Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Postcards from Paris 6: Le Shopping

What do I do most when I'm in Paris? I wander and eat pastry, and mostly I window-shop, admiring both the merchandise and French tastes and display skills. I also take scads of photos with my iPhone.

Please excuse the reflected glare in some of these pictures, an unavoidable problem with window-shopping shots.  This turned into a long post, so feel free to yell at me in the comments if it took too long to load. I will try not to do it again.

Here's a shop filled with gorgeous antique musical instruments. I doubt we have anything like this over here:

There's a shop on the main street of the Ile Saint-Louis that always has a few items featuring Harris's perfect little face:

I don't know how this happened; I assume that Harris negotiated the licensing agreement and modeling sessions himself.  This time he was in the front window. Those are vinyl zippered bags, and I have the smaller one. Also an eyeglass case, a tape measure, and a notebook. 

Of course, I'll go into shops if I'm more than mildly interested. One day I was walking along and, voila! Le J. Crew! I had to check it out.

Inside, it was more elegant than any American J. Crew I've seen. I was even a little intimidated, which was ridiculous. I was dressed in J. Crew.

I don't need anything for our kitchen except a rotary cheese grater, but I went to Dehillerin anyway. It's the place for cookware of all kinds and it's heartening to see how unchanged it is from my first visits to Paris in the early '90s.  It probably looked much the same when Julia Child visited in the '50s and '60s. I'm not convinced that some of the basement shelves have been dusted since then. 

I looked everywhere (no one waited on me) and couldn't find a râpe à fromage. Which is too bad, because I was rather proud of myself for figuring out the French for "cheese grater." Check out the copper display:

On the Ile Saint-Louis, Marie-Tournelle is a charming little paper shop brimming with beautiful stationery, cards, wrapping paper and fun little things for children. In the Christmas season they have the best Advent calendars:

Also on the Ile is a very good mineral and fossil shop. I can't re bought something cool that I'll show you later. Their window is full of intriguing things:

In the 2nd Arrondissement, I visited a pair of elegant shops called Sézane, which sell women's clothing and leather goods. I'd seen their pretty shoes online and wanted to try some on. I also wanted to check out their bags. The shoes were uncomfortable — almost all shoes are for me, and the bags weren't quite what I wanted, but everyone there was so friendly and the ambiance was so nice that I was glad I visited:

I had to photograph this Dolce & Gabbana "book bag" in the Galeries Lafayette. It might be available here on Newbury Street but I never go in there:

Paris has several 19th-century covered shopping streets called passages. They are the first shopping malls, designed to protect customers from bad weather and mud. They are still lively places, with cafés, clothing and shoe stores, antique shops, jewelers, booksellers, and toy shops. I visited three one sultry, drizzly morning: good places to pass the time on a rainy day:

Here are some goodies in passage store windows: gorgeous fabric and over-the-top shoes:

Gold-tooled leather bindings in an antiquarian bookseller's window. It was closed, and I got this glare-free shot by sticking my phone through the diamond-shaped metal security gates and pressing the back of my iPhone directly against the glass:

Later that morning, I found a flea market. Brimfield à Français! Like Brimfield, most of the vintage clothing and housewares looked like they'd earned their retirement. But it was fun to browse:

This little tourist was loving the toy soldiers:


  1. so glad I wasn't there or I might have tried to buy one of those violins.

  2. The passages look so inviting! And I, for one, cannot turn down walk through a resale or flea market.


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