Sigh. Our last day in Paris. They’d probably take away my licence to be a girl if I didn’t at least pop into a few shops.
We start our day the Opera, another of my favourite buildings. We toured it last time we were here, having waited almost a decade to see it – on our first visit, we ran out of time, on the second, it was closed for restorations. It’s looking resplendent today, the grand dame of the theatre district.
It’s also the shopping district. Printemps first. Housed across three buildings, two of which are covered by a glass dome offering views over Paris, Printemps opened in 1865 and changed the face of retail. Ground breaking innovations for the time included having fixed prices on goods (to dissuade haggling) and the introduction of sales, creating end of season clearances. Up until then, retailers had no method for obselete stock disposal. Later it was the first retailer to introduce electricity, then lifts. Printemps also pioneered the modern concept of window displays. Charmingly, in its early days, staff would hand out bunches of violets to mark the arrival of Spring.
These days, it’s known for luxury – think of a designer, and it’s very likely that you will find a nook devoted to them here.
There’s only one spot that I’m really interested in: the shoe department. I’m very happy to report as follows: a) it’s bliss b) deep jewel colours are in, across the whole rainbow, but the it’s the primary colours that shine.
Heels remain high, but block heels and flats feature too. Sparkle is in, jewelled finishes feature heavily and sparkle is still popular, particularly amongst the high end designers. Red patent has made a come back. About time too, I’ve been waiting patiently for it. I make several laps. Chris, to his credit, takes it well. And then, dear reader, I find shoe nivarna – a shoe I’ve been stalking across the only online globe, here in the flesh.
It’s a Jimmy Choo, titled “The Cinderella Edit”, finished in the deepest of red, bejewelled with thousands of crystals, with a heavily crystal toe. I’m deeply in love. It comes in silver too. It’s easily the most beautiful shoe on the floor, if not all of Paris. Jimmy Choo must think so too: the price is a blistering €3,459, roughly around $AUD5,300. The sound you hear, dear reader, is my heart breaking. Even with my shoe habit, which broke four digits a while ago, it’s just too much. And I would have loved them so. Possibly too much to actually wear them. Chris is very lucky it’s not a major birthday I have coming up. I might not have been able to control my desire for them. I wonder if a GoFundMe page might work?
After finding the ultimate shoe, my appetite for shopping diminishes. It’s hard to top perfection. We go instead, for lunch. The burger craze has hit here – they’ve become yet another another universal language. Like Hello Kitty, which transcends all known cultural boundaries. Burgers it is. Wine with, reminds us that we’re still in France.
Thus fortified, I manage to squeeze one more shop in. It has to be Galleries Lafayette, with its stunning central glass dome and operatic balconies.
I keep away from the shoe department: I can do less damage in cosmetics. Trends here are not dissimilar to home. Nude lip/smoky eye combinations still rule, although copper has snuck into the mix. The autumn shadow ranges are deep chocolates, greens and purples. Red lips are brick toned. Skin is in, but then again, when was it not? I succumb at the Bobbi Brown counter, picking up a palette of perfectly balanced smoky shadows. We’re still a long way from home and space is at a premium. And I’m still thinking about those shoes.
We visit the Lafayette Food Hall, housed in a seperate building. It’s been transformed since we were here last, into a multicultural extravaganza. Highlights include a Spanish bar complete with hanging Iberico hams, an oyster and champagne bar, a middle eastern spice market and a dim sum nook.
There’s also a fresh food market, and patisserie and chocolates a plenty.
Post shopping I had in mind a stop at a patisserier for coffee and cake, the latter being an art fom here. But try as we might, even with Google, it proves to be a challenge. I could have sworn there was a Laduree nearby, but it’s nowhere to be seen. Google leads us back to Galeries Lafayette, to the Sadaharu Aoki counter. Reviews say it’s even better than Laduree, but there’s no sit down area. Take away it is.
We’re not quite ready to leave and so meander, ending up at Place Vendome, home of the Paris Ritz hotel. It’s hard to think of the grainy footage of Princess Diana leaving for that awful last journey.
I finally found the Laduree – it’s moved here, along with all the other patisserier stores I was looking for around the Opera. I’m very taken by their bunny display.
We make like the Parisienne’s instead and cross over to the Tuilieres to enjoy our treats. It’s very peaceful, amongst the birdies, despite crowds in the distance.
Eventually, we take our leave on the extraordinarily efficient metro. It really is a superb system.
It’s been three long, busy days but I think we’ve done Paris justice. Many kilometres were covered. Old haunts were revisited, new treasures discovered. We’ve made friends with locals, eaten great food and drunk good wine. You can’t ask for more than that.