Sunday, June 24, 2012

Shopping in Paris

This is our last full day in Paris — and we were not going to let it slip away.

By now my Mom's poor feet have been perpetually swollen and her arthritic knee was starting to seize up. We had to plan our course of action carefully today, to take advantage of my Mom's stamina level. What were our priorities to see and do?

Since we were in the hub of Paris' foodie stores, we decided to explore them first, since they were literally around the corner from our hotel. Both Hediard and Fauchon were on Rue de la Madeleine.

 Hediard sits on the corner of Rude de la Madeleine and Rue de Seze. As we entered Hediard we were greeted with gorgeous house colour packaging of red/orange and black on an array of tea and coffee. The staff were rather aloof in this store. Perhaps we looked too touristy for them. They had mustards, spices, chocolates and packaged champages. I saw a 3 pack of Vintage Dom Perignon for a mere 975 Euros. I was swayed by the packaging, and bought a two pack of chocolates that were in a little round hat box, a house blend tea in an oldstyle tea caddy tin with a domed lid and an old grainy mustard. Not sure if the chocolates will make it home.

Crossed Rue Tronchet and Fauchon was on our left. A beautiful window display of chocolates in their trade mark hot pink, black and white packaging enticed us in — not that we needed much enticing. On the left were chocolates loose and boxed in any combination, on the right were colourful macaroons in enticing flavors. The upstairs had a restaurant that served tea in the afternoon. I bought a lovely long box of 12 macaroons. since we were so close to our hotel, we went back to drop off our bags before heading up to the big department stores of Printemps and Galeries Lafayette.

We meandered our way up to Printemps. The outside of these stores were a beautiful representation of 1880"s architecture, complete with domed roof areas.

Printemps greeted us first. I've never seen so many sales people. At home  you can never find any help when you need it, or are followed by the "Gap" greeter, but we could be assured if we had a question, we would get an answer here. There were line-ups to get into both the Chanel and Louis Vuitton boutiques inside the store.

At Galeries Lafayette next door, the food hall in the basement summoned me in. I always enjoy looking at different packaging of food products — some we get at home & most new to me. I must have seen a dozen different types of mustards by the French mustard company Maille. We only get the traditional Dijon in Toronto. Since we were in France, I bought French breakfast tea, as opposed to English breakfast tea. I also bought a bag of mini Madaleines, to snack on later. I saw a 5 kg jar of Nutella — it looked like it belonged at Costco.

 We made our way up to the lingerie department where my Mom had to return a pair of pajamas she had bought earlier in the week. The French are known for their lingerie — and it was evident here. Ive never seen such a huge bra department. They were gorgeous - all price points - all styles - all colours - none utilitarian.

Beside the lingerie department was an organic food restaurant where we decided to have lunch. I had a sky high tuna and tomato quiche and my Mom had smoked salmon on a baguette. It was a calm little oasis in the middle of this massive department store and an excellent place for my Mom to rest her feet.

Next stop - cashmere. Yes I found another sweater that had my name on it, as did my Mom. By this time we were both ready to leave - just in time for the obligatory clouds to greet us outside, as the wind picked up. We started walking towards the Opera Garnier, but since I had seen the inside of the Opera already, and my Mom's feet and now sciatica were kicking in, we opted to head back to the hotel de l'Arcade - popping in and out of little boutiques along the way. We took our time and managed to make a few more purchases too.

Our hotel reception staff knew our faces by now, and handed me the key to our room without me having to prompt them with the room number. The staff were very friendly and helpful, with whatever queries we threw their way.

Our ever changing view from our room attracted me. The rooftop gardens were cute and typically French. I stood out on our little balcony that ran the outside of our room and watched our little world around us: our neighbor's cat sleeping & the local Kestrel perched on a weather vein eyeing the few pigeons that were brave or stupid enough to venture in his sights.

It was our last night wich meant packing up all our goodies. Did I really accumulate all these little things? I had brought along my trusty Heyes luggage scale to make sure my luggage weight was evenly distributed between checked and carry-on.

Bon Nuit Paris.

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