A great article written by Liz Fleming for France Guide Prestige 2010. Thanks Liz. Merci à Liz Fleming pour cet article qui paraitra dans France Guide Prestige 2010 (en anglais, désolé pour mes lecteurs non anglophones).
If your fairy godmother were to drop by to offer a career switch, she’d probably suggest Anne Davené-Vantalon’s job. What could be better than working as a personal shopper in the most glamorous spots in France, exploring chic boutiques for exquisite treasures—and all on someone else’s credit card?
It’s an occupation designed to make the most of Davené-Vantalon’s natural good taste and enthusiasm for helping others find precisely the right item, whether it be a private villa, a stunning designer gown or simply a tiny but much-loved treat. “One client,” Davené-Vantalon recalls, “contacted me for help in finding a cookie that his wife had particularly loved during a visit to Nice.” His wife’s birthday was coming up and the doting husband wanted to surprise her. The challenge was that he couldn’t remember the name of the bakery. “I searched the city, taking photos of shops and cookies and sending them to him until we found the right one,” Davené-Vantalon smiles. “Then I sent him a box by airmail.”
Davené-Vantalon’s services are customized to meet the needs of her clients. If shopping isn’t on your list of favorite pastimes or if, like our cookie enthusiast, you don’t happen to be in the vicinity, you can provide a list of what you need and your personal shopper will begin searching. “Unless the item requested is of a specific brand, most of my shopping is done at unique, creative multi-brand stores where I can find special items. Although I enjoy shopping for clothing and accessories, what I really love is gift shopping with, or for,my customers!”
Her hunting ground is the most elegant area imaginable—the French Riviera. “I work in Nice, Cannes, Monaco and now Saint-Tropez as well.” Even Davené-Vantalon’s commutes, and those she arranges for the clients who join her on personally guided shopping excursions, are chic. “Although most shopping tours are designed to be easily walkable, I can arrange transportation by car for Nice, Cannes and Monaco and by boat or helicopter for Saint-Tropez. I can also book accommodation in hotels or private villas.” She will, of course, obtain the best table for lunch.
Davené-Vantalon’s service leaves no detail to chance, but is less expensive than one might expect. Personal shopping fees are based on the price of the item purchased, and the amount of research required to find it. Perhaps the most important service Davené-Vantalon offers clients is her graceful entrée to the world’s most exclusive shopping scene. While a newcomer to such ultra-fashionable shops as Chanel, Celine, Hermès, Sonia Rykiel, Prada, Akris, Bottega Veneta and Armani might be intimidated by the often icily elegant shop attendants, Davené-Vantalon will provide a reassuring sense of belonging. She’ll also ensure that you make the most of trends, seasons and celebrations. Our personal shopper advises, for example, that “Saint-Tropez is going to be a very successful shopping attraction, but only during the summer months. Most shops close down by October.”
Ready to connect with your inner shopping muse and explore the glories of the French Riviera
By Liz Fleming