Author: Diana

a model wearing a backless top from sezane

The Last Great Buys in Sézane’s Summer Sale

Sézane’s annual summer sale is about three days from feeling extremely picked over. There’s like one piece of jewelry left. Tops are suffering. Dresses are hanging in there, so that’s where we’ll start. Note: Sézane organizes their sale pieces by size — it didn’t seem practical to sort through everything by size, so I just picked the size in the middle rather than focusing on the ends (32 or 48). If you’re coming to France in the very near term, don’t buy anything from the US — the same pieces are remarkably cheaper in France, so it’s like built-in Archives all year long. Note: The shirt above (which looks amazing from the back, iffy from the front (but amazing from the back) is the Katy (available at the moment from M-XXL for $50). I have this shirt and I love it — just get a size down, because that cotton stretches out. Ania top, was $100, now $70 I’ve tried this on and it’s incredible, just very body conscious — it stressed me out too much, but …

sezane marais

Ranking the Sézane Shops in Paris

Depending on how you count, Sézane has about a half-dozen shops in Paris — but they are not created equally. Let’s rank them so that your shopping time may be well spent. A few things to note: I was surprised by how bad the reviews are for the shops on Google — they all hover around 3.5 stars — and I think most of it is international shoppers colliding with French customer service. For what it’s worth, I actually think Sézane staff is nicer than average. Oh, also, the lines: When I complain about lines below, I don’t mean the lines to pay; those move pretty fast. I literally mean the lines to get in. If you hate lines, go straight to #3. We publish two great newsletters: Sign up for a weekly dispatch about travel and Paris — or for our new weekly email about shopping (mostly French brands but a mix of everything!) Several of the Paris shops are closed on Mondays, and many close for big chunks/most of August, so be forewarned. …

sezane july capsule

8 Picks from Sézane’s July Vacation Capsule Collection

Sézane’s July vacation-themed capsule collection debuted this morning at 9:30 Paris time, and a few things are already sold out! (TBH we like what’s here better.) Below, our top picks from the very summery vibes. You might look like a giant marshmallow in this, but I’m still interested — even if those pleats look like a lot of work to take care of. Gloria dress, $195 Ohh, this is just very cute, with those shoulder ties. Aria top, $70 I would love more information on how well this is constructed, but it’s going to be the first thing I try on in Paris. Love the shape, love the color. Calanques swimsuit, $130 The average piece of French denim is always just that little bit more tailored than the average piece of American denim. And so: Niels shorts, $125 One of the last pieces from the Farm Rio collab. Bikini, $150 (sold separately as top, $85, + bottoms, $65) I love Sézane earrings, and I particularly love these little flowers in resin and gold-plated brass. Also …

maje pink dress

7 Picks from Maje’s Summer 2023 Sale

I think of Maje as a meeting point between Sandro (a little primmer/properer) and Zadig & Voltaire (a little more rock ‘n’ roll.) I don’t like everything (like this — what is happening here?), but every once in a while I’ll get something I love here, like my favorite winter coat — not cheap but made to last. Prices are deeply changeable: These reflect a 20% off for the Fourth of July, so who knows how long that will last. FYI the dress above is not on sale, but it’s here if you’re interested. I am hesitant to call this, as Maje does, a “playsuit,” but I guess it’s better than when they were called rompers. Wow, those cowboy boots. Sequined playsuit, was $415, now $199 As a past Maje coat-buyer, I love this coat, though note it’s made from a “wooly fabric” (78% wool, 22% polyamide). Maje single-breasted coat, was $645, now $361 A (pink) variation on a theme. This one is 67% wool, 33% viscose. Maje pink coat, was $715, now $400 Another …

things to do in lille

The Complete Guide to Lille

Let me convince you why you absolutely must visit Lille, the capital of France’s North. Beer. Mussels. Friendly people. Things that don’t exist in Paris are available in excess in Lille. I’ve been to Paris more than I’ve been anywhere else in France — but in second place is not Bordeaux or Lyon or Nice or even Marseille (which I love!) but Lille. I’ve been to Lille more than anywhere else I’ve been in France except for Paris. This is mostly because every Labor Day weekend, I head to Lille for its huge flea market, possibly the biggest and oldest in Europe. (Operating for nearly 1000 years, it only stopped a handful of times, including the Nazi invasion of France during World War II and after the terrible truck attack in Nice in 2016.) Lille is only an hour from Paris by train but its location, bordering Belgium, hints at its very different identity: It’s beer, not wine, and moules et frites instead of steak tartare. It’s friendly! I know I already said that, but it’s worth …

