Bachelorette night in Paris

Your big day is coming and it will be a new chapter in your life.  Or, you have a Bachelorette party/night invitation and you want to be a good host to the bride-to-be.  How do you prepare yourself for this fun, special evening?

I always have a little black dress for any occassion and for this night out, a black tube dress can never go wrong.  Black ponte mini dress has a lace overlay and made by Camilla and Marc.  This mini dress has two detachable adjustable satin straps, a sweetheart neckline with notched detail at center, defined underwired cups with padding, boning through bodice, seam detail at front and back, a concealed zip fastening at back and is fully lined.  Throw on some jewellery and you won't have to worry if you stained the dress after all that fun night out.

Mange - You can plan with Rendezvous in Paris to help you organize the entire night's itinerary so that there is someone besides you to be sure that everything falls into place fabulously.  Finish the singlehood era with a tasteful French bachelor/ette fest in France.  Rendezvous in Paris takes care of your meals, just the way you wanted if not better!

Prie - Every single gal or guy invited to the party should give a toast and short speech to the bride-to-be.  It is a special time for everyone and every single prayer or wish makes the nice gestures great to begin with before moving on to the fun stuff.

Aime - Presents.  This part of the function doesn't have to be on the same night, but it's all about loving your friend and supporting her and having fun!

Sponsored by: Net-a-Porter / Moulin Rouge


The healthy bride à la Française

Un - Enjoy good food and prioritize yourself
We are all busy people.  But if you change your appointment to meet the wedding planner at a time and location that is of convenience to you, then you won't need to skip your essential meal or grab a quick bite that's not healthy for you.  Personally, I don't believe in restricting yourself to certain food or getting on a strict diet.  I believe in enjoying food and performing my regular jogs which is already a cardio that does everything for the body.

Deux – Drink lots of water
Water is a natural thirst quencher, has no calories and is great for your skin. Water is also the key to keeping you feeling refreshed and hydrated. Aim for eight glasses of water per day, and try and avoid sugary drinks such as cola, lemonade or juice. Reduce your coffee or tea intake to 1 or 2 cups a day.  A glass of red wine with friends occassionally will help wind you down after a day of wedding planning too.

Trois – Eat only when you're hungry
You may enjoy good food but it doesn't mean that you don't have to take control of your body.  Humans should only eat when the body is hungry and not for the sake of finishing the plate up.  The average Australian serving is three times what it used to be and we’re used to seeing a lot of food on our plates, which you don't have to eat it all up!  Aim for meals that are high on vegetables – at least 3-4 100g serves of vegetables per meal and keep meat or fish portions at about 100-120g per serve. 

Quatre - No booze gorging. Ladies, please.
Alcohol is full of empty calories. One glass of white wine can cost you up to 185 calories while one standard beer will set you back about 135 calories. Try replacing your regular after work drink with sparkling mineral water or choose a beverage that is lower in calories, such as vodka with soda and lemon which only has about 60 calories per standard drink. Cutting back on the booze can also help your hip-pocket as well as your waistline!

Cinq – Be on the move
The most effective way to lose weight safely is exercise. Aim for 30-45 minutes of exercise three to four times a week. This could be a walk, jog, exercise class, or, a gym workout or session with a personal trainer. As well as keeping you fit and toned, regular exercise releases endorphins and is a great way to distress or unwind after a hard day of wedding planning!

Here’s a typical example of the day’s meals in Paris:
Fresh or toasted baguette with butter and jam. Coffee with milk and sugar, tea or hot chocolate.
(you notice – no orange juice, no doughnuts, no Danish,no bacon and eggs, no cereal – although cereals have made big inroads in the last decade).

Lunch or dejeuner is the major meal of the day. Whether you eat at home or at the workplace, this is typically a sit-down hot lunch, not a sandwich eaten on the run.  Lunch will normally include a starter such as crudite which can be diced carrots, beets, or other raw vegetables, a main course including meat or fish (chicken, beef, white fish) accompanied by rice/potatoes and a vegetable, a green salad with a simple vinaigrette dressing, a small square of cheese and a yoghurt or fresh fruit for dessert.  Between 3 and 4 pm, if there are kids in the family, snacktime might be a croissant, a slice of brioche with jam or a few squares of a chocolate bar.

Le dîner:
Dinner at 8 pm consists of soup, slices of boiled ham or other cold cuts like a country pate, bread and cheese followed by yogurt and fruit. On special occasions, dessert could be mousse au chocolat. Tarts, cakes and assorted pastries are reserved for Sunday dinners.  After dinner, an infusion is served (tisane or verveine).
Wine is served with both lunch and dinner.  Bottled water is always available.  People normally have a bottle of water by their bed. 

