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Paris

Lifestyle, Travel

Laduree A-Go-Go in Paris

November 1, 2012

I never went gaga for cupcakes, and I couldn’t have been more relieved when the cupcake fad started to slow down this year. I’ll admit it, macaroons have always been my guilty pleasure.  
And where else to buy fresh macaroons other than the mecca of macaroons, Laduree in Paris?
Unless you’re a Parisienne, fellow macaroon lovers might not know that Laduree in Paris offers a whole lot more than the tasty delicacies for which they are famous.
 Once you get your head around how many fresh pastries and cakes they serve…

… your jaw might just drop when you see the line-up of macaroons in every shape, size, colour, and variety imaginable!

I’m a sucker for packaging, especially in the run-up to the holidays. I have to say, Laduree has their packaging nailed. If this isn’t Martha Stewart approved picture perfect packaging, then I don’t know what is!
Although the traditional Laduree colours are forever fabulous, I do love the vibrant hues and patterns of the latest Les Seventies packaging:
Or the limited-edition Lanvin for Laduree boxes:
Nobody likes a stale macaroon, but if you’re trying to start your Christmas shopping early this year like I am, then check out my top picks of goodies from the Laduree store in Paris (Santa’s elves, listen up!):

Lavish Candles
Who knew Laduree had candles in every scent under the sun? If you prefer smaller candles to brighten your home, don’t worry they carry those too!
Miniature Candle Sets
A great prezzie for anyone who travels – you might just need the adorable French bulldog bag to tote them around in.
Stationery
I can’t think of a more stylish way to thank everyone for holiday gifts this year!

Body Products Galore
Whilst visiting the Paris Laduree store this past weekend, my mom and I couldn’t help but inspect the impressive collection of Laduree body products. They really have something for everyone! If you aren’t a big fan of bar soap, try the body wash, bath salts, or bath soak. 

Perfume

You can now smell like Laduree with these fancy vintage style perfume bottles. I dare you to take a whiff of the rose and not get hooked!

Handbags
Very versatile and stylish tote bags for the gal on the go: sounds like a win/win to me! 
Limited Edition Candle Sets
These pastry themed Laduree candles look so real that lighting them immediately is probably necessary before someone takes a bite out of them! 
Luxurious Body Oil

This bottle is adorned with a very cute macaroon twist off cap, and is filled with scented moisturizing body oil. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a massage.

My bag might be filled with presents for others, but come on, I had to get a little something for myself! Macaroons go stale within five days, but living in London means I can zip away from Paris on the Eurostar with a very special fresh pick-me-up in tow.
Whether it’s a set of macaroons, gorgeous stationery, or a basket of body products, just about everyone in Paris has a soft spot for Laduree…
….including this Parisian crow, which clearly has good taste!

Food, Travel

This Summer’s Prezzies From Paris

August 5, 2012
Move over Santa Claus, because anyone traveling home from Paris has to squeeze some presents into their Longchamp luggage, and somehow our gifts are mostly food related. If you’re going to stagger across the Channel with bottles and boxes of goodies like me, this really means traveling back to London via the Eurostar train. Clink clink, clang clang, and by the way, that isn’t me, it’s my smelly French cheese! Following a week en vacance in the Ile de Re, my mum (yes, note the English version) and I dragged the following items back with us – our suitcases bulging. 
Cogn’ Orange
Next to the patisserie in La Flotte, there is a dark and barely lit wine cellar, which might scare away less determined shoppers. Ever intrepid, we have sampled various bottles of the island’s cognac over the years -poire, apricot, and original to name a few- but our favorite is still Cogn’ Orange. Excellent as an aperitif or an after-dinner snifter, with or without a cube of ice. This is one reason my suitcase’s zipper is working extra hard this trip, as a couple of bottles are nestled inside my tennis shoes. I do hope they make it back to London intact, or my clothes will bring back happy memories of long evenings watching the Olympics on French TV!
French Sleeping Pills
English chemists are more restrictive than my Spanx, and don’t let you buy much over the counter; but in a French pharmacy, all sorts of pills and potions are readily available. Trust me, I have the boxes in tow to prove it! Unlike the British chemist Boots, which boasts several sad looking meal deal sandwiches and a waterproof bandaid or two, French pharmacies are bursting with high-end beauty products and an impressive range of sleeping pills, for those sleepless nights when you cannot drift off despite the busiest of days. We all need our beauty sleep, even if you need to take a dose of French slumber enhancer every now and then. Accompanying my aunt to the local pharmacy resulted in raised eyebrows, as she asked for 8 packets of Donormyl, having promised to bring a pack back to several friends. I hate to think what this has done to our reputation in the village… they must now think we are a bunch of desperate insomniacs!

In your dreams… this is your typical visit to the pharmacy right? Or at least that’s what the pharmacy packaging suggests!

Ile de Re Sea Salt
I gave my bf a container of this salt last summer, which is sold at triple the price at Harvey Nichols and Williams Sonoma. You might think salt is a funny gift, which was exactly his reaction, but fast-forward several months and he begged me to bring him another carton this trip. I sprinkle this salt on just about everything I cook, and think of long bike rides along the salt flats on the island.
La Temptation de Saint Felicien Cheese
French cheese really is out of this world, but I think my all time favorite is this gooey and potent soft cheese, which comes in a small wicker box. This gift might not smell as good as a Chanel clutch, but hey, you can spread the contents on a fresh baguette and head to the beach with an ear-to-ear grin. I don’t know about Saint Felicien or what his temptations were, but I don’t need much tempting to grab a couple of these cheeses and pop them into my bag. I hope the smell means nobody will sit next to me on the Eurostar… thanks St. Felicien for the extra leg room – the more the better right?
Speculoos
Just when you thought Nutella was top dog, unless you are a Marmite fanatic, here comes a new spreadable treat with 6 zillion calories. Speculoos tastes of caramelized cookies, and gives your morning croissant that extra kick. Another reason to make an afternoon bike ride or swim in the sea part of your regimen! Judging by French women’s waistlines, I don’t think they are treating themselves to daily doses of Speculoos. Calories aside, I felt compelled to introduce this new French speciality to my office colleagues – too bad we can’t work this off by typing emails!
Our annual family trek to the Ile de Re always seems special. For my pug Bogart’s favorite sniffs around the island last summer, see here. As I pack my bursting bags in Paris, I am so thankful I don’t have to declare the aforementioned items at Heathrow airport – can you imagine trying to explain this list of French essentials to customs? I’m going to make it a priority to buy wrapping paper in London tomorrow, so I do give away these prezzies before I keep, eat, drink, or swallow them myself. 
 La Flotte-en-Re: A la prochaine visite!