Travel
Comments 51

Six Days in Paris: Day Three

Day three of our Parisian vacation was pure magic for me.

Have you read the book or seen the TV movie called Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris? It’s a sweet little novel by Paul Gallico which was published in 1958 in the UK, about a London house maid (charwoman) who, after seeing a client’s Dior haute-couture dresses, becomes determined to own a Dior dress of her own. I empathized with the passion that springs up in Mrs. Harris after seeing Mr. Dior’s handmade confections. I’ve had a life-long love (this word doesn’t seem adequate for the fiery emotion) for fashion and often feel transported to some other exciting, ethereal world when watching the videos of fashion’s reigning kings and queens, such as Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino and Raf Simons for Dior. I’m a modest girl from Utah, though. I was raised by practical, hardworking parents, and the thought of owning Chanel of my own is not a thought I entertained… until I became infected by the Mrs.-‘Arris bug! Mrs. Harris’ determination to own Dior ignited something in me. If a determined charwoman who was far more strapped for cash than me could put her mind to saving for a great dream, then so could I. And, that’s just what I did for over a year, in preparation for our trip to Paris.

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Something that I thought about often leading up to day three of our trip, just as Mrs. Harris had, was what does one wear when visiting the house of one of fashion’s greatest? Don’t laugh (too hard), but yes, I did google, “What should one wear when shopping at Chanel?” Interestingly, I learned that a Harvard study had found that women who dressed casually in, say, exercise wear, were treated better than those who arrived dressed to the nines in the best designer goods that their closets had to offer. This caused me more distress than relief. I don’t wear workout apparel to the grocery store… why in the world would I wear it to Chanel? So, I trusted my own fashion instincts and selected a favorite silk blouse I had purchased in Beijing’s 798 Art Zone, a pair of placeless (read inexpensive) black jeggings, and a pair of pristine second-hand Valentino pumps that I purchased from thredUP. Not wanting to tromp in Valentinos all the way to the 1st arrondissement from our 14th neighborhood, we hopped onto the subway — and our adventure began!

Our Invader sighting for the day.

Our Invader sighting for the day.

I’ll be honest. This Chanel-loving little gal from Utah was *nervous* entering the legendary doors of 31 Rue Cambon. Mademoiselle Chanel’s history is dear to me, and the idea of being in her shop was exhilarating, but this excitement was simultaneously paired with a fear of being out-classed by the wealthy and more experienced Chanel shoppers. This unease was put to rest by the sweet Anne Louise (who I highly recommend if you find yourself shopping at Chanel’s flagship), who helped me to select my treasures.

A snapshot my husband took of me and Anne Louise.

A snapshot my husband took of me and Anne Louise.

I was pleased to learn that I had saved more than enough for the iconic 2.55 — Mademoiselle Chanel’s own creation and the handbag she carried herself. As I’ve said before, the history behind the brand is important to me and this item is brimming with Chanel nostalgia. The 2.55 is named as such because it was created by Chanel in February 1955. She was a lifelong lover of horses, and selected a leather that was similar to her saddle blanket (quilted, aged calfskin). The handbag honors all of the details Mademoiselle Chanel selected when creating her own flap bag, including a pocket on the back she could easily slip her hand into to find a few francs for tipping, a zippered sleeve in which she kept letters, a thin compartment for her theater tickets, and a separate maroon-leather lined interior section (because in her later years her eyes began to fail and the lighter leather made it easier to find objects). I selected gold metal (as it’s the original), but the 2.55 is also available in white metal. And… I had enough left over that I picked up another work of art. This one from the newest Métiers d’Art collection, but still a classic in my eyes. I’ll show it to you below in an unboxing!

Standing on her stairs.

Standing on her stairs.

I had so much fun talking shop and browsing the rooms with Anne Louise that when it was finally time to go and she asked if I would like to stand on *her* stairs (the stairs that Mademoiselle used to sit on, just out of sight, to watch her shows), my heart skipped a beat. Wow. Just, wow. This was the ultimate Mrs.-Harris-finally-made-it-to-Paris moment (!), and I couldn’t have been more grateful for the kind reception Anne Louise gave me.

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We wandered up to the Place Vendôme, the area where Mademoiselle Chanel had her first shop — a millinery store. On a high, and with the courage that only holding two Chanel shopping bags can bring, we mustered our courage and entered the doors of CHANEL Fine Jewellery. Words fail me in trying to describe the originality of design and creative use of all sorts of the finest and most beautiful baubles one can imagine. These truly are treasures. If you’re curious to see them in action, many of Chanel’s original fine-jewelry designs are worn by celebrities who gather around roulette tables for pantomime fun while models show off Lagerfeld’s latest masterpiece of a show (click here).

