Discover Coco Chanel’s favorite places in Paris: From her first ever store to her beloved restaurant and cafe.
Angelina’s, the well-beloved Parisian tearoom, was founded in 1903 by Antoine Rumpelmayer and was named after his daughter-in-law. The Belle Epoque interior, designed by the architect Edouard-Jean Niermans, hasn’t changed since the opening in 1903.
For over a century now, Angelina’s has built a reputation of sophistication and gourmandise. Since its opening, it has become the place to be seen for the Parisian aristocracy and celebrities. Proust was a frequent visitor and Coco Chanel had her official table. Today it’s a must-do for the tourists, and a favorite brunch rendez-vous for the Parisians.
Herminie Cadolle created the very first bra, presented at the World’s Fair in 1889 and In 1925, Marguerite Cadolle created the first ‘flatten bra’, aka the Boyish Form, for Mlle Chanel.
The very first shop was located at 24 rue de la Chaussée d’Antin, fortunately near the popular department stores, and relocated to rue Cambon in 1911 . Other designers moved to the area which became a mecca for fashion and sophistication.
21 rue Cambon
Gabrielle Chanel opened her very first millinery shop at 21 rue Cambon in 1909 with the help of her lover, the Englishman Boy Capel. At first she only did simple hats. revolutionary at a time when the hats of the day were highly decorated. Soon after, she opened a second store in Deauville, and then a third in Biarritz.
Today the 21 rue Cambon store is owned by the bag and accessories store Fauré le Page, created in 1717.
31 rue Cambon
The 31 rue Cambon is an institution, the historic headquarters of the House of Chanel, and it has barely changed since Gabrielle Chanel died in 1971. Today, the House of Chanel owns a good part of the street from No. 23 to No. 31, mostly occupied by offices and workshops.
The first floor is, of course, the store, although during Gabrielle’s time it was also where she organised catwalk shows to launch her collections. She used to sit on the top of her mirrored staircase to spy, unseen, on the reactions of the public. The second floor is a private showroom for important clients.
The third floor is her apartment, richly decorated in contradiction to her style of simplicity and unadornment. The rooms are strewed with symbolic objects, such as the lion, the shell, the camellia, the 2 Cs – everything in gold, of course! These important symbols are still very prevalent in the modern collections, especially in the jewellery.
The two upper floors are occupied by workshops for specific tasks, and Karl Lagerfeld’s office.
Gabrielle Chanel decided to live at the Ritz in 1937, her store and workshops being situated conveniently next door The legend says that the doorman of the Ritz gave a call to the store when Coco went out of the hotel so the vendors could spray some No 5 in the entrance. She decorated the suite herself and brought her favorite furniture such as Coromandel lacquered screens, gilded mirrors and a velvet couch. The suite has since been restored but kept in the black and white style with the golden lions and several photographs of her still in evidence. The Coco Chanel suite, the second biggest in the hotel, costs 18 000 euros a night.
The Chanel Jewellery store
The Chanel Jewelry store opened at t18 Place Vendôme in 1997, more than 20 years after the death of the fashion designer. In 1932, she created the ‘Bijoux de Diamants’ collection, all diamonds and platinum, much more luxurious than her original costume jewelry.
The first watch she created was named “Montre Premiere”. The shape of the watch was the same as the iconic cap of the Chanel No 5 bottle, which in turn had been inspired by the shape of the Place Vendôme.
Today, new collections keep alive the symbols which Gabrielle Chanel loved: the stars, the camelilas, the lions, the gold and of course the pearls.
Didier Ludot is one of the most famous luxury vintage shops in Paris located under the arcades of the Palais Royal. In this Aladdin’s Cave you can find all kind of vintage clothes and accessories from the most famous fashion designers: Chanel of course, Dior, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Givenchy, etc. If you want to find an authentic little Chanel jacket or the famous bag, this is the place to go.
Le Grand Véfour
Le Grand Véfour
The Café de Chartres opened in 1784 under the arcades of the Palais Royal, created by Richelieu during the 17th century. When Philippe d’Orléans inherited it, it became the place to be for the French bourgeoisie. The restaurant, called the Grand Véfour, was famous as the first Grand Restaurant de Paris as well as for its luxurious decoration and gourmet cuisine. After ups and downs during two centuries and many owners, today the restaurant is one of the best in Paris. The Neo-Classical decoration, loved during the Empire, hasn’t changed since the 19th century and its tables has seen a lot of famous people, including Colette and Coco Chanel. It is also the location of a scene of the movie Coco Before Chanel, where Coco meets Etienne Balzan.
(Coco Before Chanel, Audrey Tautou as Gabrielle Chanel)
Gabrielle Chanel, bored of her ‘easy’ life in Etienne Balzan’s manor, wanted to work and be free. She started to make her own hats which became very popular. She moved to Paris in 1910, opened her first shop at 21 rue Cambon and lived in a tiny apartment on rue Saint-Honoré.