Paris – Part 1

20 Oct

I’m back from Paris and finally ready to post about my trip! Just a warning, this is the first of two parts and it will be long!

I have to admit that I’ve been feeling very guilty for not having already posted anything since I’ve been back for a little while. We came home Thanksgiving weekend (Canadian) and had a bunch of family commitments and then had to play catch up on a bunch of other things so it’s been a busy few weeks! Oh yeah, and we also took about 1200 pictures on our trip so it has taken me forever to go through them all! Don’t worry though, I’ll only subject you to a few of them and I’ve decided to pepper them throughout the post just to break things up a little.

Sacré Cœur off in the distance

So back to the trip itself! In short it was absolutely amazing! There are so many things to do and see and the French were really great (too great in some instances, we ended up staying out half the night one night drinking with some guys from Bordeaux and consequently had to postpone our trip to Versailles by one day…oops!). We really enjoyed ourselves however, our trip was BUSY since we wanted to see as many sights as possible. We were only there for one week and trust me when I say that you need much more than a week to truly experience all that this amazing city has to offer!

The gardens at Versailles

Now in relation to my usual topics of discussion on this blog I have some good news for you, and some bad news.

First let’s get part one of the bad news out of the way: I’m ashamed to say this but when I was in Paris I barely shopped at all! Seriously, next to no shopping! I know, it’s shocking and at first I thought that I may have let anyone who reads my blog down, but in my defense I had some good reasons for my lack of fashion follies.

Requisite cheesy Eiffel Tour shot!

First, it is impossible to see all of the major sights and fit some major shopping into one week. It just can’t be done. Everything, both the sights and stores, is open from around 9 am to 5 or 6 pm so you either have to pick and choose a few choice sights that you want to see or you have to forgo the shopping altogether (or only have time for short shopping interludes). I did manage to make my way into a few stores like Diane von Furstenberg, Chloé and Chanel on Avenue Montaigne about 20 minutes before closing on the Thursday but it really wasn’t enough time to truly explore them.

It was probably for the best anyway, the one Chanel purse I picked up had a price tag of 2450 euros which is definitely too rich for my blood! Obviously not too rich for other people though since there was a tour bus’ worth of Asian tourists in the store double-fisting merchandise up to the cash! One girl had to be buying at least 30,000 euros worth of Chanel!

Sitting in les jardins du Luxembourg

Second, and in relation to my first point, stores are not open on Sundays! For a type A North American girl who is used to at least some stores being constantly open or at the very least open on weekends (or later than 6 on weekdays) I totally wasn’t expecting this. I know that I should have since Europeans have a much more relaxed way of life but for some reason the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind!

I wish I could remember the name of this store!

So of course, the one day that we were more leisurely about things was on the Sunday, sigh. At least I saw the outsides of stores like Hermès and some really cool displays in shop windows like beautiful ballerina tutus at a shoe store (can’t remember the name) and shoes with funky faces in the display window of Rodolphe Menudier.

Rodolphe Menudier

Third, you can’t just assume that there is shopping everywhere in Paris. Trust me on this one, when you want to find something you will be in the completely wrong district! One day I needed a new pair of shoes desperately (I’ll elaborate more on this in my next post, there is some “Quelle horreur” involved though) and the area where we were next to the Louvre had no shoe/clothing stores! We spent forever trying to find something but I think that we just ended up walking circles in the same district.

Outside the Louvre

Fourth, plan out what stores you want to see. I had just assumed that I would stumble upon Christian Louboutin, the original Chanel store on Rue Cambon, or another Hermès after our Sunday stroll, sadly I this did not happen. We did manage to spend a little time in les Galeries Lafayette but never did come across Printemps (even though it’s close by) so again, if it’s important to you to go then actually look for it, lol.

The view from the top of les Galeries Lafayette. Hmm, slightly crazy hair from the wind and hot weather...

Also, I had planned to do a little shopping on the Champs d’Elysées and allowed some time for it but when we got there I found that the street was actually really junky! I had an image in my mind of it being a beautiful classy street (probably planted in my head from watching movies) but it was just packed with people and dirty!

Maybe we were at the wrong end of it? We were at the end by the Arc de Triomphe and we did come across Cartier (but didn’t go in) and saw the Louis Vuitton flagship store but LV had a lineup that stretched around the corner and the stores were closing in an hour so we weren’t willing to wait.

Arc de Triomphe

Cute Lacoste concept car at Citroën

Now for my second piece of bad news: it was fashion week and we saw nothing going on related to it! Ok, not nothing, there was an accessories trade show going on in a park but you had to be registered to get in.

