Standing under this magnificent cupola can be very dangerous especially when the surrounding signs scream out in capital letters SOLDES.
The SOLDES or the sales can be dangerous to your shopping addictions and to your bank balance.
Although I had been ‘almost’, patiently waiting, I didn’t partake on the mad frenzy that is the first day of the winter sales in Paris.
The second day of the SOLDES however, I did partake in. Not one to half do things, I went all guns blazing!
Gently, easing myself in, I started at BHV, pronounced bee – arsh – vee, which stands for Bazaar Hotel de Ville, a department store located on the Rue de Rivoli and opposite the town hall, Hotel de Ville, in the Marais.
Not realising at the time, when I purchased one cute little black and white skirt, it would be the beginning of a shopping frenzy.
It appears that black and white is the mode. Whether it be stripes, hounds tooth or patterns it definitely featured throughout a lot of brands and glittering sparkly shoes.
One equally cute black skirt I tried on was snug but I would like to try to a size up to compare, they didn’t have one.
Surrounded by excited shoppers can cause anxiousness. Clutching the black skirt, I wonder to myself; do I risk leaving it in the store for someone else to snap up or do I risk going elsewhere, only to discover that they don’t have the larger size, or worse still, they do but the smaller size was a better fit and they don’t have it.
These are the dilemmas shoppers, that you are faced with during the sales.
Taking chances and possibly having regrets. I took my chances and tried a nearby store.
Parisians, I find are extremely polite, always offering a ‘pardon’ for the least bump, encounter or maneuver, but when it comes to the sales, manners are out the door and it is literally, first in best dressed!
Walking turned into marching and fast marching was beginning to resemble a slow trot as I ventured further to find the little black skirt in a larger size.
A pleasant bonjour upon entering made me feel safe and welcome, surrounded by my favourite brand, one whole shop of heaven, dedicated to my preference.
The larger size will enable eating and good times but there were so many nice things, how could I stop at one.
After all I am in Paris but just once a year and the SOLDES are on.
Happy with my purchases, I joined the throngs of crowds on the streets but when it started to rain, merely for shelter, of course, I ducked into another shop.
The weather this time in Paris has been very mild and perhaps a combination of wearing too many layers, the shops not foreseeing the mild weather and the onslaught of shoppers, the stores are hot.
The pushing and shoving was starting to take it’s toll but I did find a couple of items I was interested to see how they looked.
Finding the changing rooms was a challenge in itself and waiting in line was an even bigger one. Taking off my scarf and then my coat, starting to swelter in the sub tropical heat of the store, and waiting and waiting in line, I started questioning how much I really wanted the items.
Finally I reached the dressing room and that was not the biggest relief, the biggest relief was to take off my clothes and cool down. Strange as it may seem when the outside temperature is around 5-7 celsius but inside the shop was sweltering.
I had chosen the items well, they suited me, they were cheap and on sale but the line for the checkout was my deciding factor. Draping them inconspicuously in the store, I welcomed the cool outside air and headed for the metro and the shopping mecca that is Galleries Lafayette.
Like a kid in a candy shop, all under one roof, still hot I might add but despite the huge amount of people, the lines were thiner and so were the gorgeous shoppers.
Every Parisian girl has to have a cashmere sweater or cardigan and it was on my list but I had a rendezvous for an aperitif in the 10th arrondissement, so sadly I had to leave the shopping or maybe better still, I had a reason to drag me away from all the delights that were on offer
Stepping outside onto the busy boulevard with a little black dress from a company that oozes trés cool, The Kooples, a brand that has always been out of my reach due to price, a sloppy cardigan from American Retro a French brand I like but normally cannot afford and a few others items, neatly folded into gorgeous, branded bags, I felt like Carrie Bradshaw, beaming with my purchases and will worry about the credit card damage later….
My rendezvous with a charming gentleman I met at one of Jim’s famous dinners teaches French and leads both Parisians and visitors on guided tours around Paris.
We met for an aperitif under a beautiful golden, mosaic ceiling, surrounded by mirrored walls and decorative tiles underfoot, in a grand, ancient building, that is now a trendy, bustling cafe, once a former brothel, instigated by Napoleon III, Delaville Café.
Our indecisiveness over which cafe to eat in from the varied bo-ho places and ethnic cafes that were on offer along Bonne Nouvelle and it’s surrounds was fun until we finally ended up in a place we had hovered around three times called LOL Classe.
Our indecisiveness paid off, the food was good. the atmosphere great and the amount of people that kept pouring in for dinner, well after we had finished ours was a testament to the popularity of the unassuming cafe.