The “Grands Magasins”…Ad Nauseum

How many people do you think would spend an entire day shopping in Paris, only to come home with absolutely nothing?  If you answered “none,” you’re wrong.  The correct response is actually two, now that Chloe and I have returned home from a day of failing to find things to buy – for her in particular. I saw a bag that I almost bought, but got cold feet.  I may have to rectify that tomorrow.

Our day was reminiscent of the hours we spent at the mall in 2007 to buy Chloe a holiday dress.  With a few essential exceptions.  Today we were in Paris, France and not in Paramus, NJ, and even though the weather was miserable, at least we were in Paris. Back in 2007, we eventually found two dresses she liked; today, we found nothing.

But that’s ok, because we had an adventure.  The best way to explain our adventure is to indicate on a map the different places we visited.  The second best way is to list the Parisian monuments we admired along the route:  la Tour St. Jacques, l’Hotel de Ville, Opera Garnier and the Madeleine church, decked out in flowers.  Below is a mere excerpt of the aforementioned map; to truly appreciate the magnitude of our travels, you’ll need to click on the link underneath the map for a larger view.

Before you jump to any conclusions, no, we did not accomplish all of this on foot.  We used buses and subways as well.  Which leads me to another thing I love about Paris.  No matter where you find yourself in the city, you will always find a bus to take you somewhere you’d like to go.


We went to three different department stores, hoping to find something special for Chloe to bring home. We started our quest by taking the bus and then the subway to the Bon Marche, the store where my husband and I had our wedding registry 17 years ago.  It’s a much fancier place now.  Chloe was intimidated by the “do not dare lay your filthy paws on all the white decor,” so we didn’t stay long.

From there, we took the subway to Les Halles, in the hope that we’d find Chloe’s treasure there.  No luck.  After that brief visit, we had lunch and walked to BHV, a department store that is much more casual and sells everything.  Like a high-end Sears.  No luck.

We then decided to take a break from department stores, and I took Chloe to visit the 19th century galleries near the Rue Montmartre.


It was in the Passage des Panoramas that we met Cosette Dion, a woman who opened Hemingbird, a store/studio where she makes beautiful collectible boxes to order.  She encouraged Chloe to continue doing her arts & crafts (Chloe showed her one of her duct tape wallets) because you just never know where life will lead.

Afterwards, we walked to the Galeries Lafayette, which was packed with tourists.  Packed. It was our last-ditch effort to find something for Chloe to buy (she’s incredibly choosy when it comes to spending her own money…).   I did learn one thing, however.  The Galeries Lafayette offers restrooms for tourists, with lines and lines of people waiting.  But if you speak French like a Frenchie, the salespeople will direct you to the hidden restrooms, which are empty.

We’d just about had it after that circus, so we met up with Papa and Sophie for dinner.  Tomorrow is our last day.  The weather looks like it will cooperate, which means that we should be able to spend more time in the little shops. The little shops are way cooler anyway.  And I am confident that Chloe will hit the jackpot because she’s persistent.  After all, the fruit doesn’t fall far the tree.

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