Cross posted on pinayfrancophile.blog.com
Alan teases me about my “tiangge” (flea market) purchases from Paris. I have to admit that despite the power of my American Express, I held back on shopping, reminding myself I didin’t go to Paris to shop til I drop. So despite visiting Galleries Lafayette and the Printemps branch next door in the Opera area, the most I did was purchase a few goodies to take home from the Galleries Lafayette food court.
There were a few good buys that I simply couldn’t resist. I purchased 3 scarves/shawls I found on a sidewalk booth in the middle of a freezing winter night in the area of Place St. Augustine where Boulevard Malesherbes and Boulevard Hausmann meet, going for 3 for Euro 5.00 or Euro 2.00 each. (Of course I got three!) I purchased two different shades of the same weave and a third in a different design. It was one of those itinerant vendors who set up shop and would be gone after a few hours. Alan and I were walking to dinner in the neighborhood and he patiently waited for me to take my pick amongst the mountain of scarves all strewn about on a huge area.
The next day, I browsed the stalls on the periphery of the Galleries Lafayette and I actually found a stall selling thin cotton knit turtleneck sweaters for just Euro 5.00 each. (It seems to be the magic number!)
On the Rue de Berri where our hotel was located, I found a bargain store just beside the Cascades Cafe on the corner of Champs-Elysees called Cote a Cote and I got a mock turtleneck sweater for Euro 5.00 again. I could’ve shopped for more and would have loved to go from store to store at Mont Martre, but I was quickly reminded about my lack of space in the limited luggage I had and the prospect of having to carry whatever I bought for the rest of the day was enough incentive not to go and wade through the bargains. (Next time, I will go to Montmartre specifically to shop and I will bring my shopping tote.)
So while I didn’t leave Paris with a Louis Vuitton bag, I did take home my share of Paris goods. Next time, though, I know what I will get and I know I will be going there using a bigger suitcase.
The biggest hurdle to shopping of course remains to be the weak dollar against the very strong Euro. At the end of the day, you stop calculating and just try to charge it all to having a good time in the City of Lights. I promised myself I would try to confine my expenses to $200 (roughly Euro 150), and I ended up spending twice as much if not more — but still, I wouldn’t give anything for the smile I saw on my mom’s face when I handed her the rosary from the Sacre Couer in a lovely green, her favorite color. I know my siblings back in Manila enjoyed the Ferrero DUPLO I sent them (which I didn’t even get to taste but which I knew would be a big hit with my niece, Audrey), and I am happy with my scarves and my sweater blouses.
I didn’t come home with the usual keychains and other souvenirs (only because Alan had already bought a small Eiffel tower model on his first trip and the required magnet for his magnet collection), but I left Paris with a bagful of memories and more. But what I plan to get the next time around is another post altogether.