Sunday, April 8, 2012

Paris Day 7 or Shop Til We Drop or How Rude!

Today was shopping day.  We wanted to go to a few flea markets and see what they were all about.  We found a great market on the Paris Trip Adviser app and headed that way.  Well, of course we went the wrong direction when getting of the train, why wouldn't we?!  Once we finally got to the market, everyone was packing up.  We were super-bummed but were there long enough to see really great things and know we needed to come back the next day.  As we were leaving, we saw a beautiful buffet table and Russell fell in love with it.  This story continues later...

Back to home base we went to do a little more shopping.

Apparently Paris rarely has sales and we happened to be there during the biggest sale of the season.  EVERY shop has markdowns.  Unlucky for us- many markdowns are only for Parisians. We figured this out after aimlessly wandering around Bon Marche trying to figure out what the stickers and key tags meant.

We were looking for the sales person who wouldn't hate us too much for being American so we found a dude in the men's department.  He was nice about explaining that the sales (and I mean they were  crazy good deals 50-75% luxury designers) were only for Bon Marche card holders.  We first thought, "Great! We'll just apply for the card, use it while we're here, pay it off immediately and then cancel it."  It didn't work that way either- bummer.  You had to have already had a card and I'm pretty sure he told us that only the French are approved for the cards. Oh well!

From there we were off in search of my souvenir.  I'm not much of a purse girl in that I don't frequently change out my bags with my outfits or lust over LV, Dior or even Kate Spade.  I will say though, I like my bag to look nice and reach further than "just another purse".  We found this place called Upla earlier in our trip- conveniently one block up from our apartment.  We took a peek inside, I loved what I saw but I couldn't commit.  We went back this day and we found out that many of the bags were on sale...and we qualified for the sale!  When I say "many" bags were on sale what I mean to say is "every bag in the store was on sale except for the color I wanted".  So I tried on every sale bag and they were "fine".  Probably if I hadn't been looking for just the right yellow purse for the past 4 years, I would've liked every sale bag in the store enough to have one of them.  But, the perfect yellow purse kept staring me in the face.  After many bag on shoulder, turn to the side, cock one knee, pose in the mirror moments, the two beautiful French sales women going back and forth on whether the tan purse would be a great compromise or whether I should stick to the yellow, Russell pleading with me to make a decision- I decided I wasn't ready to decide and off we went.

We took a break for lunch at another great creperie up the street, ducked in and out of amazing home furnishing stores (we brought home all of their brochures only to find they don't ship to the US), perused a pen and ink store, and stared in windows at baby clothes- that I wanted to buy so badly for "one day".  I was still thinking about the purse.

I knew what would help me make up my mind- Go home and put on my good brown boots to make sure the tan of the boots matched the tan of the purse that I only sort of wanted that was on sale.  While home, we took a minute to call our parents and weigh in on the purse decision (like they cared) and while talking to Fran, we remembered that we still hadn't found her hair combs.

Have I told you about the hair combs?  I can't remember.  My mother-in-law has beautiful curly hair that I'm crossing my fingers is passed on to our babies. She wears it short and often wears tortoise shell combs in it to keep it back.  Who knew those combs actually could only be found in France?!  Each time they visit France, Fran buys all of the combs she can find.  She was running low so we'd been on the hunt for the past 3 days.  I was so stressed- I didn't want to mess up and buy the wrong ones (those suckers are expensive...and I'd be sad if they didn't work).  Once both of our mothers had tried to convince me that the yellow purse was the one I should get, we were off to find more combs!

But not before I made a decision on a purse.  I just knew an Upla bag was right for me.  Oodles of storage pockets, durable leather, no big logos or flashy metal- just functional and pretty.  I was getting tired of waiting on Russell (I don't even remember what he was doing) so I marched myself over to the store, held the two contending bags (the tan bag did mach my tan boots), took a deep breath and went with the YELLOW!  The two sales women laughed at me and were happy I finally made a decision (and they made a sale).  We had a little celebration in the store, I closed my eyes and signed the receipt and met Russell for the comb quest
Large Wallet in Leather Daffodil
in this color: Jonquille

La Besace du Pêcheur in leather, Ruby
picture this purse 

We'd found the right size but the wrong color, the wrong size but the right color over and over and over again.  Today was our lucky day though because we went back to the only drug store that we could find that carried them and the Bon Marche and the BOTH had combs!  Woo Hoo!  This was probably one of my favorite shopping days- ever!

For dinner we headed to a place that was highly rated near The Louvre.  I'll make this long story short by telling you that it was closed- surprised? no? We had gotten to be quite the Paris Trip Adviser experts so we were on the hunt again for another restaurant.

We stumbled upon some beautiful store fronts and a big square with a giant statue in the middle of it and ended up on a street we'd be on earlier in the week after realizing another restaurant was closed.  We went back and forth between a Vietnamese restaurant and Le Souffle (a restaurant that only serves...souffle).  We chose the Vietnamese restaurant which oddly wasn't very full on a Saturday (we later realized that people eat late on Saturday and the restaurant was much more full by the time we left). The food was quite good and a change from the heavy Parisian food we had been eating.  We decided to go for dessert at Le Souffle.  They were busy, but there was no wait so we let them know before we sat down that we would just be having dessert, it was 9pm so we thought it wouldn't be a big deal.

Little did we know, we were about to have our first sterotypical Parisian vs. American experience.  We seated by the kitchen (we didn't mind that), were given menus, no water, and very little interaction from our waiter.  He was quickly back to hurry us through our menu and place our order.  We both ordered champagne and told him we'd order our souffle when he came back.  When we told him we would be splitting one he flat out told us "it's not possible (in French)", we laughed thinking he was jovially telling us that the souffles were too good to share one- he wasn't.  He was serious.  He wasn't going to serve us unless we ordered two!  We complied because we didn't want to leave, the souffles were the tallest we'd ever seen, and ordered a raspberry souffle and a nutella souffle that we were pretty much hassled into getting.  The raspberry souffle (which we willingly chose) was A-MAZING and the nutella souffle was, well, fine.

We were shortly handed our bill, which we paid without leaving a tip (which apparently isn't common practice anyway) and we were on our way home, chatting about our great finds and planning our last day in the city of lights.

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