Insights • Inspirations • Destinations • Design

Monday, October 29, 2012

Searching For The Glamour of Paris

Audrey Hepburn once said: "Paris is always a good idea", and she was right. It inspires and delights like no other city in the world.

The week before last I spent a few days in Paris to shoot two books, one of them a guide book to style and the other a meditation on French fashion called How To Live A Beautiful Life: Following In The Footsteps of Chanel. In just 4 days I shot more frocks, fabrics, French women, fashion stores and fabulous things that I've ever seen in my life. At the end of those 4 days, I felt officially frocked out.  I also felt utterly, devastatingly, heart-breakingly unfashionable!

Having only packed a carry-on bag, I hadn't had room to toss in the haute couture Dior*. (*Which only exists in my travel dreams anyway.) Nor did I have space for a Catherine Deneuve-style wardrobe. In fact, I barely had time to polish my boots and pack my passport before I left. But if there's one thing Paris does, it's educate us in the art of glamour. Paris is one big fabulous fashion lesson on Looking Lovely For Very Little Money. By the third day, I'd bought a pair of hot-pink leather gloves (a bargain for 10 Euros), a very Parisian-pink YSL lipstick, and a cobalt silk scarf from Didier Ludot's vintage store on the Palais Royal. Suddenly, I felt a lot more confident about facing Paris. I still looked like a foreign drop-in (we're the ones wearing comfy flats; the Parisian women all seem to don beautiful heels), but at least I didn't look so conspicuously casual.

Here, to brighten your Tuesday, is a brief glimpse at Parisian glamour, featuring some of the (badly photographed) 'off-cuts' of my days in this gorgeous and glorious city.

Oh – and I've now added some captions. Forgive me. I'm still in the fog of jetlag after the 23-hour flight home. That's the worst thing about living in Australia – the long, loooong haul to get home again.

 La Maison Favart.
A glorious little hotel and my favourite new Parisian find.

The Petit Trianon, Versailles

Hot pink hydrangeas. 
These were everywhere in Paris. I fell completely in love with them, especially when I saw that the V&A Museum in London had also planted their inner courtyard with them. Are't they the most incredible colour?

Ralph Lauren

A gorgeous gown outside Angelina on the Rue de Rivol. 
Loved the mosaic backdrop.

A fantastically whimsical bag on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. 
Loved this. It's almost a parody of a Chanel bag.

My kind of BMW. 
My father loves BMW motorbikes. Not sure what he'd think of this though? Isn't it fabulous? I would have loved to have seen the driver...

Hotel La Belle Juliette.

More rose love.

The outrageously opulent, staggeringly beautiful interior of the Palais Garnier.
(Sometimes referred to as Opéra Garnier, or the Opera House.)
If you haven't had a chance to see inside this beautiful, do make time next time you're in Paris. It's incredible. It almost makes Versailles look like a shack!


The Petit Trianon at Versailles.

The Place Vendôme.

The Left Bank at twilight.

Angelina's patisserie at Versailles.

Louis Vuitton.

Goyard, on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.   
This beautifully old-fashioned luggage store is designed like an old luxury cruise liner – complete with mahogany panelling. If you look closely, you can see Wallis Simpson's personalised set of luggage in the small museum-ette on the second floor.

Didier Ludot


Rue Cambon, home to Chanel.

And lastly, this final shot may not seem much, but I always wander past this square when I'm in Paris for some sartorial inspiration...

You see, the apartment on the top floor of the building on the right is Catherine Deneuve's. And if you're lucky, you can sometimes see her in those conservatory-style windows. (It's a rooftop glasshouse, and the windows are quite large.) If you're very, very lucky, you can sometimes see her walking through the Square St. Sulpice. 

Parisian splendour, indeed.


  1. what beautiful photos.

    What lipstick did you buy??? x

    1. Funny enough, I bought the Fuchsia Dore in the Rouge Pur Couture Vernis À Lèvres Glossy Stain!
      Have you seen the fantastic video for this lipstick on the YSL website? It's just beautiful. It ends with all the shoes in lipstick colours. You'd love it.
      And the packaging this year is superb. It's almost made me betray Chanel and cross over to the YSL side!

    2. Dear Janelle and FF
      Strangely enough I was in Sydney about ten days ago and in DJs where I was looking for a gorgeous pink in the Tom Ford range (he has had wonderful oranges). The counter was unattended and I couldn't find one I liked enough (considering they're so expensive) but luckily the YSL consultant came over. She led me to her own lipsticks and recommended the same colour as yours, Rouge pur Couture Le Fuschia (cheaper than Tom Ford), only mine is Eclat Satine rather than a stain. It was fabulous so I bought it. Packaging too, as you say! It's a lovely treat. How funny! She also gave me a sample bottle of the new Opium which is very different from the heavy oriental of the original. Best wishes, Pamela

  2. These are such beautiful images Janelle. If these are your out takes, I can't wait to see what made it into the book x

    1. I've just noticed that these are all wobbly / on a lean Heide... Do hope the whole book isn't going to be lopsided! xxx

  3. Your photo's are absolutely beautiful, I can't wait to get your book when it is published!
    I love fuschia gloves as well, here in Canada where the winters are Sooooo Looooong and everyone wears a black coat it is a small luxury to have a peak of colour to lift the heart.

  4. Aaah I love hot pink and anything reminiscent of Paris so this post was delicious eye candy!

  5. Absolutely beautiful Janelle - thanks for these lovely photographs and much food for thought for next week! S x
    p.s. glad you are home safely - totally agree though such a long, long way....x

  6. Absolutely beautiful Janelle - thanks for these lovely photographs and much food for thought for next week! S x
    p.s. glad you are home safely - totally agree though such a long, long way....x

  7. Oh the first ruffle dress what it please?

    Always loved that Marie Antoinette portrait, I'm currently reading her biography by Antonia Fraser.

    I tried to email you an article about the Chanel jacket exhibition in Sydney but don't think it went through?

    Finally I thought Parisians wore flats?

  8. Stunning Janelle.. I wish you well with the publishing of TWO (gosh you don't do things in any small measures do you) BOOKS.. if these pics are anything to go by.. they are going to be amazing books! Aaah.. tres chic indeed. and to quote.. '"I fell off my pink cloud with a thud." --Elizabeth Taylor

  9. Dear Janelle
    Fully agree with TCC above. The pics are stunning - love all that pink and gold thing in this post and the contrasts with the more moody black and white. And TWO books! But don't fall off your lovely pink cloud!
    The hot pink hydrangeas are quite wonderful. Mine are a much softer pink so now I'll be on the look-out for at least one in that glorious colour. Adore the opulence of the Opera Garnier too and the wonderful Chagall ceiling. The book/music shop is great also. We found some terrific CDs, some on sale price - so frugal! We also enjoyed drinks on their terrace out front where one of the Play Me I'M Yours pianos was located imediately following the 21 June music festival. But the only one we saw that didn't have a queue of people to play it. Maybe intimidated by it location, perhaps. Best wishes, Pamela

  10. I adore the photos Janelle you have captured the spirit of Paris.I can not wait to see the new books.,Wow how busy are you.I have left some other comments but they disappeared into blog land! I hope that this goes through! Have a good rest now.How did you manage with carry on only?
    I am very excited I booked a trip to UK and Paris today for March.We are visiting our son and his girlfriend and then hopping to Paris.
    I am loving your posts.xx Trish


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