Spending a part of winter in Paris was how I decided to end 2016. To begin the new year in my beloved “Other” home was a Christmas gift to self. Spending a quiet post holiday experience while it was winter in Paris, would provide the right atmosphere to just be still. Anytime of the year is a good time to consider Paris. Winter in Paris lends itself to moments of unanticipated joy.
This day,in particular, was quite magical. The cool air graced my face and a gentle rain fell. My first stop was at the base of the Basilica Sacre Couer. Like a sugar sculpture standing guard at the top of the hill, the view is one that is quite memorable. One could walk up the steep steps (well worth it on the right day) or take the Funicular – which is like a lift of sorts. This was not part of my mission on this rainy day. I used the Sare Couer as a place to get my bearings. I was on a quest to find beautiful fabrics to bring back home and create a memory.
To coin a phrase, a funny thing happened on the way to the fabric district. The fabric and notion stores are found adjacent to Anvers Metro. I wanted to explore a little and disembarked at Barbes-Rochechouart Metro. It all looked familiar at first. Merchants with everything from clothing to shoes to trinkets lined the streets. Having spare time I wandered aimlessly seeking familiar landmarks. On this day, the familiar landmarks were nowhere to be found. My walking carried me further away from where I wanted to be. I happened upon flowers in front of a store that whispered for me to take a peek. It was such a welcome sight, especially since it was winter in Paris.I needed to pause, so I gingerly turned the door knob and entered.
I was greeted in unison with “Bon Jour Mademoiselle” by the young man who was moving boxes and a sweet voice diligently wrapping a bouquet. I nodded as I embraced the sweet smells, the tasteful vases, and unique Christmas ornaments. It was just enough holiday decor to not overwhelm and more than enough single stems as well as bunches of flowers enticing me to linger.
My French needs a lot of work – seriously – but this gentle young woman worked with me to find what I was looking for. The perfect ornament for a very dear friend.
The smiling Proprietress of Ipomea assisted me graciously. Retrieving my ornament from the window, wrapping it in tissue, and finding the perfect box that would travel well. I explained that I was a gardener writer from America and that her shop was the bright spot on this damp winter day. Even with a small language barrier, we chatted for quite some time about flowers. Her name was Eva Boutolleau and it was a pleasure to meet and spend time with her.
I had to end my visit after getting directions on how to actually get to Anvers and the fabric stores. I cannot think of a better distraction during winter in Paris, than a flower shop like Ipomea. We exchanged business cards and I promised to work on my French before I returned. Turning the wrong way, even with directions, I mentally floated on the memories of my visit to a French flower shop. I like to think that the language of flowers is international. The opportunity to chat with a florist who understood this passion was simply amazing. If you are ever in Paris, Ipomea is worth the wander. Should you choose to wander, be sure to tell Eva I sent you or visit her Facebook page @27CuistineParis18
Twenty minutes later, I finally found what I was looking for….fabrics.
More fabrics….there were, even more, fabrics that made the long journey worth it! The opportunity to touch and feel fabrics that come from some of the better-known design houses is an experience. To afford a remnant is priceless. This year’s bounty included a slice of cashmere, a bit of mohair and a few notions.Each time I go to Paris there are a few things that I just cannot pass up. Fresh flowers to enhance my daily joy, fabric store excursions, The House of Chanel (I just gaze through the window and dream, each and every time)
and the Eiffel Tower. One day I will muster up the courage to actually enter the House of Chanel and ask to touch the staircase. A dream of my youth that will one day become a reality. Coco Chanel was a designer that I admired as I dreamt of becoming a fashion designer. Coco seemed to have chutzpah and a wonderful sense of style. It was my mission to find the apartment of the infamous Coco Chanel. No matter the season, in Paris, dreams can come true. You must be willing to wander and allow Paris to happen to you. During this past winter in Paris, I allowed unanticipated joy to happen.
Winter in Paris is just as exciting as any other season…you just have to be willing to wander. A chosen tour allowed me to wander even more….
(I will be posting several delayed posts. When I returned from Paris, I lost my Best Friend and Garden Buddy. I had to pause as I embraced this life change, however life goes on. Honoring my Father through my words….)by
Wonderful post, you honor your father well. I am sure that you will have more than enough courage this go round to actually step foot into the Chanel House. Very good read.
Thank You…I just might do that!!!!
Eva is my niece, l’am a very proud aunt ????
Bon Jour!!! I would be proud as well. I cannot tell you how lost I was and to see her eyes watching me out of the window and then when I saw the ornament and entered, her smile truly put me at ease. I will most certainly visit with her the next time I am in Paris. It is people like he4r that really make this world a wonderful place in spite of it all!! Reading this has made my day!!!