I was nineteen years old when my dream came true. I backed my bags and moved to Paris for a semester abroad that would change my life. I didn’t even know then just how right I was.
I became fluent in a language that would serve me well during the next decade of travels. I realized I loved being abroad, which led to be pursue a most unusual career path. I discovered macaron. And really – what is life without macaron? And it was during this period that I discovered Bensimon.
Since discovering the Parisiens, I wanted to be one of them. When I lived there I did everything short of taking up smoking to pass for a local. I refined my wardrobe to a few, key pieces. I splurged on lace lingerie set I couldn’t afford. I switched to Marvis toothpaste. I biked everywhere. I made perfume part of my daily routine. I stopped exercising. I even sought out the brand of tennis shoe that positively every girl I passed wore in every possible color, Bensimon.
They are the unofficial shoe of Paris. When women are not wearing sky-high heels you can bet they are sporting whatever color of tennis matches their outfit best. I initially wanted them just to look French, but I soon realized they were the best pair of shoes I’d ever owned. Comfy as slippers, wearable with any outfit, and machine washable. Over the last decade, these have been my travel uniform all over the world. I even wore them on safari.
They do not yet have a shop in America, so for the last decade, I’ve been stocking up on colors and styles any time I visit France or Belgium; bringing enough home with me to fill an entire suitcase.
On my most recent trip, I convinced two of my sisters to tag along so I could show them the city I love most. The Bensimon Concept Shop in Saint Germain de Pres was most certainly on my tour. They make the perfect Paris walking shoe, and a brilliant souvenir for my sisters to take home.
The shop is a welcome pop of color among other neutral-toned brands. Each season their shades change, and I believe they do color better than Pantone themselves. For the fall, the shop was full of plum, emerald, rust, and navy among soft grey and camels. The concept shops carry everything from thick, woolen blankets to delicious-smelling candles, cheeky dessert plates to dainty jewelry to glittery socks and of course – the famous tennis. It’s on the cutest street in the 5th Arr., so venturing here is never out of the way.
We all did a bit of shopping, oogling, and trying-on for the next hour. This shop is a color paradise, and you find yourself picking up absolutely everything and deciding you cannot possibly live without it.
Mid-shop we had to pause to re-fuel with some croissants.
This jacket was among my favorite new things in the shop. My name in French class all through high school was “Brigitte” so it was basically made for Parisienne me.
La Vie En Rose in is my personal mantra, and favorite song. This outfit I picked out was 100% millennial pink!
But what shoes to wear…? The tennis at Bensimon will always be my favorite, but I love all the other styles too! Boots, mules, flats, sneakers…. what’s a girl to do?
Dressing up denim with a suede belt, printed shirt, camel coat, and army-green leather sneakers! For an afternoon out in Paris all you need to carry is a chic, messenger bag and this one is parfait.
I’m currently in love with velvet, and the current collection is stocked with it. I was in love with this blouse; it is the the perfect top to make any outfit just a little more lovely, and is a stunning shade of steely blue. I paired it with a little woolen skirt, but then made it more casual with glittery socks and combat boots in navy.
These glitter socks are the perfect way to make these boots a little more girly, and a lot more fun!
Of all the things in the shop, the new, velvet tennis were the apple of my eye! They are super soft, and lined with a furry sheepskin to keep your toes warm on the coldest days. The hardest part was deciding red, blue, or purple?
We all left with quite a few souvenirs to remember Paris by, and my new velvet tennis got some great use over the next week.
Thank you Bensimon, for a fabulous day of shopping in Paris!
If you’re not headed to Paris soon, you can shop a few of my favorite sneakers below!