Author: Diana

Simone Perele Has Made Your Perfect V-Day Bra

I really like Simone Perele, which sits between the rah-rah ease of Princesse Tam Tam and the pricy luxury of Eres. Enter Simone Perele, founded in 1948 by the Mlle herself, following the receipt of her diploma in corsetry making. She handled the design work, her husband Wolf took care of growing the enterprise, and together, the pair opened their first Parisian studio in the 9th arrondissement, at 8 rue de Montyon. Sixty-nine years later, the label opened its first Simone Pérèle-branded shop, in the 4th, at 84 rue de François Miron. (They have five boutiques in Paris, total — the one in the 4th, two in the 6th, one in the 14th and one in the 16th — plus one nearby, in Neuilly-sur-Seine.) I love their bras, don’t feel strongly either way about their panties, and think American brands should have a lock on shapewear until Kim Kardashian is starring in The Golden Bachelorette. Ergo, these picks focus on the soutiens-gorge. Pretty!!! Unlike Eres, which feels to me quite sexy/utilitarian, and unlike Princesse Tam Tam, which …

Princesse Tam Tam Is Entry-Level French Lingerie, and I Love It

I remember when I first started looking to buy a bra in France and walked into Princess Tam Tam. I had been raised on apple pie and Victoria’s Secret — where were the bras with padding? With small pillows, embedded in the stitching? Mais non. It was such a sartorial shift from what I was accustomed to that I think I walked out without buying anything. These were the non-inflated bras I had always dreamed of; I just couldn’t believe they existed. That was a while ago now, and obviously we’ve collectively moved beyond the trend of B cups dressed up as D cups. I still love Princesse Tam Tam, and all my favorite underwear is from there. It’s definitely not cheaper (there are cheaper options on this list), but it’s a fraction of the truly pricy lines, like Eres. It’s probably no accident that the line was founded by two women, Loumia and Shama Hiridjee, almost 40 years ago (1985, specifically). Like Eres, it feels like lingerie designed by women for women, not by some …

eres lingerie

5 Excellent Lingerie Selects from Eres

Eres makes some of the world’s most in-demand swimwear — and wouldn’t you know it, some of its loveliest, and priciest, lingerie as well. Eres makes exceptionally well-made and attractive lingerie, but I don’t think it’s particularly sexy. Or maybe it’s that French brand of sexiness, which is so often not exactly the same thing as American (or even British) sexiness — obvious, over-the-top, “feminine” in the most clichéd way. (See: Agent Provocateur.) Eres is lingerie for the female gaze, if you know what I mean: sexy but not a stereotype, made to last, made to be beautiful. One big plus in Eres’s column is its quality. If you’re not bothered about quality, I feel like Princesse Tam Tam does a very similar look, it’s just not as well made. With some luxury brands, you are legitimately just paying for the brand, but swimwear (which is the brand’s bread and butter) is activewear, and much has been made of Eres’s commitment to creating performance fabrics. This WWD article reads like #sponcon, but it goes deep …

are veja sneakers comfortable - photo of v-12 mesh sneakers

Are Veja Sneakers Comfortable? No. (But Hold On.)

There’s an easy answer to the question: Are Veja sneakers comfortable? The answer is no. The answer is no! Sucks, but they’re not. However.  I love my Vejas — all my Vejas — and I continue to wear them. Let’s dig into this. First: What are Vejas? Despite its name, Veja is a French brand of high-end, athletic-inspired footwear. (Is it just me? Before a Veja store moved in down the block from my apartment, I thought it was a Spanish line.) Sustainability was built into the brand from the launch, in 2004, when co-founders Sébastien Kopp and François-Ghislain Morillion built out a production model in Brazil that made use of sustainably produced Amazonian rubber, organic cotton (farmed in the south of the country), and chrome-free leather, which supposedly means less waste in terms of water and energy. (According to them: “Coming from farms located in the south of Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul), it undergoes an innovative tanning process where no chrome, heavy metals or dangerous acids are involved. By simplifying the tanning process, …

vintage makeup

The 15 Skincare Products My French Makeup Consultant Recommended To Me

One of my weird splurges this year was a makeup consult with a verifiable Parisian makeup artist. It was a strange experience — I don’t wear a lot of makeup, and I walked out of there wearing a lot more than I’m used to. I don’t know how much time I need to spend looking at my face, you know what I mean? But I loved her skincare recs, which definitely lean toward the vegan, the pricey, the Euro (especially Austrian!), and the exclusive. I think Gwyneth Paltrow might own everything on this list? It’s very Goop-y. She divided my suggested routine into three steps: makeup removal/cleansing, more cleansing, and then a soothing eau de rose. They’re all listed below. Wherever possible, I found US-based retailers for her suggestions — where I couldn’t, I included the French retailers. (This will be clear from whether the price is listed in dollars or euros.) Remember that though the prices are obviously correct, the French purchases will mean high shipping charges, so it might be worth considering another …

