I was a guest of Chanel Beauty
Getting to visit Paris as a guest of Chanel is without a doubt an absolute dream for me. It’s something that I never thought I would ever in my wildest dreams be able to imagine up. If I could tell my 15 year old self that this would one day happen, I don’t think for a second I’d believe it. But sometimes amazing things happen and you get to live out your dream trip and I owe it all down to the beautiful team at Chanel Beauty, who made every inch of the trip unforgettable. Part of me doesn’t know where to begin (I never usually do with my post introductions) so I’ll start with why we had a trip across the channel in the first place.
The trip was part of a much bigger international trip - drawing influencers from around the world - bringing everyone together in Paris to take us all on a discovery into Chanel’s skincare. With Chanel being first and foremost known for it’s couture and accessories, I think it’s fair to say that people might sometimes disregard the skincare, thinking it’s an afterthought or something which the brand has just stuck its name and branding on. Because how can a luxury fashion brand be so in tune with skincare; two completely separate worlds? I suppose it’s easy to assume this, if you didn’t know what goes on behind the scenes.
And so, our trip was exactly for this: to delve into the world of Chanel (in, naturally, the chicest way possible) and to go behind the scenes to discover what makes Chanel skincare so magical. And honestly, it really is that.
Greeted by our driver at Gare du Nord, we were whisked away to our hotel - Renaissance Paris Vendôme - our abode for the next two Chanel-filled nights.
After a quick unpacking of the goodie bag (and a giant squeal, of course) we headed downstairs to the restaurant located below the hotel and were treated to an absolutely delicious feast at the extremely popular, always packed-out, Balagan. A middle-Eastern restaurant filled with the coolest crowd and full-of-flavour sharing plates. If you don’t fill up on the bread to begin, I’d highly recommend you make it to the dessert course and go to town with the chocolate mousse (it’s insane).
After some downtime and digesting, it was time to don our lycra and indulge in a spot of Chromo-Yoga at Kshanti Yoga.
The class combined chromotherapy (light and colour therapy) and yoga, with the aim to improve emotional and physical well-being. Postures are made to a rhythm of variations of light, each corresponding to a chakra. We finished feeling revived and calm. And I was convinced too that if I had a Chanel exercise ball in my life that I would, indeed, actually do some exercise too.
With our minds and bodies rested, it was time to head back to the hotel to get ready for drinks in the bar followed by dinner with my UK ladies, Julie & Alexis.
Drinks took place in the hotel’s very chic, Parisian boudoir-esque bar, where the entire international team met for the first time. Inspiring women from around the world - from Canada to Tokyo - all gathered in one room. To say I felt out of my depth and very un-chic was an understatement but also incredibly lucky and grateful to have an invite to such an exclusive event.
Julie, Alexis and I then carried on the night at Chez Julien - a restaurant who’s facade I’ve always admired and forever vowed to go to one day - which didn’t disappoint. A Parisian classic. Order the steak and red wine and you’ll be the Parisian cliché you always wanted to be.
The start of our first full day began at none other than at the iconic Hôtel Ritz Paris. A place that needs no other introduction.
We were here for a very indulgent reason: to enjoy a facial at the only Chanel spa in the world - Chanel au Ritz Paris.
I know, I KNOW, I barely contained my excitement either.
With such close ties to Gabrielle Chanel (she used to live at the Ritz Paris!), it seemed only fitting to have the first and only spa here. Not only that, but both Chanel and Ritz Paris share the same ideas, values and standards that it seemed like a match made in heaven.
And it’s pretty much heaven when you arrive.
Should you ever find yourself in the position to indulge in such an indulgence, make a day of it.
Lounge by the pool, do a few laps in the pool, do nothing but enjoy being in the pool, have a treatment, then lounge some more.
Alexis and I were treated to the ultimate indulgence - the quintessence of the Art of Skincare according to Chanel - with Le Grand Soin. A 2hr blissful affair that combines both a massage and a facial. As expected, the facial is tailored to you by your therapist (or ‘treatment designer’ as Chanel calls them). My treatment designer tended to my slightly dehydrated and tired face with the Hydra Beauty range (probably my favourite range from the entire Chanel skincare collection), giving me a much needed boost of hydration to give way to glowing, refreshed and radiant skin. Whilst the massage did wonders to calm me and put me in a rarely witnessed calm state.
