Unlike most people who can’t wait to be on their summer holiday, I truly enjoy spending my summer in the city. Already mid-July, you start to feel the city empty out a bit. People seem more relaxed, traffic jams and honking cars cease to exist and most importantly, nonexistent parking spots suddenly appear out of nowhere.
Come the month of August and Paris literally goes silent. The hustle and bustle of city living just disappears. Cars sporadically pass by, shops are mostly closed and the only thing left to do in your free time, weather permitting (we are in Paris after all) is to simply enjoy long leisurely walks, early morning breakfasts on quasi-empty terraces and afternoons spent in the numerous gorgeous parks and gardens the city has to offer. Or simply put, rediscovering the city I always love but never take the time to wholly appreciate.
So tell me, how do you spend your time during the summer months?
Like many Parisians, I eagerly headed over this weekend to the Carnaval de Colette in honor of the shop’s fifteenth anniversary not quite knowing what to expect and all the while sensing it would be a day to remember. We are talking about Colette here, as in the Paris-based concept store known world-wide for its diverse and edgy selection that mixes fashion, art and culture. I do not know of one instance when they’ve put on a show that wasn’t to say the least memorable.
I’ll readily admit I feel somewhat ambivalent towards Colette. Their selection is absolutely incredible but I find some of the recent ground-floor items to be a bit more tchotchke-esque than I care for from such an avant-garde boutique. Regardless, the idea that such an elite store would choose to open the celebration to us common folk was quite refreshing and in a way, so Colette.
And so I went over to the carnival with a friend, her nine-year-old son and his best bud, as well as her parents visiting from London. I’m not going to bore you with all the details from our fun-filled afternoon. All I will say is this: I haven’t felt like such a kid since…well, since being an actual kid! The sweet smell of candy apples and cotton candy filled the air the minute we stepped into the tent. With a New York style hotdog stand and burger food truck, I felt like I was in the good ole’ US of A on a hot lazy summer afternoon enjoying lunch before heading to the beach. Vibrant colors, textures, and amazing imagery at every corner, I was in total sensory overload.
My friend and I jumped from one stand to the next, giddily laughing like ten-year-old school girls and trying everything out with the boys: polaroid pictures taken, Jeremy Scott for Adidas cardboard-clothing cut-outs tried and tested; candy bought at the all-American food stand (frootloops and pretzel M&M’s here I come!) And because this is a Colette shindig’ a slightly more glamorous activity, getting my hair styled by the David Mallett’s pop-up salon. I swear, forgetting my sartorial inadequacy, I was ready for the Oscars.
But the best part? The general ambiance. Colette wanted the celebration to be friendly and open to all. And that’s just what it was; bobos, hipsters, edgier crowds mingled naturally with rather mundane families out for a fun afternoon with the kids. Young, old, hip or not, you could hear/see/feel laughter everywhere.
I had planned on staying in this weekend, just relaxing, watching movies and catching up on emails. But it seems that after all my complaining about the premature fall that descended on Paris in August, Summer has decided to show its face for one last glorious weekend which I plan on fully taking advantage of.
First up, food. There’s nothing better than getting up early and heading to your local café’s terrace for breakfast. The early morning sunlight gently wakes you while enjoying the still silent city.
Next, a light workout. I’ve been going to an indoor pool for a couple weeks and I love it! I don’t think there’s a better workout that doesn’t inflict serious pain. I can then lounge by the outdoor pool and treat myself to a timeout in the jacuzzi. As the french say: “Après l’effort, le réconfort.” (after hard work or effort, you deserve to lean back and relax.)
A leisurely picnic on the quai by the Île Saint-Louis is always fun, followed by a stop at Berthillon, the best ice-cream known to man in this fair city.
A bit of culture with a quick stop by the Hussein Chalayan exhibit and off to drinks to where I started my day, on yet another Parisian terrace.
So tell me do you have anything planned out for this weekend?
On that note, a very Bon Weekend to you!
I was so thrilled when La Bague de Kenza finally opened a branch in my neighborhood last year, bringing these little oriental pastries one step closer to me! The rich flavored desserts from North Africa and the Middle East were usually only available in restaurants, unless you were in the know for local specialized bakeries (which I was not.) La Bague de Kenza in a way mainstreamed the access to these mouthwatering delights and I for one am thrilled they are continuing to develop their offering through Paris.
They’ve opened the door for other specialty dessert shops and it’s really a refreshing change. Don’t get me wrong, I love my local bakeries and the delicious viennoiseries and pastries they have to offer but once in a while, it’s nice to try something new.
Following the footsteps of La Bague de Kenza, here’s hoping a donut bakery sets up shop in Paris very soon!