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April in Paris

Paris has long been the beauty capital of the world, and not just for the architecture. There, fragrance is an art, skincare is a ritual passed among generations, and facials are scheduled like doctor’s visits. Every time I go, I end up rummaging through the pharmacies and boutiques, turning up treasures. These are my favorite souvenirs.

Serge Lutens


Fleurs d’Oranger

With its purple starlit ceiling and array of impeccable scents and makeup, the Serge Lutens boutique in the Palais Royal is a jewel. His Fleurs d’Oranger eau de parfum is a delicate, sweet orange blossom fragrance that’s now a classic.



Premier Cru La Crème Riche

Even though it looks and feels like a total luxury, this is sold at many French pharmacies. It moisturizes and protects skin with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and a mysterious complex derived from French grapes. Santé.

Leonor Greyl


Crème Moelle de Bambou Nourishing Shampoo

Don’t expect a lot of lather from this shampoo; everything about it is subtle (except its rich-lady scent). But the formula adds moisture and is especially well-suited for long, dry, draggy hair.

Biologique Recherche


Lotion P50 1970

There’s a cult-like reverence for this bracing and vinegary toner (it’s smelly). Because it’s such a strong peel, don’t go near it if you have sensitive skin or rosacea. And start by using it just twice a week. Devotees of the spa, just off the Champs d’Elysee, swear by it.



Terracotta Light Sun-Kissed Bronzer

Invented in 1984, this bronzing powder has been updated with lighter-weight ingredients. Apply it to the cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, and the top of the forehead.

Officine Universelle Buly


Acetate Nail Brush

I have a weakness for everyday objects treated with style, and this nail brush is perfection. It resembles tortoise shell, has charmingly curved handles, and is stamped with the store’s logo. The brochure says it restores “nail nobility” with “respectful” boar bristles. Poetic!

Christophe Robin


Cleansing Volumizing Paste

Catherine Deneuve’s hairstylist has a brilliant line of products for the rest of us. This deep-cleaning shampoo boosts volume with clay to make hair bulkier and more lifted. It also protects color-treated hair.



Lait-Crème Concentré

A pharmacy staple for almost 75 years, this cream is still beloved by makeup artists. It’s an excellent makeup primer, works on just about every skin type, and is also an effective moisturizer and makeup remover.

La Roche-Posay


Anthelios UV Mune 400 S.P.F. 50+

European sunscreens contain a number of filters that are not approved in the U.S. So, on your next trip, stuff your Rimowa with tubes of this dermatologist favorite and skip the Eiffel Tower key rings.

La Roche-Posay


Cicaplast Baume B5

This salve for skin irritations has vitamin B5, dimethicone, shea butter and glycerin for intense moisturization. The French use it on diaper rash, eczema, chapped lips, cuticles, dry, cracked feet–and everything in between.




A time-tested French masterpiece, this rich cream helps restore the skin barrier with copper and zinc sulfate. It also reduces itchiness and coddles sensitive skin.



Les Exclusifs 31 rue Cambon

To quote the Kafkaesque blog, this is “the perfect scent for a woman wanting an elegant, discreet, soft woody floral with a slightly opulent edge of sensuality. Its soft elegance makes it never out-of-place.” I agree.



La Droguerie Multi-Surface Cleaner

A colleague used to wipe down her desk with Chanel No.5; this is a more practical interpretation. It employs vinegar to perform the cleaning work, but you’d never know it with the lavender, cedar, and fig fragrance it leaves behind.

By Terry


Baume de Rose Lip Balm

Imagine the most stylish, Frenchest person—Deneuve, Jeanne Moreau, Colette—and picture a balm suited to those lips. It would be like By Terry’s: rich, creamy, and smelling of garden roses.



Rose Hermès Rose Lip Enhancer

This just might be the perfect lipstick: not too heavy, not too light, not too dark, not too pale. Hermès calls it “the imprint of sun on the lips.” How perfect is that?



Black Rose Cream Mask

An insanely luxurious, deeply moisturizing mask. Apply it at night (especially on a long flight) and ignore the instructions to tissue off the excess. By morning, your face will be aglow. Bonus points for the scent, a rosy dream.



Rêve de Miel Lip Balm

A rich, satisfying lip balm loaded with lavender honey and beeswax, with a slightly lemony scent. Nuxe also has a gorgeous spa in Les Halles that offers treatments in a 17th century wine cellar.




Like Vaseline, but French. Yet unlike Vaseline, because it contains soothing calendula. Use it on chapped lips, frayed cuticles, rashes, and perhaps even raw nerves.



Canvas Toiletry Bag

These canvas toiletry bags look more expensive than they are, and you can pick among a number of colors for the bag, trim, and monogram. Meaning they’re not uniform at all.



New Look Eau de Parfum

The latest fragrance in Dior’s private collection of highly creative scents, this one is a brave and bold amber from perfumer Francis Kurkdjian of Baccarat Rouge fame. It combines freshness and sultry sensuality.



Brown Scented Candle

If you’ve ever walked into the Hotel Costes on the rueSaint-Honoré, you know this scent. It’s deep, rich, dark, moody, and seductive, just like the hotel. If you like rum, wood, tobacco, and a little bit of trouble, then step right up!

Memo Paris


French Leather Hair Perfume

What makes a leather “French”? No idea. But this alcohol-free concoction mists the hair with the lightest of moisturizers and leaves behind notes of lime, rose, and suede .

Maison Francis Kurkdjian


Grand Soir

Thanks to amber, vanilla, wood, and tonka bean, this heady unisex scent is just the thing for a big night out. It’s as rich and grand as its name and golden hue.

Carrière Frères


Artemisia Absinthe Candle

The candle maker collaborated with Paris’s National Museum of Natural History on several single-note scents. This one, based on absinthe, has an intriguing green color, and is redolent of invigorating basil and mint.

Maison d’Orsay


J’Approchais un Mystère A.C.

This 200-year-old fragrance house, revived in 2015, is dedicated to romance, and the scents’ names sound appropriately overheated. This one, with cedar, sandalwood, fig, and pink berries, is meant to be worn by both members of a couple.

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