Tuesday, August 03, 2010

THINGS I BOUGHT (AND DIDN'T BUY) IN PARIS...

I think the way I relate to Paris has changed after so many years of going there. I didn't so much as sniff a macaron. I am just going to come out and say it: I'm not very interested in macarons anymore. There.

But two hours after arriving, which conveniently coincided with lunch time, I sat in a very normal cafe, in a very quiet back street. I ate an excellent lunch of pork loin with beans, drank a glass of wine, then had some fromage blanc with honey. And I observed many other people doing the same, except they all had coffee as well. Eating lunch, taking their time, most of them with work colleagues, no phones, no laptops, just lunch. Savoured. Conversation flowing. And a single waiter who got everything right, who was doing that dance of cutting bread, bringing orders, pouring wine and never missing a beat. And I felt very grateful that there are still cities in the world where ordinary people can do that, and that I could do it too. I had to wipe away a little tear. It always wallops me right in the soul somehow when I see the Parisian daily lunch in full swing. I had one of those moments where I felt really really happy and sad as well - exactly like her (right at the end. I wasn't a huge fan of much of Paris Je T'Aime, but that last segment by Alexander Payne is genius.) I found I didn't want anything much except a coffee sitting at a terrasse in the morning, a good lunch every day, to meet up with friends and to amble around. All accomplished.

 So this time I didn't go crazy at Isabel Marant or Vanessa Bruno or APC - even though it was the second markdown in the sales. What I actually bought was: 1 bougainvillea plant + a bonus free gardenia plant, 3 linen pillowcases from Merci (2 dark grey, one blue/grey) (I will buy the duvet cover when I've remortgaged my flat and sold that superfluous second kidney), 1 notebook, 2 Petit Marsellais liquid soaps, 1 bottle of Crealine H20 cleanser to keep me going. And that's it. Here is the much blathered about (by me) bed linen section at Merci, and my pillows...
I share these last three unremarkable photos taken at Merci for one reason only. How come a different man wearing khaki trousers and a shirt got into each of them? Strange...

15 comments:

sarah said...

that segment always hits me in the gut as well.
it's that kind of simply living that i hope to do as much of as i possibly can.

Bombay Beauty said...

This makes so much sense to me. Italy was/is my most regular continental stop, and I used to bring back quite a few things which I was sure I needed. I'm sure I still do need those things, but it makes so much more sense to savor while you're there, and then walk home with light luggage and a full mind (ahem, and perhaps belly in my case...) BB

Bombay Beauty said...

P.S. It might be because I go to Paris much less often than you, but I'm not over macarons yet. Last time I was in Paris, a year ago or so, I had to blinker myself to avoid the temptation. So impossibly colored, yet the taste still somehow exactly matches those wild and delicate colors. BB

TLC said...

I love Merci, it has such a wonderful calm and luxurious feel to the place.

If Jane said...

yep i have to follow bb...i'm not over macarons yet (actually i just prefer food outside of north america)...and IM, VB and APC we don't readily have here...so when i am in france, i get excited. although sadly the bensimon running shoes...kinda went dry for me when you could buy them at UO for 20 clams.
but i am over the moon with the linen cases you got from merci...oh man! and what gorgeous colours! ;))

Stephanie said...

beautiful post, and I really like those pillowcases! Domestic luxuries excite me now.

Rose said...

I fear macaroons are going to suffer from overkill as cupcakes did before them- which is a shame as I'm not done with them yet. I still really, really can't go near the Pierre Herme counter in Selfridges because if I buy a box I can't not eat them all. at once.

I am longing for Paris now. It's so funny, when I first went I really wasn't sure I got it but ever since it's been complete love.

July Stars said...

Next time you're in Paris, please visit Sadaharu Aoki and sample the Matcha macaroon. I can guarantee that it will revive your passion (but you will forget about Ladurée forever)... It is incredible. I also recently bought some green tea and milk jam: the most heavenly concoction in the world!
By the way, why don't you come back to the world of Twitter? Bisous

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

Oh, I just realised I've been over macarons since the Pierre Herme counter opened in Selfridges. They're so readily available I don't need to wait for Paris, so the allure is lost. I mean I wouldn't reject one if it was offered, just not beating a path to rue Bonaparte. Oh and there was the unfortunate incident when I was given a box of stale Laduree macs, I think they'd been in there for 2 months...

I never liked the ones at Laduree - sort of gritty and too strong flavoured but yes, I had a Matcha macaron, not at Sadahuru Aoki but at Toraya and it was yum. Must go to SA though...

JS - not sure about Twitter - I may delve in again just to see...

nina said...

I love this so much! made me so homesick for Paris! For me heaven is sitting in a Cafe in Paris watching People while drinking a coffee and having a croissant. Simple but perfect.

anna said...

we must have been in Paris at the same time...you went to all the places I planned to get to for the last part of the week, but my best friend and I got waylaid by three days of culture overload and took to eating and chatting a lot and drinking a few verres du vin in between. Musee Rodin and Merci for me next time! Still, I managed to make it to APC surplus and to F. Malle EDP so not too shabby! The pillowcases look beautiful.

montmarte said...

the linens you picked up are beautiful.

ashley said...

That last piece in Paris Je t'aime is my absolute favorite and so beautiful. People watching in Parisien restaurants is endlessly entertaining :) and one of my favorite pastimes when I am there, and mulling over a long lunch is such a lovely luxury!

Alexandra said...

Merci will be my first stop when I move there in September. I'm so looking forward to sitting in cafes for hours on end just watching the world go by (although I'm sure that's just my own romanticised fantasy of what life will be like there!)

http://herribbonsandherbows.blogspot.com/

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

Alexandra - oh just KILL ME with your moving to Paris in September! (No, it actually will be like that.)