Champs-Elysées or Chump Elysées

Yesterday (Tuesday) was another full day for James and I. We spent the morning leisurely enjoying breakfast and then went on a long walk down the Champs-Élysées starting at the Arc de Triomphe where I witnessed a minor car crash. The driving around that arc is insane. I was mesmerized and then *bang* two cars collided. No one was hurt. We wandered down the avenue and through the “golden triangle” admiring all of the fashion houses. It is amazing how much wealth exists in this city! The street was beautiful and so were the stores. I couldn’t help but have some moments of introspection, though, as we would pass beggars on the street outside of such high and lofty establishments.

Our walk continued and we stopped in a few stores. I am not sure why, but every store we went into looked like a tornado had gone through with crowds of shoppers vying for space. Literally tons of people frantically shopping to very loud dance music. At one point two women edged me out of the way of a mirror I was trying to use to try on some shoes. I had to give up and move on. Also, every store we were in had a constant “beep beep beep beep” of an alarm going off the entire time. Add to that the sound of the unbearable euro trance blasting out of the speakers and you had two very cranky Fishwicks exiting the store. We did find some super great clothing, though!

After we were done shopping we chose a cafe to eat lunch outside. The food was delicious but the waiter was very brusque with me. We had ordered a bottle of filtered water (by accident) and were halfway through it. James was also drinking a glass of wine. I was just placing my bottle of water on the table for a minute while I was rifling through my bag to find my sunglasses. The waiter rudely moved my water bottle off of the table and practically slammed it down on a stool next to me! I know that could have happened at home…but it just felt weird. It seems like I keep making these mistakes.

We’ve had a great experience in Paris…but A LOT of the time I get the feeling that I have to walk on egg shells in this city. I’ve been told not to take a photo (at the fleas—OK probably shouldn’t have done that but it was really something that would’ve been fine in the US), today we weren’t allowed to sit against a certain wall in the Louvre but there were no signs saying otherwise and people were sitting two feet away from our spot and it was OK. I don’t know the language so I’m trying to overcompensate for that, etc etc. I’ve also been bumping into people / things left and right. I really do feel like an awkward American!! This morning it was really awful. We went into a small patisserie for breakfast and as we usually do, ordered in French. Typically things go alright. Today they didn’t. The language barrier created an awkward start. Finally it was understood that we were to sit down and order food in a separate room rather than at the counter. As we rounded the corner into the small dining area in this tiny little place I slammed right into one of the cafe tables where an older couple was eating. I turned around to say “pardonne-moi” to see two very kind smiling faces say “It’s OK”. But because I was looking at them as I stepped forward, I banged my head on a very low staircase. SO embarrassing.

Breakfast was very good, albeit we both decided that we’ve maxed out our capacity for bread, bread and…more bread…but more info on tonight’s dinner from James in the next post.

Back to yesterday: After shopping we headed down to the GORGEOUS Jardin des Tuileries. It was beautiful. We stopped at a really lovely fountain on the way in and took some photographs. After meandering through the garden we decided to check out Printemps which is a high end department store. It was sort of like a Tyson’s galleria but smaller scale and way more expensive. They even sold designer toilet paper!Afterwords we headed up the street to find the H&M. While we were standing at a stoplight about to cross the street a woman pulled up on her bike next to me. I looked over and realized it was Garance Doré!! I am a huge fan of hers. I looked at her, starstruck, and she noticed me looking. I opened my mouth to say hello but completely froze. I turned to James and said “Garance Doré is RIGHT next to me!!” He looked over. I am pretty sure she saw that I recognized her and when I turned back towards her, she gave a small smile. Then she maneuvered her bike around the crowd and disappeared down the street. She was looking very chic in a long skirt, oxfords, and a sweatshirt. I noticed that she was wearing a very beautiful ring. I am still bummed that I didn’t say “hi’ at least…but c’est la vie. At least I didn’t do something idiotic like ask for an autograph or a photo. I know it was her and I’m really glad to have seen her.

All in all it was a really amazing day. We came home afterwords and I IM’d Margaret and Emily immediately to tell them about the day. We cooked some food at this awesome apartment and went to bed early so we could get up and over to the Louvre early…

2 comments on “Champs-Elysées or Chump Elysées

  1. Margaret September 22, 2010 10:22 pm

    Awh, chin up, chin up! It’ll be ok. Before you know it, you guys will be fluent, and know all of the ins and outs!I am really enjoying the spectacular “of the moment” photos. Thank you so much for allowing all of us to peer into your travel journal. It’s so fun.BTW, la blouse noir et blanc from H&M… love it

    • Steph September 23, 2010 3:57 pm

      Today was MUCH much better than yesterday. Thanks for your sweet comment!! We’re going to post about yesterday and today in a few minutes…

      And yes, the blouse is from H&M. Isn’t it awesome?? I bought two different blouses from there that I am excited to wear this fall. Very french.

Leave a Reply