Wednesday, September 10, 2008

BONHEUR...

I am back in London and it's cold and raining - just the usual. I feel completely wiped out (though I was fine in Paris) and strangely disorientated - I keep getting confused about which day it is or what time. I meant to post from Paris and go SURPRISE! to convey my excitement at being there after almost a year. But the internet cafe where I had 3 hours credit had closed down and then I got sort of sidetracked...

Paris was lovely, of course how could it be anything else. The warm sun didn't hurt and the fact that it was La Rentree - the first week in September when everyone is back from vacances all tanned and relaxed, eager to catch up with friends. That Times article? Completely unfounded. I have never seen the restaurants and cafes so lively, including Monday lunchtime. I am starting to suspect there is a conspiracy in London to plant articles saying life in Paris is not good, or for the BBC weather to say it's raining in Paris when it clearly isn't, so as to avert a mass exodus. It is so close, it would be so easy to just up and move there, wouldn't it...

Onwards to the expansion.

1. Naomi litters streets of Paris
They were handing out those YSL Manifesto things at the weekend and people kept taking them, glancing briefly at them and just throwing them on the ground. So Naomi was trampled on by all and sundry which I thought was quite funny. Taste of your own medicine, love?

2. The kids are hip(per than thou)
OK I need to switch these two round. First:

3. Cafe Charlot: Convenient and convivial

Since I stay about a minute's walk away from Cafe Charlot it was all I could do to stop myself from going there three times a day. I thought it was going to be much more posey and stuck up, although all the fashiony people are in New York so that probably made a difference. But it was so nice, casual and noisy, relaxed - and thankfully open non stop all day until 2am (I think) so you don't have to worry if you have problems adhering to the rigid French mealtime structure.

If you sit outside there is a strong chance you'll look like you're posing, especially as you'll be staring directly at - and will be stared at by the customers of Cafe du Marche (also new-ish) across the street where the resolutely "normal" people go. (I have ALL the rue Charlot gossip/scandale but I'll save that.) Anyway, I was surprised how mixed Cafe Charlot was (including the toilets! Urinal next to the sink - that is just wrong) no, but really, the waiters were really friendly and I sat next to an older French lady with lacquered maroon hair, then a couple of trendy Italian girls, then a table of six converse and jeans wearing friends, then a father with his daughter who was doing colouring on the placemat. Oh yes, the children...

2. The kids are hip(per than thou)

You know how at Isabel Marant and APC they have childrens' clothes that are basically the same, just smaller? And you know how Paris Vogue has an Enfant supplement? And how French childrens' clothing is generally the most beautiful you'll ever find? At Cafe Charlot and around the 3rd, I started to notice little mini hipsters. Really young kids of five or six, girls wearing say, a greige cashmere sweater, totally understated chic all the way - and little boys in stripey sweaters with mussed up hair, distressed skinny leather biker jackets, jeans and converse. They looked like shrunken models.
I wouldn't have been that surprised if they'd sparked up a couple of Marlboro Lights and ordered a Pastis. I was torn between jealousy (if they're this chic now, imagine by the time they're grown up) and feeling that kids should be allowed to be kids, demand to wear one green sock and one purple sock kind of thing. You have your whole life to blend in and wear greige.


4. Sessun: Tres reasonable prices, paid for slightly avec quality, still bought two pairs boots, a totally cute duffel jacket and a jumper. So far.
The tiny Sessun shop was mobbed on a Saturday, they could barely keep the clothes on the rails. You'd see something, go back to pick it up and it was gone. That's how I ended up clutching two pairs of boots to my chest for half an hour. I really wanted the boots with a heel in navy, but they didn't have them so I bought the brown ones and decided to get out of the madness of the shop and go to the Sessun bit at Le Bon Marche where in the four minutes before closing I bought the flat version of the boots in navy, a fitted navy sweater with a belt and a navy duffel jacket; which will be so perfect for an English winter when it starts raining sideways and I'll grumpily put the hood up and skulk around kicking leaves.

I was able to buy all this because the prices are much lower than you'd expect, which is great but there's a price to pay - I think it's that some of the fabrics aren't quite the quality you want. There is something with the quality that just isn't quite there which I hate to say as I love the design, the cut, the whole vibe of it. I have more to say on Sessun, with pictures. And the malfunctioning boots deserve a story of their own.

5. Vogue Paris: Alt + Daria = Bonheur
Self explanatory. I decided to wait until I was in Paris to buy it and it was sold out in the first three places I tried. Daria is pretty much the only current model I like and Alt, well Alt is, I have no words, she's the best.

*Look, I feel bad. Lots of those words above should have accents of some kind and I really couldn't be bothered to look up how to insert them on this keyboard. Sorry France.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

well done indeed...!!! oh but i know what you mean about the children being fabulously dressed (my cousin always takes me to the "normal" places where les Parisiens hang out and live...and once we sat in a park and and these kids where dressed better than we were....)
nancy

Bombay Beauty said...

Lovely post --

Yes, this is what I miss about London, that in a short train ride you can enter such a different world.

I suppose it's also true going between Boston and NY, but not really in the same way.

If I were you, I would settle in Paris, and then if I were still you I would warmly welcome your friend BB for lengthy stays....

BB

Lola Is Beauty said...

nancy - I was sitting there thinking: those kids are better dressed than anyone I've ever met!

BB - Somehow it is heightened by not having gone for so long and then having only a quick immersion. I feel like I have jetlag...but I may just take your advice! of course it'd be the size of a cupboard and you'd have to stay in a shoebox.

lazydisco said...

i want to know about the rue charlot gossip! is it about "star academy" moving in?? :)

apricot tea. said...

I adore your blog; this was beautifully written. You make it sound so enchanting (which I'm sure that it is). I can only dream of going to Paris someday, & reading your words helped me get a glimpse of it that much more.

=]

Lola Is Beauty said...

Mselle K: Shhhh!

Apricot Tea: Merci very beaucoup...

Stephanie said...

Don't you just love les petits enfants parisiens? They act like it is nothing. Image my surprise when the eight year old of a family I got to know while living in Paris was sticking her nose up at all things unfashionable. She was the perfect little french snob complete with knee high boots, leggings, miniskirt, and little cashmere sweater, like you said (obviously this was back when leggings were in). Needless to say, I knew we would be best friends instantly.

It's good to hear about Paris... hope to hear more!

erica said...

thanks for the sessun review. i was wondering whether the quality was worth tracking it down.

as for the greige bebes, i would love for my children to look like that. perhaps they will when they're really young and have no say. but at a certain point, if they want to wear pink polkadots everything, so be it.

paola said...

But how do they get their children into greige?

My daughter turns her nose up (which means refuses to wear without crying)anything which isn't 'colourful' or 'red', preferably with extra sequins.

Lola Is Beauty said...

Paola: I think that means your daughter is completely healthy! The Parisian tots seemed to be rocking the greige cashmere as if that was what they chose to wear...I didn't understand it at all. I guess they want to imitate their cool mamans?