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Paris boutique shopping: Inès de la Fressange Paris

Paris boutique shopping: Inès de la Fressange Paris

Paris boutique shopping can intimidate visitors who don’t speak French fluently. What to say, after the indispensable “Bonjour?” What if the sales staff start asking questions… en français? Is it true you are not supposed to touch merchandise? Inevitably, in order to save time and trouble, many will head for the nearest department store. Le Bon Marché, le Printemps, les Galeries Lafayette or le B.H.V. offer relative anonymity, a wide selection of brands and prices, not to mention glamorous, however distracting, surroundings wrapped in magnificent architecture. The drawbacks include the crowds, especially on Saturdays and mid-day when one has to fight for space with Parisians on their lunch break.

boutique shopping in Paris
Les Galeries Lafayette, December 2016

Most international cities have iconic department stores, but what sets them apart are their boutiques, and the neighborhoods surrounding them. Paris boutique shopping remains a special treat one should indulge in, even if only to browse. One handy expression to master, and to use often with inquisitive sales staff: “Je regarde seulement, merci.” I am just looking, thank you. (Practice your pronunciation here.) In Paris, locals and visitors have a favorite neighborhood for shopping, including on Sundays. The traditional Paris boutique shopping areas are still there (boulevard St Germain, rue de Rennes, rue du Faubourg St Honoré, the lower part of le Marais, the first to be open on Sundays, and more.) Newly gentrified areas like le Haut Marais (3rd arr.) la Bastille, or le Canal St Martin district (10th arr.) are now competing with them. In short, there is a boutique for everyone; and walking is the best way to get there. Tired feet? Pas de problème. Welcoming chairs and {heated} terraces abound at every street corner.

Paris boutique shopping
Somewhere in the 6th arr.

Paris boutique shopping has always ranked high on my list of things to do in the French capital, both as resident, and now as a tourist. I was in France for the Holidays, and in my travel notebook, (the one I use to plan all my visits,) a special place was listed. Between time spent with my family, a couple of new exhibits and museums, and a lot of exploring, there is not much time for shopping. This French Girl has to be selective. I was determined to pay a visit to Inès de la Fressange, in the new boutique she opened in 2015 in St Germain des Près, her “bazar chic,” rumored to be a cosmopolitan and eclectic concept store, showcasing a wide range of products hand-picked by Inès herself, the result of partnerships with established, or up-and-coming brands. If you expect another version of the trendy Merci, located boulevard de Beaumarchais, on the Right Bank, and its industrial look, you are in for a surprise.

Before I take you inside, let me just say that if you love former Chanel model – Karl Lagerfeld muse – fashion icon – Parisienne extraordinaire – turned successful entrepreneur and stylist, Inès de la Fressange; if you love fashion and interior design; you will love this boutique. Located in a remodeled foundry with high ceilings and plenty of natural light, the shop is long and narrow. Inès’s hand-picked treasures are artfully displayed on dark-wood shelves lining both sides of the boutique, and on long farm tables.

Paris boutique shopping
Ines de la Fressange, Paris
Paris boutique shopping
Shoe collection, made in Italy

Inès‘s elegance and effortless style, her lively personality and sense of humor, are apparent everywhere you look: Collections – and the decor – are tasteful, cheerful, with a touch of whimsy. The brand’s new logo (see above,) is 100% French, and unapologetically patriotic. Blue, white, and red are Inès‘s favorite colors, and they are featured in many products. Part of the prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear) clothing line, produced in limited quantities, is made on site, in the workshop at the back of the boutique where Inès often works alongside her team. Labels on some garments read: “Made ici” (Made Here.)

Paris boutique shopping
L’atelier
Paris boutique shopping
Limited edition collection (items are numbered.)
Paris boutique shopping
Happ’Inès is browsing the attractive wares chez Inès de la Fressange

If you have a limited budget, Inès‘s lifestyle books and stationery line- beautifully wrapped – and her accessories (sunglasses, belts, cell phone shells, scarves) make great gift options. Her simple, yet attractive jewelry collection is also worth looking into and will not break the bank.

