Latest Posts

The Best from Maje’s Friends and Family 25% Off Sale

Maje just announced it’s 25% off Friends & Family sale — and these are the best picks from it.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get these recs directly in your inbox? So convenient! 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!

maje friends and family sale picks

1. Obsessed!! What would you wear this to? A goth ball? A five-star hotel on Halloween night? I love this. I would buy this now and hold on to it until the right event present itself, because it’s unstoppable. Those shoes FTR are a monstrosity, speaking of Halloween. Maje long sequined dress, was $565, with discount $423.75

2. Sometimes you just want to look like an Olympics-caliber skater going to her prom, am I right?? Why are those same shoes back?? I have only questions, and no answers. Maje short sequined dress, was $445, with discount $338.25

3. This is like the epitome of Maje to me: sexy dresses that would make sense at a magazine party in 2005 SoHo. Vintage but vintage in the sense that none of this was that long ago. Maje openwork knit dress, was $345, now $258.75

I’m a sucker for a jacquard sweater. Says Maje: “For this latest collection, the Maje girl uses classic British items with a retro touch.” Wear it to Gstaad! Maje jacquard sweater, was $385, with discount $258.75

5. French denim is not like American denim — which is not to say you can’t get close either way (French brands doing US styles and vice versa), but this to me is representative of French jeans: slightly tailored, slightly formal, definitely not getting cut into jean shorts. Maje double pocket jeans with flare, was $295, with discount $221.25

6. I’ve had a Maje coat for years, and it’s held up beautifully under terrible conditions. (Basically, the condition of living with me. I spill! Whatever!) This has a tightly defined waist for such a voluminous coat, and bonus, it’s double-sided, with a puffer jacket vibe on the reverse. Maje reversible coat, was $715, with discount $536.25

7. A variation on the skater dress above, but in a silvery velvet. Check out that incredibly deep V-neck. Maje sequinned velvet dress, was $535, with discount $401.25

8. Everyone should have a super chunky gold chain that they can dress up or down — I feel like they should pass this out along with diamonds or oranges or snowflakes when people get a spot on a Real Housewives franchise. This one is (slightly) distinguished in that it mixes oblong and circular shapes. Maje link necklace, was $190, with discount $142.50

9. This dress is actually my top pick of everything, and not for nothing but they styled it with the necklace above. It does look a little like a very tailored towel, but if you have a warm-weather destination coming up, this is perf. Maje short draped dress, was $385, with discount $288.75

10. Note that this bodysuit has a fascinating cut in on the hip. Maje openwork knit bodysuit, was $195, with discount $146.25

woman wearing sezane earrings with white sweater

Sezane Earrings: A Regularly Updated Guide to the Best

I love Sezane earrings — of all my Sezane purchases, they’re probably the ones I get compliments on most often.

I personally break Sezane earrings into two categories: vintage glam and boho summer. The vintage glam are most of what you’ll see below: lots of gold (well, gold-plated brass, for the most part) and resins/glass — shiny! Feminine! Beautiful! The latter vibe is omnipresent in their spring/summer collections, when natural materials life raffia, thread and the like dominate. I like them both equally, though I’ve found that the glammier (read: metal-based) pieces tend to last longer.

Let’s say there’s a third category, and that is: Sezane Earrings i Do Not Wish to Buy. These include too-basic shapes (which you can dupe with cheaper brands) and more delicate, demure pieces, which I think are done better by other brands, including Lou Yetu. I’m not paying Sezane earring prices for a pair of basic Sezane earring hoops. I’m getting those at H&M.

If you’re looking for the Sezane earrings worn by Kate Middleton — the Dinas — I’m sorry to say that they’re not currently on offer, and that there’s no perfect equivalent for them at the moment. She wore them on Christmas Day, 2022 – a pretty high-profile occasion for such an egalitarian earring; you love to see it. This was well covered by the myriad Kate Mid style blogs; for a look, see here. The closest thing they have at the moment might be the Joe earrings? Or the Meikas?

