Thursday, 17 January 2013

Galeries Lafayette

JUST BEFORE YOU START READING - free download of My Grandfather's Eyes on 24 25 26 Jan.  If you like psychological drama/mystery/suspense don't miss this one!

I don't like shopping.

All that getting out of and into clothes in a cramped cubicle that smells of cheesy feet and whose curtain is designed never to close properly. Then, looking in a mirror specially lit to show off your most undesirable features.  (And, in January, there is no chance of a bit of a tan to take the edge off the corned-beef look.)

I remember the worst days in Cambridge.  Rain.  Cold.  Coats, hats, scarves, gloves, umbrellas.  Catastrophe.  I was exhausted before I had even disputed the sizing on my first item with the invariably pretty, young and disaffected sales assistant, who would rather have died than go looking for a size 12.

By ten o'clock the tea and cake bell was ringing in my ear and I would grab my equally bored friend and seek out the nearest place to make ourselves feel better by the power of the 'oh-my-God-how-many-calories?/I-don't-care!' school of thought.

Here in France I have found that the world of shopping is less cruel now that I have reached an age where I have enough credibility to hold a number of store cards and enough will-power to eat (fairly) healthily and go swimming three times a week.

My favourite store is Galeries Lafayette, which boasts four floors of very good quality produce that, at present, is heavily discounted in the Winter sales ('soldes'). I find that I take on a distinctly refined persona as I push open the heavy glass doors and nod to the uniformed doorman.  Outside, I am a once-upon-a-time-glamorous-beauty-turned-slightly-raggedy-mother-and-wine-drinking housewife, but inside I am 'A-votre-service Madame!'

I don't have a hard time wondering which I prefer for an hour or two on a Wednesday afternoon, just before the kids get back and demand doughnuts and adequately chilled milk.

I make my selections and load my stylish shoulder bag. The changing rooms are large, lit to flatter, and perfumed with a fragrance of your choice. I choose Chanel No. 5. There are no queues, no limits on items you can take in with you and easy access to a reassuringly lumpy assistant if you need a bigger or (rarely) a smaller size.  Bliss.

What is more, ninety per cent of the stock that was full price the week before, is in the sale.  It's not just a careworn rail of things rejected by previous fashion-conscious customers who wouldn't be seen dead in the dress you are measuring up against yourself because it is the least offensive item you can find amongst the other items which have been tried on and/or scooped up from the floor so many times that they are a shadow of their former mediocrity.  Mais non!

I still don't like shopping.

But I don't like it much, much less in Galeries Lafayette.


  1. Aw.. yiu need to go shopping with me!! Failing that, I will shop for you!!! I'm practically Olympic standard now!! Lovely post - and I've been to Galeries Lafayette.

  2. Enjoyed that! Have you seen Sara Milliken on TV? She does hillarious stand-up comedy about shopping for clothes (amongst other things). She says she overheard a woman talking to a friend: "I've ballooned to a size 8." Sara's facial expression after she'd said that was a joy to behold!
    Take care!

  3. Hi. Me again. I wanted to follow your blog by email, but couldn't find a button to click. Is there one somewhere? Maybe I'm having a senior moment here!

    1. Hi JJ. I've added the email facility and a couple of other things too. Thanks to you for giving me a gentle push.

  4. Thanks for visiting, JJ. I'll look into making my blog more interactive. Sure it's not too difficult. If you feel like checking back in a couple of weeks I'll try to have it sorted.
    I think Sara Milliken is a very funny lady, too.