View from one of our favorite cafés, The Grand Corona.

View from one of our favorite cafés, The Grand Corona.

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I then slipped on walking shoes and we headed off to the bottom of the Champs-Élysées where we love to eat at a fantastic café called The Grand Corona. Yum! Our journey from here is a circuitous route that eventually led us back to our cozy room in Montparnasse.

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Yes, with Chanel shopping bags in hand, we also paid a visit to the shop on Avenue Montaigne.

Yes, with Chanel shopping bags in hand, we also paid a visit to the shop on Avenue Montaigne.

And, yes, we did lots of window shopping.

And, yes, we did lots of window shopping.

 

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The light on the clouds in the Tuileries Gardens was unbelievably beautiful.

The light on the clouds in the Tuileries Gardens was unbelievably beautiful.

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Only the "love locks" lining the walk up to the Pont des Arts remain. The walls of the bridge crossing the river have been removed and replaced by paintings by Parisian graffiti artists.

Only the “love locks” lining the walk up to the Pont des Arts remain. The walls of the bridge crossing the river have been removed and replaced by paintings by Parisian graffiti artists.

Once we were back in our hotel room, it was time to dive into my shopping bags and admire my new treasures.

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And that was Mrs. Marvick’s magical day in Paris!

I hope that you have a wonderful weekend!

XO,

Jacqueline

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51 Comments

  1. I absolutely adored this post! I love Dior and Chanel and all the photos are so stunning! It really sounds like you had a magical experience at the Chanel shop. I am so envious of your bag! I have been pining after one of those iconic Chanel bags but this post has definitely inspired me to save just like you did and get that dream bag. It’s so beautiful and I am sure you will get a ton of use out of it. The gold detailing is my favourite. It adds a warmth to the bag, I think. It just epitomises class and elegance. I also really want to read that novel now. 😀

    • You should read it. :0) It’s a very sweet little novel. You may have to pick it up secondhand on Amazon, but I got my copy for next to nothing. It’s very fun to live vicariously through her. I hope you’re able to start a savings pool for a wonderful future treat! It’s fun to have something to work hard for. It makes it all a little more worth it. Thanks for your sweet comments. Hope your weekend is going well!

      • I absolutely love buying second hand books so that will be an easy purchase for me. 😀
        Hard work really does make the purchase sweeter. I hope your weekend is going well too! 🙂 Enjoy every moment of using that beautiful bag! 😀

  2. plus+beauty27 says

    That is such a gorgeous Chanel purse! I’m sure you’re enjoying it quite a bit! Such wonderful pictures again and as always that food looks delicious! 🙂 XO

    • Hi, Katie :0) It really is a gorgeous purse. I love it so much. Unfortunately, I need to find a way to get over my hesitation to use it, lol. What’s the point of having it if I don’t use it and enjoy it, right?
      And, yes! The food was amazing! It was one of the best meals of the trip. 😋💕😋💗😋
      Hope you’re feeling better!!

      • plus+beauty27 says

        Hi Jacqueline! 🙂
        Thank you so much! I am feeling better. I can see why you would hesitate to use such a lovely purse! You don’t want anything to happen to it but make sure you enjoy it! lol. 🙂 ❤

      • I know, I know. You’re right! I need to just rock the CC purse YOLO style, right?
        I’m glad you’re feeling better!!

  3. This is just WOW! Reading this post gave me such a wonderful inspiration, it’s not a simple “a girl could dream” line but A girl could DREAM and GETS IT! As I wander through your story, I began to rekindle a lost one that I gave up. It lights up my eye reading the emotions that enveloped in this journey. Mrs. Arris determination and motivation ignites the passion in us to chase ours.

  4. I was with you when you said you googled what to wear when shopping at Chanel I would have done the same. The box was wrapped so beautifully I think I would have had a hard time opening it. Beautiful purchases!!

    You mentioned thredUP, I just found them on Facebook last week and received my order on Friday. Two of the three items I got I’m keeping (I’m really torn on the third one though because it’s a little snug) but the skirt is so cute. Since I’ve been looking for a reasonably priced online resale shop for some time and it looks like this one fits my needs.

    • Hehe. Glad I’m not the only one who would google something like that, lol.
      I’ve had good luck with thredUp, too. I even consigned some items with them this winter. I didn’t get much for them, but that’s okay. It was worth trying. Hope you’re enjoying your new goodies!!

