In the June issue of Chicago-Woman Magazine, my article INSPIRÈ: A Curated Collection of Parisian Inspiration featured local Chicago boutiques bursting at the seams with fabulous Parisian flare! As a regular ORD to CDG traveler, there were still more of my favorite Chicago spots with a French accent that I wanted to share with you. This “Toddlin’ Town” we all love and adore is replete with ways to take a mini Paris-inspired stay-cation just by climbing into the back of an Uber! From flowers, to bakeries, to hotel silver, fragrance, and French fries, I hope you enjoy a look into my intimate affair with Paris, in Chicago!
When I stumbled upon Christine Noelle Design tucked away on Oak Street, I was instantly inspired and transported to Flower.fr which is a favorite floral boutique of mine in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood of Paris, on Rue de Babylone. Christine’s charming, colorful, and delicate studio in Chicago is about simplicity at its best! Her studio is filled with fresh blooms, rustic farm tables, and French antique touches that set her well apart from others in the city. Both studios are a must visit!
Flowers: by Christine Noelle Design. A full service flower studio filled with a fresh daily selection of unique and one-of-a-kind blooms, celebrating each season, while manipulating color, texture, and composition to strike beauty and balance. Individual blooms and full arrangements available.
Christine Noelle Design
106 East Oak Street, Chicago, IL 60610
At Hendrickx Bakery in the Gold Coast, it starts with top quality ingredients: the best butter directly imported from France, artisanal flour, and lots of patience (as it takes them 18 hours to prepare fold after fold for the perfect croissant dough). The result is irresistible, light, airy, buttery, flaky. Your challenge—decide which of their twelve varieties to choose from! Walking into Hendrickx, which also serves salads, soups, tartines, and other Parisian essentials, is like walking into a patisserie in Paris – instant charm, warmth, and amazing food! The next time you are in Paris, check out Mamie Gateaux for simple country cakes, food, and charm!
Croissants: by Hendrickx Bakery. Discover our artisanal breads, croissants, macarons and pastries. Enjoy a home-made sandwich or soup or salad, all prepared from scratch on the premises by Belgian Chef Renaud Hendrickx and his inspired team. Before you leave, don't forget to take a peak in the all open kitchen, who knows, Renaud might offer you a sample of one of his new products!
100 E Walton Street, Chicago, IL 60611
Synonymous with French fragrance, diptyque threw opens its doors in Chicago in November 2012 on North Damen Avenue in Wicker Park. The incredibly elegant and sophisticated interiors by Jennifer Studio gives you the feeling of stepping inside a jewel box filled with complex and layered textiles, finishes, and of course some of the most cultivated fragrances in the world. My personal favorites are Géranium Rosa, reminiscent of the red geraniums that fill Parisian window boxes in the summer, and Feu de Bois for the woodsy scent of billowing smoke from wood-burning fireplaces in the fall and winter!
Candles: by diptyque. The diptyque story began in Paris 51 years ago, at 34 Boulevard St-Germain, with three friends Christiane Gautrot, interior decorator, Desmond Knox-Leet, painter, and Yves Coueslant, theatre administrator and set designer. Previously designing fabrics and wallpaper for Liberty and Sanderson, together they teamed up in 1961 and opened the first diptyque boutique to showcase their fabric designs. With their unique taste, they gradually transformed the store into a chic bazaar offering a fascinating variety of unexpected items, unique to Paris, which the trio brought back from their travels. In 1963, they introduce the first diptyque scented candles – Aubépine, Cannelle and Thé - and a few years later, they launched their first eau de toilette, L’Eau. Today, the brand’s extensive product portfolio includes home and personal fragrances along with a body care line.
1645 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Whenever I need a retail pick-me-up, I always head to P.O.S.H. on State Street! With a desire to offer something unique to the consumer that had grown weary of “sameness”, their small shop is met with a warm reception as the search for pieces that haven’t been mass-produced for coast-to-coast consumption is shared by many. This is where I like to look for unique hostess gifts, celebration gifts, and truly French vintage tabletop décor – it is like walking into a gleaming Parisian dream! I especially love holiday time as their window displays are just beyond magical!
Home Décor & Gifts: by P.O.S.H. “At some point in your life, you want something that feels authentic - something that speaks to you.” That thought is what drives P.O.S.H. to search high and low for the items that stock its shelves - an eclectic assortment of vintage Hotel and Estate Silver, Restaurant China and Dinnerware and an ever-changing mix of European Flea Market Finds. Found in such disparate places as long-shuttered American china warehouses and restaurant supply depots to the antique markets and auction houses of Europe, the items sold at P.O.S.H. are often one-of-a-kind or limited in quantity. From a vintage silverplate tea service once used in an English Country Inn to a beautiful water pitcher from a Grand Hotel in New York, most of our pieces tell a romantic story of an age gone by.
613 N State Street, Chicago, IL 60654
Probably my most-visited French restaurant in Chicago is Le Petit Paris on Chestnut Street. It is my go-to spot to sit in the bar area and sip a glass of Champagne while nibbling on a basket of pomme frites, as Edith Piaf plays from the wall mounted jukebox! There are blinking garlands of Christmas lights in the bar, the occasional Valentine decoration on the wall, and even a couple rolling office chairs for “extra seating”, all of which (and more!) equal eclectic perfection! Le Petit Paris has genuine charm and personality, partly from the ambience, and also from Alain—chef, owner, bartender, and music volume controller (I like it loud!). He works seven days a week at his restaurant and goes to the markets every morning at 6:30am to secure the day’s freshest produce, meats, fish, and poultry. He is then in his kitchen preparing and cooking until the doors open for dinner service starting at 5:00pm. This is truly a hidden gem of Chicago!
French Bistro: Le Petit Paris. Locals and visitors alike are drawn to the ambiance and relaxed atmosphere of our classic French bistro. Chef/Owner Alain Sutbon lights up the evening and provides a warm setting for lively conversation over a glass of red wine and fabulous French cuisine. Along with our fine selections of French wines, our signature dishes include Duck with Grand Marnier Sauce, Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb, and fish. Daily trips to the market are used to give you the freshest ingredients! To complete the evening, try our house-made desserts with a glass of port. Check often for monthly specials!
Le Petit Paris
260 E Chestnut St, Chicago, IL 60611
312.787.8260 (Call for reservations)