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Wednesday 4 September 2013

Shop in the Spotlight: Frenchologie

Palm knitted sweater
It is now sufficiently far away from university for the guilt I feel in not being fluent in French to have passed. Now, I just get to enjoy the extreme benefits of French things.
  • Tartines
  • Asterix
  • Hot chocolate in bowls
  • SUPER wine (arguably the greatest superhero)
  • Gorgeous words uttered in marvellous accents
  • Shopping
  • Lavender and markets
So I didn't really pay much attention when Frances asked if I'd like some goodies from Frenchologie, beyond going "Yes! Good!"

Marisa earrings
Something started ringing confused bells when I unwrapped beautifully-packed little parcels (add "lovely packaging" to my list of bullet points) to discover a complete mish-mash of things. Two jars of delicious spread and some olive oil. Ok. Some shampoo though? And a bracelet? What the?

Frenchologie wins by selling ALL the French things in one place. There are the to-be-expected sections of beauty, fashion and homeware, but also design-led books and DVDs, art and delicatessen (FOOD, kids, FOOD).

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Monsieur hook (£44). The glorious invention of the designer collective Cocktail Designers, it's three coathooks that you can do with as you will. The bowler hat - I die.

Also: can we talk about the fact that Ladurée sells bath goodies as well as macarons? TOO MUCH!

I was sent two things that I thought I'd hate (I can't stand most olives, and bananas are Satan's fruit), and which turned out to be absolutely delicious.

The marvellously-named Aix et Terra - say it out loud; it took me nearly a week for that joke to dawn on me - were responsible for black and green olive jam (£8.30) which I initially tried to foist onto Frances and Sara over lunch, but which turned out to be a sweet and delicious way to enjoy olives without being remotely sick.

Similarly otherworldly in its ability to get me to eat things I don't like, and enjoy them, was Epicerie de Provence's chocolat à tartiner, more prosaically known as banana, almond and chocolate spread. I spread gluttonous spoonfuls on warm bread once the girls had left AND I DID NOT SHARE. It's amazing. Lovely rich, milky chocolate that oozes with childhood teatime nostalgia, a light banana flavour rippling through, and slices of almonds. Really, really good.

A lot of the handpicked goodies on the site are so far out of my price range that it's not even funny, but there are plenty of lovely present ideas (for other people or, you know, you) that are much more reasonable. This rire aux éclats (roar with laughter) bracelet is £18.

 Let's have a quick detour by one of the wildly expensive things, because it's fun and the descriptions for each item are also really alluring. Frenchologie is like curling up on a window seat and flicking through a catalogue for the life of a seriously dapper Frenchwoman. My favourite is for an Histoire de Parfum perfume called 1969, which just begins "1969, an erotic year…"

1876 is based entirely on the spy Mata Hari - and I'm sorry, as much as I adore libraries and all that, I can't imagine a more excellent inspiration for a spicy perfume. Even if it does cost a ridonkulous amount of cash.

Much less ridonkulous are the candles from Inès de la Fressange, the muse of shoe designer Roger Vivier and all-round breathtakingly interesting person. Like a Parisian Daphne Guinness, but without the shoes and the hair. Instead, she has the most incredible name ever (deep breath)

Inès Marie Lætitia Églantine Isabelle de Seignard de La Fressange

Got all that?

Her Week End candle collection come in a tonne of scents, a few of which are available here, including A Weekend In Paris (£31.90). It's the most Sluttery of all the candles, partly because who doesn't want to spend a weekend in Paris, and because it "evokes the lipstick, make-up, subtle leathery smell of a woman's handbag". Hell yes.


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