All prices below are in USD — note, as always, that you’ll pay less in absolute terms if you save your earring-buying for when you’re next in Paris. To see exactly how much you’ll save, click here.

sezane earrings - flora

#1: The Flora Hoop Earrings ($90)
When I said above that I get lots of compliments on Sezane earrings, I’m mostly talking about the Floras, which I have in sea green. I love them. I generally don’t like hoop earrings — I feel like a pirate! I can’t help it! — and these are big and swishy; those gold-plated brass hoops are thicker and sturdier than they look. But I got used to them, and now they are my favorites of all my earrings, from Sezane and elsewhere. Note that the resin flowers aren’t attached to the hoops, so they can separate if you’re not careful (when they’re not in your ears) and I personally hate the thin wires they go into your ears. All that kvetching aside, I love these, and if they weren’t $90, I’d have them in multiple colors. To my fellow green-eyed girlies: The Sea Green is a must!

sezane earrings - ernest

#2: Ernest Earrings ($90)
I find these so striking. As mentioned above: I don’t see the point of spending nearly $100 on earrings unless they are PIZZOW-WOW-HELLLO!!!***, and these qualify. I have quite a short neck so they almost reach my shoulders — something to consider. I think that’s why all the model shots in the product listing have her lifting her chin. The simple and dramatic white is my top pick.

sezane earrings - diego

#3: Diego Earrings ($80)
I hesitate with Sézane’s woven earrings in a way I didn’t used to, before I bought two pairs that fell apart without too much hard use (ultimately they both separated from the post). That said: I love how these look so much that I’m willing to take the risk. Best color: gold.

sezane earrings - meika

#4: Meika Earrings ($120)
I find these really beautiful and elegant and vintage-vibe-y — in the gold would look so good with black, gold, white, cream. Super Greek island vibes! St. Tropez! Cannes! Anywhere beautiful with a sea view!

sezane earrings - mirandas

#5: Miranda Earrings ($90)
I love these, even if they look to me like a very pricey duper for J. Crew’s ubiquitous colored glass earrings.

sezane earrings - clarisse

#6: Clarisse Hoop Earrings ($120)
These are so extremely classy. I would never buy them, but if someone gave them to me, I’d wear them to every job interview and second date from now until the end of time. Brass rings gilded with fine gold, in case you’re interested in the composition. Note that lovely and very subtle swerve in the hoop!

How To Dress Like You’re Going to the Gym at a Giant Division I Public University in the Midwest

In this week’s edition of “How to Dress Like…”, we consider the fashion sensibility of gym-goers at a giant, fancy gym at a Division I public university in the Midwest (which might bear some connection to the University of Iowa). I did my undergrad in New York City, where our gym was literally underground, and a second bachelors degree at the San Francisco Art Institute, which…did not have a gym, or even some sort of deal with, like, the YMCA. So going to a school with a deep, deep gym culture was totally new to me. I’m here for it, though — and I’m obsessed by the very rigid dress codes enacted there. Here’s what they’re wearing at the gym (TL;DR: more Lululemon than I ever would have thought, that stuff is expensive!!)

It all starts with the shorts! Here I am in my high-waisted leggings; there’s everybody else, in 4-inch Lululemon Align shorts — most often not in black, but in some other, often jewel-toned color. Also available in 6″, 8″ and 2″, but I would 90% of the people in these shorts are in the four-inch. Lululemon Align High-Rise Short 4″, $64

This Y-back bra is absolutely everywhere: lots of compression and lots of hold. (Weirdly enough I’m actually wearing one right now, though I much before the lighter support Like a Clouds.) Flow Y Bra, $48

I’m actually a big supporter of On Running shoes (I’m saving up for the tennis ones): They, too, are ubiquitous, and unlike Hokas, they don’t totally stick out in Paris as belonging to an American. (I’m working on a list of “how to spot an American in Europe” and Hokas are number one on that list.) On Running Cloudswifts, $149

The Everywhere bag was one of those things that took over while I was away, and then I came home and everyone was wearing these lumpy fanny bags (lol) across their chests. Ubiquity is not an indication of value, but these are certainly ubiquitous. Lululemon Everywhere bag, $38

I knew which brand of water bottle I wanted to include in this but blanked on the name, so I just googled “water bottle teenagers” and wouldn’t you know it, Hydro Flasks popped right up. The model I see most often is the 32-ounce. (“What’s wrong with Nalgenes?” the Xennial (me) screamed at the sky — I love this one with a hawk design from Bird Collective.) Hydro Flask 32-ounce water bottle, $44.95

There are innumerable brands of baggy shorts at play, but my personal favorite are these Aeries — basically, any fleecey short with some volume will do. Aerie Lumber Jack shorts, $34.95

Finally: One of the coolest things about being at a Big 10 school last year was — for the first time in my life — seeing male students wear a female player’s jersey: Caitlin Clark, y’all! She is legit. Caitlin Clark tee, $35

These feel very Yellowjackets to me — very ’90s sports teams. I’ve seen these from knee-high to mid-calf — I think I like mid-calf best, but I like the stripes on these the most of everything I saw. Urban Outfitters striped socks, $10

image of diptyque candles arranged on a shelf

46 Diptyque Candles, Ranked

Diptyque candles ranked: Without a doubt, a Diptyque candle is one of the best souvenirs you can bring back from France (not least because depending on the exchange rate they’re about 25% cheaper there than in the US, for the same size).

