Women everywhere look to Paris for the most prestigious and glamorous handbags and hordes are still caught up with the logo-bag as a means of conveying style and status. Deeply wary of ostentation and wearing their status on their sleeve – or over their shoulder – Parisian women are confident enough to seek out the understated. For the most stylish, this search is elevated to the level of a sacred quest – who can look the most effortlessly elegant with the least flamboyance? The codes are subtle and hard to define but you know it when you see it. Enter Verbreuil, the newcomer who, alongside Perrin, is helping to redefine the designer bag.

This tiny gem of a boutique, on a leafy block just off the Jardin du Luxembourg, opened quietly in mid-February. Bright and feminine, the boutique is a pleasure to visit and the bags are small miracles of discrete luxury. There are only four styles – ‘La Gare’, ‘Callihours’, ‘Tranicq’ and ‘Canoun’ – which glancingly refer to the great styles of yesteryear while being totally contemporary. Utterly refined and created in the finest crocodile, calf and – for the interiors – lamb leathers, these architectural bags are as luxe as it gets without being bespoke. The only difference, really, is that you can walk in and pluck one off the shelf.

They’re crafted entirely by hand from hand-picked skins, which ensures that no two bags are exactly alike. Verbreuil’s founders, a mother and two daughters, left nothing to chance and it took them three years to seek out France’s finest artisans and the best tanners in Europe – the bags are entirely French-made.

Offering further evidence that ‘less is more’, the gorgeous Canoun, in fine-grained calf with crocodile accents, is a model of graceful refinement. With its flat, elegant box shape in three sections, it can be used as a clutch or a stylish shoulder bag and is big enough to carry a day’s essentials yet still maintain its clean, graceful lines.

I, for one, would choose the Tranicq over pretty much any bag in Paris. A tote in the loosest sense, it’s perfectly streamlined and curves upwards from the bottom, rising into a V-shape which flares open via crocodile insets that are just roomy enough for a magazine, wallet, notebook or iPhone. In black, or saturated midnight blue, it’s the kind of accessory that will wear out from non-stop use long before you tire of it.

Verbreuil, 4 rue de Fleurus, Paris 6th. Tel: +33 1 45 49 22 69

From France Today magazine

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