Shop Talk

SHOP TALK: Escape to Paris this Valentine’s Day


Pont des arts. Photo by Kelsey Kromodimoelijo
Pont des arts. Photo by Kelsey Kromodimoeljo


Paris is known as the most romantic city in the world, with its lights, architecture, food (not to mention the ubiquitous PDA!). If you’re inspired by this famed French metropolitan and looking for a Valentine’s Day gift, then shop for some favourite Parisian must-haves here in Ottawa.


Repetto flat available at Wolf & Zed

Les chaussures
It’s easy to spot the tourists in Paris, because strolling through the city in running shoes is a fashion faux pas for the locals. Parisians like to look effortlessly put together and favour a more classic and comfortable style — with an edge. Wolf & Zed in the Byward Market carries Repetto, a longstanding shoe brand that once crafted dance shoes for the Paris Opera Ballet and now famous for its everyday wear ballerines (ballet flats). The Cendrillon shoe has become a fashion staple and was made famous by Brigitte Bardot in the film And God Created Woman. Black is a good choice. Parisians love black. $170. Wolf & Zed, 519 Sussex Dr.


Le sac
A handbag from a Paris fashion house is a very coveted piece for any fashionista. The Longchamp Le Pliage is a classic bag popular among global style icons including Kate Middleton and Alexa Chung (who in fact designs her own collection for the brand). This foldable bag with leather trimmings is lightweight and perfect for work, school and on-the-go. It’s a great bag for travelling and weekend getaways too, as it can fold flat to fit into your carry-on or luggage. Starting at $105. Fashion United . 435 Richmond Rd.

Les soins du visage

Kate Middleton with her Longchamp bag.

Every arrondissement in Paris has at least several neon green crosses that signify the local pharmacie. But women don’t flock here for their prescriptions; no they’re there in need for some amazing skincare products. The French know it’s important to take care of the skin in order to look good au naturel. Products from French pharmacy brands Bioderma and La Roche Posay are detergent-free and infused with thermal water to work gently on your skin and guard its natural pH balance.

Available at Shoppers Drug Mart and Murale.

La lingerie
French women abide by the theory that the clothes we wear on the outside are no more important than what is en-dessous, that dressing up underneath gives you an air of unattainable je ne sais quoi. In fact, French woman (and perhaps their lovers) reportedly spend about 20 percent of their annual clothing budget on lingerie.

At Brachic, fine lingerie made with exquisite details of satin, tulle, and delicate lace, in an extensive range of sizes and notable French brands (Empreinte, Simone Pérèle and Secret d’Eva) are available. What’s more, their fitting consultants will help you find un bel ensemble of lingerie perfectly fitted for your body. Brachic. 433 Richmond Rd.

Et pour le gourmand ou la gourmande…

Many travellers to France come back with withdrawals for real, authentic French foods. Allez vous promener and step into Chez Francois in Westboro for a closer trip to an all-gourmet French épicerie. Their croissants are some of the best in town and they are flaky and buttery to the touch, just the way they should be. And if you have an affinity for sweet bit-sized macarons, you can get a mélange here as well. Chez François Plaisirs de Provence. 427 Richmond Rd.