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My Morning with the Chicest Family in Paris

From New York, Paris, Malibu, Santa Barbara, St. Tropez, Mallorca to Charleston, Dallas, San Francisco, the Hamptons, Beverly Hills, Italy, Switzerland etc., I have seen more than my fair share of houses. Most of these houses are big, expensive, fancy and…horrendous. When my friends are showing me through their houses I politely nod my head and say, “Lovely. Your house is lovely.” But guess what? I don’t mean it; I’m just being courteous but in actuality I am dying on the inside. I have had to endure hundreds of thousands of square feet of faux Tuscan, faux château, faux Spanish, faux Mediterranean, faux barn, faux Provence, faux midcentury modern, faux Swedish, faux antebellum… blah blah blah. The whole time in my head this is what I’m truly thinking…

“Your decorator should be shot.”

“Your 66,000 ft.² house isn’t big enough for your ego.”

“At what point did you think a round Chicago Bears rug in your faux Santa Barbara château was a good idea?”

“Well, you obviously cannot buy class.”

“How is it possible that you have so much money and so little style?”

“Filling your Connecticut mansion with Ballard Design furniture is just rude.”

 “Could you please stop parading me through your enormous closet because I really just came for the food.”

“Those 12 brand-new statues of Neptune around your pool do not make your house Architectural Digest worthy.”

 But guess what? Not on Monday! Not Monday! Thank the stars above, not on Monday! I didn’t have to fake it. I didn’t have to be fake polite. Fake courteous. Fake impressed. I was 100%  “vrai!” Here’s what happened…

My friend, Jennifer Hale Smith (editor of the chic Santa Barbara Magazine and C Magazine) wanted to introduce me to her friends in Paris. I immediately agreed because I trust anything Jennifer suggests (People, Houses, Travel, Fashion) because she is the epitome of style. A few days later I received an email from a woman named Sally Perrin inviting me over to her apartment in Paris for petit déjeuner Monday morning.

 A quick Uber taxi over to the Left Bank and I arrived to the Perrin family’s quai Voltaire apartment. I was greeted on the second étage by the stunning matriarch of the family, Sally, and their beautiful daughter Chloé. I had already met the patriarch of the family, Michel, downstairs. The teeny tiny Parisian elevator could not fit my wheelchair so my husband, my caregiver and Michel graciously carried me up the two flights of stairs. Not the entrance I was hoping to make but it did not matter because the warm smiles of Sally and her daughter quickly melted away my embarrassment.

They had me at the entry. Sally is as chic as she is gobsmackingly gorgeous with an air of laid-back elegance. I barely got to speak with her endearingly demure husband, Michel, because my husband was basically swallowing him with conversation. As you know, my husband basically hates everyone. In my husband’s mind, you are guilty until proven innocent. In other words, he will consider you a douche bag until you prove otherwise. No exceptions. My husband took to Sally’s husband like a moth to a flame. I thought my husband was going to make out with him. Then there was Chloe, the 23-year-old daughter (their other daughter, Emma, lives in New York). If you ever imagine having the perfect daughter who is educated, well spoken, fluent in French and English, polite, helpful, lighthearted, cultured, beautiful, dignified with a joie de vivre… Well, look no further. It is Chloé Perrin. (When I got home, I called my daughter, Grace, and told her she better up her game.) I kept thinking to myself, “Who is this family and where did they come from? My God! They are fabulous!”

 Okay now, on top of meeting the Perrin family, I also had the privilege, the luck, the luxury, the joy, the thrill and the pleasure to visit their apartment. There is a great article written in Harper’s Bazaar about how they acquired the apartment HERE. Sally and her brilliant decorator Chahan Minassian completely remodeled the apartment after the previous family had resided there for 60 years. Remember, this is Paris. There is not a lot of “movement” with these types of enviable apartments. Overlooking the Seine, Sally and her decorator decided to bring the color of the river into the apartment. This also happens to be the exact color of Sally’s eyes. Green blue, like the Seine, is the dominant color of the apartment. The overall theme of the apartment is…think Venice, Italy palazzo. Jewel toned large-scale terrazzo entry floors, velvet drapes embroidered by haute couture artisans, mercury glass mirrored walls, leather upholstered walls, Venetian glass mirrors, Murano glass chandeliers, Fortuny fabric, brilliant custom-made Tracery carpet by Kelly Wearstler, bronze Brutalist side chair, rock crystal sconces, Nancy Lorenz painting, subtle greige walls, bronze accessories and my very favorite part of the apartment.… the pops of blue. The pops of blue in the entry vase of flowers, the pop of blue in the lamp in the “bureaux”, the pop of blue on the salon mantle, the pops of blue of the bedside table lamps, and the blue lamps on the salon demi-lunes… It was genius, pure genius! The perfect juxtaposition! The apartment read, “Elegant Parisian apartment of a certain age meets young mysterious Venetian lover."



