Traveling was something I had not done in over 15 years. That was 3 years ago.
One day a good friend of mine and I were talking about purchasing ourselves a Louis Vuitton purse, (a luxury we owed ourselves after many years of working). Out of the blue she exclaimed, “Let’s go buy it directly from Paris”. Crazy as it sounded, I immediately replied “YES!”
Ah, April in Paris, a dream come true!
When I was married my husband and I talked about going to Paris for our 25th wedding anniversary. But when the time came, I had no interest to go.
We arrived on a beautiful sunny spring day. The trees were in bloom. The boutique hotel was elegant with excellent service and hospitality. It was situated in the Champs-Élysée district. The concierge greeted us and asked us to follow him to the sitting room while our rooms were being prepared and offered us refreshments.
Once settled in our rooms and freshened up we made our way to the Louis Vuitton store. It was a block away so we walked there. The security guard at the door welcomed us and a Sales person took charge of us after we finished exploring the store. We were seated at a counter and they offered us champagne or any other refreshment we desired. While we sipped our champagne the salesperson, put on a pair of black cotton gloves then proceeded to show us all of the bags we wished to see. I remember asking myself, “am I really in Paris sipping champagne at the Louis Vuitton store”? It was surreal!
The days that followed were about shopping and dining in fine restaurants with the occasional afternoon stop at a café for croissants or a Parisian ham and cheese sandwich in a crispy baguette. The French waiters were very engaging and enjoyed serving us.
The next major designer purchase was a pair of shoes from Christian Louboutin, well known for his famous red soles. We both bought a pair of sling backs with golden studs, which we wore that evening for supper at the rooftop restaurant, the Kong, (featured on one of the Sex and the City episodes).
On one of the rainy days, we visted the Musée d’Orsay the home of the well known masterpieces such as Monet, Degas, Van Gogh. Near the end of our tour of the museum, my friend and I had been admiring a sculpture when a gentleman behind us, a Parisian, engaged us in conversation. He introduced himself as Jean Francois and asked where we were from. He told us that he enjoyed visiting the museums, “a good place to meet women”, he said. We laughed. He offered to take us to visit le Palais Royal on the Saturday. We had agreed to meet outside a metro station. It had been raining on and off, that day; it was not a pleasant day to sightsee. I had a chance to stop at la Maison Fabre to buy myself some beautiful lamb skin gloves lined in silk. Later we stopped off at a cafe for some refreshments.
Jean Francois was in his early forties, recently divorced with a small child. He was infatuated with my friend. While enjoying our refreshments and small talk he received an urgent call from his babysitter. His child had taken a tumble; he needed to get home immediately. He ran off. My friend and I both looked at each other perplexed. When we realized that he had not paid for his coffee we laughed. Later that evening Jean Francois messaged my friend to apologize for his sudden departure and told her that his child had no serious injuries.
Going to Paris and living it in style was indeed one for the bucket list.