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Shop Till You Drop In Paris

By Phil Chavanne

In this issue I have yet more Parisian shopping bargains and discoveries in store for the readers of designer leather and furs direct from the manufacturer’s workshop, fine crystal and some wine-tasting sessions from one of the most reputed Parisian wine cellars!

Parisian designer leather & fur - direct from the manufacturers!

I couldn’t believe my luck when, wandering through the Rue de Paradis on the lookout for yet more shopping bargains for the readers of, I spotted the workshop exhibition of Jekel. Since 1947, Jekel has been bringing French fashion know-how to designer leather and fur.

I know fur isn't the most popular item in the United States, and it is much less worn in Europe than in the 1920-50s. The art of designing fur coats and accessories is quickly disappearing, a less than a hundred craftsmen remain in activity in Paris. Finding fur clothing may soon be as difficult as finding a genuine Rembrandt in an attic.

I met with the owner of Jekel, Sylvain Jekel himself who explained that his workshop creates and sells exclusive designer leather models, and fur clothing and accessories.

Jekel distribute their goods internationally to ready-to-wear names and quality retailers such as Galeries Lafayette, Sonya Rykiel, Darel, Apostrophe, etc. The workshop is situated at No. 22 Rue de Paradis.

The ready-to-wear clothing available off the rack is not tailor-made, but Sabrina, the lovely assistant I met, confirmed that Jekel could adjust items on the spot for you (and indeed, she was busily adding a button for a customer as we were speaking).

Prices start at 300 Euros, and they can even ship your purchases oversees so you don’t have to overload your suitcases.

Once again, the address of the Jekel workshop is 22 Rue de Paradis, 75010 Paris. Their phone number is 33 (O)1 47 70 73 90, and you can get there from the following stations: 'Gare de l'Est', 'Poissonniere', and 'Chateau d'Eau'.

Rue de Paradis – A crystal paradise?

Another thing that will strike you as you visit Rue de Paradis will be the number of shops offering world-renowned Limoges porcelain, plates, and dinner sets, as well as fine crystal products, from glasses and wine decanters to chandeliers.

Crystal is a type of glass which contains a small percentage of lead to lend it more clarity and sparkle than ordinary glass. Crystal is usually cut to enhance its reflective qualities, making it a very pretty, highly valued (and more costly) type of glassware.

Most shops on Paradis street sell "Cristal de Baccarat", an expensive and prestigious brand of crystal with a long and distinguished history dating back to the early 1800s, and known for supplying royalty with its production.

Those of you who don’t want to fork out a load of money, there is a shop at No. 52 named 'Décor et Cristal' which carries a different type of crystal. Their source is from a factory in Eastern France, the 'Cristallerie des Vosges du Nord'. Although not Baccarat crystal, theirs is still high-quality, and--I was told by the sales assistant--even dishwasher safe!

Prices are great too: some models of crystal glasses retail at 6 Euros a piece instead of the usual 30 Euros. Products are offered at 20 to 60% discounts.

Décor et Cristal is located at No. 52 rue de Paradis, 75010 Paris. Their phone number is: 33 (0) 1 48 24 57 33.

Wine tasting at Galerie Vivienne

If you like your wine, you won’t want to miss this French 1950s-style period wine shop. With its wood paneling and charming window displays, it opens up onto the Galerie Vivienne, one of the most stunning indoor arcades in Paris. There lie the wine cellars of 'Legrand filles et fils' (Legrand daughters & sons), some of the most highly reputed in Paris.

These cellars have been lovingly and expertly stocked by three generations of the Legrand family ever since the end of the World War I. Sadly enough, these cellars are not open to the general public. The shop offers however a warm family atmosphere.

Wine prices range from 5 to 10,000 Euros a bottle, with a wide selection in the 5-15 Euros price bracket. You won’t go hungry either, as the shop also carries a range of delicacies to bring out the flavor of the wine.

Worthy of note, the shop offers wine tasting and lessons! For 60 Euros you can attend an introductory wine tasting session every Monday from 8 to 10 pm. Seating is limited, so book beforehand by phone or by e-mail.

The shop also features a wine tasting corner, open from 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm, where you can choose a wine and get a plate of accompanying delicacies specially selected to bring out the taste of your wine. The cost is 5.25 Euros a glass and 15-30 Euros a plate. You can also order desserts.

The shop has two entrances: No. 1 Rue de la Banque, and No. 12 Galerie Vivienne, 75002 Paris. For wine tasting reservations, call: 33 (0)1 42 60 07 12 or email: info[at]

Discover your very own Paris: don’t miss the next issue of newsletter by Phil Chavanne, Paris veteran and author. Each issue brings you tips on everything Paris, from great spots for a stroll to off-the-beaten-track attractions, to the best in real Parisian eateries.

About the Author: In his free Paris guide Phil Chavanne and his team of Parisian experts give English-speaking travelers scores of advices and information bits on Paris and how best to visit the French capital.

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