Monday, May 10, 2010
Non, non, non. After an afternoon spent at Galeries Lafayette, I need therapy, and not the retail sort!
I had completely forgotten not only just how beautiful Galeries Lafayette is, but how BIG! And they recently expanded into the empty Marks & Spencer store next door. I wouldn't even call Galeries Lafayette a store, it's more like a shopping city. Anything and everything, in every price range, you could ever want, dream, imagine, exists there. I still can't decide if it was shopping nirvana or shopping hell!
It's basically a bunch of boutiques in one building. All along the perimeter of each level are the designer boutiques. I had to laugh when I saw the line waiting to get into the Louis Vuitton boutique, there was also a line for the Longchamps boutique, which I haven't quite figured out why yet.
I started at the top and very slowly worked my way down through each floor. And this was just the "Femmes" store! They have another building dedicated to "Hommes," which I'll get to in a minute.
Each level was more beautiful than the next. And having that stained glass dome, right in the center, with a different view on each level just added to the afternoon.
And then I found the shoe level and my head nearly exploded! Shoes of every shape, style, color, height, were everywhere! I couldn't get away fast enough, otherwise, I would need another shoe room, and I'm sure one shoe room per person is quite enough!
I was surprised at how crowded the store was. Packed, is more like it. And they weren't just window shopping. Nearly everyone was carrying a Galeries Lafayette bag. Including myself.
As I made my way down, I discovered that the food hall, similar to Harrod's in London, is in the "Homme" building. So I made my way there, and again, the store was packed! Not with women shopping for their men, with men, shopping for themselves! I've noticed it before here, and I don't think I've ever seen so many men shopping as I have here.
And then I got lost. In a grocery store. In a grocery store that's in a department store.
While the Food Halls at Harrod's are quite stunning, this was OMG! Once again, I was too awed to whip out the camera. It's a food hall. A cheese shop. Patisserie. Boulangerie. Frommagerie. Charcuterie. Fresh fruit and vegetable market. Wine store. Spice Market (my god, the spices alone! All piled up like in North Africa! And every spice imaginable, the display seemed to go on forever!). A dairy case that contained, I swear, over 100 varieties of yogurt. And they come in little glass containers here! Not plastic (ok, some do, but a lot were in glass). And little places to eat along the way. A wine bar. A coffee shop. A Chinese/Japanese/Sushi place. A champagne bar (oh, and there are no less than 3 champagne bars in the store itself, so if you're feeling the need for a pick-me up after buying several new Chanel suits, just plop right down at the Champagne bar, and they'll fix you right up! Not that I would know, but I'm just guessing!) A raw bar. A bar bar. A salad bar (just kidding!).
And the people were shopping for their groceries! Like we do everyday at Heinen's or Giant Eagle or the West Side Market (hahahahaha!) or wherever, but this was Galeries Lafayette! Grocery shopping! Buying apples and lettuce! And yogurt in little glass containers! Sensory overload.
This would be Number 1 on my list of "Places to Get Lost in Paris." At least you know you won't go hungry or thirsty!
Then I made my way to the Opera. It really is a stunning building. I think I overuse the word "stunning," but everything here is just, well, so stunning. And I stopped at the cafe right across from the Opera, planning on having a bite to eat, but when I saw the prices, I knew why people say Paris is expensive! And opted for an 8 euro cup of cafe instead.
Once back on my Butte, I stopped at my favorite bistro, I think it's my favorite bistro because my favorite waitress, Danielle, is always there. Plus, even though it's a bit touristy here, the prices are reasonable.
I treated myself to some steak therapy. Steak au poivre, with the most delicious pepper sauce, and the steak itself was huge, perfectly cooked, and I ate every bit. I still have my chocolate therapy waiting for me for later, pain au chocolat, which is a croissant stuffed with chocolate, which I will savour and I savour a little retail therapy.
After today, I needed a little therapy.