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Best of Paris

Joanna Van Mulder A Carla Tolemeo-designed chair at the Hôtel Meurice on Rue de Rivoli.

Photo: Joanna Van Mulder

SHOES, HANDBAGS, AND JEWELRY Accessories can make or break an outfit, especially in Paris, where ethnic baubles from Africa and India are currently all the rage. To find the season's status-symbol shoe, go to Roger Vivier (29 Rue du Faubourg-St.-Honoré, Eighth Arr.; 33-1/53-43-00-85). Parisiennes are smitten with la Belle Vivier, a high-heeled black satin court shoe with an oversized silver pilgrim buckle. You can while away an afternoon in the pampering atmosphere of this airy boutique.

20 Sur 20 (3 Rue des Lavandières St.-Opportune, First Arr.; 33-1/45-08-44-94) is every chic local's secret weapon. Bakelite charm necklaces jingling with cherries, along with other costume jewelry dating from the forties to the sixties, can be had at serious bargain prices.

One of those rare gems for which the Left Bank is famous is Adelline (54 Rue Jacob, Sixth Arr.; 33-1/47-03-07-18), where Adeline Roussel creates understated and infinitely wearable neck­laces, bracelets, and dangling earrings out of unpolished gold set with opaque ruby, smoky topaz, and lemon quartz from Brazil.

Find sumptuous estate pieces—necklaces made of enamel pansies, intricate diamond rings, chunky gold bracelets—at Lydia Courteille (231 Rue St.- Honoré, First Arr.; 33-1/42-61-11-71).

It is hard to resist the jewel-colored wallets, belts, watchstraps, and agendas in ostrich, crocodile, and shagreen at Atelier du Bracelet Parisien (7 Rue St.-Hyacinthe; First Arr.; 33-1/42-86-13-70; www.abp-paris.com). Everything is handcrafted and remains in pristine condition, even after years of use. Having artisans sur place means quick turnaround for bespoke orders for out-of-towners.

Channel your inner Jackie O. or Kate Moss and check out the sunglasses at the celebrated E. B. Meyrowitz Opticiens (5 Rue de Castiglione, First Arr.; 33-1/42-60-63-64; www. meyrowitz.com). Although they carry plenty of fabulous designer frames, ask for the more exclusive Meyrowitz line.

PRESENT PERFECT: PERFUMES, GIFTS, AND FLOWERS A gift from Paris has magical connotations—as does a ravishing bouquet hand-delivered to your hotel. Here's an essential list that guarantees each and every cadeau you send will be well received. The flagship Guerlain (68 Ave. des Champs-Élysées, Eighth Arr.; 33-1/45-62-52-57; www.guerlain.com) boutique has been superbly spruced up by style arbiter Andrée Putman. Take the gold mosaicked stairs, designed by Maxime D'Angeac, to the first floor for unfettered access to the house's more than 70 scents.

Editions de ­Parfums (21 Rue du Mont-Thabor, First Arr.; 33-1/42-22-77-22) is renowned for putting sultriness back into scent: Frédéric Malle's brand-new space and most recent creation, Carnal Flower, lives up to that expectation.

Talmaris (61 Ave. ­Mozart, 16th Arr.; 33-1/42-88-20-20) is the destination of choice for Dior's de Castellane and YSL's Stefano Pilati for their engraved personal stationery. Heavy stock is available in virtually every color of the rainbow. Owner Alain-Paul Ruzé also has an unbeatable selection of china, glassware, photograph frames, and children's toys.

For a truly one-of-a-kind gift, visit Claude Nature (32 Blvd. St.-Germain, Fifth Arr.; 33-1/44-07-30-79; www.claudenature.com), a taxidermist's treasure trove of pink flamingos, foxes, and deer's heads. The spare boutique's glass cabinets display exotic shells, framed butterflies, scarabs, and the deadliest of scorpions.

Fashion insider Amanda Ross recommends Papier+ (9 Rue du Pont-Louis-Philippe, Fourth Arr.; 33-1/42-77-70-49; www.papierplus.com) and never leaves Paris without stocking up on lavender diaries, simple blue note­cards, a stash of colored pencils, and photo albums.

The packaging at Fouquet (22 Rue François 1er, Eighth Arr.; 33-1/47-23-30-36; www.fouquet.fr)—glass jars with dark brown-and-white labels—makes for an amazing presentation of this store's very expensive (and addictive) bonbons, caramels, and truffles.

For a great selection of coffees, teas, tisanes, and housemade jams, Comptoir Richard (145 Rue St.-Dominique, Seventh Arr.; 33-1/53-59-99-18) is a sure bet. Two must-have items: the licorice-flavored Anis-Réglisse tisane and wild strawberry confiture.

Nouez-Moi (8 Rue Clément-Marot, Eighth Arr.; 33-1/47-20-60-26) is the only place from which renowned hostess Comtesse Jackie de Ravenel buys her sheets. The shop will embroider your initials on petite pillows, bathrobes, and towels.

For the past several years, Odorantes (9 Rue Madame, Sixth Arr.; 33-1/42-84-03-00) has cornered the market on roses and other flowers known for their alluring scents. Each bouquet is wrapped with a poem tucked inside. Clients include Catherine Deneuve and the fashion houses Chanel, Givenchy, Gaultier, and Céline.

Vanessa Elia sells the best orchids in town at Au Nom de l'Orchidée (67–69 Ave. Paul- Doumer, 16th Arr.; 33-1/40-50-08-08). The exotic beauties are delivered in plain white vases nestled in tissue paper and purple-and-lime green bags.

NATASHA FRASER-VACASSONI is based in Paris and is the author of Sam Spiegel, a biography of the Hollywood film producer.


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