It was during a long-haul flight from Paris to Sydney, while bemoaning the skin-drying effects of airplane travel, that PR agent Kirsten Carriol had an a-ha moment that would change the course of her career.
She thought about the lanolin that her South Australian farmer grandparents had slathered on all over, and about how her scientist father would rave about the by-product’s skin-soothing benefits. By the time she had arrived home she could already picture her first product: Lanolips. The 100%-pure-lanolin lip ointment is now a cult product the world over, and one of many in the Lano range.
While Australian in soul, Lano is international in spirit — perhaps because Kirsten herself is such a jet-setter. Married to a Frenchman, she has a particularly Parisian way of seeing the world, and makes sure to visit Paris once or twice every year with her husband and two sons. Here she opens up her little Paris black book, shares her top Parisian beauty spots, and lists some of her favourite family-friendly activities for when in town …
Why do you love Paris so much?
It’s just such a beautiful city. The buildings are a joy to the eye, and consistent in design so you feel as though you can really immerse in it all. The promenades are wide and the buildings are low so there’s also a sense of space, which you don’t often get in large cities. I also love getting to explore inner Paris the more I go. While it’s very classic on the outside, Parisian interiors are often very modern, with cool artwork and sculptures. I love this mix of old and new, it makes the city seem both alive and historic.
What’s your favourite Parisian memory?
Ever since we’ve been a family of four, we’ve gone to the Champ de Mars every year and had a photo taken of us all jumping with the Eiffel Tower behind us. I remember the first one — when my younger son could barely stand let alone jump — like it was yesterday.
When is your favourite time of year to visit?
We usually go in either July or December, in timing with the Australian school holidays. December is lovely in that you can go ice-skating at the Grand Palais and to all the gorgeous Christmas villages. But if I had to choose between the two it would be July, because it’s summertime.
Paris is wonderful when it’s warm. There are so many lovely, leafy parks, and because you can always see the blue sky you never feel suffocated. I also love how the days are so long. You can be eating dinner outside in the glowing sunshine at 10pm. There’s a real magic to that.
And your preferred place to stay?
We always book an apartment, usually through Airbnb, again for that feeling of immersion. And we tend to stay around Saint-Germain. We used to choose somewhere near the Luxembourg Gardens when the boys were younger.
My husband loves to be near the Mulot bakery (76 Rue de Seine, 75006). I’m happy as long as I’m walking distance from Saint-Sulpice, because I love toddling around the cobblestones here, and nipping in and out of all the stores. There’s a great mix of high- and medium-end designers and brands. The Saint Laurent store (6 Place Saint-Sulpice, 75006) there is my favourite in Paris. And I love all of the boutiques that sell that breezy French Girl style, like Agnès B (6 Rue du Vieux Colombia, 75006) and Vanessa Bruno (25 Rue Saint-Sulpice, 75006). And you can also find unique specialist stores like Tabio (32 Rue Saint-Sulpice, 75006), which is an amazing sock shop. Only the French could make you so excited about socks!
What do you always pack for Paris?
We do a lot of walking, so a few pairs of sandshoes. Also a cross-body bag, as I like to let my arms swing. And stripes. Lot of stripes!
Can you share some other favourite shopping addresses?
- I miss Sonia Rykiel for her striped tops. The Boulevard Saint-Germain store was an awesome retail experience, too. Luckily you can find great classic striped tops all over town, even in Monoprix!
- Merci (above; 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003). I just love going in this lifestyle store, it makes shopping so much fun. You never know what you’ll come out with.
- Publicis Drugstore (133 Avenue des Champs-Élysées, 75008). I love buying stationery when in Paris, and I always find something wonderful here.
You know the beauty market well, so what are the top Paris beauty stops?
- City Pharma (26 Rue du Four, 75006) is a little hectic, but has an incredible range of dermatologist-powered skin and body care.
- Oh My Cream! (numerous locations, including 3 Rue de Tournon, 75006) is a really cool beauty boutique. I usually buy a Lebon toothpaste and an RMS cheek tint.
- Cire Trudon (numerous locations, including 76 Rue de Seine, 75006). A beautiful store, and luxurious candles.
- Galeries Lafayette (40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009). The beauty floor is phenomenal. It feels a little magical under that colourful dome. I particularly love the Le Labo fragrance concept store here.
- Printemps (58/60 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009). It has an amazing beauty section now, younger and fresher, with more niche brands.
- Le Bon Marché (25 Rue de Sèvres, 75007). I always go to this department store, too. It has a really interesting beauty section, and the golden natural light is lovely to shop in.
- Sephora. The best Sephora by far is the Champs-Élysées one, it’s without parallel (70-72 Avenue des Champs-Élysées, 75008).
- Biologique Recherche (32 Avenue des Champs-Élysées, 75008). I’m a sucker for cult products. I last went here to buy the Lotion P50.
What are your regular places for wining and dining?
- Café de Flore (172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006) for its hot chocolate, but also for its history, and because to me it’s the quintessential Parisian café. I just adore it. It’s my favourite place for breakfast and lunch, too.
- La Galerie at Hôtel Plaza Athenée (above; 25 Avenue Montaigne, 75008). I once had some time to myself after work so I decided to treat myself to afternoon tea here. It was exquisite!
- Hôtel Costes (239-241 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001). I love popping in here for a pre-dinner drink. It’s all red velvet and rose perfumed air and so glamorous.
- Le Relais de L’Entrecôte (20 Rue Saint-Benoît, 75006). My husband loves this for dinner, as do all the locals, who even line up for it!
- Le Drugstore (above; 133 Avenue des Champs-Élysées, 75008) is a place we love for a family lunch or dinner.
What are some other favourite family outings?
I adore the Jardin d’Acclimatation. We’ve been going for ten years and I love how there are so many little sections. There are geese and ducks and peacocks randomly walking around … There’s a treehouse area and a water zone and a huge old-fashioned aviary and a fairground section … and before you know it, you’ll feel as though you’re in a farmhouse. It’s like a fairy land of Old Paris, but there are new rides too for bigger kids.
And if your kids are older, there’s the magnificent Fondation Louis Vuitton modern art museum just next door. It’s a phenomenal building.
Describe your perfect Parisian day …
I would start with breakfast at Café de Flore, then spend the mornig wandering around Saint-Germain, popping in and out of shops. I would probably then make my way to the Tuileries and have lunch at Loulou, and then stroll some more around the gardens to work my meal off!
I’d go to a smaller museum in the afternoon — I’m yet to make it to Musée Yves Saint Laurent (above; 5 Avenue Marceau, 75116) — or else see the latest blockbuster exhibition. For apéro … probably the bar in Hôtel Costes, as I just spoke about.
Then I would heaad up the Champs-Élysées for dinner in one of the gorgeous upstairs rooms of Ladurée (above; 75 Avenue des Champs-Élysées, 75008)..
Next time you’re in Paris, you’d love to …
You know, I’d love to spend a whole month in Paris, and go to the Louvre every day, so that I could explore it bit by bit. I think that would be phenomenal. One day …