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The French Revolution

india Updated: Jun 29, 2012 01:27 IST
Highlight Story

From authentic bakeries to quaint boutiques and fashion stores, the city offers you a heady mix of all things French

Delhi’s French connection is blooming like never before. The Capital is home to a sizable French community whose number is ever-expanding. Many young French entrepreneurs have set up shops that include eateries, fashion houses and gift stores. If you are looking for a slice of authentic France, these shops have plenty to offer — right from French vintage clothing to authentic mille-feuille. The Capital also boasts of several high-end French labels such as Hermes, Christian Dior, Chanel and Christian Louboutin. We take you on a little trip to France right in our very own city as we put together the best of French experiences that Delhi has to offer.

LUXE LABELS

Celio
A French menswear brand, Celio has become quite popular among the fashion forward Delhi men. If you are looking for casual and formal menswear without burning a hole into your pocket, there are plenty of options such as fine knits, casual shirts, tees, cargoes and bermudas, formal shirts and suits.

Celio stores have been segregated into sections such as urban, relaxed, club and essentials. The designs are inspired from the global fashion trends, with a young and trendy feel. The brand has many stand-alone stores in Delhi. These include stores in DLF Promenade, Vasant Kunj, Khan Market, Janakpuri and The Great India Place mall, Noida. If you visit the store, do check out headgear such as straw hats, and print banadana scarfs, and also readymade suits.
Price range: Rs 499-Rs 9000.

Les Parisiennes boutique in Shahpur Jat

Chanel
The French brand’s only store in the city, The Chanel boutique is located at The Imperial, Janpath. It opened its doors in March 2005 and has a collection of garments, watches, makeup, sunglasses, skin care and fragrances. Currently, the store is displaying its pre-fall collection by designer Karl Lagerfeld that has been named Paris-Bombay collection. Lagerfeld has dedicated the collection to Mumbai.
Price range: Rs 15,000-Rs 4 lakh.

Hermes
The French brand that set up shop in Delhi four years ago at the Oberoi Hotel, Lodhi Road, has everything luxe you’d desire. The brand specialises in leather, perfumes, accessories and ready-to-wear clothing range. Currently, their spring/summer collection is on at the store. While the ready-to-wear collection for women is priced at Rs 60, 000 onwards, men’s shirts are priced at Rs 27,000 onwards. Their famous bags start at Rs 1,00,000.

Purple Jungle
Indian kitsch caught the fancy of two French accessory designers — Iris Strill and Emeline Grasset. Their out-of-the-box thinking brought them together to open Purple Jungle at Hauz Khas Village. You can buy cushions, wallets, trunks, bags and mats here. Their products are bright and quirky, with funny messages inscribed or printed on them.
Price range: Rs 200-R1,500

Les Parisiennes
Two French women with a passion for fashion opened this vintage and second-hand garments store in Shahpur Jat. Catherine Barbier-Prakash and Lucie Salaun turned an old haveli into the store. The space has white-washed exposed brick walls, French windows and a vintage bathroom that has an old bathtub and framed mirrors as it also works as a changing room. The products worth checking out are the 70s style maxi dresses, leather sling bags and vintage jewellery.
Price range: Rs 800-R1500

Christian Louboutin
French footwear designer Christian Louboutin opened his first store in Delhi in this year at DLF Emporio Mall, Vasant Kunj. Eclectic laser-etched green leather walls and textile furnishings greet you as you enter. Louboutin is inspired by Bollywood and has named his footwear as Bollywoody and Devidas. Do check out the embroidered shoes with Indian motifs, and strass embellishments.
Price range: Rs 31500-Rs 3,13,000.

Christian Dior
This Frenc luxury fashion house has marked its presence in the city with its signature store at the DLF Emporio Mall, Vasant Kunj. Known for its couture collection and exquisite bags, the store houses a range of clothing and accessories for both men and women. The accessories collection includes bags, sunglasses, belts, wallets, cufflinks, watches, footwear, fragrances and more.
Price range: Rs 9,000-Rs 20 lakh.

