by Fifi LaMode
I LOVE PARIS—WHO DOESN'T?
5:30 a.m. on a cool April morning—the street cleaners are out, dressed in bright green, amazingly fashionable uniforms that fit just right—these guys looked like models. Only in Paris.
The French are cool. They are born cool. We can't imitate them, shouldn't even try, would look silly because we're not them. Period.
For the Francophile in each of us, here some stuff that's worth buying in France: Designer handbags and shoes (Longchamps, Lacroix, Dior, YSL, etc. roughly 20% cheaper than in NYC, even with the stinky euro exchange rate), and, get this, some of the sale items in the upscale shops on Faubourg St-Honore (YES!! Faubourg St-Honore!) This is a big surprise because the stuff is REALLY REALLY high end and yet they have better sales than you would expect—still pricy compared to Macy's but it's Paris, isn't it? Deal with it and brag when you get home. The whole point of being a 'budget babe' is that you can save money so you can spend it in places like Paris, right? Unlike Milan, the sales people are normal and surprisingly friendly in these ritzy shops. Told you—they're cool.
Also, neighborhood shops have a really good selection of fashionable stuff at reasonable prices (reasonable even by American standards). Blvd. Gen. Jourdan which runs south from the Left Bank all the way to Porte D'Orleans has a large selection of shops. If you get tired along the way hop on a Metro and in 5-10 minutes you're back where you started. It's that simple in Paris. On the Right Bank, facing the Madeleine church (looks like a Greek temple), there's Rue Tronchet, with pricier items, but very nice quality, especially the shoe stores. This is 10 minutes' walk from the Louvre, where, if you go after 4 pm, tickets are cheaper. Same with my favorite, the Musee D'Orsay. Unlike the Louvre, it's a small museum, so if you go after 4, you can see it all for 1/2 price! Such a deal—Really.