Monday, October 18, 2010

Moments in Paris

What's in the La Drougerie bag? Enough recoup (recycled wool, cotton and viscose tweed) for a jacket for me, and three gorgeous 100g skeins of alpaca in a deep teal, lovely red and a muted purple. Not excessive, but just enough.

In the end there was no time for daily blog posts, or I was too exhausted when I got home from our sightseeing missions. And of course, we ran out of time to do everything we wanted to do.

We did get to do some of the things that I really wanted to do - we went to the Luxumbourg Gardens for a picnic, we went through the little flea market at Montmartre, sat on the steps of the Sacre Cour and watched the puppetshow, we went to Le Bon Marche, and saw the Monet waterlilies in the Orangerie, the Louvre, des Invalides. We didn't see as much art as we would have liked, ahh next time perhaps!

While we were in Bon Marche, I must admit I spent a little money. I bought a gorgeous dark grey linen tablecloth, with contrasting napkins in pale grey and deep fuschia - I can not wait to go home and set a table with them!

I also ogled the shoes. Prada, Jimmy Choo, Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Valentino - you name it they had them. I was bemused by the stylish parisian women who genuinely looked like buyers - such a contrast from the tough times so obvious on the streets of Dublin last week - but they did have one thing in common. I noticed these boots on the feet of many a well-heeled young Dubliner, but didn't think much of it. But when I investigated the source of the gaggle of shoppers crowding around one shoe department, by far the busiest, I was struck dumb. Ugg Australia. Somehow, some marketing genius has made them hip. We always knew they were comfortable, but these boots are serious fashion. Can you beleive it?

The top floor has a haberdashery department, where a vast array of buttons, trims, fabrics, yarns, sewing accessories and all kinds of curiosities are sold. The layout is a dream, and I was pleased to see it was very busy there. Parisians take their shopping so seriously, a lot of effort being made to looking fashionable even in the yarn section. They had Rowan, Arucania, Anny Blatt, Bouton Dor, Phildar, Debbie Bliss - some was reduced - but I resisted because we're going to London on Tuesday and I'm saving myself for Liberty et al. Still, it was so heartwarming to see an old fashioned section like this doing well enough to stay afloat.

I liked Bon Marche so much more than Galleries Lafayette - the building has so much charm, and not so crowded. As a bonus, it was full of dogs. It is true what you hear, dogs are everywhere in Paris; they're in the restaurants, in the metro, in the department stores, in the street. Life is so much better with dogs! (What a co-incidence, this post has been sitting in draft form for days, and DrK has since posted about life being good with dogs too.)

Our apartment managers provided us with a trolley shopper - such a good idea - so we stocked up on pre-made savouries, dumplings, cheese and hams, baguettes, tiny macarons and chocolates - and wine of course and headed off for our picnic at the Luxembourg Gardens.

It was like stepping back in time. The park is filled with iron chairs, some with arms, some without, some with short back legs for reclining in the sun around the most picturesque of fountains, flanked with manicured lawn and garden beds, topiary and the beautiful palace as a backdrop. It was so beautiful - relaxing and invigorating at the same time.

From what I've observed, Parisian children are incredibly well behaved - and the old-fashioned pastimes of riding the hand-cranked carousels and racing the boats in the fountain are still popular today. Indeed my own playstation addicted media junkies also partook of these activities and declared it the best day ever. The Paris Tourist Authority must be followong me, placing little archetypical Parisian scenes in front of me. A little boy was racing the boats (actually he brought his own boat!) dressed in brown shorts and matching jacket - like a little safari suit, and a few girls in pinafores and swing coats were frolicking there. What I missed in good photographs I gained in sheer enjoyment - it was an hour of complete escapism.

We then played in the park a little, had a go on the carousel, and headed back home for dinner near the Champ de Mars. Dinner wasn't the best we've had, but we were exhausted and not really in the mood for a gourmet experience.

And the next day - I had to go to Disneyland Paris.

Now we've been in London for two days - the Natural History museum and the V & A were first on our list, and today we went to Liberty and Hamleys. We had lunch in a noodle bar off Carnaby Street, where I stumbled upon All the Fun of the Fair (a yarn store!) and sat on a table next to a supermodel beautiful young girl in a superchunky mustardy olive handknit scarf and superchunky handknit jumper. We talked a little about knitting; she learned to knit from You Tube.

Tonight though, I went to stitch London. It was a big event, a book launch - and the place was full of knitters, comic book illustrators and publishers. And I won a prize! But I'll post more on that tomorrow, after our trip to the British Museum.

I'm uploading pictures onto Flickr. Head on over and have a look if you're so inclined.


LynS said...

One of the best things about great cities such as Paris is that you can never manage to do everything you want to, and so you just have to return. You make my feet even itchier!

I agree about Le Bon Marche - I think it's just about the most elegant department store ever. And I think nowhere rivals the French for haberdashery - not even Liberty. The French take their haberdashery VERY seriously.

Anonymous said...

oh my god! i can totally see how you wouldnt have time to blog, look at how much you are fitting in! dublin, paris, london, im exhausted. a little twitter bird told me you won something for a knitted sheep! and you look tres stylish in front of the monet there. im off to check out the flickr pix now. oh and yay, for dogs everywhere!!

Sheridan said...

That's what I noticed about France in general, dogs everywhere. I took a photo of a little white fluffbomb being carried up the escalator in a very fancy department store. Even the homeless people had pets over there!

sounds like you are having a fabulous time.

Baa-Me Kniits said...

Your trip is sounding fabulous and it is making me reminisce and want to go away again :-)

Virginia said...

Hungrily reading all your lovely descriptions of Paris.

No really. Your descriptions are making me hungry...

Anonymous said...

You look the part with your daybreak in front of the Monet. I'm glad that you are having a wonderful time!

I want a Rolser shopping trolley - I loved using one in Paris.

Rose Red said...

Tres chic in your shawl at Monet - v. Parisienne!

So lovely reading about your experiences and observations. And as Lyn said, not fitting in everything you want to do just means you have to go back. Not a hardship at all!!

Yoga Knitdra said...

Love it! You brought back a memory for me with the dogs - chic restaurant where a poodle, propped on the bench seat, and the waiter preparing steak tartar with all the theatrics of the egg etc as if for any other customer, it was hysterical.

How bizarre is that All the Fun of the Fair shop (next to a yoga studio too!)? I found some Zauberball in there once. So impressed with your coverage and reporting of Paris and London, you sound like you're having a ball!

NessaKnits said...

Sounds like you had a ball! And bought a few.