Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 1 - Paris

We woke up this morning to sunny, hot weather and another stunning view of the Eiffel Tower, looking almost lavender against the pre-dawn sky. I spent a couple of hours browsing pointlessly through guidebooks and getting momentarily excited about “the secret entrance to the Louvre” before remembering that this is not the Paris Chris and I came to see.

I have spent several months trying to cultivate the perfect French wardrobe, so I think it is somewhat important to describe what I wore for our first day in Paris, destination Left Bank: black and white button up gingham shirt with white tank top layered underneath, black, super skinny Fidelity jeans and black, white and pink Pumas (a fashion oversight as the only sneakers Parisians seem to wear are Converse). I accessorized the outfit with my black and orange Longchamps tote bought in Paris last May (authentic touch!), clear lip gloss and my Tiffany charm bracelet with, naturally, an Eiffel Tower charm (another oversight as no self-respecting Parisian woman would wear an Eiffel Tower charm, even if it was purchased in Paris on rue de la Paix.

Despite my careful wardrobe planning, within ten minutes of walking and shopping on Boulevard St. Germain, I still managed to feel like an ugly Canadian; sweaty, dishevelled and trying way too hard.

French women glide, they don’t walk. They are swept along by their hair-product free long tresses and the smoothness of their Nanette Lepore ballet flat shod feet. Their giant, passed-down-through-the-family LV or Chanel bags thump gently at their sides as they stuff them with baguettes and designer, pastel macaroons.

Fashion faux-pas aside, Chris and I visited many of our favourite Paris spots today, including Jardin du Luxembourg and Trocadero. At JL we ate lunch outside and watched a small dog erupt from a purse and literally explode with excitement over his found toy – a dirty, plastic wine cup. For a moment, I couldn't help wondering what this Parisian dog would do should he ever find himself on a leash-free beach in British Columbia.

Trocadero is an easy five minute walk from our Paris-Apartment-in-the- Sky and we started and finished our first day in Paris there, honouring our tradition of buying confiture crepes and eating them on the steps while gazing at the Eiffel Tower.

I am sure many will disagree but I find Trocadero to be one of those magical places in Paris that no matter how chaotic it gets with the tour buses belching out hundreds of tourists, the vendors clacking and trying to sell their plastic Eiffel Tower souvenir crap, or the constant clicking and flashing of cameras going off, in my mind it is absolute stillness and quiet. I can easily find the calm, navigate my way through the chaos, and be transported to just see the beauty that is before me.

After enjoying the personal serenity of Trocadero, we walked across la Seine to the mind-blowing Left Bank shopping destination that is Le Bon March̩. Immediately I was overwhelmed Рemotionally demolished to be honest Рby all of the beautiful things starting with LBM's LV boutique that is one of the first things you see upon entering the store. I quickly scanned the accessories department, stopping briefly at Longchamps to mentally spend some euros, and believed I was handling the supreme fashion overload just fine until I rode the escalator to the second floor.

Balenciaga, next to Vanessa Bruno, who is next to Chanel, who is next to Yves St. Laurent, who is next to Comme des Garcons and so on. I looked but didn't want to touch and my head continued to spin. It’s a fashion lovers overdose, especially when this fashion lover lives in city where Crocs, Birkenstocks, and "100% Hemp" are the labels of choice.

Chris and I reconvened in the LBM's grocery department; too good to be true, but you can also buy at least fifty different kinds of French confiture, delicious cheeses, chocolates and even Haribo candies. I loaded up on some treats and then we decided to head home for dinner at the brasserie across the rue from our apartment.

In Paris it seems that when you don’t try too hard and relax that you come closest to perfection; a glass of rose wine, 1 litre of Badoit, soupe a l'oignon gratinee, tomato and mozzarella salad drizzled with olive oil, and 6 Haribo candies from their Polka Mix for dessert.

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