Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Yes, still in Paris UPDATED

Today's the Day of Decadence - my husband's at his conference, it's not raining, and I've given myself permission to at least look at all the food-and-shoes-and-clothes that the city has to offer. Luckily, I don't generally swoon over the super-high-end. Less so: I'm fully capable of lusting after the midrange-for-Paris-but-still-inaccessible. The food bit kind of sorted itself out - Jo and I had maybe too much steak frites the other night, and my stomach now can't handle much more than bread (and, perhaps, flan; I felt well enough to buy it, at least), so the temptation to sit down to a 30 euro meal of confit of canard and a verre of vin is nil. I still like the idea of that, but... no.

But the stuff-and-experiences component - that is, the thing where you walk across Paris and take in the gorgeous scenery and every so often buy something whose gorgeousness you have to hope isn't just a matter of its environment (because it, whatever it is, will need to "spark joy" in Toronto as well) - is very much happening. I went into the heavily guarded Bon Marché and found - because Paris - a perfect bra that I've just currency-converted confirmed costs what I'd pay for a mediocre bra in Canada. And I flâneused around with the vague goal of finding non-Repetto (that is, non-200-euro) ballet flats. The fabulous, rose-gold André ones I found were 49 euros, which, fine, sounds better than $72, but this is still an acceptable price for shoes, and they give every indication of being comfortable, or as comfortable as ballet flats ever are, at any price.

The plan for the afternoon, then, is to visit the also-heavily-guarded Marais, and try to do as many husband-would-find-this-boring things as I can, so basically a mix of clothes-shopping and (more) French-Jewish-bookstore-shopping. (It can't possibly be that two new contemporary French-Jewish novels are enough...)


The Marais happened, but in a roundabout way involving a diverted bus and an inadvertent (but charming!) stroll across the Seine. No clothes-shopping, not for lack of trying. (All the chic Parisian women have these flawless blazers, but where are they buying them?) But what ended up happening was definitely more interesting! I wound up on the Rue des Rosiers, and passed a café that looked out of another era. A man of a certain age (as were all the other customers) beckoned me in, but not in a hitting-on way. In a way that said, yep, you're Jewish too, these are your people. And so I sat, beneath the gaze of a Herzl poster, and had a longish conversation with a woman about how she doesn't eat meat, kosher or otherwise, and a shorter one with a man who was sure he'd seen me that morning at the Marché d'Aligre, where, alas, I hadn't been. After a while there, the more strictly frivolous activities resumed, culminating in the purchase of 6 euro nail polish from a vending machine in the also-bomb-fearing BHV.

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