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Three Sweet Paris Spots by Women for Women


Sally Peabody is an American Journeywoman and President of Your Great Days in Paris, a specialist company focused on leading and advising adventurous travelers to find their best in Paris. We asked Sally about women-centered destinations in Paris. She happily informed us about these sweet spots...

French pastry, chocolates and fashion are a perfectly complimentary trinity if there ever was one. However, if like me, you enjoy pastry and chocolates a bit too much to indulge in shopping for French chic other than scarves, bags, jewelry and shoes, I have a new find of interest on the fashion-front and two on the ‘foodie’ front. But first to the patisserie and chocolates.

Having the good fortune to spend late September and October in Southwest France and in Paris, I used every bit of ‘down time’ from my tours to explore up-and-coming quarters in northern and eastern Paris. Serendipitously three of my favorite finds are owned by talented, creative women. Each is worth the visit entirely on its own merit, but sitting in vibrant, off-the-beaten path quarters as each does, well, that is even more reason to visit these women and their shops.

Less sugar more natural patisserie...

Lecureuil is a lovely, light, contemporary looking patisserie at the upper end of the top quality rue de Lévis market street in the 17th. Laurence Edeler is the charmingly engaging owner of this shop. She is re-inventing French pastry by using beautiful contemporary presentation, less sugar than many patissiers do, using only the best quality butter and cream and emphasizing ‘market fresh’ flavors.

‘Market-fresh’ patisserie I asked? Not surprisingly that means making patisserie, tarts, macarons and other temptations with fruits, nuts, flowers and other flavors that are seasonal, totally fresh and full of flavor. In early fall that included luscious fresh figs, passion fruit, pears, chestnuts, sweet clementines and more.

The less-sugar philosophy means that in general Lecureuil eschews icings and sweet toppings. For example, they prefer to top their classic éclairs with an eye-catching thin sheet of bitter chocolate. Lecureuil’s macarons were among the absolute best I have enjoyed anywhere in this macaron-obsessed city. I loved the lavender and the cassis flavored versions. On weekends Lecureuil expands their offerings to include hearty breads and Alsatian cakes such as Kougelhopfs.

Lecureul also sells lovely pure-fruit jams and jellies from an artisanal producer in Normandy. Other temptations include chocolates, floral ‘finishing sugars’, liqueurs of rose and other floral and fruit essences, plus good herbal tisanes. This is one terrific little sweet-spot. Address: 96 rue de Lévis, Paris 17. Nearest metro: Villiers. Website:


This chocolate shop steals my heart...

It is an undisputed fact. Paris abounds in fabulous chocolate shops. However, it is Natier that steals my heart. Natier is a tiny shop owned by the personable and welcoming Madame Dominique Letterrier. Natier sells a selection of classic French chocolates, carefully chosen and all utterly delicious. All of the classics are there: pralines, marzipan, truffles, pure fruit fillings, rich dark ganache, and much more. I loved the ‘reglisse’ which is a mild licorice gélee enrobed in dark chocolate.

There are also addictively delicious fruit pates in 16 flavors, making for a jewel-like assortment of pure deep fruit flavor in these very sophisticated little candies. Another favorite of mine are raisins steeped in Bordeaux wine or in sweeter Sauternes and then enrobed in dark chocolate. There are bags of pretty chocolate ‘olives’ that look uncannily like olives from the south of France.

Dominique also sells excellent Calissons de Aix, for fans of those emblematic almond Provencal sweets. To accompany all those goodies, Natier carries a good selection of pure and flavored teas from Le Palais de Thés, all beautifully packaged. While I tend to be a pure-tea fan I do love the Thé des Moines and Thé du Hammam blends. Both are spicy, floral, a little exotic and totally delicious. Address: 1 rue Henri Monnier, Paris 9. Closed Sunday. Nearest metro: St. Georges.


Explore rue de Martyrs...

Natier is just a long block off the marvelous rue de Martyrs market street in the 9th arrondisment which is home to the famed organic food shrine, Rose Bakery (46 rue des Martyrs), Les Papilles Gourmandes showcasing foods of the French Southwest (26, rue des Martyrs), Arnaud Delmontel’s fabulous patisserie (39 rue des Martyrs), and myriad other worthwhile food shops.

The short rue de Martyrs is also a fine source for quirky one of a kind fashion-boutiques or adorable shops for children’s clothes. Women, check out the tiny boutique of designer Hortensia Louisos at 14 rue Clauzel just off the rue de Martyrs. Ms. Louisos designs classic pants, skirts and jackets in seasonal lines that are all about good taste but always with a little distinctive French flair. I found a stunning red leather handbag here last fall. Nothing exceeds 100 Euros.

For kids, check out the Sergent Major shop at 18 rue de Martyrs. This shop is one of a French chain that dresses kids to look like kids, not baby rappers or mini-members of the artistocracy. The quality is tops—and most choices for infants to young teens are under $25. You will love the toddler button-front jackets with striped cotton linings.Visit for hours and other locations around Paris. This area of the 9th is delightful. Go explore!


A shop for generously proportioned women...

Finally, my personal fashion find. La Bonheur des Rondes is a tiny shop in the 11th behind the Place de la Bastille and near the animated Aligre market. ‘Rondes’ are generously proportioned women. Any woman over a size 14 who has visited Paris knows how impossible it is to find clothes that fit. This shop, run by an attractive woman who is chic and ‘ronde’ has a well selected line of slacks, dresses, jackets, tops and sweaters from designers like Marina Rinaldi and other small scale ‘createurs’. Clothes range from casual to dressy and top out at the approximate western equivalent of a size 22.

I found a stunning knit top in an unusual ‘marron’ hue (chestnut) with a great cut and fit that I treasure. Madame said “Mais, c’est parfait pour vous” (This is perfect for you) and I had to agree. Definitely French. La Bonheur de Rondes is a great stop if you are visiting the Aligre market or the rue Paul Bert gourmet nexus that is just down the rue Faubourg St. Antoine. Address: 201 rue Faubourg St. Antoine, Paris 11. Closed Sundays. Nearest metro: Faidherbe Chaligny

Finally, after shopping, stop in at the tiny Tesnisme virtually next door for some fabulous thé a la menthe and Algerian pastries. The tea is brewed from fresh mint leaves and the pastries are chosen from a panoply of squares, crescents and circular ones that incorporate a veritable entire world of nuts, honeys and flaky pastries. Address: 207 rue Faubourg St. Antoine, Paris 11. Nearest metro: Faidherbe Chaligny

Sally Peabody will be leading new “Paris Off the Beaten Path” four-day tours in spring and fall that will take you to these wonderful spots and many more.


More gal-friendly tips about Paris and beyond...

We're delighted with the many tour operators leading female-friendly adventures to France who are also members of our Journeywoman network of classified advertisers. These are the experts, the people we go to when we need advice about travel to Paris and the French countryside.

We asked each of these savvy tour planners to share one of their 'travel to France' secrets with us. These are their juicy offerings along with a bit about each of their diverse woman-centered travel companies. Keep this advice handy. You never know when the urge to be in Paris or France, in general, becomes too great to resist. Click here.

Want more information about Paris? Click here




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