summer dress from parisian line bash

6 Things Worth Buying in Ba&sh’s Summer Sale

Ba&sh has never been my favorite French line, but it has been responsible for some of my favorite French clothes. This is possibly because they seem to make a tremendous amount of clothing — the new summer sale has precisely 383 items — with maybe a poorer hit-to-miss ratio than other lines. But what I like I really like: I wore Ba&sh to the only wedding I attended in 2022. If you’re not familiar with the line, it’s flirtier and more feminine — in a particular flowy, flowery, that sort of feminine way, with lots of floor-length dresses in dramatic prints. The collection doesn’t always cohere in my opinion, and there’s a lot of what I’m going to call “doodads” that I don’t totally get — why does this jacket have a waist-high side tie? On the other hand, what I like I love, so it’s usually worth sifting through everything to find the gems. Below, my faves from the ongoing summer sale — don’t delay, or if you do delay keep a close look …

a promotional image of writer emily monaco

A Quick Chat With Emily in France

Emily Monaco is without question one of my favorite people in all of France — when I returned to Paris after my landlord had moved all of my things to the identical apartment one floor higher, she was the one who got my video tour of the new space (basically a 30-second video of my plants and bed and books and me screaming the whole time, about how bizarre the whole experience was). She’s also a journalist and food expert who’s hosting not one but multiple retreats in France in the upcoming weeks and months: The Nantes Writers’ Workshop, a weeklong writing retreat in Nantes, and a ceramics and food trip called Terre/Mer in La Ciotat, on the Mediterranean coast. (I want to do both of them, of course.) I thought it would make sense to talk to her about those events, and to ask her all the questions I forget to ask her when we’re out and about. So you’re working on two separate events: a fiction workshop in Nantes and a ceramics + …

The Faraway Places Podcast Episode #1: How to Stay Safe as a Solo Female Traveler and More

Hello!! I am sooooooo excited to introduce the Faraway Places podcast, a podcast about travel in Paris, France, Europe, and specifically solo female travel! It is an amazing opportunity to hear how weird my voice is and also my genetic inability to say the letters “an” without adding an R to the middle! Today: 10 strategies/worldviews I use to stay safe while traveling as a solo female traveler — plus, a question — hurrah!!!! — from newsletter reader Sarah, who asked about the best hostel in Paris. The tl;dr of it: 1. Keep some extra cash on hand (even if our new and basically cashless society) 2. Explore new neighborhoods very slowly 3. See new places with locals through guided tours or Airbnb Experiences 4. Single rooms in hostels offer a budget rate and a hostel’s community 5. Stay in a hotel rather than an Airbnb if there’s any chance of checking in late at night 5A. In order of preference for airport transport to cities: public transport, hotel car service, Uber, cabs 6. Exercise …

a movie still of actress catherine deneuve

The 10 Most Popular “French Pharmacy” Products on Amazon (Plus Our Take)

Amazon stocks a lot of “French pharmacy” products — but it’s quite a weird assortment, so I thought I’d dig in and see what’s good, what’s weird, and what’s a super good buy. A trip to Paris will definitely still be a better way to do a proper French pharmacy haul — and Amazon has had very many complaints about poor quality products (or outright fakes). Many of the brands below operate their own online US shopping sites, so you can go straight to the source, if you prefer. As has also been widely reported, there seems to be some sort of advantage for Amazon in presenting search results that are at best disorganized and at worst chaotic — it really took a minute to sort through what was sponsored and what was not, and to simply distinguish brands that were, in fact, French — from the decidedly not-French brands like Tatcha and Murad, which also showed up in my results. All those caveats aside, sometimes you just want to try something new, and get it with …

Some Free Books For Whoever Wants Them

Hello! Here are the books that are up for grabs — they are available unless they have a CLAIMED next to them. They’re linked to their Amazon listings in case you want to get a better description of them than the sparse ones I have provided below. Instructions for claiming them are in my newsletter. For now US addresses only please, otherwise the shipping costs > the book themselves. The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature by David Suzuki I had very high hopes for myself when I bought this, but they have been dashed. (Paperback, like new) JGV: A Life in 12 Recipes by Jean-Georges Vongerichten This looks like a very sweet book by the famous chef. (Hardcover, like new) Mother Grains by Roxana Jullapat Recipes to do with barley, buckwheat, corn, oats, rye, sorghum and more grains. Can you tell I don’t cook? (Hardcover, like new) American Cookie by Anne Byrn “The Snaps, Drops, Jumbles, Tea Cakes, Bars & Brownies That We Have Loved for Generations”: We have two copies. (Paperback, very …