!! Fingers are still crossed. I finished my first “vlog” and now have to figure out uploading it to youtube. I saw my face and I’m in desperate need of either a face lift or fillers!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

      • Susan D says:

        Aren’t we all in need of “assistance”? I wouldn’t though. I want people to see the real me – take it or leave it!

  10. hipchick66 says:

    I always enjoy your posts about France, but most especially about B’s family. Once again, I thank you for sharing that with us. Xoxo

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Lori!!! Thanks!! Yeah. His family is great–and I can’t wait to get back to collect more stories.. Just kidding–I want to see them and enjoy them!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  11. What a lovely post and what a lucky lady you are to have had the luxury of a Paris apartment to call “home” and many visits to a city that I also adore above all others (for many of the reasons you adore it!) but have only been to twice because $$.

    We’ve talked before about our shared love of Fleur d’Oranger – I hoard it the same way you do – Longchamp (when we saw all the Parisians with one, my bestie and I had to get our own now it’s the only purse I carry ever) and all of my little odds and ends from Paris like a packet of Advil that I bought at one of the drug stores. I carry it around in my purse but probably will never ever use it. After my first trip there, I went back for a whirlwind 24 hours because I happened to be “on the continent” and couldn’t NOT go to Paris. Like you, I just enjoyed the atmosphere of the city which is incomparable to any other city I’ve been. I wandered around aimlessly, sat for a long time and had a leisurely lunch with all the courses at a street cafe, watching people pass and listening to the French conversations floating around me. That night I sat in the courtyard of the Louvre waiting for the on the hour shimmer of the Eiffel Tower and cried. It’s a place that just gets to you, isn’t it?

    Anyway, I am so sorry for your loss – it is obvious that it wasn’t just the city that held a very special place in your heart. When I got to the photo at the end of the letter that Daniele sent to you, I got tears in my eyes – what a treasure.


    • Catherine says:

      Thank you Kathryn, for your beautiful comments. You are making meget all misty-eyed now. You get Paris! It isn’t necessarily about all the attractions or fancy shops you can squeeze into a day or two. It is art of being a flaneur, a wanderer, and allowing the City to embrace you and lead you. I love sitting in cafe’s to people watch–it is a real-life film. I love walking around the City aimlessly. It’s a place where you can do nothing and everything at the same time. I’m fortunate to have been able to stay in Paris many times like the locals. My favorite view from Daniele’s apartment was the Eiffel Tower at night all shiny and sparkly. These days, we are true visitors–and that’s just as fine because of the memories I have. Thank you so much!!! XOXOXOXO

  12. Charlotte says:

    I love reading the posts about Danielle and Bonaparte’s family-it seems like a wonderful fairy tale. My dream is to shop in Paris one day. Wonderful post!

  13. So nice to read about Paris! I love your descriptions and reminiscences. – My husband and I were there 2 years ago and I’m ready to return. We rented an apartment near The Louvre for 10 days and it felt like we were living there – even if it was for a short time.

  14. Sandra says:

    Lovely post, Cathy. I am fortunate to be able to visit France every year for the last 28 years and never tire of its magic. We brought only carry-on luggage for our last trip in September, so I only managed 3 items from City Pharma. Do you find that the Nuxe has too strong of a scent? I find it hard to use when I am wearing fragrance. How do you use it?

    Is the Gainsbourg/Birkin story one that you can share? I am a big fan of both.

  15. bluetulips says:

    Great blog, so many special memories… also loved the list of places to shop. xoxo

  16. What a lovely post. I admire your homage to your beautiful and dear aunt. I also love your shopping tips. I’ve already forwarded this post to my niece who travels there often. I would love one of those Le Baggerie bags. But shipping is over $100! Great tips. Thanks. Did you ever figure out how to edit your volgs?

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Sandy! Glad you liked those tips. I love Paris and it kills me that people can sometimes be intimidated by visiting or have that thinking that Paris is all about designer brands and expensive goods because it isn’t! I like to bring Paris down to a more understandable level–it’s the greatest place ever!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  17. Beverley Sommerville says:

    This is a lovely post, evocative of both time and place.

    May I add how delighted I am that you reminded me of Jean Danjou? I’ve peeked into their window more than once while in Paris on vacation, but was always there either too early – or too late. And there was always somewhere else to go, being Paris and all. And now, Etsy! What a world we live in! Smile.

    I placed an order for earrings on Sunday night, it was mailed on Monday, and in my mailbox this morning in Canada. 4 days. They are delightful: came beautifully packaged, and with a chic little postcard. Best of all, unique, and so very affordable.

    Merci !!


    • Catherine says:

      OMG. Beverley, I am so happy that you ordered from Danjou’s Etsy site! I swear, you have no idea how many times, I’ve passed by that store when they were closed and ended up leaving the apartment at the strangest hours to run across the street and over Pont Neuf. It was very funny and it became a joke between Bonaparte and me! I hope you enjoy those earrings and wear them well!!!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

      • Beverley says:

        Enjoy them I will! Coincidentally, I was baking French bread (something I haven’t done in YEARS) when they arrived. It all felt rather magical. ; )))

      • Catherine says:

        Hey. It’s almost Brioche season for me. I’ll be baking brioche soon–Saturday it’s Creme Caramel for Bonaparte!!! XOXOXOXO

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