Friday, 6 November 2009

J's Visit Part 2: Shopping in Style and Dancing Without It

Poor J. She had been in Paris for less than ten hours when I insisted that she came shopping with me on the Champs Elysées. What kind of girl does that to her friend?

In fact, although it sounds like the ultimate in girly fun, we had a specific and extremely challenging mission: to buy jeans for me. A couple of years ago in Debenhams, I found the one pair of jeans that has ever truly fit me. I bought 2 pairs and wore them non- stop until I ripped one falling off my bike the other day. I was down to one pair of jeans in my life and had to contemplate the truly dreadful: finding another pair. The trouble is...well there are lots of troubles. No clothes designer in the world seems to understand that someone with a fat butt like me can also have a 27 inch waist. They also don't seem to realise that showing your butt crack is not attractive. On anybody.

We had some culture first, with a climb up the Arc de Triomphe, where we were seriously impressed by the exhibition that let you see pictures of all the carvings on the arch by turning a little model and looking at a screen. We gazed at the Place de l'Etoile roundabout until our heads spun, trying to figure out the rules for traffic. Then we watched some breakdancers on the Champs Elysées. Then it was time for the shops.

I found a nice looking pair of jeans in Benetton, with a long button fly that suggested a nice high waist. It turned out they were mens' ones that had accidentally been put in the ladies' department. (I did get a perfectly fitting pair of black trousers though – are people who wear jeans just supposed to be a different shape from people who wear smart clothes?) H&M was useless. Promod was useless. In Zara, I picked out so many pairs I could barely carry them, then abandoned them all in the changing rooms, much to the disgust of the sales assistant. Finally, we got to Gap and a miracle occurred. There was a pair that fitted. With a belt, admittedly, but they fitted!

Given the slightly baggy waist on my new jeans, it seemed appropriate to head for the chocolate shop next (It's called something Jadis and is just off the main street). We drooled over sensuously scented delights before treating ourselves to a tiny bar wrapped in silver paper each, which was more or less all we could afford.

After that we walked past all the designer shops and tried to spot celebrities in the cars with blacked out windows that were illegally parked all over the place, before arriving at the foot of the Eiffel tower for a glass of wine on the Café de Seine, which is almost a proper boat and which has a surprisingly cheap self-service restaurant on it.

For dinner, we went to the Latin quarter and were enticed into a Greek restaurant by an entirely resistible man who nevertheless seemed to be pulling in the punters. In between the courses of our reasonable- for- the -price meal, we were more or less obliged to dance in a tiny space next to the counter, “encouraged” by a professional dancer who looked and acted far more German (think the Nazis in 'Allo 'Allo) than Greek.

By the time we had danced in a Latin bar and been pointed in the direction of a strip club by a French gentleman, we were late enough to once again get the night bus home. This was Friday night and it was loud, but we were sleepy, so we slept, in preparation for another busy day on Saturday.

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