How, though, to know which one to get? Some of them are amazing — others, incredibly meh, and yet they all cost the same, so it pays to do your homework Below, all of the standard Diptyque candles, ranked, from 1 to 46. Feu de Bois will forever be my number one; I will forever despise Baies (note that many people think Baies is the best Diptyque candle; you will decide for yourself.)

This ranking of Diptyque candles includes everything but special editions, like the city editions (which I haven’t had the good fortune to see in the flesh) and the holiday candles, with which I am completely obsessed and I love all of them.

Diptyque Candles Ranked: #1-#46

46. Baies
You may love it. I hate it. A dupe for all those redcurrant candles seen in every indie fashion shop in 2008. Strong, though, if that’s your thing.

45. Chêne
Oak. Like the inside of a wood cabinet. I feel like Chêne might deserve a place at the bottom of most list of Diptyque candles ranked (and it would have been on this one if I didn’t dislike Baies so much.)

44. Verveine
Lemon verbena. Lemony and bright and sweet. The weird thing is that the throw’s not bad, but the scent is so anonymous that you can smell it and forget it at the same time.

43. Iris
Yeah, you know which flowers don’t have a strongly identifiable smell? Iris. (Don’t fight me.)

42. Eucalyptus
As a eucalyptus obsessive I wish I loved this more. Remarkably, the sale rep tried to talk me out of it, saying it smelled too much like an essential oil — basically, too simple, too straightforward. You know what? She was totally right. Eucalyptus can be a tricky scent to get right, so I guess mimicking eucalyptus is an achievement in itself, but…eh.

41. Freesia
I find this to be a totally unremarkable floral.

40. Noisetier
Hazlenuts. The Nutella of Diptyque. Woodsy, fruity, sweet.

39. Thé
Tea. Slightly on the nose. Black tea, to be specific, but ultimately kind of boring?

38. Citronelle
Lemon grass. A lovely scent but extremely uncomplicated and much too faint: I stand over it and try to waft any possible scent toward my nose. Often gets special packaging for the summer.

37. Benjoin
Resinous — by which I think I mean syrupy? Sweet and cloying and spicy.

36. Mimosa
This was one of the first Diptyque candles I ever bought, and it was hella disappointing. IDK, mimosa flowers are so pretty,

35. Menthe Verte
Spearmint. I mean OK, but is this really an in-demand smell? Who is buying this?

34. Patchouli
You know who you are. Not exactly what you remember from college, if you want to that kind of college, but not exactly transcending it, either.

33. Figuier
Fig. Supposedly Meghan Markle’s Diptyque candle of choice.

32. Aubépine
Hawthorn. One of the first Diptyque candles, which I find amazing. A progenitor to the rose. Rosy and sweet, but chilled out.

31. Geranium Rosa
A rose on the way to being something else. A rose with nuance. Nuance in the form of geranium leaf. Mild throw.

30. Lys
Well, if you like lilies, this is your girl. Medium throw. An easily (and pleasingly) identifiable scent. If you like lilies. But not everyone does.

29. Cuir
Leather, with something soapy about it. Not for me, maybe for someone who’s really into woodworking?

28. Genévrier
Juniper. Like if Feu de Bois had a citrus note in the middle of it all.

27. Ambre
Resiny, heady, rich. Like a little den with rich scents.

26. Vétyver
Vetiver, which if you aren’t in the luxury candle/fragrance is a dry, woody smell — a cut field, but in August, after a long spell with no rain? Kind of grassy? I’m sure there’s people out there who love it but pas pour moi merci.

25. Santal
And yet not Santal 33 (from Le Labo). Sigh.

24. Coing
Quince. If you don’t know what quince smells like, think of a mashup of pear and apple — just sort of fresh and sweet. This is like that.

23. Bois Ciré
Resiny, like Myrrh, and wood, like Chêne. For me neither here nor there.

22. Maquis
I know this isn’t it’s fault but “maquis” is also the name for French resistance fighters who lived in the wild, and I find this confusing, even though they are both referring to the same thing: scrubland. Like if a hill in Provence could have a scent, this is it.

