On my way out today, I ran into Jemma, the concereige of my building. Remember this entire conversation takes place in her fast and fluent french and my stumbling and hesitant french.
Jemma: How is your eye?
Me: Oh, it’s fine, thank-you.
Jemma: Your husband did that to you? (a flurry of french – I’m pretty sure she offered to put a curse on him).
Me: No, no! I’m not married.
Jemma: Your boyfriend.
Me: No, not my boyfriend. (I’m frantically trying to think of the word for surgery – I don’t know it.)
Me: Umm…a doctor…
Jemma: Your boyfriend is a doctor?
Me: No…I don’t know…
Jemma: An accident?
Me: Not an accident but (mime cutting)….I’m sorry….(still trying to think of the words for cutting, stitches anything. The problem being I don’t know these words in french so reaching back into the vault of my memory is pointless.)
Jemma: (looks concerned)
Me: Yes, an accident.
Jemma: (muttering as she leaves) Always an accident. It’s always an accident.
So basically she thinks I’m here hiding from an abusive boyfriend. Great. I’ll be really popular now.
Anyways, I had to find a health food store that sold the supplements I need. Naturalia (a chain) has them! Found a few stores and the one in the 1st addroissment was the closest so I thought I would hit Les Halles and a few other places around there. I found it after only a few wrong turns – I really love that area!
I did a quick turn around Les Halles, which is basically a giant mall – 5 floors altogether and 3 of them underground. The outside is gorgeous and has the shmancy shops around it. The rest is basically a bargain basement. Although it did have a few good ones – I love NafNaf and Habitat. The outside is interesting and has a large canopied garden and playground.
The original les halles was a market spot in Paris but it got too crazy with traffic so the city moved it. In the sixties, it was basically a giant hole in the middle of nothing. So those nutty Parisians hired a couple of architects and built Les Halles. It got a bit run down for a bit so to re-energize the area they added the canopy part. It was busy, full of tourists and locals and good place to go if you’re looking for cheap.
Unless you have big feet. I forgot a pair of shoes at home so with my feet a mess a night I thought a cheap pair of flip-flops to chill in. So I went to a Foot Locker (yeah, I know. Les Halles has a Claires too – that cheap crap spreads like wildfire) and found a pair. I asked the guy for a 42 (my European size). He told me they don’t have any and besides size 42 is down there and he points too….the MEN’S section! ( Take a second – recover from your gasp. I did.). I was choked but figured he was an idiot like most 19 year old salesmen (they can’t help it – they’re 19).
So I and found another shoe store. For the first time – someone spoke english to me! But only to tell me that they don’t have size 42 and in “the extreme” (her english is about as good as my french) they have sometimes, a 41. And she apologized. Twice. Because I said, “Are you freaking kidding me?” Poor girl.
And before everyone rushes to post that I should just buy some men’s shoes – fuggedaboudit. A) I am a woman and I only wear woman’s clothing – not juniors, not men’s. 2) the only men’s shoes I could find that weren’t hideous were 70 Euros or higher. I refuse to pay to be humiliated – I do that plenty enough on my own. 3) Go back to A. I’m standing on my high horse now.
After that I went to Palais Royal and enjoyed browsing the uber expensive shoppes – Stella McCartney, I love you. Also some french dude – Deider…something. His stuff was wonderful! He has two stores in Palais Royal (ching-ching) – one devoted entired to black dresses. Deider…you had me at ‘bonjour’. His shoes, bags, everything was fantastic. I couldn’t afford to breathe the air in there but I risked it anyways.
Outside there was an exhibition – an installation piece by Masters of Linen (European Linen group) called Linstallation. I loved it! Inspiring and I’ve been taking notes on projects to do with my students.
The rest of the Palais is a courtyard, a fountain and some small gardens. Lovely. You can see the apartments up above. I kept thinking about Paris real estate. Did you know in Paris you can sell your real estate before you die? Usually only done if you don’t have heirs but possible, nonetheless. For one guy though it backfired. He bought a piece of property from an older woman (she was in her late seventies or eighties) but she outlived him to be the oldest person in France (at the time) until she was 114! I bet the only way those Palais apartments change owners is through a will! Or extremely bad gambling debts (tsk-tsk).
Oh! I almost forgot to mention St. Eustache! A beautiful church (used to be used for beheadings at one point) right by Les Halles. Gothic and lovely inside. Saw the most gorgeous french man walk in just behind me and head for the section with the
Mass. He blessed himself and sat down. What did I do? Well, I noticed (casually, of course) that he wasn’t wearing a wedding ring so I blessed myself and sat down and said 3 decades. Then the hammering from the restoration got to me and I had to leave. He left soon after but now God has seen him and me in the same room…..
I love the statue outside. To put it in perspective – I’d come up to below the nose. It’s called “L’Ecoute”. There is a juxtaposition with the statue and the gothic church but I like it and appreciate it all the same. Also, St. Eustache holds the world’s largest organ. Seriously.
Also, just so you know – cherry and passion fruit Tic-Tacs totally rock.