Sunday, April 26, 2015

Just When You Think You Know Her…….

Just when you think you know her…………..

Paris surprises you.  Yes, I said “her,” even though I know that in French the word “Paris” is masculine, as in le tout Paris, n’est-ce pas?  But, for me, Paris is a woman. 

She is a woman who wraps herself in her own style, a style she has developed and perfected over the centuries, a style that promises more than it gives.   Paris knows exactly who she is and what she wants, but she will never tell you; you must figure it out on your own, and that’s why you will never tire of her, because………. 

Just when you think you have her figured out, you haven’t. 

Paris in the Rain by Christophe Jacrot

I thought I knew the rainy skies and chilly mornings of April in Paris, but she surprised me. 

She gave me warm, sunny afternoons and cloudless skies.  Even the famously dyspeptic Parisiens fell under the spell of her bright blue skies.  The gorgeous weather was the talk of le tout Paris the whole time we were there.    

Portrait of Nancy Cunard by Barbara Ker Seymer

And what about that famous mine d’enterrement, the default position of the Parisian face?  Was it my imagination or did I see tiny crinkles of a smile from time to time? 
Or, perhaps, it was just the sun in my eyes.  The light in Paris on a sunny day is truly dazzling.  Skyscrapers in New York block out the light even on the sunniest of days, but in Paris, with its building height limit of 160 feet in the central area of the City, the sunlight floods everything from the grands boulevards to the tiniest rues and ruelles. 

And so, although I had packed a little of this and a little of that, I didn’t have enough of what I needed to be comfortable in an unseasonably warm April in Paris. 
Fortunately, there was an H&M within steps of our hotel on the Champs-Elysées.  We usually stay in the Porte Maillot area of the city, which is quieter and more residential than the bustling, touristy 8ème arrondissement, but we were here to cheer on a friend running in the Paris Marathon, and the starting gate was right in front of our hotel. 

So, as les époux went off to explore the Musée de l’Armée at Les Invalides, les épouses did a little shopping.  

I bought three adorable chics mais pas chers little tops at H&M. 


This over-sized, pale pink top was light as air to wear. 

I actually wore it several times, tucked into a denim skirt or loose and flowy, as above, over skinny jeans.  That light, cotton sweater came off by late morning.  This is the only picture you’ll see of me on this trip.  Did I mention that I hate having my picture taken? 



The version I bought of this blouse was in a pale sage green with black polka dots.  The material has a lovely, silky feel to it.  I wore it with a cropped, black sweater vest with white buttons.   

This was my favorite of the three I purchased.  It is navy blue with tiny polka dots.  A small ruffle at the top and butterfly sleeves made it literally go with everything from jeans to a dressy skirt. 
Are you sensing a theme here?  Yes, whether big and bold or discreet and petite, the perennial spring favorite, les pois (polka dots), were everywhere on the streets of Paris.  I adore polka dots.  They are young and fun and they make me think of the light and airy dotted swiss dresses of my childhood.   It’s a timeless fashion trend that anyone can wear.  Depending on the size of the dots, you can pair them with solids and with other patterns.  It’s all in the proportions. 
The older I get the smaller the world seems to get.  Last weekend I am in Paris sipping a Kir at Fouquet’s on the Champs-Elysées, and this weekend I am in Manhattan enjoying a Prosecco at Il Corso on 55th Street. 
Paris and New York -- my perfect pairing -- Paris...all woman -- discreet and mysterious -- and New York...all man – loud, aggressive and overflowing with restless energy.  I would not be complete without them.  One has my heart and the other my soul. 
More thoughts on Paris in my follow-up piece:  "More Thoughts on My Petit Séjour à Paris"


  1. Great post, Marie-Thérèse (as usual). I love polka dots, too...(they are my only exception to wearing plain colors the rest of the time). Bisous, Patrizia.

    1. So glad you enjoyed this post, Patrizia. I knew it would speak to you in a Parisian voice, what American's refer to as their "inside" voice.

      Unfortunately, I couldn't find the time to take in that wonderful Italian jewelry exhibit that you told us about in your Blog -- hélas, too much to do, too little time to do it.

      Bisous, M-T

  2. Nice tops however I might need a bit more sleeve on the bottom one.

    1. You know the Golden Rule -- "Try it On" -- you never know. It might surprise you. In any case, that pink top would look lovely on you. I don't normally wear pink, but this pink was so pale, almost flesh-toned, and was surprisingly flattering on me. You see? Sometimes it pays to follow the Golden Rule.

      Next time I'm in Paris, we'll make a point of getting together at least for an aperitif.

      Cheers, M-T

  3. Dearest Marie-Thérèse,
    That is a very lovely story about your feelings for Paris and you are so right about it. It can be very tricky at times to pack the right clothes but one can always buy something additional as you so perfectly managed.
    I'm fortunate for having another closet with all season garments at my dear friend's home in the Old World. That makes it real easy for packing up!
    Sending you hugs and love,

    1. How fortunate you are, ma chère Mariette, to have a closet in the Old World. I know you share my feelings for Paris. Do you, also, enjoy New York as I do?

      Big bisous, M-T

    2. Need to go back another time for getting it to know better... Sure, it attracts as a world city!

    3. Yes, do come back and let me know when you and Pieter will be in the Big Apple.

      Much love and hugs, M-T

  4. Love the way you described Paris. How I would love to go (I was there for a few days when I was 14, but that hardly counts!). Paris/New York, sounds so glam to this midwesterner! Love the tops you found.

    1. It sounds as if you are definitely overdue for a return visit to Paris. This is the perfect time to go. The dollar is quite robust at the moment. I'm still a bit jet lagged and have just finished the umpteenth load of laundry. Dirty clothes do not take a vacation even when we do.

      I plan to hop over for a visit to your wonderful Blog very soon -- lots to catch up on, I'm sure.

      Cheers, M-T


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