Butter is only on the table for breakfast. The rest of the day, bread is served without butter. Much of the cooking is done on the top burners or in a pressure cooker. The broiler is rarely used. Pots and pans were usually pretty easy to clean up after a meal because French cooking is done with so little butter or oil.

After the 8 pm dinner or supper, there is no snacking.   The concept of couch potato does not exist.  Any food that goes into your mouth is consumed at a dining table.  Needless to say, the Parisian lifestyle is in constant flux. You’ll still catch the occasional person wolfing down a sandwich as he walks down the street – but this is unusual – and definitely not the norm. 

Although some diets like Slim Fast have gained in popularity in France, the typical advice suggests that the traditional daily meals with no snacking is the best way to stay trim. People trying to lose additional weight will continue to eat three meals a day, but they may:

1. Make a soup the primary plate for their evening meal.
2. Dilute wine with water or cut out alcohol altogether.
3. Limit their bread to two slices per day.
4. Reduce their meal portions.

Images: Chanel / Audrey Hepburn / Twiggy


Wedding plans - Je t'aime!

Planning a destination wedding can be complicated, especially when there are language and cultural barriers to overcome. The staff at Fête in France are bilingual and bicultural and have experience with everything from etiquette, to proper planning and more. With today’s hectic lifestyles many people do not have the time for the detailed planning it takes to produce an event. By hiring an event planner you can save yourself hours of research and effort in finding the right services for your event.

The last thing you want on the day of your event is to be worrying about the details and not enjoying spending time with your guests. Fête in France’s event planners can be present to make sure that everything runs smoothly so you can relax and enjoy.  Fête in France has worked with a range of providers and is able to give you an idea of how much to budget for each part of your wedding. Hiring an event consultant also helps you to stick to your budget and imagine the possibilities to make your wedding unique.  Amazing things happen in France and I hope I can assist you in your wedding plans.

Images: Fête in France


Bonjour Paris!

I used to travel a fair bit with my husband before we had our 2 beautiful children and still remember the first few times I went through in deciding what to bring to our trips.  I decided to pack less so that I won't leave anything behind and since my husband was an unpredictable traveller, we were always either here or there, hence the pack-less theory.  Here are some pointers for you to remember in planning for your fabulous trip to France or Paris.

1) Especially with all of the new restrictions about liquids over 3 oz. in your carry on it is probably not worth it to bring your entire bathroom of cosmetics and toiletries items with you. Paris is littered with pharmacies, where you can easily and quickly pick up a few essential items like shampoo and lotion. This will not only save you some valuable space in your suitcase, but you may just get to try out a new French shampoo that doesn’t smell or look like anything you have at home. 

You can pick up this stuff at any pharmacy around the city (or in any of the many Monoprixs).  Look for a green flourescent cross, as these signs mark pharmacies.  Here is some vocabulary for essential French toiletry items: 

Vernis a l’ongle: Nail Polish 
Shampooing (sham-poo-ie): Shampoo 
Apres Shampooing (ah-pray sham-poo-ie): Conditioner 
Dentifrice: toothpaste 
Brosse a dents (bra-sa-don): Toothbrush 
Crème de soleil (cre-ehm duh sol-eh): Sunscreen 
Preservatifs (pray-sair-va-teefs): condoms 
Pansements (pan-say-mahn): bandages 
Savon (sahve-ohn): Soap

2) Do not pack your camera, your expensive jewelry or the keys to your apartment or house in your checked luggage.

3) Don’t forget to call your phone carrier to let it know that you are traveling to Europe; pre-purchased packages on some carriers are much cheaper than data/text and phone charges in country  Also call your credit card companies so they don’t shut down your account for “security” reasons.

4) Your carry-on bag needs to roll and include space for your computer, or use a good backpack. When you get off the plane and retrieve your checked bag, be sure you can handle it and the carry-on without too much trouble should you have to navigate stairs and trains.  Longchamp has a fabulous range of choices for you and is one of my favourites.

5) Please bring along your raincoat and a small umbrella that folds up as it rains a lot in Paris.

6) Comfortable shoes, but not big Nike tennis shoes, are crucial.  Chic by Sha ballet flats are comfortable and gorgeous to walk down the arrondissements in style.  Boots are a good addition in fall and winter. This is a walking town.

7) Several pairs of pants; one dress or skirt; a good selection of T-shirts, sweaters and blouses; a great blazer and several wonderful scarves make for a week of relaxed touring.  Fun accessories are important to round out your look.  Add a nightgown, and sexy undergarments, and you should be all set.  Underpack, and throw in a folding suitcase in case you wind up buying a lot of souvenirs and clothing that you’ll be lugging back.  Once again, Longchamp is the way to go.

8) An absolute must is your phone charger and an electrical plug adapter or two.  A three-way adapter can be handy when you have a lot of things to charge.

