Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Real People Unite

You know it's a nice day in Paris when you spot the local police officers gathering for their morning coffee out of the back of a police van.
That's right, taken through a bus window.

In what was hopefully (albeit unfortunately) one of the last days in a while that I had my nanny yet no work, I set out to explore some new shopping territory.  While we were in the US, friends stayed in our apartment in Paris for a few days.  The wife left me some American magazines (yes!! always appreciated!!) and there was a fun piece in Lucky about shopping in Paris, written by some model-turned-designer-turned-author.  Most of the places she mentioned were unknown to me, and I set out to remedy that.

My first lesson was that models-turned-designers-turned-authors and I do not speak the same language when it comes to affordability.  Of all the places mentioned in the piece, I was most excited to visit Upla, a boutique in the Left Bank that produces casual-chic shoulder bags.  In the Lucky article, the woman wrote that the bags are "consistently affordable."  Thinking I might find a great new place to buy gifts, I entered the modern space eager to look at the Crayola-hued bags.

And here's what I have to say - real people of the world, unite! "Consistently affordable"?  The original-size bag - made of CANVAS - is 175 euros.  That's over $200 USD.  In what universe is that affordable?!  Come on, real people, you know you're out there. And while we all might like to think that we too can live like models-turned-designers-turned-authors, apparently this is not the case. At least not for me.

Somewhat better are the very cute rain boots over at Aigle.  The most adorable ones are for kids - and as I've learned the best barometer for what's chic in Paris is to check out the 9-year-old girls in the playground, I can confirm that Aigle boots are definitely in.  But even the grown-up boots are just 40 euros, though the knee-high wellington-type boots are 95 euros.

I most enjoyed the store I discovered at the corner of Rue Bonaparte and Rue Jacob, which I think is called Simrane, or something like that (you know when you promise yourself you will remember something, so no need to write it down? And then of course you immediately forget it?).  It's full of Indian-inspired fabrics and brightly-hued pillowcases in silk, satin, and cotton.  Some might call it consistently affordable; I think it's more of a place to get some great ideas.

And of course a spring day in Paris would not be complete without a random BBQ taking place at the Bodum store on Avenue de l'Opera.  

More generally, I have a bone to pick with France.  I am looking for an angel food cake pan, with which to make my mother-in-law's famous Passover sponge cake.  Apparently, they do not eat angel food cake in France. Nor do they sell the pan.  Not only have I searched on and, I have visited specialty bakeware stores and even the grand magasins. Not a large tube pan to be found. Argh!  So now I'm faced with either a)not making sponge cake or b)buying a $16 angel food cake pan from and then spending $40 to have it shipped to me.

In honor of the upcoming holiday of Passover, we are trying to sample the newly-crowned Best Baguettes of Paris 2011. So far we have tried #7, from a boulangerie in the 1st, and we both feel that our neighborhood baguette (Maie des Anges on Rue de Levis) is still superior.  Gotta get as much bread in as we can if we're expected to give up an entire week of bread while living in Paris!   And I haven't even told you about confiture du lait (aka dolce de leche), and how at brunch a few months ago we were told to just spread it right on our baguette...