Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Carrousel du Louvre

What can one do on a rain filled day in Paris?
Since our plans for going to the Louvre fell through the minute we saw the ticket line, we needed to come up with a plan B. It was our last day in Paris, so the time to purchase a museum pass was long gone, otherwise we could have purchased one in the Carrousel  du Louvre shopping mall under the Louvre courtyard. In retrospect perhaps the pass at 2 1/2 times the price of admission to the Louvre itself would have been worth the time wasted trying to decide what else to do. C'est la vie! If all else fails, go shopping.
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Even though we go to Europe each year, this was the first time I saw Kiko. As this trip progressed, it seemed that these stores were popping up everywhere. After buying several eye shadows and mascara here, finding the store again, after having actually used the products was especially nice.  Kiko manufactures a quality line of makeup at very reasonable prices. By the end of the trip, my shopping enabler and I were pulling each other away from Kiko thresholds to assure ourselves that there would be no additional baggage fees at the airport.
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Zany cow sculptures can be found in kitsch shops all over Europe. They are amusing in all their mutations, but I have not succumbed to buying one. The name of this shop that sells them eludes me, but it was bright and colorful with an eye on the contemporary. Besides these sculptures, they also had some interesting jewelry made of non precious materials. Most items were well designed, even those things stocked specifically to appeal to tourists.
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Shops offering food related souvenirs or gifts abounded, and there was a Mc Cafe, as well as a Starbuck's. The best course of action when traveling is to patronize locally owned businesses, because they are unfamiliar, therefore,  they will likely be more interesting. Doing that is a nice component of travel. Behemoth, predictable, American, corporate outposts are not on my radar, even at home, however, being flexible can sometimes be a good idea. This was one of those times. When my niece looked wistfully at the Starbuck's window I broke down. This was her first time in Europe and a "little bit of home" was going to be a small comfort we could well afford.
Yes, predictable as far as the coffee was concerned, but it was certainly nice to sit for a few moments, to compose our thoughts. We needed to  decide on how to fill up the rest of our afternoon. We would be leaving for Italy at 7:30 p.m. and still had a few hours to kill before heading for dinner, and Gare De Lyon. If it were not raining above ground, this little tete-a-tete would not have been so necessary.
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Laduree had a small shop in the mall and this was our opportunity to compare their macarons to those we had tried a day earlier at Christophe Roussel near Rue Cler. They compared favorably, although the Roussel macarons seemed more inventive. Since Laduree is such an institution, they can afford to be a bit more conservative. Below are a few photos of their stock and trade.
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