9) Don’t even consider packing your hair dryer. Without a big bulky transformer, it will be fried, and most hotels and even some apartment rentals have one you can use.

10) Bring a map of Paris, not the flimsy thing you can get at Galeries Lafayette, but a proper map, like the one here. This one will save you countless hours otherwise spent searching for a street that’s not on the less extensive maps.

11) Print out your Girls’ Guide walking tours and all other documents related to your flight, car rental and hotel reservations, and put them in one handy file in your purse or carry-on.

12) Remember to arrange your pickup from the airport, or just grab a cab or the Air France bus at CDG or Orly. More info here.

13) Don’t forget to stop at an ATM. Having a few Euros on you won’t hurt, and having some money from the ATM at the airport or train upon arrival would be handy. Travelers checks are passé and not accepted anymore. Leave them at home.

Most important, bring your sense of humor and a go-with-the-flow attitude. Things will go wrong, but you will be in Paris, and it is magical even on the rainiest, strike-ridden, lost-baggage kind of day. Have fun, explore and an open mind.  Bon voyage!

Images: Longchamp / Paris


Parisien Salon - P.S. Privé

There is understandably a high level of excitement and expectations when planning a trip to France.  The beautiful city of Paris may be intimidating for some and overwhelming if things did not go as planned or expected such as a culture shock.  If you want to spend your honeymoon or vacation in the natural royal beauty of Paris, playing tourist may only give you the impression of a general view of the city.  

Paris is not the Eiffel Tower or the Champs Elysée or the Louvre but they are gorgeous garments worn by the city to make a fabulous impression on visitors.  The real Paris has so much more substance and style.  P.S. Privé, like ParisienSalon.com, was founded by Linda Donahue. Linda is an award-winning writer and photographer who has spent the better part of 20 years working in the travel industry, writing for companies including Silversea, Cunard, Waldorf Astoria, non-travel industry giants like Burger King and MTV and some others.

You can participate in fun and fabulous classes, workshops and events with the locals and P.S. Privé like the Lunch and Lingerie and Salon Dinner.  Becoming an insider is a lot easier than you might imagine. It’s all about making connections and being open to new adventures.  All P.S. Privé workshops, classes, excursions and events can be arranged as private events on days not currently scheduled. To learn more, or to schedule a P.S. Privé event for your private group, contact them at info@psprive.com.  Be an Parisian insider.

Images: P.S. Privé


Photographe de mariage - Olivier Lalin

Award winning, stylish French Art-wedding photographer with some 18 years of "savoir faire", Olivier Lalin is one photographer whom you need to consider for your photography in Paris or New York.  He works from Paris and New York city and specializes in destination wedding photography and video coverage for elegant & modern brides.

Olivier Lalin has run a successful photographic business over the past 18 years, providing high-end photographic services for corporate, editorial and advertising clients and have various winning moments gaining awards in the arts field.

The main point to remember in hiring a wedding photographer is that you have to be comfortable with him/her.  Viewing their portfolio is a definite must-do, and laying out what type of photography you would like for your big day or event is essential.  Providing a theme such as 'chic, modern' or '1920s, classic, black and white', these key words are helpful to give the photographer the concept that you want for you to look back many years ahead.

Images: Oliver Lalin


Vallée de la Loire

Loire Valley (Vallée de la Loire) is known as the Garden of France and the Cradle of the French Language. Other languages spoken include English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, and Spanish.

Renowned for its somptuous châteaux, the relics of royal days gone by, the glorious valley of the Loire is rich in both history and architecture. Like the river Loire, this vast region runs through the heart of French life. Its sophisticated cities, luxuriant landscape and magnificent food and wine add up to a bourgeois paradise. The lush Loire valley is supremely regal.

Amongst the various châteaux where you may hold your special event, Château du Guerinet is one. What better place than a romantic wedding castle to hold a fairy tale wedding. You can now have the most romantic French wedding at their luxurious wedding castle set in the heart of the Loire Valley in France.

Last minute weddings?  Don't fear -  Château du Guerinet is very experienced and can organise your wedding last minute.  How fabulous!  All you need to do is invite your friends and family, pick out your wedding clothes, select a colour scheme and what flowers and menu you like and they arrange everything else.

Winter weddings at their château are wonderful and feel very intimate with roaring fires, good company, hearty food and lots of champagne and dancing. The atmosphere is magical.  So come on brides.  Make your fairytale come true.

Images: Loire Valley / Château du Guerinet


Des vacances - Saint-Trop

Saint-Tropez is included in the list of the most often visited holiday destinations in the world.  It's a tourist resort situated in southern France, on the French Riviera. Saint-Tropez is also a small fishing port with incredible vistas that once seen provide unforgettable memories to everyone who has visited this wonderful stretch of coastline. The place is incredibly popular among celebrities, who spend as much time as possible there.

