“In With Ines: A Chic Parisian Guide”

Are you planning a shopping trip to Paris? Do you admire the style of iconic Parisienne Ines de la Fressange? Do you wish she could give you the 411 on where the fashion insiders shop, dine and stay in the “City of Lights”? The aristocratic 1980’s runway model and former face of Chanel (who returned to the runway for the Chanel Spring 2011 show at age 53 and starred in a L’Oreal campaign) aims to do just that with her new book “Parisian Chic City Guide” co-written with Elle fashion journalist Sophie Gachet.

This pocket diary-sized soft back, whose cover is designed to look like a passport, is intended as a follow up to her 2011 best-seller “Parisian Chic” which included style tips and an abbreviated shopping guide. The City Guide has a few adorable accoutrements including a “Gallic” colored elastic closure, ribbon marker and an expandable pocket for billets, receipts or n’importe quoi.

Ines de la Fressange
© Alessandra d’Urso/Flammarion 2015

In the brief author’s note, Ines mentions that she is constantly receiving text messages from friends asking her where to buy the perfect dress; furniture for a new apartment; or where to dine near Saint-Germains-des-Pres. “I told them all about Google, but apparently, it’s no match for me!” writes Ines. “I published Parisian Chic in 2011, which included some of my favorite addresses, and that satisfied them for a little while. But soon enough they were clamoring for more. Which prompted me to write this city guide, full of all the new places I’ve discovered since then. I’ll be thrilled if it helps you out, too”

Click map for much larger view

With a “Vive Paris!” she launches in with sections by locations or arrondissements. There are stores that contain classic wardrobe staples (what a true Parisienne relies on) as well as one-of-a-kind boutiques for items (mostly custom made) that you won’t find elsewhere. There are a large array of jewelers, handbag designers (again lots of custom work in these two categories), florists, home decor both vintage and new, stationers, restaurants, patisseries, (I want to say butchers, bakers, candlestick makers), hotels and more.

Of course, I mustn’t neglect to mention that Ines has her own store/brand which she recently relaunched called Ines de la Fressange Paris, and, no surprise here, she strongly advises you to check it out. Each store has a page or two which lists the following: “Why go?,” “The must-have,” and “say it like La Parisienne.” She touts her store as “a cross between a fantasy department store and a sundries emporium.” The “must-have” is “everything” and “people come from all over Paris for the olive oil we sell.” As for what does La Parisienne say?: “I went in to get a pencil sharpener and ended up ordering a full-length gown from the design studio.” Ahahahaha…

Interior of Ines de la Fressange Paris store
© Dominique Maître, from Parisian Chic City Guide (Flammarion, 2015). 

As far as how exciting many of these boutiques really are, il est tres difficile de savoir as their online presence (when there is one) does not look particularly interesting. It should probably be noted that, while Ines, even at age 58 and sans visible age intervention, still retains incredible stature (she’s 5’11”), legs for days, great hair, and a terrific smile. As far as her iconic “French style,” she could literally wear the proverbial burlap sack (probably cinched with a great belt) and she’d still look “incroyable”.

As a brand ambassador for Roger Vivier as well as a designer of a line for UNIQLO (her Spring 2016 is due out Jan. 21) featuring the classics (Safari, Sports, and the sea faring Bleu Marine) in classic colors which are her trademark) she is one femme occupee. If I had to name a few stylish French women of her genre I would mention the late Loulou de la Falaise and fellow UNIQLO designer Carine Roitfeld. Just to show how integral Ines is to the French, she was, from 1989 to 2000, the face of Marianne, the official symbol of the country.

Parisian Chic City Guide (176 pages with 200 color illustrations) is due out on February 2 through Flammarion (distributed by Rizzoli through Random House) and can be pre-ordered on Amazon.It would make a good gift for a stylish friend who is lucky enough to be “April in Paris” bound (or any other month for that matter).

-Laurel Marcus

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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