In “5 Things,” I’ll ask some of my favorite bloggers in cities all over the country to share insider travel tips on where to eat, shop, stay, and play in their neighborhoods (plus, what to pack to make the adventure complete). This week, Nichole Robertson of Obvious State Studio—and author of the beautiful books, Paris in Color and Paris in Love, and The Paris Journal series—guides us through her favorite city, one outside of the country.
Though I live and work in the New York metro area, my husband and I have a studio apartment in Paris. We spend about eight weeks per year there depending on the projects we’re working on.
Paris is my zen. I don’t go to shop, sightsee, or hit the current hot spots—I go to slow down, wander, and think. (I also go for the butter—a large slab of salted French butter and a hot, crispy baguette would be my last meal!)
Fromagerie Laurent Dubois, 47 Ter Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75005 Paris, France, +33 1 43 54 50 93
Laurent Dubois is where I pick up my beloved salted Bordier butter and favorite young goat cheese. I can get wonderful aged cheese in the states, so I focus on the freshest varieties when I’m in Paris. The shop is stunning, and the cheese is presented in a way that reminds me of a museum.
Citypharma Du Four Bonaparte, 26 Rue du Four, 75006 Paris, France, +33 1 46 33 20 81
This place has a cult following for a reason, and pharmacies are the exception to my no-shopping modus operandi. A few of my staples:
Avibon. Avibon is an inexpensive Vitamin A cream similar to Retin A, but doesn’t require a prescription (read: cheap). It’s currently off the market for reformulation, so I’ve switched to A313 cream, which is similar.
Biafine. Though this is formulated for burn and chemical peel recovery, I use this as a regenerative night cream (the secret is out!). It’s extremely healing, and I’ve been shocked by how fast a blemish scar recovers with just a dot of Biafine.
Bioderma. The best makeup and debris remover ever. Though it’s colorless and odorless like water, it clears pores like magic. It’s very easy to spot as there are large displays of this and other micellaire waters at the front of most pharmacies.
Embryolisse CC Cream. I am obsessed with this and make sure I never run out. It’s light coverage, and leaves your skin perfected and dewy. (It’s worth noting here that I worked as a copywriter in the beauty industry for 15 years, and I am dubious when it comes to claims of “perfect skin” and “flawless finish.” But this stuff delivers.) The closest thing I’ve found in the states is Clinique’s Moisture Surge CC cream.
We’ve always rented apartments and I recommend rentals over hotels. I love being able to stock the refrigerator with essentials like butter, eggs and yogurt, and do laundry so I can pack light. Erica Berman’s Haven in Paris and Gail Boisclair’s Perfectly Paris are my go-to rental agencies.
Luxembourg Gardens, 6e Arrondissement, 75006 Paris, France, +33 1 42 34 23 62
When we travel with our boys, the Luxembourg Gardens are always at the top of their list (boats and ice cream!). And though it’s incredibly kid-friendly, it’s still a peaceful spot to rest, dream, or in my case, scheme—many of our studio’s projects are a result of wine-fueled conversations in this park.
Next to nothing! For a week in Paris, I pack one pair of boots, two pairs of jeans, two or three sweaters, and some basic tees. I do laundry every other night. I walk so much and rarely need to be dressed up for dinner, so I let comfort dictate my wardrobe—besides, I need plenty of room in my carry-on for butter and French pharmacy finds!
Thank you so much, Nichole! One of your photographs of Paris hangs in my office. I fear I’m going to crave a hot baguette with salted French butter every time I sit down to work. (Thank you to Shoko Wanger for her help with this series!)