Sooooo I was in Paris this weekend. I know. It's insane. I still haven't processed it.
Now, I was there for just under two days and running around like a headless chicken the entire time, so I'm not gonna give many travel tips because I literally just did the stuff you'd think to do (Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, etc...). The two things I would say to do would be to buy the 'youth' metro pass on weekends--it's like 3.5 euros and you get unlimited metro use for the day, which is great when your hotel is on the outskirts of the city and it's too cold to walk outside for extended periods of time. The other thing I'd do is go to Sainte Chappelle. It's the king's private chapel from the 1200s, it's 5 euros for students, and it looks like this:
Yeah.....you should go.
What I am gonna talk about is Laduree and my little French pharmacy shopping trip.
So I dragged all my friends to the Laduree on Rue Royale with me. The line was ridiculously long, and surprisingly full of French people (and not tourists!), and the store was just too cute for words. It's all white and bright pinks and mirrors, and the tiniest, most colorful little macaroons. They also have baked goods, but I didn't see anyone order those. The macaroon situation is basically that they have 15 or so flavors, and you pick the number of macaroons and flavors you want in order to full up the box you want (they have tons of different boxes in different adorable shapes, sizes, and colors). I got a variation of the round box on the right, but in a different color and less cutesy, filled with three chocolate macaroons and three salted caramel macaroons. The chocolate macaroons were delicious, just chocolatey enough on the outside and nice and fudgy on the inside. But the salted caramel ones...oh my goodness. I have no words. HEAVENLY. I think they have a store in Manhattan now, and while they are ridiculously overpriced (about 2 euros each!), it's so worth at least one trip.
Caudalie Lip Conditioner, $12 at sephora.com, Bioderma Créaline H2O, $28 for 250 mL at amazon.com: I went into about 5 pharmacies looking for Embryolisse lotion, and NO ONE HAD IT. Cue epic sad face. I picked up this lip conditioner partially because I needed to break a 50 and partially because France was so, so cold and the air was so, so dry. I've been craving a clear lip conditioner that's not as greasy as Aquaphor for a while now. I got this for about 4.5 euros, about half the price it is at Sephora. It's 99.5% natural and full of happy ingredients, like natural plant oils. I really love the lipstick format--it feels very classy and chic. It goes on smooth and not at all waxy--it has a bit of a matte finish but feels both light and deeply moisturizing on your lips (like it sinks beneath the surface and gets work done). It has a subtle vanilla scent/taste that I really like. My only critiques would be that it doesn't last the longest time on my lips, so I have to reapply more than I would with, say, Aquaphor, and it doesn't have SPF. The other thing I picked up and smuggled through TSA was the Bioderma makeup remover. I've heard such raves about it that I had to try it. I got the 100mL bottle for 5 euros. It comes in that cute little pink bottle and both smells and feels just like water. Seriously. My usual Neutrogena makeup remover has a bit of an oilier feel and can sting my eyes, but this could literally be water and I would not know the difference. On a cotton pad, it gets rid of the makeup on my face in seconds. It takes a bit longer to get rid of my waterproof eyeliner/mascara, but just as long as it does with any other remover I've tried. In short: I totally get the hype, and would definitely buy this if it was easily available in the US. It's easy to use, great for sensitive skin, and extremely effective.
Oh, and one last thing about Paris: if you're looking for somewhere affordable but nice to stay, check out the Maison Bacana. It's not right in the middle of things, but it's about 10-15 minutes on the metro to Notre Dame, which is pretty darn decent. We paid about 25 euros a night for two giant double beds, an adorably and quirkily furnished room, cookies and coffee on check-in, home-made and giant breakfast every morning (even to-go when we had to run to the airport), French-themed DVDs and a giant flat-screen in our room, and the most helpful hotel owner I've ever talked to. Seriously. STAY HERE. Do it. We struggled so much to leave the hotel room in the mornings. It was so cute and cozy!
Images via: fatallyfemininedesigns.blogspot.com, msdbelleza.com, beautyhabit.com, sephora.com.