Suzy picCher Peter,

Thinking of you from Paris and remembering a dinner we shared at Cinq at the George V about a  million years ago when I first moved to Paris.

Across my balcony now I see the George V … I’ve found a secret new four-star hotel in a fab location that could be my best shopping tip yet.


I’m in the Powers Hotel (, which despite its name not sounding too-too French, is very chic and very French and one of a small chain of hotels—Powers also owns the Claridge Hotel across the street from here. This is the heart of Paris shopping and la mode.

Read more of Suzy’s missives from Europe:
Suzy Gershman’s First Postcard from Paris, France
Suzy Gershman’s Postcard from Monaco
Suzy Gershman’s Postcard from Provence, France
Suzy Gershman’s Postcard from Italy: Florence & Venice Shopping

Both are Beaux Arts buildings of Hausmannian charm done up in the latest mode. My room here, #55, has ceilings at about 15 feet in height, studded with plaster art forms. There’s a large fireplace with mantel in gray marble topped by an enormous mirror in gilt frame. Yet the room is fitted out in gray-and-white stripe wallpaper and very simple, classic beds and furnishings with an all-white bathroom (complete with Bulgari amenities).

For more about the Powers Hotel and other luxury properties in Paris, check out Suzy’s Memo From Paris: Luxury Hotels for Less.

It’s not that I have given up on the palace hotels, but they begin at $1,000 a night and sometimes €1,000! Suddenly €600 becomes a bargain … and this room for a dollar rate just puts a grin on your face. I’m sitting now overlooking the rue Francois Premier (#52), the street between George V and the Champs Elysees across from Cartier and two blocks from Hermes.

Macaroons - Delish!Next door to the hotel is Maison du Chocolat, which now has a small ice cream counter outside in the street—they have a salted caramel that will even make chocoholics forget their beans.  They also serve tea and hot chocolate at a few tables in the rear.

Just across from that, on rue Pierre Charron, is a small accessories shop by a Greek designer, Konplott (—a true, uh, gem. This is the kind of place where colored stones and wire and twists and loops all come together for €29 of incredible chic and whimsy; the new collection has been influenced by African trade beads. You won’t see this look back home, for sure.

When you hit the Champs Elysees, you’re in the most perfect block—with Sephora to one side and Monoprix (French dime store) straight ahead. Virgin Music is to the right next to Monoprix.

Get more information about Paris travel with Off the Brochure Travel Guide: Paris, France as well as Le Tramway & Beyond: Transportation in Paris. You can also watch a video of Secret Spots of Paris.


I cannot tell you the amount of email and comment online I have received asking me about the perfume-shop-cum-duty-free, Catherine on the rue de Castiglione.

So here’s the low-down: Catherine was a small family business owned by a husband and wife who worked with their two daughters. Their lease was up early this year and they had decided, the year before, to retire rather than renew the lease. The store is now closed; the space will become part of the Hotel Lotti. I just know that they have not relocated and yes, the family has indeed retired.


Avenue Montaigne sign“New” is somewhat relative—but shoppers might want to check out Montaigne Market on 57 ave Montaigne, a take on Dover Market in London—a concept store filled with hot new designers. Then there’s Talents, 1bis rue Scribe, by the Garnier Opera, which features high-end arts and crafts from French createurs. This is gallery stuff, not touristy.

Chantall Thomass, a French designer known mostly for her lingerie and boudoir fashion, has teamed up with German beauty and skin-care line Nivea to launch color cosmetics debuting in July—try Monoprix for the line, all prices under €10.

If you prefer to be more upmarket, the famous Dr. Hauschka ( has just opened a spa here.

The most famous chef in town, Alain Ducasse, has opened a school for motivated  amateurs—you get breakfast, a four-hour lesson and then eat what you have cooked for €200, which is worth bragging rights alone. The school is in the 16e; you need to book about a week in advance.

Le Jacquard Francais, which makes about the best jacquard stitched table linens in France has opened a second store in Paris on 53 rue Bonaparte, in the 6e. This is one of the best and most famous shopping streets in Paris.

Purple Orchids at the George V HotelA block away is a branch of Laduree, where you can eat lunch or just get a box of their iconic macaroons to go. Nearby, Ralph Lauren and also Hermes are busy creating new stores to open next year.

As I passed by Les Invalides yesterday, and therefore the central Air France office, I saw the company flag at half mast.

All of Paris is still mourning the lost flight. I was so affected that I got off the bus on the corner of the George V Hotel Four Seasons and went into the lobby just to stare at Jeff Leatham’s flowers.

He had placed deep purple orchids everywhere; their romance gave me strength.

Solemn Kisses,

By Suzy Gershman for

And don’t forget to check out Suzy’s blog at