Paris boutique shopping
Who doesn’t need her own “Passeport de la Parisienne?”
Paris boutique shopping
The very French, slightly nostalgic packaging is almost too perfect to open!
Paris boutique shopping
Luggage tag, displaying the iconic faon

Every self-respecting French “maison” sells quality leather. Inès‘s maroquinerie (handbags) and petite maroquinerie (small leather accessories) lines are to die for, though not for everyone’s budget. I could not resist investing in a very French, satchel-inspired small porte-monnaie (coin purse,) featured below. The leather is soft and luxurious, a real treat whenever I look for change at my local coffee shop in the morning.

Paris boutique shopping

Paris boutique shopping

There are many other treasures to discover at Inès de la Fressange‘s “Bazar chic.” Inès de la Fressange aims to be a lifestyle brand: It includes linens, dishes, rugs, accessories. Everything is tasteful. Everything is beautiful. There are only quality products showcasing French savoir-faire in the boutique.

In closing, I have to mention the sales staff. Everyone is friendly, and helpful, but only if you ask. No pressure there. A lively team member helped me pick a few gifts for friends – and myself. When I complimented her on her hairstyle and asked if I could take her photo, she obliged with a smile.

Paris boutique shopping

So fear not, my friends, whether you speak French or not, stroll around St Germain des Près and pay Inès de la Fressange a visit. You will enjoy it. This is what Paris boutique shopping is all about.

A bientôt.

All photos by French Girl in Seattle. Please do not use without permission.

Bazar Chic Inès de la Fressange Paris

 24 rue de Grenelle, Paris, 7th arr.

Learning more about Inès de la Fressange:

Promotional video to introduce Inès’ s boutique (2015)

Recent interview of Inès by Wmagazine. Click here.

Shop in Montmartre with Inès (episode from the video series made for Roger Vivier.) In French, with English subtitles.

14 Responses to Paris boutique shopping: Inès de la Fressange Paris

  1. V I am dying….I HAVE WAITED SO VERY LONG FOR THIS POST…..I TOTALLY LOVE HER!! Everything about her casual elegance her savoir faire her joie de vivre-I would have had a hard time controlling myself-I would have wanted it all- your coin purse is beautiful did you get that color featured-oh my gosh I could go on and on I LOVE EVERYTHING INES-did you ever watch her video diaries when she was the representative for Roger Vivier how I would wait for the new installments – I am on preorder for he book and have her other ones-her cotton shirts are to die for-I want every single detail… you lucky girl!(sorry for any mistakes with the French/English terms I am really bad and am so excited I am not double checking!)

    • Bonsoir g. Great to hear from you! What’s not to like? Inès is one stylist lady, and a great gal to boot. I admire her for her resiliency too, and her ability to bounce back and re-invent herself, which she has done several times. Love all the small gifts I brought back from my visit at the “Bazar Chic.” The coin wallet is darling in camel, and that is the one I got. The iPhone case is great too and matches the logo. Finally, the Roger Vivier videos were the best. There is one I loved (la Butte aux Cailles neighborhood,) but have not been able to find on Youtube recently. If you find the link, please send it to me. Hope all is well with you, dear g. Thank you for stopping by.

  2. I thought I left a reply with my iPhone. Lord knows where THAT went. Anyway, I’m glad you posted this. Boutique shopping in Paris and in other cities in France is the way to go. I’m a fan of Rue Bonaparte, Rue du Four (CityPharma), Rue de Rennes and Blvd. St. Germain. I love the everyday shopping of the 6th. And I’ve had great experiences. My favorite bag shop is on Rue de Rennes–Sophie Sacs. It’s a goldmine!
    And as much as I love Ines and her style and her everything, I find her brand to be overall quite pricey. She has a store in St. Trop and it’s really expensive! When push comes to shove for me, I would rather spend the money on Rondini sandals–another small shop!! This post is a definite must read for anyone going to Paris for the first time or even second or third. Its so spot on!!

