Jewellery Shopping and the Lesser-Known Suburbs of Paris with Stone Paris Founder Marie Poniatowski
12 February, 2019
Paris has an understated glamour; a sort of blasé-ness and undulating romanticism. Whatever it is, founder of Stone Paris, Marie Poniatowski possesses the same preserving quality in spades.
Joining her father (the creative director at French Vogue) on photo shoots with Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton as a child undoubtedly trained the jewellery designer's magpie-sharp eye, while her interior-designer mother gave her a taste for beautiful things. Then there's the fact that Grace Kelly was a family friend.
Creating pendants, rings and bracelets inspired by travel memories, Marie Poniatowski's vision for Stone Paris was, and remains, "to create a line of jewellery that women could buy for themselves, and for friends". It's those same early years of Coco Chanel pragmatism that has elevated Poniatowski to cult status among in-the-know Parisiennes.
Making le papotage (small talk) over romantic spots in Paris, Bazoches-sur-Guyonne's suburban charm and the only place for a sophisticated lunch in Versailles, Marie Poniatowski knows the ropes and chains of her city and its surrounds.
Tips on jewellery packing…
The best way to carry your jewellery is in a dedicated travel pouch to keep it separated and safe. I designed one a few years ago; everyone found it really practical so I'm thinking of relaunching it. Most importantly, on the plane always keep your jewellery in your hand luggage.
What jewellery should we pack for our trip?
Anything from Stone Paris. I like my jewellery light, with easy-to-wear pieces that I can throw on anytime.
Some of your precious jewels resemble ornaments from Victorian times. What people or places inspire your designs?
I designed a collection named after Marie Antoinette, but really my inspirations come from everywhere - mostly early 19th-century vintage jewellery, but also travel memories, nature fragments, architectural details…
Blood Diamonds Cross Earrings
What is your most popular piece right now?
My "Blood Diamonds" cross earrings.
How do you stand apart from Parisian jewellers at say, Place Vendôme?
When I first founded Stone Paris, I wanted to create a covetable alternative to that of Place Vendome. An accessible yet precious jewellery line that a woman can afford to buy herself and wear everyday. A place where they don't feel intimidated to shop on their own.
Where is the best place beyond the city centre to go jewellery shopping?
The Puces de Saint Ouen for vintage jewellery shopping.
Where are your designs sourced and manufactured?
Between Antwerp and Paris.
There is a romanticism to your designs. Tell us some romantic spots in and beyond Paris worth a visit.
In Paris, L'Hotel Particulier for brunch in their secret garden. Beyond Paris, Les Etangs de Corot is a lovely hotel with a Caudalie spa.
What Parisian suburbs should we put on our travel itinerary?
West of Paris is my favourite - I have a house in Bazoches-sur-Guyonne, a few kilometres from Montfort L'Amaury.
The quickest route to Bazoches-sur-Guyonne from Paris is…
It's only a 45-minute drive from our apartment; you can Uber there.
What draws you to the suburbs?
Nature. My husband and I wanted a place to get away, but close enough so we could go back and forth as often as we want. We found this beautiful, quiet home that's so close to the city, yet you feel so far away once you're there.
Where should we stay in Bazoches-sur-Guyonne?
With me! The house is always full of friends and family… Bazoches is a tiny village so there are no hotels or restaurants. Five minutes away in neighbouring Montfort L'Amaury is La Minotte, a romantic guesthouse with great breakfast and an even better outdoor swimming pool.
Great food spots in-and-around Bazoches-sur-Guyonne...
Montfort's Café de la Poste is a simple, pleasant spot for lunch. I also love to sit at the Caserne's little terrace with a view of the church or enjoy fantastic Thai food at the Chifan nearby.
Versailles, Le Vésinet, Maisons-Laffitte and Neuilly-sur-Seine are all popular Parisian outposts. Where should we eat/ drink/ and visit in each?
When in Neuilly, you should visit the Louis Vuitton Fondation in the Bois de Boulogne, then have lunch at Livio, a delicious Italian place that I absolutely love. In Versailles, you have to see the Chateau, of course, and the newly renovated Hameau de la Reine is a must. Have lunch at Alain Ducasse's Ore on the first floor of Pavillon Dufour - it's amazing.
One non-touristy thing to do in Versailles that only locals know about…
To avoid the crowd, head to Chez Stef', a charming wine bar with appetising snacks.
One souvenir we should bring home from Bazoches-sur-Guyonne…
Cheese from la Fromagerie de Montfort.
And finally, what's in your SUITCASE for a city jaunt and a weekend countryside escape?
I dress the same whether I'm in the city or the country. I usually pack a pair of super comfortable blue jeans from Maison Sarah Lavoine (designed by my sister), a cashmere sweater from Alexandra Golovanoff and a pair of flat leather boots so I can easily walk around all day. Going to the country, I'll add a big warm jacket and Blackstone shearling boots. I also always travel with my iPad and EarPods, and Biologique Recherche beauty routine.