Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Keeping the colours new

Ah, the French grocer! Whoever organised this fruit display gets my vote as packer-of-the-year. Everything in it's place, everything inviting and useful .

There is no competition for the worst packer in the world - I win hands-down, at least as far as luggage is concerned.  I obsess about it for weeks, make lists, sort through scores of garments, pack far too much and end up wearing about a third of the things I've brought with me.

This trip was no exception, although I'm invoking the Ignorant Southern Hemisphere Resident clause because the weather in Paris was remarkably mild. I'd anticipated temperatures of zero, frozen fountains and maybe even a little snow. Instead I got sun I could actually feel and an average of about 7 or 8 degrees most days.

So packing my thermal underwear was a waste of human endeavour.  The things that weren't bad ideas include two pairs of genius Banana Republic legging-jegging things, Old Navy Sweetheart jeans, two black Mimco dresses, a black and red silk tunic that follows me around the world and the arm warmers I buy from a talented knitting lady in Tasmania.

The other great thing I packed was a copy of Annabel Sims books An Hour from Paris. If you're going to Paris for a longer stay or a return visit, I recommend you grab a copy and take a few of her suggested trips. You'll be surprised and delighted like I was when I visited Conflans-Ste Honorine, a sleepy little suburb dozing by the Seine, and about twenty five minutes on the metro from the centre of Paris.

We were welcome with open arms by the locals.

It's a lovely walk from the station along the Seine into the centre of the town. Who knew so many Parisians lived on boats? Here they are, lined up carefully along the river's edge. 

Each was beautifully decorated. Some had gardens, others had pets. I'm wondering if I shouldn't re-think my new home options. 

Unless of course I find a place with a well. 

*The pea coat as per my last post
*The scarf as per my last post
*Excellent Banana Republic leggings-jeggings things in black
*A black woollen tunic from Witchery (it's there, I promise you)
*Warm soft socks I bought in San Francisco last year (again, trust me on this)
*Palladium boots which you also see more of. 

And the town was delightful. You walk up the hill and before you know it you're touching the ragged remains of a tenth century fort. 

On this day, like most of our days in Paris, we packed a cheese-ham baguette lunch and bought some fruit off the market stall in town. My theory is that if you economise on the smaller things you can go entirely mental in the flea markets and boutiques. 

Another thing I did in Paris was read a lot of French magazines. Here's a shocking fact: French Elle is $27 in Australia. I paw over the airmail copies in a local newsagent every fortnight but won't pay that money to basically look at the pictures. This grieves me, for the fashion layouts are fabulous. Needless to say, I snapped up as many copies as I could while I was there. 

Tonight though, I sat down with a pile of American magazines and a pack of Twizzlers I found hidden in the cupboard and devoured both greedily. Although I love robes and chemises and French magazines, it was nice in some ways to be back in the land of dresses and shirts. 

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