Since moving to France, I’ve discovered a number of French brands that I’ve come to grow to love. Before anyone makes fun of my ignorance: I’m not the most well-versed when it comes to fashion and beauty, as such these may be well-known globally but I only found out about them when I arrived in Paris. In any case, I decided to do a small write-up about my favourite French finds that I thought could be of interest to some of my readers.
Anyone who knows me personally, knows that my footwear of choice are ballet flats. Whether on the boardwalk by a beach, having a springtime picnic in the park, or over tights in cold weather, they’re almost permanently glued to my feet. As such, when I discovered Repetto it was like discovering the Holy Grail.
A French ballet shoe company founded in 1947, it provides ballet shoes to the Paris Opera and many other well-known ballet companies. It also produces ballet flats for everyday wear, in addition to a variety of other models, most famously the Cendrillon worn by Brigitte Bardot in Et Dieu… Crea la femme.
Repetto shoes are expertly crafted, made with high quality leather, and are very comfortable. They’re also available in a wide variety of colours and finishes. The only peculiarity is that they size very small – as such, I’d recommend taking a full size up!
In addition to their famous ballerine, Repetto makes everything from T-straps, to loafers, to sandals, to mary janes, and more. My personal favourite models are the Cendrillon (ballet flat), the Camille (ballerina with block heel), and the Zizi (lace-up loafer made famous by Serge Gainsbourg). I own the former two in bright red in a patent finish, as well as a black patent leather version of the Camille, and the Zizi in both white and black matte leather. Each type is incredibly comfortable and fit like a glove, and are my favourite shoes for everyday wear.
In addition to shoes, Repetto also makes ready-to-wear, perfumes, bags, and more, for women, men, and children. As such, I’d recommend taking a browse of their website if the brand seems up your alley!
I’m constantly on the lookout for the perfect version of each type of bag, a search that has led me to having quite the wide array of purses, baskets, and totes. Something that always eluded me, however, was a carry-all leather bag that could fit all the things that I like to carry around on a daily basis.
I found my perfect Mary Poppins bag in Gerard Darel‘s 24H bag. A relaxed leather bag, it can be handheld or worn on the shoulder, and the sides readjusted to fit more things as necessary. It’s also very spacious: it can fit everything from my umbrella, day planner, makeup bag, scarf, and more inside without it looking overly bulky.
Gerard Darel was created in 1971 in Paris, and is known for its ready-to-wear, accessories, and leather bags. The 24H bag is its most famous creation, an iconic bag carried on the arms of many French women. So much so, that my French colleagues even made fun of my love for the bag, given that it’s so commonplace!
I took the standard model in black with silver hardware, but it comes in a wide variety of colours (with the dark brown and camel being especially lovely). It also comes in both a larger version, as well as micro!
France is famous for its lingerie, and on my first trip there I was eager to buy a set. As I was quite young at the time, I couldn’t afford anything at the specialty boutiques. It did lead me, however, to discovering Etam.
Founded in 1916 in Germany, Etam arrived in France in 1928 and officially became a French company in 1963. Nowadays you can find shops in pretty much any shopping district in France, sometimes paired with its sister company Undiz.
Etam is an affordable lingerie boutique that, in my opinion, uses high quality lace and cotton and comes in a wide array of designs and colours. No matter what your preference, you are bound to find something that suits your fancy (and budget). If you are ever in Paris for the sales periods I would especially recommend dropping by, as Etam tends to put everything half price – my favourite times for stocking up on new sets!
I’m also a fan of Etam’s other offerings, which include sportswear, sleepwear, swimwear, and ready to wear. Like the lingerie line, these tend to come in a wide array of styles, designs, and tones – all the while remaining very classic, romantic, and feminine.
Eau Thermale Avène
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of French pharmaceutical products, which have been key to resolving my problem skin and warding off the effects of pollution – an unfortunate byproduct of living in the French capital.
While I’m a fan of a number of different brands, including NUXE (for its dry oil), Bioderma (for its makeup-removing miscellar water), and Caudalie (for its grapevine-infused, pore-tightening, mattifying serum), my favourite by far is Eau Thermale Avène.
Avène’s story starts all the way back in the 1700s, in a small French village with thermal spring water. After its soothing and anti-irritating properties were discovered, it was used to treat patients with severe skin conditions, including burn victims from the Great Chicago Fire. A Hydrotherapy Center was eventually founded, as well as Dermatological Laboratories in the 1900s.
While I don’t have a skin condition, my skin is notoriously sensitive and has reacted badly to products in the past. It wasn’t until I started regularly using Avène products that I saw a real, lasting difference in my skin tone and texture.
While I’ve tried a number of their products, by mainstays remain their thermal spring water spray, which is perfect for hydrating your skin on a daily basis as well as when outside or on a plane, and their rich skin recovery cream, which reduces inflammation and protects the skin barrier, and which I use as a night cream.
I love Repetto too! I used to be a ballet dancer and I had some of their products. I didn’t know they had expanded though, so that’s cool!
Ah that’s cool! They’ve been making other things besides ballet shoes for a while but I don’t know if they have many stores outside of France. You should definitely check out their regular shoes, though – very well made and comfortable!
I will do! Thanks! 😊