Guess what? It gets better. The Perrin family makes handbags! Yes, you heard me correctly, handbags! The Perrin’s have revived the family’s former glove manufacturing company (circa 1893) and brought it into a new era. Their most coveted bag is actually a clutch. You know how cool it is when something remarkable, totally unique and revolutionary happens? The concept of this clutch is so fashion forward that my heart is all aflutter. Look look look…


See! Throw away your stupid Birkin bags ladies because it’s all about the clutch. The glove clutch. (Actually just store away your Birkin bags for a day in the future when the nouveau celebrities have moved on to something else and then your Birkin will be acceptable again.) Perrin Paris has shops in Los Angeles and New York and a showroom in Paris. In the vein of luxury leather, Perrin Paris also offers the most hip gloves you’ve ever seen. Check out for all of the details.

So there you have it. My morning with the chicest family in Paris. Now that I’ve seen the best, it’s all downhill from here on out and, most likely, I will have to unfortunately go back to courteously faking my way through another train wreck of a house. But thank you Perrin family for the reprieve.

 *Something you don’t know about me? My best friend, Jenny, spontaneously cries every time I play Macy Gray’s, Time of My Life, song. I like to surprise her with it just after she has put her makeup on. Jenny makes life worthy. I hope everyone can have a friend, just one friend, like my Jenny. If so, you are blessed. I know I am.


  1. The FAMILY is GORGEOUS as are the handbags!TO think you got my visit right after meeting these lovely people!Love the fact they used the colors from the SEINE!AND..........are you ready for BEST BUDDY well her name is JENNY TOO!

  2. Only you my dear would say what a lot of us think. I am so over all these faux french "things" everywhere. Where have you EVER seen ceramic roosters up the wazoo in a french home? They have real real poultry running around their farm and thats it folks! The Paris apt. is amazing, the colors, furniture, herringbone wood floors, windows etc are total eye candy. Love you Ellie for all your beautiful posts and despite your ALS you are able to live life to the fullest. Thanks for sharing!!!!

    1. You made me laugh about the roosters..........SO OVER DONE!SO TRUE!

  3. Now every home you have visited in the past decade will have the owners wondering if their place falls into the "f" and "f" category- oh well, too bad.

  4. What a spectacular post in all ways; beautiful, inspiring, and funny. Sigh! We are so lucky to have you:)….but I guess Jenny got first dibs;) Happy Saturday.xob

  5. I'm back I had to read it AGAIN!Can we get a photo of your JENNY..........and where does she live?XX

  6. I never ever read an entire blog especially long are the exception. I love it and I can not stop laughing. Thank you for the smile on my face today. You may even have me step out of my comfort zone and purchase more than one perfume and spend some time in the cemetery...maybe.

  7. Your blog is so full of wonderful places and beautiful colors, plus interesting places and things. You have a hilarious sense of humor, which I so enjoy.

  8. I just HAD to share I'm back home in California and I open my C MAGAZINE for October and who do I spy or I should say what did I spy but the PERRIN handbag being held by Chloe and Sally Perrin at LOTUSLAND!IT is so SMART that clutch!XOXO

  9. Great Post! Love the chic Perrins, and what a fabulous idea to marry the clutch and the glove. Missed reading your last two posts due to son's wedding. Am back and particularly grateful for your astute eye and wickedly funny sense of humor:)

  10. hi hi, so so funny, Contessa was spot on, I love your site and tell it like it really is….I am as anonymous as I can't get the sign on correct here, I'll figure it out… name is suzanna….I am having great fun reading and the humor is simply cracking me up…..I love loving non pretentious souls….with class and taste…money doesn't give either…ha ha ha, Love the Perrin bags and I "am" a glove freak….have all my mom's….:-))) xo

  11. Oh la la. I first read this post back in the day when I was zooming through your blog. Now, I dole out a taste of the archives like Joël Durand chocolates for rainy days such as today. Everything, everything about this home is sublime and I am so thrilled that you were able to see it in person. That the family is so lovely too? Well, that just makes it all the better doesn't it?
    PS. Do you think that they would mind if I moved into that tiny vestibule with the massive chandelier? I would be discreet, I promise. ;)