Friday, 26 March 2010

Beauty Shopping in Paris..............................

Just in case my bank manager is reading this (and I sincererely hope he doesn't for all sorts of reasons) I know I said that I wouldn't be going shopping in Paris, and I meant it gov, but frankly Paris, the Euro notwithstanding, is not Paris for me without one quick trip to Sephora in the Champs Elysee.

For those of you who don't know it, it's the beauty emporium to end all beauty emporiums, and has managed to get itself pretty well all over the world apart from the UK, where it made a daft attempt a few years ago in Watford of all places (compare for me, someone, Watford and the Champs Elysee, one of the most beautiful streets in the world). So Sephora left our shores but I have no doubt will return quite soon, and somewhere a bit more sensible, such as Regent Street.

You enter through a red carpeted, black marble hallway throbbing with loud music and lined with shelves containing every fragrance you could think of, with black dressed, miked up men and women waiting to attend to your every beauty need. This may sound a bit offputting, and if you're tired, don't like loud music or are looking for a bit of tranquility then this is not the place for you, but for me, every trip to Paris, Nice or anywhere else deserves a visit.

I wasn't looking for anything specific, and even the proximity of Nars, Bobbi Brown, Smashbox, YSL, Chanel et al couldn't tempt me to the cosmetic counters (where you can help yourself of be helped as you wish) but as always on the hunt for something new and having tested two very good exfoliators recently I thought I'd make it a hat-trick and so bought Lancome's Exfoliance Clarte to compare with Clarins and Molton Brown's body polishes (and my Trish McEvoy Blackberry and Vanilla of course, which is superb).

The Clarins and the Molton Brown do their job well, and the Trish Mac is fragranced beautifully, but this I think is about to become a favourite, as it's lightly fragranced, a lovely product to use, and does everything it says it will. Expensive, and probably more expensive in Paris (of course), but well worth investing in if you want a smooth polished skin for summer.

And that was it, and I won't be doing any more shopping here, promise.


Incidentally I'm sitting here in my hotel room at the de Vigny, which is situated marvellously centrally on the Rue Balzac. It's a small, elegant, very comfortable hotel to which I've been coming for years, the staff are lovely, it's not ridiculously priced and if you're very lucky, like me, you may even be sent up the gift of a pretty fruit plate in the evening (they may have been worrying I wasn't eating, or something, which I wasn't yesterday evening as I have to squeeze myself into my Karen Millen LBD this evening which is a nervewracking thought).

Thankfully I brought my dongle with me (!) because the only downside of staying here is that internet is 17 Euros per day via Swisscom, whereas with my Vodaphone USB stick it's a tenner. No big decision to make there then.

I'm waiting forthe panicked phoncalls from No 2 son who is about to go off skiing and is, poor thing, having to pack all on his own. At 21 you will say boy did you train him badly, and I'll have to agree. But you can learn new tricks at any age I understand so Calum I'm switching my phone off and you'll just have to manage for yourself - (fat chance).

After a meeting this afternoon, and provided I manage to zip up my dress, I'm being taken to one of Paris's most famous restaurants, Arpege, where chef Alain Passard waves his magic wooden spoon. The only real problem with this is that in this dress I doubt I'm going to be able to sit down, let alone eat, but I'll make a game attempt at both, as well as getting into a taxi, which will cause other significant problems. Why do we create these problems for ourselves girls? I suppose life wouldn't be half as much fun, otherwise!