Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ménage à trois

Good, got your attention but what I meant to say was Troisième jour à Paris and I know it’s going to be a great day cause today we’re going to Avenue Montaigne, THE place to (window) shop.  At this point, I’m feeling pretty smart about bringing jeans of various sizes and after another breakfast of pain au chocolat, meringue and other treats that I would never allow for back home, I squeeze into my Citizens and we take the métro to our first of many stops that day, Les Puces.  But first, Jacob needs a strawberry from Afif, our landloard and fruit stand proprietor.
This is the most famous flea market in Paris and is located at Porte de Clignancourt, officially called Les Puces de Saint-Ouen but best known as Les Puces (The Fleas). It is the largest antique market in the world, getting up to 180,000 visitors each weekend and on this day, we were 3 of them.
Once you pass all the crap being sold right off the métro stop, there are fantastic stores selling everything from vintage couture and art deco furniture to beautifully merchandised knick knacks of all sorts. The prices are high and shipping is problematic but it’s a must if you’re in Paris over a weekend and love the sights and smells of a foreign bazaar.

We stroll and even go as far as looking into freight costs for a gorgeous Art Deco desk but that never materialized. After a quick lunch and some silly photo fun,

we hop the métro to Charles de Gaulle Etoile and voila, transported to another world and standing right under the Arc de Triomphe, the world's largest triumphal archone and the most famous monument in Paris.

The Arc de Triomphe stands at one end of Avenue des Champs Élysées, in the center of Place Charles de Gaulle and was conceived by Napoleon I to commemorate his military victories. The arch was completed in 1836 and stands 164 ft high with the body of an unknown soldier, killed in World War I, buried beneath.  An eternal flame is revived every evening at 6:30pm.

Once again we were denied the climb to the top due to a strike but we oohed and aahed for a bit, took tons of pictures and began the walk down the Champs Élysées toward the Louvre.  The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is as prestigious as they get and with its many cafés, luxury specialty shops and clipped horse-chestnut trees,
is one of the most famous and expensive streets in the world second only to London's Bond Street and how lucky am I to walk both avenues in 1 week!?

The avenue runs for 1.25 miles through the 8th Arr and we walked the entire way starting from the Place Charles de Gaulle to Place de la Concorde with the Obelisk of Luxor in our view.  A must stop along the way was Ladurée, famous for their delicious and too-gorgeous-to-eat macaroons and since you are not allowed to take pictures inside, my rebel of a husband took tons plus video as we stood in line for close to 30 minutes to buy 9 macaroons for 9.99€…that’s $13 if you’re counting.

They were worth every penny and what’s better; they came in a gorgeous box and bag that I loved totting all over Paris for the rest of the day!

Next stop was the fabulous Avenue Montaigne where I checked out the Roberto Cavalli boutique before walking into the all so grand Plaza Athenee …ahhh, life is good at the Plaza!

The boys gave me space as I daydreamed all up and down what is best known as the "top-flight fashion neighborhood" passing the likes of Bulgari, Christian Dior, Valentino, Henry Winston, Louis Vuitton, Loewe, Dior, Celine, Christian Lacroix, Inès de la Fressange, Escada, Jil Sander, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Joseph and even Calvin Klein.  We ended our journey at Chanel and the place was bursting! Even if I wanted to buy a little something, getting a sales person was next to impossible.

So, sad cause I didn’t make a purchase and a bit happy cause I didn’t make a purchase, we strolled back out to Champs Élysées and proceeded towards the Louvre. Along the way we ate Nutella crepes,
stopped to admire le Grand Palais,
the horses being prepped for the week’s derby
and finally arrived at the opposite end of where we started, Luxor Obelisk.
Situated at the center of the Place de la Concorde, the Egyptian obelisk stands 75 ft. high and is the oldest monument in Paris. It has only been in Paris since the 1800's but is actually over 3000 years old originally as one of a pair that were positioned outside the Luxor Temple.

It was a gorgeous day so we strolled Jardin des Tuileries and found another amazing playground for Jacob to frolic and for us to unwind.

Having decided that we will visit the Louvre on another day and that Jacob has been so great that he deserves another toy, we make our way towards Galeries Lafayette and walk through Place Vendôme, a square in the 1st Arr, located to the north of the Tuileries Gardens.
 The original Vendôme Column at the center of the square was erected by Napoleon I to commemorate the battle of Austerlitz; it was torn down in 1871 and then re-erected and remains a prominent feature on the square today.
With its famous residents and even more famous boutiques, Place Vendôme has been renowned for its fashionable and deluxe hotels such as the Ritz and many famous dress designers have had their salons in the square. It was even a 1998 movie starring Catherine Deneuve and for me, one of the most beautiful squares in Paris and where I decided I could most certainly live!
Wow, who knew it was so difficult to find a toy in Paris but if you’re going to go looking, might as well do it at Galeries Lafayette! By the time we walk in, we all have an agenda and mine is to see as much of this fabulous store as possible. Ladies, forget Saks and Nieman’s, this place parallels only to Harrods and is a shoppers paradise!
We leave Galeries Lafayette empty-handed and decide that it’s time to wind it down and find a place to sit, eat and drink and after zigzagging in and out of the 9th Arr, we arrive in the 2nd and find ourselves on Rue Montorgueil, a trendy street lined with famous restaurants, quaint cafés, bakeries, fish stores, produce stands and cheese, wine and flower shops.  Here is Claude Monet's depiction of La Rue Montorgueil Festivities of June 30th 1878.
The one and only app that seems to be working offline tells me that Rue Montorgueil has become recognized as one of the best places for hip Parisians to socialize and since we’re hip American-wannabe-Parisians, we stay and sit at Café Marie Stuart. The place looks cool and full of what appears to be locals which we love so we stay. One of the chain-smokers tells me that she and the 15+ others are all there celebrating a friend who is visiting from St. Tropez…I love Paris!

We eat lots of great food and drink lots of great wine and by now its past 10pm and so we make our way South towards home which thankfully is not too far and it hits me, our trip is almost over and there is still so much to see and do...oh mon dieu, I’m getting sad and fat!


  1. Well, yeah! It did get my attention! :-)

    Love, love love the pics. The black and whites take such an artistic view of the places. And the pics inside Ladurée! Classic! (I did the same... :-) )... The macaroons look so good! Like they would melt in your mouth!

  2. They were amazing John, can't wait to go back for more of everything!

  3. I will get back... after we do Greece, Rome, and back to Madrid... ;-)

  4. I know, there are just too many amazing places to see! LOVE all the ones you mention esp Greece

  5. ...and this is a very cute pic:



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