Now that the summer holiday season is over, how many of us no longer feel an obligation to pamper our toes with a pedicure? With back to work and school schedules, it’s a major feat simply to find time to indulge oneself. Recently, I called a local nail salon in the 16th arrondissement to see if I could book an appointment. Naturally, evenings were solidly booked and curiously, the shop was closed on Saturday. The receptionist however, asked if I would like to come on Sunday when the salon is open until 6 pm.
Yes! I snapped up the appointment with DS…Institut de Beauté opting for a late morning manicure and pedicure session so as to enjoy a lazy “grace matinée” or Sunday sleep in.
All the shops along rue de Passy in the classy 16th arrondissement in Paris were closed but there was DS…Institut de Beauté, nestled between two stores, with its glass front window for all to see that the petit nail bar was open for beauty business. I was greeted and immediately assigned to one of the comfy over-sized armchairs.
My manicurist, Fong, a pretty young woman of Vietnamese origin, asked me if I wanted classic, French or decorative nails. I must admit you can get lured into sparkled or tattooed fingertips just by looking at the display cards however, my work dictates classic, clean manicured hands. I settled into my armchair to let the hour-long pedicure and manicure begin.
First, the delicious foot soak in a warm bath followed by clipping, cuticle removing, scrubbing, buffing and a soothing massage. When it came to nail polish, I was faced with a rainbow of colors lined up on shelves against the wall. There were pearl pinks, corals, hot reds and shades of grey, blues and green from OPI and ESSIE. Fearful of maintaining any bright nail polish past three days of dishwashing, I chose a safe shade of pink named “Mademoiselle”.
While chatting with Fong during my manicure, it suddenly dawned on me that the letters “DS” when pronounced suggested “déesse” or goddess in French. Not surprisingly, the Mother Goddess of the nail bar is a savvy 31-year old French woman who opened DS in 2010 after living a year in New York City. Sandy Azeroual, DS’s creator and owner, was manning the counter herself on this Sunday.
Sandy explained that DS was closed on Saturday for the Jewish Shabbbat “to respect her father’s wishes” but happily opened on Sunday for weekend clientele such as me. Having read the hair-raising controversial New York Times investigative article on nail salons in New York, I felt compelled to discreetly ask how difficult it was to keep her nail bar open six days a week and on Sundays when French laws firmly kept shut most stores on the Sabbath day. Sandy rolled her eyes at the memory of all the administrative paperwork involved to request Sunday openings and assured me that she pays her workers double this day.
Her perseverance has paid off. “I was young and admittedly scared when I first opened DS but word of mouth has lead to the success of my small nail bar,” says Sandy. She now proudly employs 4 manicurists and a beautician for facials and epilation and is planning to open a second shop in Paris.
Now here comes the best part. My perfect Sunday manicure and pedicure together cost 55 euros. Not only does it fit my budget and schedule, I walk away feeling as if the goddess has been awoken in me!
14-16 rue Jean Bologne, 75016 Paris
Tel: +33 (0)9 51 25 06 25
Open Monday to Friday: 10 am to 7 pm; Thursday: 10 am to 8 pm; Sunday 10 am to 6 pm
Due to its success, reservations only. Call or consult: www.institutds.fr