Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Moments of Perfect Happiness - Paris 5 et 6

What I Ate in Paris

Day 5: 1 confiture d'abricot crepe, 3 cafe cremes, 1 croissant, 1 Madeleine, 1 mini chouquette, 1 mini cannelle (both from La Grande Epicerie), croque monsieur, champagne & jus de fruit cocktail, tomato & basil tart, piece of salami, chunk of blue cheese, 1/2 a baguette, 1 biere blanche, 1 Kronenberg

Day 6: 2 cafe creme, 1 brioche, 1 saucisson sandwich, 3 Pierre Herme macarons (addicted!), 1 biere blanche, glass of champagne (at LV!), chunk of blue cheese, chunk of gruyere, top half of baguette.

What I Wore in Paris

Day 5: black wool dress backless dress layered over black tank, layered under 2 cardigans, leather jacket, Chris' black scarf and 1 inch black & white heels.

Day 6: a-line black & blush striped skirt, black cashmere sweater, blush blazer (had a VERY important meeting today!), black & white flowered scarf and 1 inch black & white heels.

What Chris Wore in Paris

Day 5 & 6: My second best pair of black opaque tights under his jeans. Yes, it's been that cold in Paris.

What I Bought in Paris

Day 5: Patent leather, Tiffany blue 2 inch heels. They are amazing, no further description or justification required.

Day 6: See "Perfect Moments of Happiness Below".

Hours Walked: At least 15 over two days and all while wearing 1 inch heels. Oui!

Strange Things Seen on rue de Lille: Last night there was a horse trailer behind Musee d'Orsay with a palomino pony sticking its head out the side window. The pony was wearing a purple fuzzy halter and was having its face pushed back into the trailer by an unhappy looking woman.

Photo Shoots in Grocery Stores: 1. Yesterday, Chris and I watched a stunning girl being photographed with fruit and vegetables at La Grande Epicerie. As if shopping there wasn't glamorous enough...

Another Reason I Wish I was French: The Canadian/American aisle in La Grande Epicerie. Amongst delicacies like coconut M&M's, a 9 euros box of chocolate Duncan Hines instant cake mix.

Moments of Perfect Happiness: At least 100 since arriving here last Friday but 3 worth writing about from today.

Chris and I spent the first part of the day apart after sharing early morning cafe cremes at Place de la Concorde. We do this on every trip but today was different as I had an early afternoon meeting and I needed time to prepare. After several hours of wandering Parisian rues and boulevards, I settled myself at one of my favourite cafes near Pont d'Alma. I don't love the cafe because of service or the 5 euros cafe cremes, I love it because it has heart-stopping, in-your-face view of the Eiffel Tower. And sitting there, with the Eiffel Tower on my lap, I wrote and wrote. I pulled out my tiny pink Moleskin notebook, clicked the lid of my black Sharpie pen and lost myself for over an hour with no self-conciousness and no worries. It was bliss. Whenever I glanced up, I saw the Eiffel Tower solid and seductive, inspiring me from across la Seine. I almost cried tears of happiness but that would have blown my sophisticated French cover. And then I had to dash off...

About 18 months ago, before I got a second chance at my career, I Google-ed "1 year Masters programs in Paris" and was rewarded by finding the University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP). ULIP offers a 1-year Masters program in Paris History & Culture. Chris and I toured the campus last September and today I had the incredible opportunity to meet with the Dean of ULIP, Andrew Hussey. I was so nervous all morning and incredibly worried about kicking my macaron swollen brain out of vacation mode. I then made the mistake of reading about Dean Hussey's accomplishments and publications which only made things worse. However, it turned out that I had nothing to nervous about and the meeting that took place was between two people who love Paris.

Chris and I share our language of Paris. It's not overly complicated or intellectual and is full of implied meanings, scents, sounds, rituals and emotion. I often feel guilty or worried that my love of Paris is based on feelings and not intellect. With the exception of Chris, I rarely meet anyone who shares my passion, my excitement, and my connection with Paris. Today was an exception. I am now more determined than ever to earn my Masters from ULIP...

Chris and I met after my meeting and started a long stroll around Paris, winding our way down rue Cler, across la Seine, stopping for beer on avenue George V and finally ending up at LV on avenue Montaigne. I had never been in this store prior to today and it is so different from LV on the Champs. We didn't have to wait in line to get in and once inside the atmosphere was relaxed, with no pushing. A couple of days ago on the Champs, outside the LV store, I watched in part horror, part fascination as a woman loaded up her massive empty suitcase with freshly bought bags.

I had no idea we were buying not browsing until Chris nudged me towards the counter and suggested we look at some bags. My incredibly generous lovely husband.

This was LV shopping refined. Unlike shopping on the Champs, I felt as though I had all the time in the world to look at and try on bags. There was no one behind me, nipping at my heels, yelling into their cell phone or bringing up a shopping list on their i-Pad. When I asked about a bag that I didn't see on the floor, the lovely and patient saleswoman disappeared into the back and brought it out. I twirled in front of the full-length mirror, Chris and I chatted in French and English, and eventually I chose a classic, black leather handbag and a brightly coloured bag scarf.

We were invited to look around the fabulous store and while waiting for our purchases to be wrapped, we were offered champagne. Normally, this is something we would refuse as to not cause too much trouble but it was all too perfect and I have decided that life is too short to turn down champagne at LV on avenue Montaigne in Paris.

So Chris and I were shown to a lounge area placed at the back of the store, nestled in the middle of the women's clothing. A brown and gold tray was brought out with 2 flutes of champagne and we were invited to relax. Moments later our purchases arrived and we were invited to stay longer. I reclined on the chair, shaking in disbelief and happiness, holding Chris' hand, and taking every last moment in. On my lap lay an open copy of the Marc Jacobs LV book. We toasted each other and drank our champagne. Surreal bliss.

I am still shaking. And I still have a lifetime to discover more moments of perfect happiness in Paris.


Carole said...

Nice post. This is one I did on life being too short. Life is too short

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