Friday, September 22, 2006

Paris when it sizzles

My birthday present from my sister was a weekend in Paris. The hotel was hysterical and brilliant. I found the Hotel Esmerelda on the lonely planet site. The second picture shows the stairway up to our room: the wallpaper is actually sheets of wrapping paper glued on in layers. It was fabulously central (most rooms overlooked Notre Dame, though ours, at forty euro a night, didn't)

My top tip from the weekend was Les Marolles, a district north east of Notre Dame and absolutly gorgeous. The interiors shops and homewares were stunning and the buildings and halal and kosher pizza shops delicious. The only glitch was the area's consciousness of its popularity which resulted in too many signs in French, English and German, which always makes me feel like a tourist and slightly ruins the feelings of discovering a new area that I enjoy most about holidays. It's like seeing a person who's really well dressed strutting around waiting for someone to notice them. It just ruins the aftertaste of an initially eyecatching combination or outfit. Loving my mixed metaphors.

Just around the corner from our hotel was the wonderful Shakespeares Bookstore. A fantastically *Parisian* man sat reading a paper, oblivious, or possibly ignoring, the number of people photographing him looking picture perfect. There was even a woman with a vintage cinecamera shooting him reading. I think Cate trumped the whole unsubtle crowd by snapping a picture of her shooting him. Now that's postmodern...

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