21. Gardenia
Light and floral. The right candle for a baby shower, held in an apple orchard, on the last Saturday in April.

20. Mousses
Moss. I’d love to see a sales chart ranking all the Diptyque candles, because I feel like this one is coming in last. Smells fine. Grassy, a bit? Rich? Should be richer, I think.

19. Choisya
Mexican orange blossom: citrusy and bright. Stronger than many. The Cut published an entire piece about it.

18. Opopamax
Diptyque compares it to myrrh and benzoin. This list is revealing my personal biases, which is against heady, rich, Eastern smells, though I sort of love this one (though not enough to rank it higher). The Diptyque candle of choice for a riad in Marrakesh financed exclusively by an American founder of a luxury athleisure brand.

17. Musc
So romantic — and yes, musky. I didn’t have a lot of experience with musks outside of Kiehl’s, so this was a weird one for me. Lighter than I expected.

16. Oyédo
Another citrus-y smell, but this time yuzu. Like being outside, in an orange grove. Sweet. Cannelle doesn’t smell like cookies, but Oyédo might smell like orange cookies. Bright and fun, and doesn’t disappear into the furniture like Verveine and Citronelle.

15. Tilleul
Linden flowers. If you grew up near a linden tree (see #2, Muguet), you’ll like this more than I did. Lightly floral, etc.

14. Myrrh
The ultimate Christmas fragrance for a variety of reasons. Heady, spicy. Not a powerful throw but not nothing.

13. Foin Coupé
Cut hay. More like hay than Vétyver, which I compared to a field. Light, bright, kind of boring?

12. Oud
Sandalwood and patchouli. Heavy but light. A library, owned by a woman, in Turkey, in January. I like it but I don’t love it. With Feu de Bois I do think it is one of the most Diptyque-y scents.

11. Pomander
As Christmas-y as Myrrh. A back-up to Cannelle. Like a cloved orange. Wish it had as strong a throw as Feu de Bois.

10. Feuille de Lavande
I really like the smell of a lavender candle, but there is absolutely nothing about this lavender candle, versus the other 34 billion out there, to make it worth Diptyque’s price.

9. Vanille
A smoky vanilla. I always want this to smell like Le Labo’s Paris Vanille 44, and it just doesn’t.

8. Cannelle
Cinnamon. An autumn back-up for Feu de Bois, on cold but sunny days. I can admit I expected this to smell like cookies and it doesn’t (obviously).

7. Oranger
Man, Diptyque makes a lot of citrus candles. Happily, this is the best of them. Oranger is blood oranges, in Sicily, on a warm night in June. Lovely and deep and rich.

6. Roses
I mean, it smells exactly like the name on the label, so there’s that. A very strong throw — I’ll let it for 30 minutes and then give it a rest, because it’s that strong. A springtime scent that’s heavy like a winter one, if you know what I mean.

5. Narguilé
Honey and tobacco. Autumnal, but sunny afternoons rather than rainy weekends, like Feu de Bois. Masculine, but not overly so. Not overpowering, but you won’t forget you lit it, either.

4. Jasmine
Beautiful. Non-candle jasmine is beautiful. It is often, when encountered in the wild, overpowering. This is not. I wish it were moreso. The unlit candle wax smells better than the lit scent.

3. Violette
Delicate violets. A perfect candle with a tragically weak throw. Walk across the room and you’ll forget you lit it. But beautiful if you’re sitting right next to it.

2. Muguet
Lilies of the Valley. Like Proust’s madeleine, if you happened to have a grandmother who grew lilies of the valley. Which I do, which might account for this exceptionally high ranking. If you like lilies of the valley, it’s the closest thing you can get without having a patch of them under your bedroom window. Wish it could be stronger, but strong enough.

1. Feu de Bois
Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. A fall dream in a glass container. Perfection. Everything that is good about autumn. It gets lit on the first rainy Sunday after Labor Day and is the go-to scent until Thanksgiving, when it alternates with the Christmas range.

Thank you for taking a look at our list of the Diptyque candles ranked from #1 to #46. See also: All the best beauty and fragrance shops in Paris (including Diptyque)

sezane bags with model and product shot

A Comprehensive Guide to Sezane Bags

Sezane bags are excellent, stylish and well-made. Here’s what you need to know before you buy one — especially if you’re buying it from overseas.

