Home from Paris

My bags were unpacked quickly last evening, but the memory of two weeks, living in the heart of Paris, will linger as pervasively as the odor of the fromagerie that cured its cheeses in a cave under our apartment.

"What do you do for two weeks?", friends ask, and the reply is, mostly walk around. I can wile away a day finding a replacement pocket knife for my brother, pausing for late lunch, strolling through the Jardin du Luxembourg.

A few travel fragments:

In a coals-to-Newcastle moment, I took an Hermes replica bag to a Parisienne. My French friend W., who lives in my city, has the bag connection, and her GFs in Paris are apparently crazy for them. The recipient, Jeanne, could clearly afford the real thing, but prefers to use the copy as a market shopping bag- this is her third purchase.

The usual apartm
ent was unliveable, thanks to massive construction immediately behind it. (No, they didn't tell us when we rented it.) We called the agency and within two hours were upgraded to these cavernous digs on rue St-Jacques (5th arr.), with a full view of the Tour Eiffel from two windows and the dome of the Pantheon from the living room. Breakfast in full view of the Tour, that's living!

Regarding shopping, I was dazzled yet selective. Paris is an endless cornucopia of pleasures, it's easy to be captivated. I'd rather enjoy a few treasures than drown in goods and the resulting bills. Will pry my camera from a son's hands this weekend and post a few examples.

ing style, I'll echo Deja Pseu's observation that French women (of both my age cohort and younger) are looser, less coiffed and made up; this deliberately effortless look very consciously achieved, and anchored by impeccable grooming.

Precise hair and make up (as W's friend Jeanne said) are the sad t
erritory of the unconfident woman. Jeanne wore five massive rings, her hair loose, casually pushed back, kohl on the eye, a bit of lip gloss. Cashmere, jeans, great boots, suede and fur jacket.
(This photo, of the Canadian writer Nancy Huston, who has lived in Paris for decades, exemplifies the look.)

Much more long hair on 50+ women, fewer contact lenses. Eyewear is huge in Paris.

And now, waking early, re-entering the usual demands of work and family, I have weeks of your blogs to catch up reading, a pleasure!


Susan B said…
Welcome back! What a fabulous apartment, wow. I'm looking forward to reading more about your trip.
Susan B said…
Oh, and I'm intruigued about the Hermès replica bag, do tell.
materfamilias said…
Welcome back! That's precisely my kind of trip, and your apartment looks wonderful. Can't wait to hear more.
Duchesse said…
Pseu: My friend worked for "the original maker" for years so it's very funny that she has gone to the dark side. The bag (no brand stamp)looked good, in black pebbled leather; her earlier purchases were camel and burgundy. Women in Paris carry them fully open like a shopping bag so the H stamp shows, IF you have it. Saw a number of authentic Kellys at the Marche des Puces, starting at about $6,000 for plain black calf in very good condition and very worn Birkin went for %5,500. Pas donné, as le Duc would say.
Anonymous said…
Welcome back duchesse. Your story gives me itchy feet! Did you visit the spa you mentioned once before while in Paris this time? Could you remind me of the name and address of it?

It's great to have you back.
Anjela's Day said…
Welcome back- I am so looking forward to your future postings! Would be very interested in any details on shop windows- my passion of course!!
What did you wear the most and did you find your shoes?
Can't wait!emili
Duchesse said…
Greying Pixie: I did not get to the hammam at the Mosque of Paris this time, but Le Duc, our son and a friend did, and were delighted (and very very clean).
You can find photos, location and a description of what to expect at

It's great to be back, thanks for your welcome!
Anonymous said…
duchesse, when you say eyewear is huge in Paris, do you mean the actual spectacles are large, or just that they are worn a lot? In London now there is a real shift of trend towards enormous glasses, although it has yet to reach our age group.
Duchesse said…
GP: I mean there are simply more spectacles worn, versus lenses. Eyewear boutiques, like lingerie, nestle on every corner. I visited one of the most-favoured ( Traction) for a friend. The frames were mostly from small to normal. The oversized look is mostly sunglasses and not that prevalent.
Anonymous said…
I missed you! Great post for us, you are the best observer/writer out there. That apartment makes me weep.

I have no qualms about my long unkempt hair now...something should always be left undone and for me it's my hair.

I am glad you are back and want to hear about FOOD!

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