(from French for remembrance or memory)
Paris, one of the world’s great tourist cities; it is easy to find a souvenir
Tourist Shops (prime examples being the Metro Station close to Arc de Triomphe (Charles de Gaulle Etoile) and the “cirque” atop Sacre Couer in Montmartre
Miniature Eiffel Tower souvenirs (in all sizes) usually hawked by an army of salesmen
(too many sharp points, but admittedly a nice tchotchke)
Perfume Shops which are a nice place to visit, especially if they give away free samples, but buy it at the airport on the way home (and-face-it, most perfumes, wines, cheeses, chocolates and candy can be purchased in the USA)
Items which won’t pass through airport security on your return flight such as knifes, corkscrews, containers of liquids over 2 ounces . . .
Church (Gift Shop) for simple key chain fobs, prayer cards and religious mementos
Museum (Gift Shop) for postcards, blank books and art supplies)
Office Supply for unique stationary, pens and journals
A postcard from Paris, with a French postage stamp is a thoughtful gift
It takes some effort – Buy stamps at the airport upon your arrival, Hunt for the perfect postcard over the course of your trip, then Scribble a recent Paris insight (remember to bring a couple of your favorite pens from home)
The shop on the 1st floor of Le Louvre has a great selection of post cards and stationary
Defer most of your shopping for the final day
Be careful about stuffing your suitcase with Souvenirs early in the trip, then lugging them around for the whole week
Consider making your purchases upon departure at the airport
You have to be there early anyway, it saves carting everything around in your suitcase throughout the trip
Duty Free Shops – the jury is still out, whether they are a great deal – probably not
Most Cheeses, Chocolates, Candies and Perfumes are available at the airport
Capes We found some wonderfully cheesy and gaudy capes in discount clothing stores
Coasters Vintage Coasters, Eclectic Postcards and Art Prints are located in the book stalls along the Seine between Notre Dame and Le Louvre
Candy in Paris vending machines is a novelty, if only for French language appearing on the wrapper (we received good reviews for the waffle item)
There is an interesting Nougatine shop on Île Saint-Louis
Labels from Packages of Cheese and Wine Bottles from your Paris picnics
Items from your Hotel: Soaps, Shampoos, Conditioners, Body Wash, Stationary, Teas, etc.
Common Toiletries from Paris Grocery Stores: Stick Deodorants, Lotions,Toothpaste
If you buy lotions, shampoos or eau de toilettes, be aware of the 2 oz airport security rules
(We found 2 oz vials on Amazon, but decided these to be too heavy for packing)
Airline Blankets: we resolve each year to break this snatching habit (though it is our favorite souvenir)
And we are always on the lookout for those cheeses, flavored caramels and liquors which are not available (or possibly illegal) in the United States. This list is short, maybe even a myth, but our eyes are open.
Souvenirs (John Prine)
understandably, a popular name for French restaurants in America
Among the assorted ways to learn a language, one of the most effective is by humiliation and necessity
Picture yourself in a Paris grocery:
Looking for a Fork
Chasing-down someone for a confrontation, where you are under the impression that the louder you say FORK, the better you are understood
Attempting to pantomime a Fork – even using the universal symbol for “Fork”
Utilizing maximum body-language
Only to fail
Some Parisians have a low tolerance for those not speaking French
Which is the beauty of Paris!
Ended-Up stumbling upon a fourchette on my own
donne-moi une fourchette (gimme a Fork)
(le shah morr)
The Dead Cat Le Louvre
According to my Louvre Calendar, Le Chat Mort was acquired in 2003 and at one time “bought from a second-hand dealer who had no idea of the treasure in his hand”
Théodore Géricault (1791 – 1824)
1st Major Work: The Charging Chasseur and the Wounded Cuirassier
Known for: The Raft of the Medusa (1818)
Other areas of specialization:
10 Portraits of the Insane
Still Lives of Severed Heads and Limbs
Anatomy and Action of Horses
Géricault’s Grave at Pere Lachaise
Le Singe Peintre (The Monkey Painter) Le Louvre
Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin French Painter
Chat Assis (Seated Cat) Le Louvre
Dora Maar au Chat (Dora Maar with Cat)
Pablo Picasso (1941)
I can get a good loaf of “French” bread at the local Jewel food store. It’s got a complex taste, elastic crumb and chewy crust. The baguette that I’m thinking of might be from “La Brea” bakery of California – maybe frozen then baked fresh today. We’ve had American wines, cheeses, breads and restaurants comparable to what you might find in France for some time.
“I don’t know what”
The difference is that in Paris, I walk into a boulangerie and request my bread from a French woman who will not permit me to order in English. If I lapse into my native tongue (I blurted: “does that have grains & seeds?” when ordering a pain aux cereales) she commences a squawking – like a wolf has entered the hen house. And I respect it, admire it and pray that it will never change.
This is one of my Parisian simple pleasures. If they could do that at my local Jewel, I wouldn’t need to book the expensive flight to France.
Je ne sais quoi (zheh-naye-say qwah)
Literally: “I don’t know what”
It is the intangible quality that makes Paris distinctive and attractive
Paris Memos (mailing list)
Jim asks us: “i don’t speak the language . . . will that be an issue?”
Yes, it will be an inconvenience – a challenge, but not a disaster. (We did it)
You can get by with 5 – 10 words and phrases
Of course, the more that you learn, the better
And the best way to learn, is to jump in with us . . .
In a recently movie which we enjoy, Juliette Binoche (who is playing a New Yorker) says that her dream vacation would be to somewhere that she doesn’t speak the language.
As a world-wide tourist destination, you might expect everyone to speak English, but there is a focus to preserve the local culture and not compromise.
This is Paris.
And it is impressive.
Which is why we return to Paris.
This said . . . we should learn more french, our Paris trip would so much better if we could speak more French. Some people say it is disrespectful not to learn the language. And they are correct