Sezane has a smallish assortment of bags: Right now, it has four leather bags (the Milo, the Romeo, the Victor, and the Farrow) in a variety of colors and finishes), as well as a capsule collection of woven summer bags, in natural fibers (primarily raffia). My opinion is that the leather bags are a good buy for the money, due to the quality of the construction and the durability of the style — they’re designed to last. The summer bags? I’m not as enthusiastic.

Let’s get into it.

Sezane Leather Bags: The Milo and More

sezane bags - milo product shot

The leather portion of the Sezane bag selection is led by the Milo ($475): It’s 100% vegetable-tanned smooth cowhide leather, and made in Italy. It’s smallish: shorter and narrower than a letter-sized piece of paper (6.7 inches x 9.4 inches x 1.8 inches). It has a very satisfying metal clasp on the front, with a zipped interior pocket. It’s great — there’s no other way to say it, it’s just like Sezane in a nutshell: fashionable without being trendy, well made, expensive but actually pretty reasonable when you break it down on a cost per wear. You could use this bag every day for years.

The Milo comes in slightly exotic finishes, including a python-embossed leather and a snakeskin-embossed leather, but personally I think you need to go classic all the way, with the Natural Heritage (a rich warm brown, shown here.). It also comes in a classic black that I feel is a bit stark.

milo mini classic

The Milo also comes in a mini size (seen above): 4.7 inches x 7.5 inches x 2 inches. That’s the same size as a 5″ X 7″ index card. And you’re only saving $40 versus the full-size price.

milo vintage bags

There’s one more variation of the Milo: a “vintage” take in taupe sueded leather (seen above on the left — on the right is the embossed brown), that’s just a little bit cheaper ($405). I do like the vintage-y leather clasp that replaces the metal one on the regular Milo.

Ranking the Rest of the Sezane Bags: Leather Edition

romeo bags from sezane

#2: The Romeo

Like the Milo, the regular-sized Romeo ($345) is made in Italy from leather with a cotton liner. I really love the Large (Grand) Romeo, a classic flap-closure bag in some fun colors (well, taupe and black, both $365).

The Grand size is the biggest of the leather bags (outside of the largest Farrow, which I think doesn’t count since it’s a bucket bag): 7.8 inches x 10.6 inches x 4.7 inches.

milo multicolor bag

The regular-sized Romeo is smaller: 6.2 inches x 7.4 inches x 4.7 inches. The one I like best is the one that mixes a brown woven with peach and seafoam (seen above on the left).

#3: The Victor

Does this look like a car’s headrest? A bowling bag? I don’t know, but I don’t love it. Same specs, generally speaking: made from leather and made in Italy. The regular-finish Victor is only available in the Natural Heritage color (seen above), that same cognac-y brown ($375).

croco print victor bags

The Victor also comes in a “croco-print” leather for a little more ($390), in brown (with a non-adjustable light gold chain — by far my favorite) and black (with a non-adjustable leather (but still elevated) strap).

farrow bag from sezane

#4: The Farrow

Maybe you love a bucket bag. Moi? J’aime pas a bucket bag. The Farrow comes in three sizes, with the biggest 10.2 inches x 9.2 inches x 6.7 inches. The strap is 38.2 inches and adjustable.

The more interesting variations include a crocodile-embossed leather and an embossed blue leather. It also comes in a tiny micro version ($235): 6.6 inches x 7.4 inches x 4.7 inches, including a lovely rosy color (aka “vintage blush”, $235).

sezane raffia bags

Sezane Bags: The Raffia Summer Collection

So the other main category of Sezane bags is the summer raffias. I find it amazing that they can charge these prices — if you’ve ever had a raffia bag, you know that they’re doomed to fail, the raffia is just too delicate a fiber to withstand day-in, day-out wear. They show incredible craftsmanship — it’s no surprise that they’re made in Madagascar, not Italy — but I would be stressed every time I took it out. (Also Sezane advises you not to take it out in the rain, which, like, sure, but that just seems even more stressful.)

sezane june bag

The June bag ($210) is great looking but still: stressful. Look at all that handwork! Ugh, it’s amazing. It’d be so scared I’d destroy it. I’ve held this IRL and getting up close to it did nothing to assuage my fears.

carla pouch

I do think the Carla pouch is very cute and could be great at a very specific sort of summer wedding, but it’s a lot of money. This is one of those tricky things: Sezane makes a big deal (as they should) of using audited factories, and it highlights the number of hours (54) necessary to braid one of these pieces. To pay that worker a fair wage, a higher price is appropriate. But this might not be the piece to prove that, given its durability factor and limited style vocabulary — I don’t know about you, but I feel like I would use this twice a year, whereas that Grand Romeo above would get constant use.

