Couture Lunacy

Exploring Fashion One Thread At A Time


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I have no idea why I am so strangely drawn to France and particularly, Paris. We travelled to Paris in 1997 from Detroit, MI. Detroit is a hell of a lot different from Paris!

We only had 5 days and I had to beg my husband for that. I sold an enormous amount of quilts at auction to pay for the trip and give us spending money. When I told him we were a go for Paris – he said nah you and the kid go and I’ll stay home. Such a drip.

He went. He sweated on the plane and started drinking immediately. When we got there our room wasn’t ready for check-in. I was pissed. I was also tired.

After we got our room and slept a bit we took off for Printemps. The stained glass roof in the cafe is unbelievable. We have nothing like that here. The closest you can get is Marshall Fields and that’s not even close. We ate, we had “coffee” which was some kind of espresso and we started walking. We walked all the way to The Louvre and then figured out we had no idea how to get back to our hotel. None.

We had metro passes so we got on the metro. We landed at the right metro stop but took the exit to Rue St. Denis instead of Rue de Poissonne. Eee Gads. We walked all over looking for something familiar. We got into the red light district with these women standing outside. I had no clue what they were doing until they started shilling for the husband AND son. Good God. I was shocked. Here I was walking with them and these whores had the nerve to solicit my SON and my husband. The husband was fine – take him – please – but my son? I almost killed some whores that night.

DH said we had to find the pharmacy because he remembered that. Well the pharmacies are all over and have the same green plus sign sign. Hmm. The one I went into nobody spoke English. Oh what the hell. So off we go again and by this time I am so pissed off at the old man I could kill him. I tell him we need to get a cab and he takes off running across an eight-lane road and almost gets killed. Now I start to cry thinking that I would have to scrape his body off the pavement – no somebody else could do that.

Finally my hysteria impresses even he. He gets it – might have been the slap upside his head. Anyway we get a cab. I tell them we’re at Le Horset – which I pronounce Horsay. The cab driver corrects me telling me it should be pronounced HORSET. F***ck it I say just drive there. It was two blocks away. It cost 3 francs or some other minimal amount.

We had another fun experience when DS decided to tie his shoe and not follow his dad in a department store. DH gets all bent out of shape that he’s lost DS. So we start looking for him in this 7 story store. I ask to have him paged. They will do this in French. Well he doesn’t speak French – they won’t speak English – although they can – I offer to do it for them – they refuse. I start screaming after an hour of looking for the idiot. I find him – we leave the store – jeez it was like being in Canada.

On the good memory side we went to Souleaido and I bought tons of fabric. The clerks thought I was nuts. I was. We looked at antique American quilts they were selling an another shop – I wanted provincial quilts. We went to Sennelier for pastels and another art store on the Left Bank for a model of a hand and an easel and other stuff.

We ate at a diner in the neighborhood of our hotel. DH drank so much wine he was barking at the dogs. Ha! This did not impress his son who took his wine away. I had to threaten him not to speak as we went into the hotel. God know what would have come out.

We went to the Louvre one day – wow that’s a lot of stuff to see in one day. We couldn’t do it all. We went to the Eiffel Tower without DS as he wanted to rest and we looked at antique shops near there. We went to Sacre Coeur for mass on Sunday and I loved it – I’m not Catholic although DH was before he divorced twice and got kicked out. We saw Notre Dame and there weren’t any tourists there – it was November and wonderful gray cloudy weather but warm. I had taken a coat and layers and I needed none of them. I will never travel with that much luggage again although it was handy for the fabric I bought!

We ate at a cafe with a market across the street. The guys had hot dogs and I had an omelet. We also got supper and took it home at the McDonald’s right across from the diner we ate at. One nice thing about McDonalds is that you feel at home right away. It was good food that made us feel we were back home. Some of the French food was really odd – like the raw ham and the “steak”.

We went to the Arc de Triomphe but it wasn’t that much fun. We got off at the wrong metro stop and had to walk underground for what seemed like 10 miles. We took the kid back to see the Eiffel Tower at night and I bought some French home decorating magazines – which I still have.

I bought a Limoges perfume bottle in the shape of a chair with a kitty on it for my friend and a Souleaido scarf for another friend’s birthday. I won the birthday best present award that year. We ate that night at a crepe bar – kid chose goat cheese on toast and couldn’t stomach it – but he ate his crepe!

We flew home in the morning and flew over the icebergs and glaciers of Greenland. There was a tiny little fisherman in a boat in the cold water. The glaciers were fantastic. We got back to Detroit and had to fight with ahem Detroit’s Arab population to get a place on the van to go to our parking lot. We got shoved and shoved until I about brutally attacked someone. Shove me around – no – in my country – no. Ha I felt like I was French.

I am going back to Paris. This time probably alone – maybe with DS if he wants to go. I want to stay longer and see more. I want to smell the chocolate streets and the coffee and the rising bread. I want to be in Paris.


Author: Jennifer

I came from a family who made things. My father was a carpenter with a passion for making furniture. My mother sewed, crocheted, cooked and made a home on a shoestring. My grandmothers both quilted. As a teenager, I found batik through a wonderful art teacher who allowed me the freedom to batik yards of fabric. I then cut them up into a pattern and wore the item I made. I was ecstatic. I painted in my teens and twenties and my parents gracefully supplied me with oil paints and turpentine. When I needed an easel, my father took me to the shop where he worked and made me one. When he found unused and unwanted canvas, he brought it home and stretched it for me with wood from his shop at home. I was indulged at every step of the way. I wasn't ever told that I could not do something or that I should not do something. I was given freedom to chose my path in life. A blessed life I have lived, for sure.

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