Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Shopping in Paris and My Meeting with a Hedgehog

*WARNING: I talk about buying lingerie, nothing scandalous, but if that makes you feel uncomfortable, skip down to paragraph three.*  

Today was a free day.  No work.  No deadlines.  No plans.  Except for the fact that I wanted to go lingerie shopping, for kicks and giggles.  Did you know that the bra was actually invented by Hermione Cadolle back in 1889, right here in Paris, where I live?  Yup.  True story.  It gets even better, though.  The store she opened to sell her lovely underthings is still open and run by her daughter down the expensive Rue Cambon.  I went there today with Danielle, a lovely au pair living just two train stops down from me.  We gazed through the window, commenting on the beautiful bras in the display, and wishing we had the courage to go in to see what else was there.  Unfortunately, neither of us had the guts.  I've decided that I will take my mother there when she comes to visit.  We will get all dressed up, perhaps even make an appointment, and go to where the beginning of boob containment began.  It should be quiet fun.

Although I didn't buy any of Madam Cadolle's underthings, Danielle and I did happen upon a most wonderful lingerie shop in the HUMONGOUS mall of La Defense.  They had the most outrageous bras and underwear I have ever seen.  Victoria Secret has nothing, and I do mean nothing, on the regular lingerie stores of Paris.  And the prices where lovely as well, a definite plus on a student/au pair budget.  I've never matched my underthings before, mainly because I've never thought of this as important, but today I own my first two pairs of matching bra and underwear.  I think the French are getting to me, as they consider what you wear underneath your clothes as almost as important as what you wear over your underclothes. 

Danielle and I, after walking through the insanely expensive Le Bon Marche where one could have a budget of 2,000 euros and still only leave with four items, separated ways as she does a cross-fit training group by Gare d'Austerlitz.  I made my way towards Musee d'Orsay and then on to the Louvre where I was stopped by a gentleman who required assistance.  Ever since arriving here in France I have been asked, including this last time, at least eight times by French people for help.  I have learned now to patiently wait until they are done and then ask, "Parlez vous anglais?"  Sometimes I can help, sometimes I cannot.  But I swear, I must have a sign on my back or forehead that is just inviting people to ask me for assistance.  In French.  I will get back to the gentleman in a later post as I have some things to write about the men of France.

After walking what felt like 10 miles I finally reached Quatre Malais, a cute little area that I believe is mainly known for its huge population of Jewish people.  All I know is that I saw a ton of those awesome little Jewish caps and big black beards.  The reason I wanted to go there today is because there is an adorable little shop called "Lollipops" that I have been meaning to revisit for a particular pair of shoes.  My hopes were that they would be on sale.  Unfortunately, the store is closed due to construction/maintenance on the building in which it is located.  Quatre Malais is a fairly old and cultural area and thus the maintenance. 

Meandering back to the Saint-Paul Metro station I stopped and bought a snack.  The sun was beginning to make its way to the horizon and the April clouds were making a temporary sunset retreat, lighting up the sky with full spring colors.  I made my way back to La Celle Saint Cloud and hurriedly walked through the forest to our domain.  It was still light out but the sun had already set, which made me slightly nervous being by myself walking the small path through our park like domain.  And then I saw a round, dark, large spot off to the side of the path, something that looked quiet like an animal.  I slowed down and allowed my eyes some time to adjust, and there before my eyes was a sweet, very still, hedgehog.  Oh, my goodness, could my night have gotten any better?  The moon, a crescent in the light blue sky, hung above me with the north star shining bright beside it.  The air around me was fresh from the downpour from earlier in the day, and the blossoms on the trees where letting off that sweet scent of spring.  And I was crouched down but less than a foot away from a prickly little friend who's steady and unfrightened breathing I could see.  Today was a good day, Madam Cadolle and all.

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