Frequently asked questions about Sezane bags:

Where are Sezane bags made?

Most of the leather bags are made in Italy, while the raffia pieces are mostly made in Madagascar. This information is clearly shared in the “Details and Composition” pane of each product listing.

What are Sezane bags made of?

The leather bags are vegetable-tanned cow leather.

How much does it cost for shipping?

Sezane offers free shipping to the US for purchases over $200, which happily or unhappily covers most bags.

How long does shipping take for Sezane bags?

I think many people are surprised by how fast Sezane’s shipping is, even from France. They ship within 2-4 days, and all my packages have arrived within a week after the ship date. It’s not Amazon, but it gets there.

See much money you’ll save by buying Sézane in France here

Buy Sezane bags here. Prices and availability accurate as of July 2023 (these will surely change). Affiliate links above. 

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).

ania top sezane

I have this shirt and I love it — just get a size down, because that cotton stretches out. Ania top, was $100, now $70

thalys dress sezane

I’ve tried this on and it’s incredible, just very body conscious — it stressed me out too much, but for the right person, it’s perfection. Thalys dress, was $190, now $125

I used to wear dresses like this exclusively: patch front pockets, shapeless shape, embroidered details. You know who you are. Kylie dress, was $190, now $125

Fall is coming (I mean, I hate it, but it’s coming), and this is going to look fantab on nights out. Salina blouse, was $130, now $95

marge sweater sezane

This is a really good-looking, lightweight sweater, with lots of pretty details for the money. Marge sweater, was $135, now $85

I included this in an earlier round-up after I’d tried it on, but I went back and bought it because it’s adorbs. Definitely requires a tuck-in. Samuel top, was $110, now $65

I love the details on those delicate buttons. Donna shirt, was $130, now $105

I just really like this style: oversized fit, oversized details, those big buttons, and sort of French safari vibe. If it wasn’t tucked, it’d be bad news. Laurine shirt, was $125. now $95

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. Stock varies between shops, so what’s sold out at one may be available elsewhere — staff should be able to help track things down, but I got better results just stopping by and checking for myself.

#1: Le Grand Apparentement (17eme)
Current Google review average: 3.6 stars 
The second Sézane location, this is my favorite.

Pros: It’s huge. The lines are usually shorter here than at the original location in the 2nd. The dressing rooms are very nice, and there are a lot of them — they’re downstairs, so this is both a pro (they’re out of the fray) and a con. I’ve found lots of good returns in the Conciergerie area. The shoe space is enclosed, which is good if you like trying on shoes in private (the superior way to try on shoes.)
Cons: The 17th is out of the way unless you live in the 17th. The lines are shorter, but there are def still lines. If mobility is a concern (or you’re just tired), going downstairs to the changing room can be a pain.

63 boulevard des Batignolles, 75017 

#2: L’Appartement (2eme) 
Current Google review average: 4.0 stars 
The original!

Pros: It’s also very big. I feel like it’s the most charming? There are mosaics on the floor. The shoe space is slightly private. Like Le Grand Appartement, they have a huge selection, and the Conciergerie next door gets a lot of solid returns. The location is pretty central — it’s right next to the Ace Hotel, which has a not-very-expensive and reasonably good café if you’re into that sort of scene. Open on Monday!

Cons: Lines, lines, always a line.

1 rue Saint Fiacre, 75002

#3: L’Appartement (4eme)
Current Google review average: 4.6(!) stars
The newest one!

Pros: Finally Sézane comes to the Marais, the city’s biggest shopping district. It’s just a few minutes walk from BHV (my other favorite department store) or rue Vieille du Temple, the main retail street. Open Sunday!

Cons: When I originally wrote this post, I had this in fourth place, but after spending more time in it, I decided to move it up — there’s a nice little alcove where you can look at the jewelry line in peace (more or less), and similarly the sweater selection is out of the fray a bit (along with the bags and swimwear, season dependent.) But the staff is so rude. Not all of them, obviously, but noticeably ruder than the other locations. I haven’t spent enough time there to know for sure, but I’m guessing there’s a relationship here to the shoppers — I went in three or four times over the course of a week (I couldn’t decide on a pair of earrings), and honestly I don’t think I’ve ever heard so much English spoken in a store. (In France.) Anglophone shoppers, crankier staff. Given the lack of a Conciergerie, this is in third place by a mile — totally fine if the others are geographically inconvenient, but not the top experience.