Whilst I have you, here’s a quick run through of some of my favourite Hydra Beauty products - they’re regulars in my day to day routine!
Hydra Beauty Micro Serum - one of my favourite serums to start the day with it as it’s super light but really refreshing on the skin. My skin literally drinks it up!
Hydra Beauty Masque de Nuit au Camellia - we lose so much water in our skin at night so it’s important to keep it hydrated as we sleep. This restorative mask isn’t a “mask” as we typically know it, but rather a cream that turns into a water-like texture that I smother on my face at night. My skin loves the hydration and I love the white peach scent.
Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream - the latest addition to the range, the moisturiser contains Camellia Alba PolyFractioned Active (more on this below!) which, in short, is a powerful extract that helps maintain the skin’s optimum level of moisture (the camellia flower was not only Gabrielle Chanel’s favourite, nor is it just the emblem of Chanel but it’s purposefully used in the Hydra Beauty range thanks to it’s hydrating properties). Meaning hydrated, plump skin - which is all we really want, right?
Shall I take you round Coco’s apartment now?
We were given a very private tour around her extravagant yet also humble abode which sits above her flagship at 31 Rue Cambon. Very few people get to experience Gabrielle Chanel’s apartment so a huge thank you to Julie and the Chanel Beauty team for making this happen!
Residing on the second floor, we make our way up the famous curved mirror-lined staircase (designed this way so that Gabrielle could watch what happens on the first floor without anyone seeing her - her fifth step being her preferred vantage point) to her private residence which we were told has remained largely unchanged since Gabrielle Chanel was alive.
The thing that startled me the most about the apartment is what may startle you too - it was nothing at all how I imagined in my head! Minimal, monochrome and dainty was what I expected yet opulent, gold and maximal is what greeted me, with a huge influence from the Far East throughout. We were given countless stories and intimate facts, giving a glimpse into the world of Coco - too many to recall them all now. But a few that I particularly liked were: she always had to have animal ornaments in pairs and the apartment itself didn’t have a bedroom, that’s because she lived at the Ritz Paris and would enter and leave from the hotel’s back entrance every day. What’s more is that when she was leaving to go to the atelier for the day, a member of the hotel would call ahead so that her team could spritz the space with Chanel No 5 before she arrived! How amazing is that?!
If I can tear you away from the apartment for just a moment….
Of course, no discovery trip behind the scenes of the skincare would be complete without a trip to Chanel’s very own laboratories in Pantin.
This might just be the first lab coat I’ve ever rushed on to wear.
Now I won’t get too scientific with you - partly because to try to regurgitate everything we were told would only lead me to miss something out or tell you something not quite right (science has always blown my mind) - but what I will say here is that what this part of the trip highlighted to me was that Chanel takes their skincare very, very seriously. And it’s not an afterthought. It is however something which has been carefully studied, continually developed and always extremely considered.
The process that goes into extracting from the camellia flower is still something I struggle to articulate - it’s through patented technology that the lab team are able to extract properties from the camellia flower to create an ultra-pure and powerful ingredient that then goes into every bottle of the Hydra Beauty range.
It’s this polyfractioned active ingredient that makes the range what it is. And it’s all down to the Camellia flower - Gabrielle Chanel’s favourite. Isn’t that wonderful?
Our final stop in our discovery was at the pop-up “Dans les serres de Chanel” meaning “from the greenhouses of Chanel” within the temporary exhibition ‘Jardins, Jardin’. A consumer friendly way of showing members of the public how the white camellias - which are grown in southwest France - are used in its skincare. Sadly no lab coats were required for this tour!
Our last night in Paris ended at the aptly named Camellia restaurant located within the Mandarin Oriental Paris.
A beautiful way to toast to an amazing trip with amazing people.
Thank you Chanel Beauty for inviting me on such an unforgettable experience - one that the 15 year old in me, will never forget.