Tuesday the 29th, we are late risers after the bus trip and toil to a little coffee shop down the street where we indulge in great french coffee, carrot cake and pain aux chocolate. After this we wander the streets admiring the stores and their contents though nothing is a bargain unless you want some tourist tat: a glowing Tour Eiffel, t-shirts, hats, etc.
We head to the Champs Elysee via the Metro, walking and watching. They are packing up the Christmas market and preparing for new years eve which we are told is crazy on the Champs. We still have to figure out where to watch the light show, from there, the Tower or up the hill in Montmartre perhaps. Knowing us we’ll be in bed asleep the crazy nighthawks we are.
The Champs Elysee is fascinating, from the cobbled surface, to the Arc de Triomph standing proudly at the top, the stores ranging from Cartier and Louis Vuitton through the occasional tourist store (not sure how they afford the rent), some great restaurants and a veritable mass of people. The people flow up and down the street in search of whatever it is they want, the tourists taking pictures trying to capture the essence of the street which is impossible. The locals using the street as a passage to their next appointment or, for the lucky few, some shopping. Shopping here is high end stuff and so we see the elegant man in his black velour jacket and trousers, stark white shirt and narrow black tie carrying bags from a fashion store of which I didn’t recognise the name… there are too many to keep track of here. We also saw the lady walking her small dog whilst wearing a full length fur or faux fur coat. As it is Paris I would think it is real…quite a surreal moment in this day and age but this is Paris. On the other end of the fashion spectrum we also saw hot pants with suede ankle boots connected by black patterned hose, an interesting choice with the cold wet weather for the guy in question… I kid, it was a girl and she carried it off pretty well except for the tiptoeing through the muddy market. But in Paris you do what you must when you make your fashion statement.
And perhaps you are asking what my statement was, well with limited choice I threw together an ensemble I like to call clean jeans and t-shirt which, considering the limits of my wardrobe sans baggage, I carried off magnificently. I blended with the Parisiennes like a fish doing backstroke. Magnifique but odd.
More soon from your foreign correspondent as he labours in the Elysian Fields.