Lola’s world
Chloe Le Bonnois visited India for the first time with her mother 14 years ago and instantly fell in love with the handicraft techniques and textiles produced in the country. It inspired her to create a kidswear brand ‘Nana-ki’, and she set up a manufacturing unit in India. She sold the garments through retailers in Europe. She finally moved to Delhi when she opened Lola’s World in Hauz Khas Village in 2005, followed by a store in Goa. Her shop sells kids garments, women garments, accessories and home furnishing. She has also opened a small cafe that serves coffee and fresh homemade juice.
“I want my customers to enjoy a completely different shopping experience, as you can find in some other cities in the world”, says Chloe.
Price range: Rs 300-Rs 40,000

FOOD

Rara avis
Nestled in a cozy corner of the buzzing market in GK-II, this French bistro, owned by French chef Jerome Cousin, French restaurateur Laurent Guiraud and Delhi-based Rajiv Aneja, started in April this year. The place offers an interior dining space as well as a quaint terrace where the wind caresses your soul, whetting your appetite. The cheerful decor aptly matches the joie de vivre of France. Authentic French cuisine, sans any fusion or experimentation, is on offer. The menu is exhaustive and has many popular French dishes. The cafe is open from noon to 1am. Meal for two is priced at Rs 2,500 (plus taxes), exclusive of alcohol.

l’Opera
If you have a sweet tooth, then this patisserie, started by French national Laurent Charles Samandari in 2009, is the place to head to. Initially launched as a takeaway joint, the place has become quite popular among Delhiites. The Khan Market outlet offers a host of items ranging from cakes to croissants and multi-grain breads. Popular items include macaroons, French baguette sandwiches, and sour dough breads.
Time: 8am to 10pm.
Price of items: Rs 75 onwards.

The French Farm
Two decades ago, when Roger Langbour came to Delhi from France as his last posting at the French Air Force, he pondered over the idea of raising ducks and supplying them to five-star hotels. Then, people thought he was crazy.
“Everyone said, No one will buy your ducks, you’re crazy,” says Langbour.
In his three-acre sprawling farm near Gurgaon-Jaipur highway, he raises thousands of peking ducks, turkeys, quails and pheasants. Today, most of the Capital’s big restos get their supply of poultry from Langbour’s organic farm.
“I opened the duck market in India,” he boasts, adding, “The demand is huge, especially from the French eateries. I have witnessed the transformation of tastes, and how people here have taken to a liking for French food.”
Langbour doesn’t retail his produce from the farm. But if you wish to visit the farm, you can do so. However, do make a prior appointment.
Tel: 9810314186.

Chez Nini
Housed in Meher Chand market in Lodhi Road, behind India Habitat Centre, this restaurant, started in March this year by Montreal-born chef Nira Singh, serves authentic French food. If you are looking for good croquettes, crepes and tarts, then you must head to this place as it has a long list of items in these categories. The subtle lights and a hanging nest perched in a mammoth branch of a tree at the ceiling, is bound to lift the mood. The restaurant chef recommends rataquettes, crepes, and tarts.
Time: Noon to 12am.
Meal for two: Rs 2000.

BEAUTY

Kronokare
Cyril Feuillebois, a business management graduate from France, moved to Delhi to start KronoKare cosmetics, a company that sells skin and hair care products. Cyril says that treating the senses through aromatherapy has always been his passion and the foundation of his business. KronoKare supplies aromatherapy based toiletries to major luxury and five-star hotels and a few parlours and spas all over India. The range includes soaps, body lotions, sanitisers , shampoos and hair cleansers.
To know more, visit kronokare.com
Price range: Rs 150-R170.

Rodolphe hequet
Hequet came to Delhi in 2008 to follow his passion for hairstyling. He settled down in Delhi to work for a French salon called Dessange at New Friends Colony. Currently, Rodolphe, 31, is working as a hairstylist at the Aman salon in Aman Hotel, Lodhi Road. He has settled down in the city comfortably and says he loves to live life the Indian way. The young hair expert will continue his stay here as he feels there is a lot to explore and discover in India.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Delphine Gibley
The French photographer visited India on a number of occasions, but thought of settling down in Delhi about two and a half years back. Delphine has been hooked to photography since the age of 16 and recently compiled her pictures in a book titled, Open. It contains photographs taken on her trips to India, Nepal and Taiwan, and includes verses written by her. She has captured pictures from Rajasthan, Manali and Varanasi, among others.