There was recently a documentary on local tv following a 20 something journalist as he lived for 9 months using only things made in France. I did not watch the show, but I saw interviews on tv and read up on his adventure quite a bit. He had to do without a fridge, his phone died and couldn’t be replaced, an affordable car was not an option and he had to take a loan out to live like this for just nine months. He gains 5kg because a quick Made in France snack at home would mean bread and cheese, outside the home… McDonald’s!!!
His quest is not new. Last year over the holidays I gave you uniquely Parisian gift ideas, on a quest for something with a little more personality than mass produced goods from Asia. Like the journalist’s phone, being made in France does not ensure better quality. But there is some fantastic design out there an I ran across a few places while out exploring this weekend.
It was the rooster in the window that caught my eye at Gab & Jo. Everything else pulled me in and kept me there. I found a lovely silk cotton nightie set (100€) was tempted by the antique phone lamp (1500€) and couldn’t resist the CHAT-nel tote bag (22€) for La Fashionista. This weekend I’m going back for the blue, white red security belt that keeps thieves from stealing a purse from a bike basket (30€).
I found Gab&Jo while running to the pharmacist, A Zagorski at 6 rue Jacob where I had recently discovered their house made shampoos and conditioners (9€). I loved the new products so much I wanted to learn more, but they couldn’t tell me much, because they were afraid it would be considered advertising and it is illegal for pharmacies to advertise in France. Which means this is my new best kept secret. There are bath gels, hand creams and tonic lotions, too, with options a variety of special needs. My favorite fragrances are honeysuckle and verbena. So far, they’ve been great on my hair and I love keeping it local!
Finally on my journey, I passed by the Maeght Foundation on the rue du Bac. They have a collection of fairy tales illustrated by world class artists who use graphic symbols to tell their tale (42€). The books are abound like accordians, as enchanting to touch as they are to read. In my Fable of Fortune, the blue dot represents fortune, the brown curve a horse and the black lines a rich man and his wife.
As I write this it is not lost on me that I a quoting 9€ for a shampoo, 42€ for a book. Producing anything in France is costly, but when you buy Made in France you’re getting original pieces you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere and everything on this list, at least, offers high quality to go along with the hefty price tag, sometimes make it worth the purchase, but always worth dropping by to decide for yourself.