Vino Con Vista Italy Travel Guides and Events

Vino Con Vista | Traveler

Monday, September 12, 2011

Parisian Wonders Off the Beaten Track

Eiffel Tower in Paris (France)Image via Wikipedia

Author: Phil Chavanne

In this issue I have yet more Parisian shopping bargains and discoveries in store for the readers of designer leather and furs direct from the manufacturer’s workshop, fine crystal and more!

Rue de Paradis – A crystal paradise?

Another thing that will strike you as you visit Rue de Paradis will be the number of shops offering world-renowned Limoges porcelain, plates, and dinner sets, as well as fine crystal products, from glasses and wine decanters to chandeliers.

Crystal is a type of glass which contains a small percentage of lead to lend it more clarity and sparkle than ordinary glass. Crystal is usually cut to enhance its reflective qualities, making it a very pretty, highly valued (and more costly) type of glassware.

Most shops on Paradis street sell "Cristal de Baccarat", an expensive and prestigious brand of crystal with a long and distinguished history dating back to the early 1800s, and known for supplying royalty with its production.

Those of you who don’t want to fork out a load of money, there is a shop at No. 52 named 'Décor et Cristal' which carries a different type of crystal. Their source is from a factory in Eastern France, the 'Cristallerie des Vosges du Nord'. Although not Baccarat crystal, theirs is still high-quality, and--I was told by the sales assistant--even dishwasher safe!

Prices are great too: some models of crystal glasses retail at 6 euros a piece instead of the usual 30 euros. Products are offered at 20 to 60% discounts.

Décor et Cristal is located at No. 52 rue de Paradis, 75010 Paris. Their phone number is: 33 (0)1 4824 5733.

Loose yourself at Le Grand Comptoir

If you find yourself in the 7th district, take some time to stop by 116 Rue du Bac and check out the Grand Comptoir (the Big Counter), a luminous and refined shopping place filled with a motley of weird and wonderful Parisian items.

The entrance courtyard is lined with a variety of cow pictures in tribute to "Vach'art", the French version of CowParade, a movement that started in Zurich in 1998 and now spans the entire globe (and for cow fans, you'll find some miniatures for sale inside).

The top level of the Grand Comptoir offers a full array of ready-to-wear clothes for men and women. Beauty products and foodstuffs are on the ground floor, along with many shops selling indoor and outdoor house accessories and a host of other things: old style photos albums with pictures of Paris, pillows with your own black and white photo printed on them, dinner sets, wine bottle boxes, lights, linens, art, etc. You can also shop for gorgeous rustic pieces of heavy wooden furniture and wrought-iron (and typically Parisian) benches. These items are of course unlikely to fit into your suitcase, but they are rather nice to look at anyways.

Prices are all over the place, but there's plenty of affordable stuff for bargain hunters.

Le Grand Comptoir is located at 116 rue du Bac, 75007 Paris, and can be accessed from the 'Sevres-Babylone' metro station. Their phone number is: 33 (0)1 4049 0095.

Parisian designer leather & fur - direct from the manufacturers!

I couldn’t believe my luck when, wandering through the Rue de Paradis on the lookout for yet more shopping bargains for the readers of, I spotted the workshop exhibition of Jekel. Since 1947, Jekel has been bringing French fashion know-how to designer leather and fur.

I know fur isn't the most popular item in the United States, and it is much less worn in Europe than in the 1920-50s. The art of designing fur coats and accessories is quickly disappearing, a less than a hundred craftsmen remain in activity in Paris. Finding fur clothing may soon be as difficult as finding a genuine Rembrandt in an attic.

I met with the owner of Jekel, Sylvain Jekel himself who explained that his workshop creates and sells exclusive designer leather models, and fur clothing and accessories.

Jekel distribute their goods internationally to ready-to-wear names and quality retailers such as Galeries Lafayette, Sonya Rykiel, Darel, Apostrophe, etc. The workshop is situated at No. 22 Rue de Paradis.

The ready-to-wear clothing available off the rack is not tailor-made, but Sabrina, the lovely assistant I met, confirmed that Jekel could adjust items on the spot for you (and indeed, she was busily adding a button for a customer as we were speaking).

Prices start at 300 euros, and they can even ship your purchases oversees so you don’t have to overload your suitcases.

Once again, the address of the Jekel workshop is 22 Rue de Paradis, 75010 Paris. Their phone number is 33 (O)1 4770 7390, and you can get there from the following stations: 'Gare de l'Est', 'Poissonniere', and 'Chateau d'Eau'.

Discover your very own Paris: don’t miss the next issue of newsletter by Phil Chavanne, Paris veteran and author. Each issue brings you tips on everything Paris, from great spots for a stroll to off-the-beaten-track attractions, to the best in real Parisian eateries.
Article Source:
About the Author

About the Author:

Phil Chavanne shares with you a 30-year knowledge of Paris, France. Get scores of precious tips to ready yourself for your next trip at Paris-Eiffel-Tower-News, a free Paris guide offering great insider information.