It became quite a popular resort in the nineteen twenties when it attracted stars from the world of fashion, but it was thanks to film star Brigette Bardot who in the nineteen fifties gave Saint-Tropez the reputation of one of the jazziest places in the world.  It is associated mainly with blue waters, luxury yachts, wonderful cafes as well as great numbers of tourists and expensive sports cars. 

A further issue that certainly must be considered is the night life in Saint-Tropez. It's incredibly lively as many VIPs land in their helicopters in the middle of the night just to have some fun at one of the many elegant parties that the rich and famous love to throw. This is just one of the reasons why many tourists sit in the cafes situated in the open air, the hope of seeing somebody famous. Visitors at the same time can appreciate the taste of delicious Mediterranean food that is served in such a chic way .

Tourists who wish to spend some time sunbathing should know that the best beaches in the resort are located along the coast in the Baie de Pampelonne, which lies south of Saint Tropez and east of Ramatuelle.  Everyone can find something to suit as there are plenty of beaches along the five kilometer shore.  Some beaches have their huts, and comprise of both private and public tanning areas.  There is a range of beaches, including the very chic offering fashion shows as well as the quieter ones. If you feel like admiring the view you can relax in the cafés that are situated on the water's edge. 
For people who prefer spending time in an active way there are also plenty of activities from which to choose. Various beaches offer windsurfing, sailing, canoeing and motorized water sports with all the equipment needed for them.  And if you wish to spend time soaking up some culture you can visit the Musée de I'Annonciade, also known as Musée St-Tropez, where one can find a collection of modern art from such well-known artists as Matisse, Bonnard and Seurat.

Saint-Tropez is a place that should definitely be included in anyone's ‘must visit' list. So if you feel like changing your lifestyle at least for a while why not spend some time in this fabulous resort. There's not only the opportunity to meet the stars but one can imagine for a moment what it's like to be one.  As we've said Saint-Tropez has it all unforgettable sights, marvelous cuisine and the opportunity to enjoy oneself in a variety of different ways. 
Images: Chanel / Saint-Tropez


La cuisine Française


There are a number of authentic food catering businesses in Australia that will satisfy your guests' and your gastronomy throughout the whole event.  You may have the decorations and ambience going for your wedding for example but it won't be a success without good authentic French food.  

French Fare Executive chef and owner Raphael Matet hails from the Haute Savoie region in the French Alps and has over 20 years of cooking experience.  Raphael learnt his trade in Lyon prior to working in Michelin star restaurants across France, Switzerland, Denmark & the UK.  On arriving in Australia in 2000, Raphael worked as a private chef and managed other established catering companies prior to setting up French Fare Catering in 2007.  

They now have a broad range of loyal clients ranging from finance companies to kitchen businesses, brides/grooms and several private clients.  Further to their accomplishments, they are also members of the French-Australian chamber of commerce & industry and revel in working in both English & French. 

Try every dish that you choose to order for that special day and make a list of any issues such as what not to serve to anyone's restrictions and make a variety as much as possible considering the whole menu like a music tune, being relevant to one another instead of throwing everything on the table.

"The French approach to food is characteristic; they bring to their consideration of the table the same appreciation, respect, intelligence and lively interest that they have for the other arts, for painting, for literature, and for the theatre." - Alice B. Toklas


Intérieur inspiration - Vicki Archer

An Australian writer who lives between London and Saint Rémy de Provence in southern France, Vicki Archer has all the secrets to French interior. An admirer on everything to do with life in France, she lives in  beautiful home in an olive farm. She is a writer and blogs about interiors, fashion and all things French on French Essence and has been an inspiration to me after reading her first book called My French Life.  

Decorating your event with a French theme is not that hard but not that easy either.  Consider the ambience in particular and then incorporate that with what type of cutlery to use and how the table is set, having the mood in mind.  It may be tricky or take some time to collect some collectables to create the French event but some of the best places to do this is at your antique markets and local flea markets.  

If you need any advice in French interior decorating for your wedding, birthday or special event, email sha@chicbysha.com for an advice and chat!

Images: Vicki Archer / Carla Coulson


Photographie - Talent Australien

Carla Coulson's beautiful work caught my attention years ago when I was in Brisbane doing my regular visits at the local book shop.  I had to buy her book that she photographed called My French Life which had been a fabulous coffee table book of mine ever since.  I love how her photos are strong and powerful.  It is no wonder that she has published many books up till now.  Carla has become one of the great photographers in Paris one can find in weddings, fashion and lifestyle.


Carla Coulson is an Australian photographer who lives in Paris.  Her photography consists of real people of Paris, beautiful buildings and absolute great eye on details you wouldn't imagine.  These are just some of her work.  Visit her website for more on the fab lane.

Photos: Carla Coulson


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