Today’s blog is a special treat for us, because it was written by a guest blogger, Lori B. Carter, who was a “camper” on our last Paris Shopping Trip. Be sure to read Lori’s wonderful descriptions and her cute writing and we think you’ll agree with us that it’s just delicious!
By Lori Carter
Yvette: “Would you be interested in a buying trip to Paris?” said the text. My 50th birthday had just passed and my present was supposed to be a stamp on my passport. These trips rarely happen since my husband is not a big traveler. So, to feed the creative beast in Ocean Springs, Mississippi where we now reside, I curated a five location pop-up art show of my photography to celebrate the bittersweet event. For me, it was time to put some adventure into an otherwise simple life. It took me about a day to decide to sign up for the excursion which I fondly refer to as SHOP-A-PALOOZA. In the design center of the universe – Paris. Brilliant idea, this shopping trip to Paris. I was pinching myself, do people really do this?
Week by week friends and sisters jumped on the trip. The twelve of us really did not know each other. I knew Yvette through the friendship of our husbands, and Paula was my big sister in Tri-Delt at L.S.U. and Linda is my sister. But, I just trusted that the group would have fun. I signed up for a trip to a country and sponsored by a fine art gallery, neither of which I had visited, organized by four women I had never even spoken to. “Oh, heck, I’m sure they are nice people,” I thought, so I called them up and paid for the trip.
We met on the balcony of the Margaux Paris apartment across the Rue, so close to the Eiffel Tower, we felt we could touch it. As I looked out over the Avenue de la Bourdonnais, centuries of guillotines, revolutions, poets, philosophers, monarchs, spoiled queens and dictators played out in my head. Photographers call it “a sense of place.”.
With champagne glasses clinking, everyone was happy to be there and … to shop. That was our mission and we were ready for the public transportation expedition and the treasure hunt.
Of course, she would never lie to me, so I ran to the ATM and purchased that fancy little Manteau. (I will add that my attempts to converse with the merchants in my rusty French, resulted in significant discounts and lagniappe – a little something extra. Although, I never asked for a discount.)
The college French classes seemed like they happened in another lifetime and my memory was put through its paces at the markets. However, our encounters with the French merchants were pleasant and fun. The Huff Harrington crew had our backs and were promptly at our side when summoned. A sense of confidence set in and we were prepared for the challenge.
Le Petit Navire in the giant Puces Clingancourt which is located in the rather unglamorous transportation district of Paris, was delightfully quaint. At the time, I thought it was perfectly normal that this little hole in the wall would serve delicious French Faire, and perfectly matched red, white and rose’ wine. Now that I am home I am especially impressed that this place with a hole in the floor for a toilette was especially fine at keeping the champagne buckets loaded and glasses full.
The Mesdames of Shopdom: Huff Harrington
The Huff Harrington hostesses had the trip under control and we could just enjoy ourselves.
Ann was the mastermind behind the scenes. She was in charge of the business details. She overlooked the group with her watchful eye and made sure we never ran out of rose’, white and red. Attentive to our needs and the consummate hostess, she possessed a special knack for making champagne appear at the appropriate moments.
Meg, was the cheerful old pro who taps into her worldly experiences accompanied by a down-to-earth knowledge of the lay of the land of Paris to make her guests feel at home in a very different culture. She was always ready with a funny story and bravely led us through the mazes of the metro, the markets and the menus.
Linda was our galpal who just flat-out gets Paris and where we are in the whole picture. She dragged us about with everything you might need in her giant bottomless magic Lonchamp bag. You’re lost? Need a key? Want a haircut? Looking for an electrical converter? Call Linda. She also speaks terrific French and ain’t afraid to sport that crazy draped rockstar style.
Allison is the dear friend of the Baton Rouge contingency on the trip. Her eye for detail and nurturing nature helped us choose the items that spoke to us, the most. She was the invaluable liaison.
Promising myself that I would return made the departure a little easier to take. I still have to ride the Ferris Wheel.”
We hope you enjoyed this delicious snippet from our guest writer, Lori. Our format didn’t let us publish the whole blog, so for the total treat, you can visit Lori’s own blog, Gulf Coast Beauty.
And to Lori, thank you! It was so fun to relive our time with the lovely ladies of Louisiana (and Ohio and North Carolina!). We hope you keep your promise to return to Paris, and we’d love to have you join us on another trip! The Ferris Wheel beckons …
P.S. If you’re feathering a nest or shopping for a client, or you are just drawn to the irresistible appeal of French flea markets, then join us this September for our fall Shopping Trip to Paris. Visit our website or call us for more information at 404.257.0511. Like Lori, we love to talk about it!