Yesterday we did a lot of looking again, this time thinking outside the frame as it were. We were not focused on paintings, but on clothes. My friend and I determined to shop until we dropped.

January is the month the government sets for sales. In Paris now everything is half priced. Given the current exchange rate of 1.3: 1, that just about levels the playing field, but still, a sale by any other name still smells intoxicating. We sallied forth into the day and here’s what I have to report:

For starters, some things never change. Beautiful young French women remain a breed apart: legs like gazelles, hips like young boys, and necks like swans, swaddled as if someone declared a law, in perfectly draped scarves. The effect is at best disarming. At worst, I get a nosebleed from unquenchable envy and resolve to subsist on bread and water for a year. (Ok, hold the bread.)

Some of the best threads in town could be found – you’ll never guess where – at a boutique owned and operated by our Telluride neighbor, Monsieur Ralph Lauren, 173 Boulevard Saint-Germain. The look du jour Chez Ralph is a study of contrasting textures: heavy wool jackets partnered with a sequined camis or flowing chiffon dresses. A wool sweater over a chiffon blouse features a lurex scarf tied at the neck. The western look and the jeans are stashed on the top floor of the chic town home. There we discovered the Indian jewelry, some of it pawn, all of it likely sourced from dealers and shops back in the ‘hood.

Over the course of a very long day, I found the very best treasure at a consignment shop: a pair of brand new red patent leather booties by Burberry for only 300 euros – but they were half a size too big (and several inches too tall). (In the same shop, my friend found an original Sonia Rykiel cape in deep purple merino wool for only 150 euro.) But here’s the bottom line:

When we headed out on our adventure, I had told my partner in crime I would only open my wallet for something unique that screamed “Paris,” a tall order in a global economy. Otherwise I would continue to shop local, remaining loyal to vendors loyal to Telluride Inside… and Out, shops like Two Skirts and Jagged Edge. In the end, “un pull” turned out to be just another sweater. I escaped the feeding frenzy loot intact.

For our last supper in Paris, we chose La Ferrrandaise, 8 rue de Vaugirard in the 6th arr., a fine example of farm to table dining a la francais. The vegetables all came from small growers from the Ile de France; the cheese from nearby producers, and the bread from Jean-Luc Poujouran. Our meal was served with warmth and finesse by our waitress, Letitia, who also spoke impeccable English.

This morning I woke up determined to bag one more museum, a small jewel just blocks away from where we were staying: Musee Eugene Delacroix, 6, rue de Furstenberg The painter moved to that address in 1857 to be closer to the Church of Saint-Sulpice which he was in charge of decorating.

Narratives in Delacroix’s incomparable canvases were formed entirely by flamboyant color, not line, delivered in fluid brushstrokes. Small wonder the next generation of great painters known as the Impressionists worshipped at the artist’s feet.

Following Delacroix’s death, in 1932, painters Paul Signac and Maurice Denis helped form the Society of Eugene Delacroix to prevent the destruction of his studio for a parking garage. Since 2004, the Delacroix Museum has been attached to the Louvre.

I write this as I sit on the fast train heading for Geneva, then on to Mejeve, to hang out at another friend’s chalet.The picture postcard scene outside my window features verdant hills peppered with rural farms and salted with sheep. Golden light is dispersed in the afternoon mist. Time marches backward.

Au revoir boeuf tartare. Bonjour raclette.

1 Comment
  • Courtney
    Posted at 10:21h, 14 January

    Hello Susan,
    I’ve enjoyed being with you (virtually) on your galavant through Paris. One of my favorite cities in the world! We had the pleasure to be there last summer and I never, ever tire of it…

    Enjoy Switzerland — looking forward to more fun posts.