We are now just days away from Christmas here in Paris. This year, it’s been a wet & grey winter, with so much rain, that walking on any grass quickly turns into a mud sliding event. So walking the dogs, requires me to clean their paws upon coming into the home. ( lots of fun ! ha)
I thought, we should look at Paris, in a logical manner, and follow the arrondissements in the numeric order. Since most tourist books, call the 1st Arr. -the ‘Louvre’ Arr. I will not rehash this- because, this is where the Louvre is – and this is a very important place in Paris. The size of this building is HUGE, so in scale, it does take up a lot of space in Paris too.
So I am going to approach the review of the areas, using my own preferences, and will try to keep each area to a few key points of interest.
(1st point) So when talking of the 1st Arr, yes, the Louvre comes to mind, but to me it also says ‘ SHOPPING’! The 1st arr., has great stores on my favorite rue Rivoli, and this is the first rue, that I felt comfortable with.
It’s a straight line, that starts by St. Paul’s beautiful church and runs past the ornate Hotel de Ville.
It also has stores like BHV ( a Parisian Macy’s) , chain stores like Body Shop, and Yves Rocher, H& M , Zara, C & A and the Gap.
Rue Rivoli is the place to see the “Paris street trends”, the windows are going to show you, what everyone will be wearing this season, and the next.
H&M is one of my favorites to visit, I LOVE how they show clothes in the windows and on the mannequins.
The fabrics are wonderful to touch, they are soft, without looking cheap. Most of the clothes are cut, in a tailored way, to ensure a long wear ability.
One cultural issue, that I have crossed, by accident, is when I am inside a store, taking pictures for this blog, security guards approach me, to inform me, no photos inside the store. This I do not understand, but comply anyway. Why not take photos of the clothes? Unless they think, I am “casing the joint” ?? to steal size 2 clothes ?? I could not even sell them back home !!
And for Paris, this is difficult to find, in fun, fashion clothing.
One reason, why I like this store, it caters to the Parisian women, not just the young ones. The selection is balanced, for all ages. And the prices are very reasonable for Paris. I took pics of the price tags, as proof of the costs.
One trend that I LOVE, is reworked vintage fashion, and it’s here! The hats range from 1920’s cloche, to 1940’s upright, or the 1970s big felt floppy hat. They are for sale in lots of stores, on this Rue, and also, in the small shops underground & tourist traps.
I saw this coat, which is faux fur in C&A, and I had to try it on !! This coat was so soft, it felt like silk, and the weight was medium, to allow you to wear layers underweight, as most Parisians do in the winter.
2nd place it Les Halles( current under facelift construction) – SHOPPING inside a mall like building with twists a turns, & levels. I will tell you, that I have been lost in this maze a few times. Slowly, I am learning to enter at a certain door, and find my favorite stores.
Inside there is a very good assortment of stores, from H&M, Zara. Several make up stores- and costume jewelry shops. What really sets this apart from the Rue, is the ease, of shopping in side a mall – in Paris, where other Parisians shop too.
I would say, in bad weather, this is where I head to to shop, and view fashions. Also inside, there is a huge movie cinema that plays English speaking movies, and restaurants. And there is a McDonalds inside too! I could not pass this photo up .. the big special in MCD now, is ‘ Shiny Bacon ‘ !! I told the clerk, in America, this means plastic . or fake .. you should have seen the confusion in her face .. lol
The big book store in Paris is called FNAC – and this is where, once a year, I go and pick up several calendars.Most of them, I give as gifts, but sometimes, I find an artistic one, that I like very much, and keep it for the prints, later to frame. They sell music & movies too, but unlike back home – they do not have a place, where you can sit and have a café inside the book store.. so this is a negative for this store. The store also sells tickets to shows, like Celtic Dance – which I hope to see one day …
I enjoy looking at art inside the Lovuve, but I need nature, to balance myself out. I have found this Garden (Jardin) to be a wonder way to have a quick break. The place is designed with grand walkways – which is great for people watching.
In summertime, I like to sit under a tree, watching the young people – full of life & folly. The children, who remind me, how to appreciate a beautiful day with yellow sunshine and green grass. Birds chirping and the ever present pigeons cooing for bread. The old people, walk on the Garden Boulevard, dressed in classic clothes, with eyes of Parisian respectability. And if I close my eyes, and listen very carefully, I can hear accordion music, on the soft breeze .. it’s ‘La Vie en Rose’, for one minute, I am Parisian & Proud.