vat refunds france - la samaritaine

Literally Everything You Need to Know About VAT Refunds in France

You think it’d be easy to get free money from the government — but not. Claiming VAT refunds in France can be confusing AF — but the good news is nearly everyone’s confused, which means that there’s a lot of let’s say “gentle instruction,” from retailers and customs officials accustomed to dealing with people who don’t understand what’s going on. There are a ton of restrictions and exclusions, and the amount returned will vary on a bunch of different factors (not least how you want your money refunded, with cash coming at a slightly disadvantageous rate) — but know that if you stick with it, you’ll save about 12% on many of your big purchases. And note that if you’re buying luxury French brands, the savings can really add up — for example, the same exact pieces from Louis Vuitton can be 30% cheaper in France than in the U.S. Get shopping! What is VAT? VAT is an acronym for value-added tax. One of the ways governments make money is by taxing goods. In the …

Is Louis Vuitton Cheaper In Paris?

Is Louis Vuitton Cheaper in Paris? is part 4 in an ongoing investigation. Please also see Is Chanel Cheaper in Paris?, Is Sézane Cheaper in Paris? and Is Diptyque Cheaper in Paris? If you’ve read our previous stories investigating whether famous French brands are cheaper in France — you’ve probably guessed that indeed, the answer to this question — Is Louis Vuitton cheaper in Paris? — is yes. Unlike Chanel, Louis Vuitton offers online shopping, which made comparing prices easy. Here we go! Is Louis Vuitton Cheaper in Paris: The Handbag Let’s start with the Neverfull. The Neverfull GM is a large tote bag in Damier Ebene canvas and natural cowhide trim — “it is ultra-roomy but never bulky.” (I bet it can get bulky.) In USD, it’s $2100. Let’s say you’re buying it in New York City, so we’ll add 8.875%, the current sales tax. Your total bill is now: $2286.19 So taking things across the pond: Your price is now 1550€. Using the current conversion rate,  that comes to $1,708.50. Maybe you’re paying in …

emily in paris recap season 1 episode 1 screenshot

Emily in Paris Recap: Season 1, Episode 1

If you like Emily in Paris, I guarantee you will love my newsletter about living there. Sign up here!  Welcome to our first Emily in Paris recap: Season 1, Episode 1. Oh là là. I remember how stressed I was when the show first debuted, in 2020. It was like watching your infinitely more glamorous and better dressed neighbor go on the same vacation as you — only their clothes were better, their hotel was nicer, the beaches that they went to had better sand and prettier views. It was your experience, only better, in every possible way. Mon dieu, I say. Mon dieu. Moving to Paris feels like a unique experience, but it is not. In fact, the silver lining is that it is infinitely variable, and depending on your experience, talent, ambition, and worldview, it is infinitely possible to make new, vital, and canonical work about it, like Ernest Hemingway, James Baldwin, Josephine Baker, and a million more. (Two of my favorites include dyed-in-the-wool Midwesterners: Iowa painter Grant Wood, most famous for “American …

Flodesk Review: My Take as a Flodesk User

My Flodesk review is I love it: It makes building beautiful newsletters easy. Here’s more. Hello! I’m the author of the Faraway Places newsletter, and I urge you to subscribe, if you like reading newsletters about France and travel. Regardless, whatever your interests are, I am writing this to recommend Flodesk. Use my affiliate code and sign up here. I’ve used basically every newsletter platform out there: Mailchimp, Tinyletter, ConvertKit, custom-designed systems for large editorial outlets. I haven’t used Substack, but I have an argument against it, which I’ll get to, below. Here’s a primer on what for me were the most important things to know. What is Flodesk? Flodesk is a platform for sending email newsletters to your email list. It’s made to be easy to use. I think of it as an email sender for people who are artists, writers, florists, designers, whatever — basically, everyone but marketers. Marketers, I’m sure, would be happier with more “robust” programs like ConvertKit, Mailchimp, AWeber, etc, offering more intense segmentation, retargeting, and stuff like that — but if …

plane flying above earth with glow of sunset on engines

15 Things a Travel Writer Takes on Every Flight

I think a lot about how to pack a carry-on — and indeed, how to dress — on the plane: Planning well can be the difference between a mini-retreat, with entertainment and snacks, and a freezing-cold brain prison. Below, you’ll find everything I bring to keep it more in the former vibe than the latter. I will add here that of course you want all your essentials in your carry-on, rather than any checked bags: medication, wallet, etc. etc. One thing I often pack by accident into my checked bag is charging equipment: cords and battery packs and wall chargers. Of everything here, the thing I forget most often is cables: a USB cord to charge my phone, a full laptop charger, and a cable to connect my headphones to the plane’s entertainment system. A quick note about budgeting, as several of the items below are expensive. As a freelance travel writer, my income varies hugely from year to year: It stabilizes when I take a staff job, and then occasionally craters when I’m freelancing, including some …