Cool contemporary jeweller Dauphin. Tucked away in a classical building on Paris’s iconic Place Vendôme is Dauphin, an atelier of exquisite contemporary fine jewellery by designer Charlotte Dauphin de La Rochefoucauld. It is 80sq m of zen perfection, created in concert with architect Félix de Montesquiou of Das Studio. Glass vitrines atop modern stone plinths are spotlit by freestanding lamps and showcase the maison’s two collections of boldly geometric cuffs, rings and necklaces to dazzling effect. The minimalist, clean-lined showroom features handcrafted pieces in 18ct rose, yellow, black and even rich indigo gold, which is created using a unique colouration technique. The pieces “are striking and glamorous without being ostentatious”, La Rochefoucauld explains. “My customer isn’t trying to make a statement with big stones. She is a cultivated woman and prefers a more artistic approach.”
Superlative sock shop Mes Chaussettes Rouges. This handsome, wood-lined store in the 15th arrondissement offers a luxurious take on a singularly prosaic item. Business graduates Jacques Tiberghien and Vincent Metzger started it as a website seven years ago, then four years ago moved into bricks and mortar, and had one goal when they began: to create the world’s finest sock shop. There’s nothing garish or novelty about the stock, but this isn’t really the place to come for basic grey or black (although they do those too). “If someone comes in and asks for black,” says Tiberghien, “we try to steer them towards something more interesting, such as a herringbone in grey and black.” Their biggest sellers come with institutional and infallible heritage. The Vert Académie (€20) by Mazarin are worn by members of the French Academy, while the eye-catching cardinal-red socks (€20) are by Gammarelli – outfitters to the Vatican.
Bespoke eyewear maker Maison Bonnet. Skilled “lunetier” Robert Bonnet handcrafted glasses for some of the most famous sybarites of the 20th century, including Yves Saint Laurent, Le Corbusier and Audrey Hepburn. Today, the fourth-generation family business continues to make bespoke spectacles for sophisticates, but Franck Bonnet, one of Robert’s grandsons, says that despite the hyper-fashionable credentials of clients such as Christian Louboutin, “fashion has no influence on us – and there’s absolutely no logo”. In the basement a team of artisans tools, shapes and polishes the 1,000 pairs of spectacles the house produces a year, using techniques unchanged since the 1930s, while upstairs meticulous measurements are taken. “We design frames to suit the face like nothing off-the-shelf could ever do – three angles of your nose, the prominence of your cheekbones and even the gap between your two pupils are considered,” says Franck.