French Heritage

A Local Entrepreneur Opens Up Her Personal Map Of Paris
Fashion entrepreneur and business owner, Eloïse Gilles, poses with one of Duvelleroy's contemporary creations.
Eloïse Gilles
Co-owner of Duvelleroy

When the opportunity to revitalize one of the grandest Parisian fan-making houses of the 19th century presented itself to Eloïse Gilles and Raphaëlle de Panafieu, the two friends and fashion industry insiders immediately jumped at the chance.

After purchasing Duvelleroy and restoring what they could of its original infrastructure, the partners launched their first line in 2010—a 12-piece collection of elegant silk and feather fans—and have spent the past six years since taking a French art on the verge of extinction and making it cool again.

The Duvelleroy showroom, located at 17 rue Amélie in the 7th arrondissement.
Regal Origins
Diving Into Duvelleroy's Archives

Gilles and Panafieu spent their first full year in business salvaging what they could of Duvelleroy's equipment, connecting with expert artisans and former employees, and sorting through the maison's extensive archives.

What they uncovered was a treasure trove of design artifacts: hand-drawn sketches by the house's original owner, photographs of queens holding Duvelleroy's creations, all relics from the company’s illustrious past as a couturier to Europe's most elegant royals and patricians.

Today, Duvelleroy creates unique handmade fans for luxury buyers and brands around the world.
Antique Modern
A Historic Couturier Is Reborn

Today Gilles and Panafieu are known for their limited edition, hand-made pieces of functional, wearable art. (Pret-a-porter and couture hand fans, and feather headdresses are sold for anywhere between $300 and $3,500.)

Each piece by Maison Duvelleroy takes approximately 20 hours to construct and is passed through the hands of at least four artisans—pleaters, embroiderers, specialists who apply gold and silver designs or feathers—before it is ready to be assembled in their workshop in the south of France.

Local Recommendations

Where To Uncover The City's Hidden Treasures

Eloïse Gilles is an innovator with an appreciation for French tradition. A fashion designer, tastemaker, and stylist, she and her business partner have created a dialog between antiquity and modernity with their limited edition, hand-made fans at Maison Duvelleroy.

But where does Gilles find her creative inspiration? In enclaves and moments steeped in tradition with a decidedly contemporary point of view. Here, she shares her little black book of Paris.

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Exploring The Marais Like A Designer

Whether she's in search of design influences or wants to browse the latest fashions, Eloïse Gilles looks to the historic Marais district in the third arrondissement. The ArtMetal Framex (17 rue Pastourelle, 3rd arr.) is a must-stop for decorative costume jewelry, hand-made, military-style buttons, and antique metal furnishings and fixtures.

For bolts of intricate French lace and layers of crisp tulle, the designer heads toward the Sentier garment district to the House of Sophie Hallette (3 rue Saint-Fiacre, 2nd arr.), a top supplier to couture designers like Christian Dior, Pierre Balmain, and Alexander McQueen for the past 130 years. Both Kate Middleton and Amal Clooney's wedding gowns were constructed entirely from Sophie Hallette lace, as were many dazzling garments created for fashion icons like Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

French Fare, With A Twist

Despite The Name, Dining At Clown Bar Is Serious Business

For an avant-garde dining experience in the trendy Oberkampf neighborhood, try Clown Bar (114 rue Amelot, 11th arr.), down the street from the Cirque d'Hiver. In homage to the establishment's roots as the preferred watering hole of off-duty entertainers, the space has been immortalized with spectacularly clownish kitsch.

Taken over by Sven Chartier and Ewen Lemoigne in 2014, the dining room features circus-themed ceramic tiles, juggling light fixtures, and a hand-painted glass ceiling showing a triste moonstruck Pierrot. The food however, is no joke. You can count on expertly prepared dishes by chef Sota Atsumi whose seasonal French dishes with the occasional Japanese twist—as in the fresh langoustines with tempura, or trout sashimi with raspberries—have been recognized by restaurant critics as some of the city's finest.

Going Gauche

An Afternoon Fit For A Flâneur On The Left Bank

Even on the busiest of days, it's important to find time to rest and recharge. When in need of meditation and relaxation, Gilles hits reset at Rasa Yoga (21 rue Saint-Jacques, 5th arr.), a boutique studio offering ashtanga, hatha, and vinyasa yoga instruction, as well as holistic spa treatments and soothing massage therapies.

After class, with a clear mind and restored energy, Gilles likes to stop by Shakespeare and Company (37 rue de la Bûcherie, 5th arr.), an English language bookshop and Left Bank institution across from Notre Dame.

Founded in 1951 by American expat, George Whitman, the shop is known for its vast selection of books, and the estimated 30,000 Tumbleweeds, transient writers, artists, and intellectuals, who have lived at the store over the years.