    • Hi, Heather :0) I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and the Dolce & Gabanna window. The first time I went to Paris, a friend’s little girl asked me to take photos of the fashions. Of course I obliged. Unfortunately, my window shots weren’t as successful this time or I’d have lots more to share.
      I hope this week treats you well. XO

  5. 1) I am picking up that book, it sound right up my alley, 2) this is my absolute favorite post from you! The pictures are beautiful and I love the backstory behind your purchase! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

    • Aww, Colleen, that is *so* sweet of you to say. I hope you love the book. It’s a fun, easy read that (obviously) may lead to crash savings in order to make self-indulgent luxury purchases, lol. 😁💕
      I hope you’re doing well and having some summer fun :0)

    • Thanks, Jassy! Me too!! It was an exhilarating, nerve wracking, memory making day for sure! Now I just need to get over my fear of using the bag! Lol.
      Hope this week goes well for you!! XO

      • You can always just carry it around the house or display it in each room you go to except the kitchen that could be bad, really bad. OH GOD, I am not helping. Kidding aside, I would feel the same way.

      • Lol. Thanks for the smiles :0) I agree! The kitchen could be dangerous! And thanks for commiserating! It’s going to take some real effort to just get over myself, lol. XO

  6. Fabulous! What a wonderful day and memory for you. Your necklace is really beautiful, and I’m sure you will think of Paris every time you wear your bag.

    • Hi, Agnes :0) I’m glad I got the necklace. It’s easier for me to wear than the bag. I’m nervous about the bag… It’s just so perfect… I need to get over it though and enjoy it. That’s what it’s for, after all, right?
      Hope Monday is treating you well :0)

  7. Ohh Chanel. What a breathtaking experience, must have been amazing standing on her own stairs.
    The bag is – of course – amazing, such a great classic choice. That maroon lining is perfect.
    Enjoy it!
    xxx Anne

    • Hi, Anne! It really was amazing standing on her stairs. My heart skipped a beat or two. I really thought that area was for the haute-couture crowd only. I’m sure they allow anyone to though, lol. It was such a meaningful experience, knowing the history behind the place. In fact, I couldn’t help but feeling envy of Anne Louise and her position. It’s a magical place!
      Hope you’re doing well! XO

      • Oh to work there! That would be magic. Perhaps we should get rid of Anne Louise and take here place (A).
        xxx Anne

  8. An absolutely iconic item Jackie! I never had a Chanel bag, but I think every woman deserves one in her closet. It’s incredible how luxury brands can still tell us an emotional story nowadays with the same passion, intelligence and attention to the details that made them successful once. I hope you will enjoy this treasure a lot, it’s magical. And by the way, a casual outfit when shopping makes the shop assistants think you can manage your time and your image as you want. 😉

    • Agreed! Every woman should have a Chanel (or two)!! 😉 Karl Lagerfeld’s 1983 is calling to me next, lol.
      True, I see what you’re saying about choice of casual clothing. Having the luxury of time and clothing choice is certainly something that should be appreciated and recognized (not just by those helping shoppers in their stores).
      I hope your week goes well! XO

    • I am enjoying them! The necklace more than the handbag right now. I’m trying to get over my fear of scuffing up the beautiful purse when using it. But, that’s the point right?! Oh dear. LOL
      I hope that your week is plugging along well. :o)
      Lots of bisous! XO

      • Hahaha! I sure do know what you mean ma belle! With precious things like that it also breaks my heart to ruin them! But oh well, you’re right! What’s the point in getting them anyway! Haha!
        Enjoy them! They’re marvelous!
        Lots of bisous

      • Exactly, and I can’t help but imagining Mademoiselle C frowning at me for keeping her creation locked up in a box, LOL.
        Hey, guess what?! It’s now officially the weekend for you, ma belle!!
        Bisous!!

    • We really did have a wonderful time. Andy’s such a sweetheart and enjoyed watching as I soaked up the glorious moment, lol. Thanks for saying hi :0)

  9. Squee! I loved seeing you open your fab Channel purchases! I especially love the necklace. 🙂

  10. I’m so happy you got to buy the bag you wanted 🙂 the 2.55 really is a classic. Hope you’re enjoying it as much as I imagine you would. xx

    • I really am enjoying the 2.55!! It’s so beautiful! Now I’m dreaming of Karl Lagerfeld’s 1983 creation…. Lol Do you have a Chanel fav?

      • I’ve been eyeing the Chanel boy bag for a while now. Last time I was on my way and ended up buying a prada bag instead. So, I’m going to keep focus and next time it’s ‘luxury shopping time ‘, I think I’ll focus on getting the one I mentioned.. Which creation are you referring to ? I’m intrigued !

  11. Prada would be great as well!
    I’m thinking of the iconic Chanel bag everyone thinks of when they think of a Chanel bag. Karl Lagerfeld created his version in 1983 with a braided leather and metal strap and the interlocking Cs at the clasp. What a stunner!
    I hope your Sunday was great 🙂

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