Yep, here we go again. Save the date on your calendar, here comes Art Basel Hong Kong right around the corner. Art Basel has a pretty good spread across the globe at this point, of course the annual in Basel Switzerland itself, the somewhat iconic although over rated Art Basel in Miami for all of […]
Paris is, of course, world-renowned for its shopping. I’ll admit, though, that I’ve never been much into shopping as a hobby in its own right; for me, it’s more of a necessity that can occasionally be fun under the right circumstances.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I found myself irresistibly drawn to the allure of window-shopping in Paris. It was entirely unintentional, and I had only intended to walk from one place to another, but the window displays along the way were so compelling that I nearly forgot where I was going. Something I’ve been accused of in other beautiful French or any European town.
Eventually, I saw the perfect piece. It was a warm dove grey shade, made of wool so soft and fine you’d never think wool could possibly be scratchy, and cut in a way that combined the flattering fit of a perfect coat with the elegance of an understated cape. It wasn’t until I saw the $5,000 euro price tag that its spell was broken.
Since then, I’ve satisfied my occasional Parisian shopping urges by joining all the other tourists along the banks of the Seine. Here, the bouquinistes — booksellers who focus on antique books, but often also branch out into old posters, fliers, pamphlets, and other ephemera — ply their trade in stalls that are immediately recognizable in many paintings of Parisian street scenes.
If you’re lucky enough to be there at the right time, you’ll have the street almost to yourself. As you browse through the offerings, so evocative of another world and time, it becomes clear why these stalls are so alluring. They offer a glimpse into not only one past version of Paris, but rather all its best eras.
Find yourself a good book, and then maybe a stop for that most memorable hot chocolate a wonderful way to spend the day.