Saturday, 8 September 2012

Are Parisians really that chic?

Are Parisians chic?  I had hoped to say a definite YES after my recent trip to Paris to celebrate my 65th birthday, but I think I may have to sit on the fence on this one.  In their favour, the percentage of elegant women (and men) in Paris was probably higher than in most cities.  It was low-key chic in most instances, with stylish touches like a casually tied scarf or a classy bag rather than the edgy fashion that you see in London for example.  Staff in hotels, restaurants and shops seemed more smartly dressed than in other cities and I would like to dispel one myth about Parisians: the vast majority were very friendly and helpful.

I managed to restrain myself in the Parisian shops - though I could easily have spent a small fortune! - helped by the fact that I received some lovely birthday presents from my family.  I had deliberately brought an expandable suitcase, but I managed to fit in the two short-sleeved tops I bought from J. Riu and the long-sleeved matelot top that I bought from Monoprix without needing to expand the case.

There were plenty of fashion horrors to be seen on the streets of Paris, mostly worn by English-speaking tourists I'm afraid: the British and Americans were equally guilty in this respect.  However John spotted a man wearing a casual jacket with brown shorts and long brown socks who was clearly French, as the British equivalent would have been wearing white socks.  I also spotted a Frenchwoman in a floaty white dress that would have looked far better on someone thirty years younger.  The words "mouton" and "agneau" sprang to mind.  Many younger Parisians would have looked equally at home wandering around London rather than Paris, though they still had that "je ne sais quoi".  I also saw some incredibly chic women on the Metro and in the shops, which is fairly rare in London: I only wish that I had been cheeky enough to take photos of them to post on here!

I tried not to stand out as a tourist by wearing what I hoped were suitably restrained outfits, though I'm sure any self-respecting Parisian femme wouldn't have been deceived!  Below, I'm sitting in the sunshine in a Parisian park, trying not to look too much like a tourist.

Me, trying to look like a Parisian!

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