    • Thanks for the visit Cathe! I see you have a few favorite addresses in your Paris boutique shopping list, one of the perks of being married to a Frenchman, I guess. 😉 I will have to take a closer look at Sophie Sacs rue de Rennes: A store full of bags in a wide range of prices sounds like my cup of tea! As for Inès, it’s true, her collections are not cheap, but quality does not come cheap, and she sells beautiful things in that pretty boutique of hers. To be fair, there is quite a range of prices there, and everyone can leave with a “little something” as a souvenir. She has also partnered with Uniqlo as a stylist, and everyone can get some of that “Inès magic” at affordable prices (new collection just came out this week and will sell out fast.) Inès originally hails from Gassin, a lovely town not too far from St Tropez. I am not surprised to hear she has a boutique there. I know she would agree with you about Rondini sandals: as a fan of flat shoes, she wears them a lot (even, famously, on the Red Carpet in Cannes.) In fact, she enthusiastically promotes Rondini in many interviews. Long live la Reine Inès, and her sense of style! Bonne semaine!

  3. Thank you for this!! Paris is my most favorite city in Europe. I never even thought of boutique shopping. Thank you for the tips on making it not so daunting and the areas to go. Next time I am there, I am going “Boutiqiuing”!! Merci

    • Avec plaisir Beth. Don’t ever hesitate to go “boutiquing” in Paris, even if you don’t speak French. Many boutique staff speaks decent English and will be happy to help, especially in touristy areas. A good phrasebook will teach you all the basics you need to know in French “I am looking for…” “My size is…” “Do you have this in another color?” etc. Bonne chance! Have fun.

  4. Madame Veronique,

    It is always a great pleasure for me to read your posts. Your mastery of the language is impressive!

    I love everything you show us from Madame Inés beautiful store. What a visual feast! You led us through the entire place in such a graceful way.

    I once heard that the last one to ever take herself seriously is Inés de la Fressange herself. She never dreamed of becoming the best paid model in Europe during her youth. When he met her, Karl Lagerfeld was more impressed by her personality than by her beauty. He was also impressed with her ease and class.

    Like you said, she’s blessed with a sunny disposition and a great sense of humor. I guess she’s the only one to describe herself as “a big bean, bony and talkative”, pointing out that like all women she changes 15 times before leaving and never knows how to comb her hair. “I have very thin hair, my hands are plump and my feet are terrible, and I would like to have my teeth much larger. When I look in the mirror I look like a big black sock”. This is so cute and funny, coming from a woman so famous for her great looks.

    Is it just me? When watching one of her clips, I thought I detected in her English a little bit of a Spanish accent besides her French one.

    Thank you so much for this fantastic tour.

    Maria

    • Bonjour Maria, and as always, thank you for your visit and your thoughtful comment. I am happy we share sincere admiration for “la Reine Inès,” not so much for her impossible good looks, but mostly for her personality and sense of humor, and – I would add, for my part – for her resiliency and adaptability. And you have met her! I would have enjoyed exchanging a few words with her at the boutique when I stopped by. The sales staff there confirmed Inès comes at least once a week, and it would have been, as they say, just my luck! Alas, Inès was on vacation in southern France during the Holidays. C’est la vie. I believe her mother hailed from Argentina. Maybe that is why you detect a Spanish accent? One thing is for certain, nobody sounds, looks or behaves quite like Inès, Marie, Lætitia, Églantine, Isabelle de Seignard de La Fressange! A bientôt, Maria!

  5. Unfortunately, I never met Ines!
    Everything I wrote about her I read it in an article in Spanish, from an interview Ines gave in Paris for a newspaper from Bogota, Colombia, some years ago.
    In that article I also read that half of Bogota’s prominent families are related to her through her maternal grandmother, Cecilia Davila, the daughter of one of Colombia’s richest men.

    Her grandmother was a young widow when she married an Argentinian playboy. The couple had a daughter(Ines’s mom) who was nicknamed “Lita” who was the most beautiful fashion model who walked for Guy Laroche.

    Hasta otro dia entonces, Señora Veronique y mil gracias.
    Maria

    • Thank you for clarifying Maria. I see that, like me, you like doing your research 😉 Inès certainly has blue blood – and blue “modeling blood” – in her, and that makes her personality and approachable sense of humor even more likeable, don’t you think?

  6. Such a treat to read your account of visiting this shop as it is on my bucket list! It is good to know the rules for visiting boutiques in Paris. I still am a little shy to visit many boutiques here in Seattle as well but I guess the good ones like Ines’ make you feel like you are having fun while shopping.

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