It’s grey and miserable outside, even though it’s 13°, but with winter sales starting tomorrow, the spring windows have already appeared. I thought I’d try and cheer myself up by visiting some of the clothing shops in the Palais Royal.
But I was disappointed. Just look at this one. I’m stunned that anyone should choose to dress their window using such ugly mutts. But then I’m not really a dog lover. I used to be. When I was a kid, we had a half-corgi (the other half jumped the fence as my mother used to say) called Taffy whom I adored. I used to take him for long walks after school and talk to him in French. Unfortunately he developed heart worm, which is often the way in the tropics. One afternoon, I came home from uni. My parents were sitting under the honeysuckle trellis in the back yard looking very forlorn. “Taffy has to be put down (what a euphemism!). We’re not up to it so you and DrummerBrother have to take him to the vet.” Oh great! Ever obedient, we carried him sorrowfully to the car. I cried the whole way there and the whole way back. Funny how neither DrummerBrother or I have ever had a pet while ActorBrother (who was probably off catching snakes) has always had a dog …
Well, enough about dogs. I then walked down the other end of the gallery to see what Stella McCartney had to show. I really don’t think her windows are any better. The clothes are not even very attractive. However, I love the effect caused by the reflection of the fences along the Palais Royal. It’s not until you take the photo that you can actually see them. Seriously, would you be tempted to buy that dress on the right? And how come the dummies don’t have heads? The one in the picture above is bald. I don’t think that’s particularly seductive either!
The other window isn’t that much better. I suppose it’s a little more colourful but that’s about all. This isn’t your bottom of the range stuff. We’re looking at 700 euros for a dress and 350 for a pair of trousers. It’s not as bad as Jérôme Huillier admittedly. I didn’t even bother taking photos of their window. It all looks completely synthetic to me. I should console myself with the fact that I’m not tempted to buy anything! Except one of those little black dresses in La Petite Robe Noire, but they’re completely out of my market.
I’ll wait until the sales frenzy dies down before I go and do a bit of shopping somewhere else.
Don’t forget to subscribe to new posts – that way you’ll get them directly on your smart phone or in your mail box!
And there he was, just hanging out the window of the Louvre with absolutely no one taking any notice of him, up to some monkey business no doubt.
And today, I walked past Stella McCartney’s shop in the Palais Royal and the dummies had lost their heads (not to mention the reflection of the gallery gates on their torsos).
At Place de l’Etoile the other night, I came across a huge Christmas cracker!
At Halloween, Miss Bibi had the most intriguing little man sitting on a pumpkin.
And get this statue walking through a gallery on the Champs Elysees looking like the Invisible Man!
Where else but Paris?
Ow! that was loud! I always forget. At 12 noon every Wednesday, the time cannon in the Palais Royal gardens goes off. Initially installed in 1786 on the Paris meridian by a clockmaker called Rousseau who had a shop on one side of the gardens, it would go off at exactly midday on sunny days. The simple mechanism was ingenious. A fuse under a small magnifying glass was sparked by the sun’s rays. At the time, it was used to adjust all the clocks in Paris. It was stolen in 1998 but was eventually replaced and has been working again since the beginning of the year. Sadly, it doesn’t have the magnifying glass system anymore and doesn’t depend on the weather.
There are lots of other surprising things in the Palais Royal galeries. All sorts of interesting boutiques. One day I even saw a fur coat made of teddy bears! Today, the shops are very chic, with Stella McCartney and La Petite Robe Noire (but where would I wear a little black dress ?), Delage and Corto Moltedo, all way over my price range of course.
In the galerie Beaujolais, there’s a shop that sells ribbons for medals. You know, decorative medals like the legion of honour. It’s next to another speciality shop called Le Magasin à l’Oriental, opened in 1818, a real Ali Baba’s cave that sells pipes and other things of that ilk. In the Galerie Montpensier on the other side, there’s a beautiful toy shop with the most wonderful collection of dolls and wooden toys. And just opposite, a shop called Anna Joliet that sells hand-painted music boxes. You can pick your box and pick your music. Mine plays the theme from Doctor Zhivago. L’Escalier d’Argent, run by madame Danou Jacquard, possesses a unique collection of over a hundred men’s vests made out of 18th century-inspired fabric and tailored according to the period of Louis XVI. It also sells silver jewellery.
But my favourite is Miss Bibi. L’Escalier d’Argent used to have a tiny showroom in the Galerie Valois with a dusty collection of bow ties. One day, we saw they had taken everything out and were redoing it. The sign came down and after a while we saw them putting in a sort of shadow box. It was hard to imagine what sort of shop it could be, it’s literally about two metres square. But it’s turned into an increasingly popular jewellery store called Miss Bibi. “Bibi” is short for “bibelot” or knick-knack. But it’s the clever window dressing that attracts the customers. The shadow box with its tiny shelves fills up almost the entire window and the jewellery, “inspired by the world of childhood and nostalgia”, is displayed on miniature items of furniture and little houses and other original items. I didn’t believe for one minute it could work but it’s always full. At 50 to 200 euros apiece, maybe it’s the only shop in the Palais Royal that’s affordable for most people.
Don’t forgot to sign up and receive the latest posts in your mail box or on your smart phone!