The City of Lights has many things to offer besides welcoming locals, famed French cuisine and the Eiffel Tower. A bustling city year-round, this tourist hot spot is home to some very exclusive restaurants and shops, also custom-made finds or 'bespoke.'
In the high-end jewelry district of rue de la Paix is a shoppers treasure for timeless and unique creations by Phillip Tournaire. Tournaire has been creating unique jewelry for clients for more than 35 years, giving clients something made specifically for them. Using unique shapes that are adaptable to each client, the famed jeweler reinvents bespoke rings, necklaces, bracelets, and brooches. Another major Parisian district "Les Ateliers du Palais" is home to artisans that also create bespoke jewelry, or recreate older pieces into new ones. The emphasis is for each design to reflect the unique personality of the customer or in this case, the inspiration for the design.
"I find this refreshing," explains Ana P. Valente, co-founder of France Cruises. "With so many trends and how quickly things become old, custom-made jewelry has a timeless appeal." Contemporaries of the Les Ateliers du Palais (which was established in 1931 along the gardens of the Palais-Royal) include The French Factory and Dessine-moi un bijou. Both also meet the demand for bespoke jewelry, drawing inspiration from a sketch or antique pieces dating from 1880-1979.
A truly unique find is bespoke perfume - fragrances that are made with the wearer in mind. There are a handful of shops in Paris that also make custom-made perfumes for clients. These are experienced perfume creators that employ processes that could take months before the client receives their final perfume. No detail is spared in creating perfumes for clients, in fact, several meetings will commence before perfume designers are completely satisfied with the product they create for their clients. An added benefit besides the fact no one else is wearing the unique concoction is the ability for clients to order more in the future. The perfumers found here are experienced designers purposed to satisfy their clients needs in providing them an exclusive scent no one else will have access to.
Not interested in jewelry or a custom scent? Many Paris designers have bespoke fashion boutiques, including Louise Feuillère. Choosing the perfect ensemble depends on what the buyer likes in terms of fabric, comfort, or appeal. Clients can choose from a variety of clothing ranging from made-to-measure corsets, lingerie that suits their personality, or the perfect bathing suit. Mary Beyer is also in the Palais-Royal district providing clients with haute couture gloves. To complete the look, Derville and Pierre Corthay design bespoke shoes that fit clients exact wish. From stitching and color to shape and materials used, the perfect shoes await.
Who can come to such a place without photos, a means to immortalize the memories made? Studio Harcourt in Paris has been providing clients with bespoke photography and photo sessions for more than 70 years. The Harcourt studio turns every client into a model, offering 2 hour photo sessions complete with makeup and professional direction. Tailor made sessions or even private lessons give clients an opportunity to learn photography and customize their own.
It is our many travels and pleasant experiences like bespoke shopping that gives Jean and I the inspiration behind many of the custom-made itineraries we prepare for clients. Besides beautiful scenery aboard a riverboat or canal barge, Paris can give each traveler a truly unique experience - from head to toe.