Ruminations of Paris

The sniff test. We haven’t washed our clothes since Italy and have begun smelling our clothes to see if they are good for one more public wearing. Yesterday, Dean asked me to do the sniff test on a shirt he wanted to wear. Not surprisingly, it reeked of croissants.

 Fabulous Scarf Shop – Les Chics de Claire at 2 Place de Thorigny in The Marais District. I popped into this shop that sold only scarves. The owner, Claire Orengo, has a studio located above her shop, connected by a spindly, spiral staircase that she practically flew down when I walked in the door. Her arrival was the beginning of some of the most persistent sales pitching of my life. After a while, Dean, my husband who had been waiting outside came in and she started trying to sell scarves on him. I told her that she was wasting her time. It took her awhile but my poker-faced husband was not going to walk out with a blue checkered scarf, today or any day.

Originally, I had thought I would just take a peek, but 30 minutes later I walked out with five scarves. I told myself they would be gifts, but I’m not so sure now. The shopkeeper and designer is from Spain, and her suggestion was, “Buy plenty. Give them as gifts. Tell your friends you thought of them when you were in Paris, even if it is a lie.” Still. For 15 Euros per scarf, they were bargains.

paris scene
Wearing one of my scarves

Ladies Tennis Shoes in Paris. These are the kind of tennis shoes we wore back in the 70’s, but with much more color and pattern. Seems like half the women (all ages) of Paris are wearing them. High-top tennis shoes are also popular with jeans.  I settled on a purple pair. They make me happy. Prices range from $26 to $150 Euros. The pair I bought was 36 Euros. I see them in the States but few have patterns like these.  And on the subject of shoes:  Why the heck don’t we have these wonderful shoe designs in stores everywhere in the USA?

Rue de Rosiers in the Marais District’s Jewish Quarters is really worth a visit. There is an immediate shift. There are falafel shops, Jewish deli shops here and there, although my understanding the area is changing quickly. We had sat down at outdoor seating in a falafel joint, but actually, we should have gone to the window and got a stuffed pita bread sandwich and found a park to eat. The falafel, lamb sharwarma and the hummus were the best I have ever tasted. Ever.

While we were walking around in the old Jewish Quarters, an Hasidic Jew walked up to Dean and said, “Are you a Jew?”  No greeting.  Zip.  Dean was startled, and I don’t blame him.  He responded, “No.”  Paused for a moment because this guy was still staring at him, and then Dean said, “I am Orthodox Greek.”  The stranger pondered his response for a while and said, “That makes sense, but I never thought about that.”  Then walked off.  I don’t know what that guy was selling but he needs to take lessons from Mary Kay or Girl Scouts in front of grocery stores selling cookies.

Streets in The Marais to Walk:  Vieille du Temple and Franc Bourgeois

Josephine Vannier
Josephine Vannier

Chocolate Must Do:  We sampled chocolates everywhere we could.  We bought truffles in shops on St. Germain and thoroughly enjoyed them all.  Then we went to Josephine Vannier’s artisanal chocolate shop in Marais, just a block or two from the Place de Vosges. At first, I thought we were passing a curio shop.  There was a guitar in the window and a saxophone.  Fertility dolls and what appeared to be some African masks, and elaborately covered books.  Then we realized the shop windows were filled with chocolate sculptures.    Inside we discovered even more goodies.  I did a double take when I saw a display of  chocolate dildos, which coincidentally had been marked down substantially, but Dean said no.   All I can say — chocolate is chocolate.

Chocolate guitar
Chocolate guitar/books
Chocolate Fertility Goodess
Chocolate Fertility Goodess

Art and chocolate at the same time.  Had a car hit me just seconds earlier, and by some miracle, I actually went to heaven after all?  Here’s there link.  chocolate and art.  Go to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dome, walk the Seine and get chocolates at Josephine Vannier’s.  Go just to see their window shop display.


I don’t know who Josephine Vannier is but I wish we were close relatives. 

 Located on 4 Rue du Pas de la Mule

Watch how many people press their noses to the window.  The sales people should take photos of what we all look like as we admire their artful play on delectable chocolates.


  Clothing Consignment Stores: If you are looking for clothing consignment stores, check this website out for addresses. Paris clothing consignment stores   I passed a couple of them, but the hubby was along, and shopping isn’t quite the same when you know they are waiting outside the door.  I suggest plan your shopping trips solo — ahead of time.

Sip a cocktail at LeMary Celeste at 1 rue Commines

Food talk. I have a confession. The menus in France became predictable just as in Italy. Food writers talk about the “new French cuisine” (similar to the New American shift years ago), but we just didn’t stumble on them. There wasn’t enough time, and the hot places often need reservations far in advance. I have to admit that I often think the same about American restaurants. My nose turns up on its own volition whenever anyone suggests a sports bar back in the States because they are so predictable. Hamburger and fries, chicken wings, fried chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, etc., etc. You can say the same for Tex-Mex restaurants, most Chinese, and BQ. I think people take comfort in knowing what they are going to get. I’m just not so keen on predictability.

I know that as we age, so do our taste buds. (We have thousands of more taste buds in our lifetime when we are kids, which seems unfair because too many American kids are wasting their heightened abilities on Chick-Fil-A.) I think that my taste buds are still working fine, but maybe deep down, I want to experience more flavors before the last taste bud throws in the hat.

Not long ago, I stood at the butcher’s counter, staring at the rows of ground beef, chops, shanks, rumps, skirts, and links, when the butcher asked me if he could help me. I surprised myself by saying, “I just wish a new meat would be discovered.” I don’t know what that says about me, except during this entire vacation the food that excited me the most were the nettles…because I had never tasted them.

Getting to the CDG Airport. [If I had not hurt my knee early on in the trip, we probably would have taken the Metro to CDG.] The manager of the apartment called G7 Taxi the night before our departure and booked someone to pick us up at 8 am in front of the building and take us to Charles DeGaulle. However, if you don’t want to stumble along in your poor French, online reservations can be done through your Smartphone. To get the app TAXIS G7, Taxis Paris G7. Or – call 3607 (0.15€/min).

The taxi and driver were in much better shape than the taxi we got from the airport taxis stand when we arrived in Paris five days earlier. Departing CDG then was actually more expensive then the fare with G7 (54 Euros) and we were in a town car. I will say that in Amsterdam, when I called a cab service for our return to the airport, the caller was given the option of an English-speaking operator. It was super simple.