Random accessories trade show we came across

We also saw many girls who were most likely models, always buying bottles of carbonated water in Monoprix stores for some reason (my husband kept asking me if I thought they actually got paid because they obviously couldn’t afford to eat, lol), but besides that most of the fashion week related events must have been going on in specific areas that we weren’t near or privileged enough to be let near, lol.

Les Catacombes de Paris

One cool fashion-related thing that we did see though was an exhibit at Le Grand Trianon at Versailles that compared clothing from the 18th century to Haute Couture pieces by designers/fashion houses like Christian Lacroix, Christian Dior, Chanel, Vivienne Westwood and Yamamoto. The pieces were amazing! Unfortunately you couldn’t take any pictures though so I’m disappointed that I can’t share anything that I took with you but here’s a picture that links to a review The Guardian did of the exhibit:

The Guardian

Alright, so after all of that “bad news” you may be thinking that I didn’t actually enjoy my trip, well, you would be completely wrong! Here’s the good news: I loved every second of it!

The Seine

I bought no high-end goods, we didn’t go out for any fancy dinners and I didn’t even wear a dressy skirt or dress once (even though I packed them) but we had so many great experiences and saw so many sights!

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

We visited (in no particular order): the Eiffel Tour, the Arc de Triomphe, Versailles, the Catacombes, Sacré Cœur, Montmartre (our hotel was actually in the Pigalle district, lol), Notre Dame, the Louvre, les Invalides, the Musée d’Orsay, the Luxembourg Gardens, Centre Pompidou and we took a river cruise on the Seine. It was totally worth it to see so many places!

Staying classy at Centre Pompidou. This also a hint as to what will be included in my next post...

Outside the Opera

In front of the Musée d'Orsay

We spent all of our breaks sipping wine or beer in cafes, just relaxing and soaking up the sights around us, it was so nice to sit back and just spend some quality time together. We also had a bunch of little picnics where we picked up our bread, meat, cheese and a bottle of wine and again, just sat down by a fountain or beautiful old building taking in all that Paris had to offer. It was divine and I think that I enjoyed it more than any expensive dinner at a fancy restaurant! As it turned out, this didn’t end up being a “fancy” trip and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Our one "fancy" dinner in Paris. We once again stayed classy by eating fondue and drinking wine out of baby bottles. If you like fondue you must go to Le Refuge des Fondus it is AMAZING!!! If you don't like fondue then WTH is wrong with you?!

In terms of what I bought I got a great scarf for 15 euros in Versailles, a bottle of perfume at Guerlain and a “Chat Noir” poster (the hotel we stayed at was called Le Chat Noir so it was fitting). So really, not much at all!

The scarf I bought in Versailles

Thinking more about what little I bought I’m actually not disappointed. I think that if I went out and blew a bunch of money on some expensive designer goods I would have been very disappointed in myself because that would have gone contrary to the whole essence of the SpendThrift Experiment. The trip to Paris was frivolous enough in expense and I wouldn’t have done myself any favours by spending even more money when we have other things that we should be putting it towards (like the new furnace we just bought, yay?).

Looking out a window at Marie Antoinette's cottage

So in the end we deemed this trip to Paris the “crazy-busy-let’s-see-as-many-sights-as-can-be-possibly-crammed-into-one-week” trip. Now that we’ve gotten the sights out of the way our next trip to Paris (most likely when we’re more financially comfortable) will be the “designer-clothing-fancy-dinner-relax-and-explore-everything-else” trip 😮

If you’ve made it through this novel to this point stay tuned, my second Paris post will be “Things I learned about packing for Paris/My Paris fashion disasters” so stay tuned!

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4 Responses to “Paris – Part 1”

  1. Lisa Corkum October 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    Glad you had so much fun! Random note: I want that first tutu sooo bad!…and a pair of face shoes too!

  2. Lauren November 3, 2011 at 5:41 am #

    Sooo funny! the ballet shop you have featured is the same one I walked past at night when it was shut and I spent ages looking through the windows and memorising the name which I forgot!!! grrrr!!! thanks for the read.

    • thespendthriftexperiment November 3, 2011 at 8:34 am #

      I know it was such a cool shop! I wanted to go back but couldn’t remember the name either! Next time I’m taking a picture of the name too!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Paris Fashion Week - City Guide | Tres Bohemes - October 20, 2015

    […] Sources: Wikimedia, Le Blog De Jen, Arthomobiles, Time And Place, The Spend Thrift Experiment […]

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