33 rue des Blancs Manteaux, 75004

#4: Le Bon Marché (7eme)
Current Google review average: 3.0 stars
A dark horse.

Pros: This is a reasonably sized concession within Le Bon Marché, my favorite department store in Paris — it makes a good one-two-three trip with City Pharma, a short walk away. Never a line! And biggest bonus of all, because it’s at LBM, it’s open on Sundays, unlike some of the regular Sézane shops. (The Marais shop is also open on Sundays.) Note: The Sézane website says this is closed on Monday, which I absolutely do not believe, but I’m mentioning it here just in case I’m wrong and their site is right. There are lots of other great, non-Sézane fashion lines, and Le Bon Marché carries loads of them.

Cons: They carry a fraction of the full line. If you’re looking for the full Sézane experience, this isn’t it.

24 rue de Sèvres, 75007

#5: L’Appartement (7eme)
Current Google review average: 3.0 stars
A little shop quite near Le Bon Marché on rue du Bac.

Pros: I don’t know — maybe you’re in the 7th but don’t feel like going inside Le Bon Marché? You were just in Le Bon Marché but they didn’t have something specific you were looking for? Fewer/shorter lines, which is a plus.

Cons: I found this shop a little disappointing — most of what I saw were essential pieces, and less of the flashy seasonal stuff.

122 rue du Bac, 75007

#6: L’Appartement (16eme)
Current Google review average: 3.2 stars
There’s literally no reason to go here unless you live next door. It’s just too small.

25 rue de l’Annonciation, 75016

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.

white gloria dress

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

sezane aria top in white

Ohh, this is just very cute, with those shoulder ties. Aria top, $70

calanques swimsuit

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

niels shorts

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)

sezane flora earrings in green

I love Sézane earrings, and I particularly love these little flowers in resin and gold-plated brass. Also available in white, fuschia, sea green, and yellow, but I like the green best, I think. Flora earrings, $90

deia shorts

An even more tailored shorts situation. Deia shorts, $130

paraiso swimsuit

A deep plunge, shoulder ties, and a very pretty back. Paraiso suit, $130

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.

maje sequined jumpsuit

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

maje boucle coat

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

maje pink coat

A (pink) variation on a theme. This one is 67% wool, 33% viscose. Maje pink coat, was $715, now $400

maje wool trench

Another (mostly) wool coat, now in that familiar trench cut. I like this coat very much but I do not understand why all of these are styled with cowboy boots!! Maje wool trench, was $795, now $381

I’m not a big pants person but I love this color + cut. 4% elastane, so there’s a little bit of stretch. Maje trousers, was $325, now $155

maje tweed shorts

I also love these, even if they strike me as extremely Emily in Paris. Maje tweed shorts, was $295, now $141

maje blouse

That is just extremely pretty. Maje lace blouse, was $325, now $182

Affiliate links throughout. 

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 saying twice!

Even the buildings look different — it’s colorful and distinctly Flemish, not the gray Haussmannian limestone from Paris. It’s the best.

When to Visit Lille

Well, the first weekend of September — when the flea market is held — is obviously ideal: It’s often improbably sunny and warm. Lille is similar to Paris in that it’s a wonderland in the summer — say, May through September — and a horror show of dingy clouds and damp during the winter. (Lille gets a smidge more snow than Paris, 140 miles south.) The warmest months are July and August (average high: 74), while the coldest is January (average high: 43), though keep a close eye on November, which has more rainy days (12, ugh, it’s terrible) than any other. The December Christmas market, though, is worth seeing if you don’t feel like making the trip to Strasbourg or Germany.

Things to Do in Lille

Obviously I’m biased, and I think the best thing to do in Lille is the flea market. That said, there’s plenty of other things to see and do in Lille.

1. La Braderie de Lille
Oh, so Lille has a flea market? Did we mention this? It’s spectacular. Most of the city is turned over to the flea market, which is basically a 96-hour party that starts Friday night and ends around lunchtime on Sunday afternoon. The footprint is slightly smaller than it was before the 2016 Nice attack — to allow police to provide higher security — but it’s still one of my favorite events of the year, anywhere.

2. The Palais des Beaux Arts
If you’re coming from Paris (and the Louvre), you will love the Palais des Beaux Arts, which has a smattering of work by top European painters — Klimt, Brueghel, Picasso, etc. — with a fraction of the crowds. Lille also has a big student population and a cost of living that’s less than half what it would be in Paris — you’ll feel like you’re looking at work alongside young artists rather than tourists between stops.

