Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pauline's Breast at Odiot

For ultimate luxury shopping in Paris, nothing beats Odiot. Luxury in its finest sense, because there is nothing in Odiot that one needs. But perhaps -- oh yes indeed -- there are many, many items that one wants. Covets. All that glitters is gold, vermeil, and silver. [Image via]



For the uninitiated, let me just say that it is the highest of high-end orfèvrerie (goldsmith/silversmith) with an unparalleled Parisian pedigree.

For the cognoscenti, it is, of course, the home of “le sein de Pauline,” a.k.a. Pauline’s breast. Yes, chez Odiot you can purchase for your little coffee table a charming bibelot – a gold cup molded from the breast of Napoleon’s sister Pauline Borghese.

Her racy life story is more than I have space to indulge in here, so best to read a few links or buy the biography. (Now there’s a biopic waiting to be made!)

Sometimes the “sein de Pauline” is featured in Odiot’s glam-but-chicly-restrained store window. Other times you’ll simply have to stop in and ask to see it.

Spoiled moi, my first apartment in Paris was six storeys up on place de la Madeleine, whence I could gaze down on the Odiot shop window. And press my nose against the Odiot vitrine in a trance as I gawked at the shiny splendor inside. I had no choice but to pass by Odiot every time I left the apartment; and, trust me, I was never disappointed. Somehow there is something comforting in viewing sheer lavishness, just knowing that it exists because it is a fine art. And, curiously, the coveting diminishes as the appreciation increases. It was like walking past a museum display.

Ah, the days of my daily Odiot fix!

Do yourself a favor and stop by the storefront of Odiot for a great view of gilded Parisian splendor. Enter and look at the incredible offerings. But consider yourself forewarned! Odiot is powerfully appealing. You start nosing around for the least expensive item, just to be able to take something home. Like a breast of Pauline with a cute little butterfly.
7, place de la Madeleine
75008 Paris


Gerry Snape said...

I love this post. Useless but marvellously interesting! Thankyou.

Anonymous said...

Funny piece of trivia! I had never heard of the shop. I must have a look next time I'm in Paris...

The "sein" bibelot is so French :-D

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Part of what I love about Paris is all the out-of-the-way or unusual bits of trivia. This is not "must-know" info, but it sure is fun! And definitely filed under my "only in Paris" files.

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