to eat / macaron vs luxemburgerli

I’m not sure where I first read about macarons, but I tasted them for the first time when I visited Paris in 2005. I made a beeline for Ladurée. I got a box of 20 and fridged them upon arrival. They slowly died one by one.

For my October trip to Spain, I built a long layover in Paris on the way back because my mom had never seen Paris. A seven hour layover in Charles De Gaulle gave us approximately 2.5 hours of leisure. I planned to pick up macarons for a friend’s birthday from the Ladurée on Rue Royale after an obligatory shopping stop on Rue Saint-Honoré. It was a random Monday and the shop was packed to the brim. I did not have the patience or time to wait in line so I decided to go to the airport location. A painful Blackberry search showed that there is a shop in CDG Terminal 2F. Too bad I was leaving from 2E. Unlike some U.S. airports, the CDG terminals aren’t connected beyond security and they only allow access to the terminal you’re ticketed for. Imagine my surprise when I saw this cart sitting right outside of the Terminal 2E security gate! Mission accomplished. Unfortunately, they did not have the Christian Louboutin boxes…

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to shop / longchamp prices in paris vs the u.s.

The Longchamp boutique on Rue Saint Honoré in Paris was one of my stops during my very short Paris layover. Despite the weak dollar, Longchamp is still cheaper in Europe, even without the value-added tax refund of ~12% for when you spend over 175 euros (20% – the Global Blue processing fee). Here are some examples, pre-VAT refund, with currency exchange rates (updated March 2, 2016):

Update: March 2015. These styles have been discontinued. And you can see how much stronger the dollar is against the Euro since this was first posted in 2010! The Planetes line was replaced with the Le Pliage Neo line.

Planetes Messenger Bag: $278 vs. 135 euros ($200) = 30% off

Planetes Medium Long Handled Tote: $155 vs. 69 euros ($103) = 33% off
Planetes Large Long Handled Tote: $175 vs. 85 euros ($112) = 36% off

Planetes Small Tote: $98 vs. 46 euros ($68) = 30% off

It’s even better when you find seasonal Longchamp styles on sale in France during their semi-annual soldes in January and June (+/- a few weeks). However, you don’t necessarily have to go to Paris to find current season Longchamp below retail. It seems like there are opportunities to purchase Longchamp on sale (~25% seems average) on a monthly basis stateside (edit: well, during the recession. Now it’s more like quarterly!).

In the U.S., you can find Longchamp at:

  • – Largest selection, but I find the website hard to navigate. Once I ordered during a sale and it took them weeks to recognize that an item was out of stock.
  • Nordstrom – Free shipping and amazing customer service. Participates in seasonal sales. Good photos of bags on models.
  • Bloomingdales – Free shipping typically for orders over $150. Participates in seasonal sales. Sometimes Longchamp is excluded from sitewide promotions/friends and family discounts.
  • Neiman Marcus – Generally free shipping (look at the top of the page) and is included in discounts/promotions.
  • Sands Point Shop – I used to shop here when they were known as Magnums. Free shipping and no tax outside of NY State.
  • Bagshop – Longchamp is excluded from promotions. Free shipping over $75. Has discontinued colors/styles.


to travel / menu

I will be posting about my recent or not so recent trips and relevant eating/shopping, including:

  • Spain (Barcelona, Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada); Paris quickie
  • Switzerland (Basel, Vals, Zurich, Lucerne)
  • Italy (Rome, Florence, Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, Capri, Ischia, and my beloved Naples)
  • Tokyo
  • Hong Kong
  • Taipei
  • Last year’s big Europe trip (Copenhagen, Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Munich, and London)

Some of my travel companions have been bugging me for pics… don’t they know I’m backlogged for years? Maybe if I commit to pixels I will be more likely to follow through.

to shop / clare vivier

I discovered LA-based bag designer, Clare Vivier, earlier this year through Bodie and Fou.

(From Seevivier)

(From Real Simple)

I promptly acquired La Tropézienne and carried it for a good chunk of the summer. The eco-tanned leather is luxurious. I love the thickness, durability, and the style. But as much as I loved La Trop, I needed more. After some Googling, I found out DailyCandy had a 25% off promotion (which is now over)! Let’s just say that October ended up being a big month for purses. I follow Clare’s blog and am excited what’s going to come out next. For my fellow New Yorkers, Steven Alan will be carrying her bags shortly!

Recommended Reading:
SEEVIVIER [blog, shop]