3. La Grand Place
For all its graceful squares, Paris doesn’t really have anything quite like the Grand Place, which reminds me more of Belgium — or even Italy — than French places. (Sure, Paris has its buzzy outdoor gathering spots, but most of them — the Seine, the Canal St-Martin — feel water adjacent.) Here, you’ll have a full view of the wonderfully colorful traditional Flemish architecture — those step-down facades are a hint of what’s to come if you venture farther north.

4. LaM
Speaking of that arty vibe, it’s amped up even more at LaM — a.k.a. “Lille Métropole Musée d’art moderne, d’art contemporain et d’art brut,” which is definitely why they call it LaM. It’s home to one of the best collections of art brut in the world, plus work by Braque, Léger, Miró, Modigliani, and Picasso — the latter of which you’ll see represented in the sculpture garden outside, alongside pieces by Alexander Calder.

5. La Piscine
Is this Lille’s most Instagrammable site? It may be. Despite what the name might have you believe, this isn’t a museum of swimming pools — its full name is the Musée d’Art et d’Industrie André Diligent. The beautiful titular pool was built as a community facility between 1927 and 1932, intended as a healthy destination for Roubaix’s mill workers. Now it’s the centerpiece of a museum that works hard to erase the line between the fine and applied arts (a line that traditional French institutions work very hard to keep clear) — as the website puts it, the collection is “assembled more in an English or American manner than French, they banish any hierarchy between the Applied Arts and the Fine Arts.” Yay for the that! (And also the pool.)

Where to Stay in Lille

If you’re tired of spending loads of money on accommodations in Paris, you’re in luck: Everything’s cheaper here, including the hotels. Of course, there’s no Ritz here, either: That top echelon of five-star (and €1000-per-night) hotels just isn’t here; that’s not Lille’s vibe. But maybe you didn’t feel like spending your rent money on one night of exceptionally punctilious service?

1. Mama Shelter Lille
So Mama Shelter is officially a chain, but it’s a great one — my favorite is Mama Shelter Belgrade (so cool, and not that expensive!), while the one in Paris’s 20th arrondissement is a neighborhood hotspot. The rooms are great, the common spaces (bar/restaurant/rooftop lounge) are extremely buzzy. About $95

2. Clarance Hotel
Looking for something fancier? Clarance Hotel offers those mansion-in-the-city vibes — it’s a refined, 18th-century townhouse, right in the middle of Vieux Lille, with splashy, contemporary design within. Worth booking for that hidden-ish alcove library, alone. About $199

Consider This Neighborhood: Wazemmes

Pour moi, not the five-star hotels of Vieux Lille, but the exceptionally cheap Airbnbs of Wazemmes, one of Lille’s (several) up-and-coming neighborhoods. (Disclosure: I think Airbnb does tremendous bad in many ways; one of the ways I try to dig into the good and get around the bad is limiting my stays to “private rooms.” If the company restricted itself to those sorts of rentals, 90% of its harm would be eliminated.) While you’re there, visit the marché de Wazemmes, which the tourism board describes thusly: “Colourful, with a ‘soho’ atmosphere, you’ll often hear an accordion being played.” Fantastic!

Lille: Do You Need a Car?

Definitely not! In fact, I always have to take one to the flea market, which is so annoying, because I just leave it in one of the lots on the city’s border and come back three days later. The metro system is excellent, and even if it weren’t, Lille for the most part is small enough that it’s easy to get around. Nearby attractions like La Piscine (in Roubaix) and even Lens Louvre are easily accessible by train — Lens Louvre is a 20-minute walk (or free shuttle) from the Lens train station, and La Piscine is half that from the Roubaix train station. Both cities — Roubaix and Lens — are served by dozens of trains per day from Lille.

How to Get to Lille

The drive from Paris is easy — but who needs it? Realistically, it can easily take three hours, while the train takes just a tidy 62 minutes. It’s not a bad drive up the A1 — I’ve done it loads — and it’s scenic enough, but it’s hard to beat cutting out two-thirds of your travel time by sitting back and watching the countryside fly past from a seat on the TGV.

Trains from Paris’s Gare du Nord will arrive either at Lille-Flandres or Lille-Europe. Neither of them are particularly amazing, but they’re both fine, and within walking distance of each other.

If you’re traveling via Eurostar, possibly to or from London, you’ll be stopping at Lille-Europe, which handles the longer-distance trains.

See on other reports on weekend trips from Paris