I’ve been shopping. Quelle surprise! In Ottawa. Which probably seems funny since I just came home from a month in France.
Actually, I rarely shop for clothes when we travel. One reason is that I always have a wish list for any particular season; I always know what I want and what I need to go with what I already have. I’m anal about clothes shopping; I rarely buy anything on impulse. And as such, shopping while on a trip, especially an extended trip, usually doesn’t work for me. Oh, sometimes Hubby and I split up for a half day; he does something he wants to do and I go round the shops. We’ve done this in Melbourne and Sydney, and I bought a couple of things, but mostly I just wanted to get an idea of the fashion scene in those cities, especially local designers that we never see in Canada. Another reason I don’t usually shop in strange cities is that I don’t know where to start, which areas might suit me, so a half day will never be enough time. There are other reasons, like suitcase space, and fear of buyer’s remorse when I finally get home and it’s much too far to go to return an item. So unless it’s a dedicated shopping trip (or shopping day) like outlet shopping in Naples, Florida last year, I don’t usually indulge my passion for fashion when Hubby and I travel. At least, I don’t indulge it by buying. But I do look. I love to look at people and in store windows, but mostly at people. And there were a lot of people to look at in Paris when we were there in early May.
I’d been a bit intimidated by what to pack for Paris. I remarked on this in a post in April, that Paris was freaking me out like no other city I had ever visited. The famous Paris fashionista mystique. Thanks to my research and planning, and to lovely reader comments on my posts, though, I felt quite ready for Paris when we finally arrived. Yep. I’d packed jeans (blue, white, cropped, not cropped), a pair of dressy-ish joggers, a raincoat, a windbreaker, a long cardigan, five tee shirts, a sleeveless gingham blouse, a jean jacket, a dressier jacket/blazer, two scarves, one pair of loafers, one pair of flat sandals and sneakers. Some things I wore a lot, some not so much mostly due to weather constraints. Alas, my lovely, new, dressy tank never made it out of the suitcase. But there were a few things that I was really glad I packed.
Like my sneakers. I took this shot the first morning we were in Paris, near our apartment in the Marais. An almost perfectly choreographed arrangement of sneakers. Three different styles, three different colours. Love the cropped black pants in the foreground.
And as I looked at this scene, I glanced down at my red-trimmed Stan Smith Adidas, and said to myself, “I was right on the money with these babies.” They looked right at home on the streets of Paris, those sneakers. And they were super comfortable. I wore them everywhere. On a bridge over the Seine, near Notre-Dame, with my APC striped tee, cropped Citizen of Humanity jeans and my new Helmut Lang blazer.
Or in the Jardin des Tuileries, with my crepe joggers, red Gap tee and my Michael Kors coat. And a scarf, bien sûr.
Or even much later in the trip, in Provence
, with my C of H jeans and striped tee again, and my red Columbia windbreaker, when we picnicked on the beach at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. The mistral winds were whipping up the sand and making white caps on the water. But I can never resist going in the ocean, even if it is only up to my ankles. Even if it is bloody freezing despite being the Mediterranean in the south of France, and not the Atlantic Ocean off Prince Edward Island.
I wore that black and white striped tee-shirt everywhere, as you can see. And my cropped Cof H jeans; these jeans are awesome. They have enough stretch that they never seemed to bag at the knees, and they’re really comfortable.
And my black Helmut Lang jacket turned out to be a winner. With blue jeans, or white jeans, I wore it out for dinner most nights. That is, when we did go out for dinner, which wasn’t all that often given that we stayed in self-catering accommodation much of the time.
And I was seriously glad to have packed my Michael Kors coat, instead of my Gortex jacket. It was more presentable for walking Paris streets and still waterproof enough for the day we waited in line at the Eiffel Tower
, in the rain… and the hail. And warm enough for those days when it was pretty darned windy. Ha. I love this picture. Given its texture and the amount of product in it, my hair does NOT stand on end without some serious provocation, people.
And at the last minute, the day we flew out of Ottawa, I threw my light Columbia windbreaker into my carry-on bag. It was great for walking or hiking, and on those warmer days when I didn’t need a long coat, but a tee shirt wasn’t enough. I left it in the backseat of the car most of the time, just in case I needed it, and I even pulled in on one day over my tee shirt, and jean jacket at a particularly breezy and cool lunch spot. Sometimes those last minute ideas are the best, eh?
Yep. We did a fair amount of people watching in Paris. Sitting in those lovely sidewalk cafes. You know, the ones with the woven seats all lined up to face the street, like the patrons are all watching a film, pretending to talk when really they’re all just sitting there watching Paris walk by. Sitting there people watching we saw lots and lots of scarves. In fact scarves are pretty much de rigueur in Paris. (Readers, you didn’t steer me wrong there.) And neutral palettes with a pop of colour. So I felt right at home in my black and white and denim with a splash of red. And good coats. I wish I had a shot of the iconic Parisian lady of a certain age in her slim tailored pants, sensible heels or chic flats, looped scarf and neatly buttoned coat or blazer. She was everywhere in Paris.
Now, lest you think that I did no shopping at all while we were in France… I must tell you that Hubby and I visited the Marché aux Puces at Saint-Ouen on our last day in Paris. And while there, I did do a little jewellry shopping. The Paris Marché aux Puces was on my list of things I really wanted to do while in France. It was right up there with standing in front of 74 rue Cardinal Lemoine, where Hemingway lived, visiting the Vimy Monument
, and driving one of the iconic mountains the cyclists climb in the Tour de France.
And the flea markets at Saint-Ouen did not disappoint.
And while we were there I bought this little silver and cream vintage brooch. Lovely isn’t it? It looks great on my Helmut Lang jacket, I think.
But, you know, as much as I loved our trip. It felt really good to get home. To see (or just talk to) family and friends after a month away. To catch up on my reading. To have access to my entire closet instead of just my suitcase, to change up my travel purse for my real purse. And do something about my seriously fried hair.
Oh, and meet up for lunch with old friends. And shop a bit, afterwards. This is what I wore earlier this week to do just that. Have lunch with a bunch of ladies with whom I worked for years and who I meet three times a year, for lunch and laughter and catching up. We’re all retired teachers, our group dubbed by one of us the “To Hell With the Bell Lunch Group.” You gotta love that name.
And after lunch, I shopped. A bit. At one of my favourite stores, Green Tree Eco Fashion on Richmond Road in Westboro. And I bought couple of things which may feature in a future post. We’ll see.
I’m not done talking about our trip yet. I still have a couple of travel posts left to do and some really cool places to to tell you about: our drive through the Gorges du Tarn, medieval Figeac, and the Loire Valley. But shopping yesterday made me realize how much in fashion withdrawal I have been. And I just needed to feed the habit, by doing a fashion post. I’m good now….satiated… sort of. And I will really need to do a book post soon. I hardly read when we were away, so I’ve been reading up a storm since we came home.
So much to do. And all the time in the world to do it. Sigh. It’s good to be back home.
What do you miss most when you travel?