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A travel log from Pamela Love’s Elise Anderson and her debut in Paris. Part III: Anna Wintour, brownies, Jamiroquai and the Eiffel Tower, well a mini version.

PART III: Last 2 Days

By: Elise Anderson

I’m grouping the last two days together because one was a half day, and really it felt like one giant marathon. We bounced along from activity to activity and barely had time to change clothes or eat before heading to the next event.  Not taking ample time to eat is a major no-no in France, but we managed a few good meals and at least a few drinks. So here goes the end of the trip:

After we returned to the apartment the 2nd night, Pam and Allison went off to an exclusive party sponsored by Vogue and the CFDA hosted by Tommy Hilfiger and Diane Von Furstenburg in her apartment near the Seine. You can see photos from the party and of the great DVF’s apartment here.

I ended up at a tiny bar/restaurant in the Marais called Le Petit Fer a Cheval to people watch. I consoled myself with wine, cheese, and the best bowl of soup I’ve ever had. Thanks, Qype! (I discovered the French version of

I come back to the apartment to see if Le Wifi works so I can make plans for the rest of the evening.  The whole apartment complex smells like garlic and butter (Euro-dinnertime is between 9-10), and just as I’m contemplating a second dinner I get a text from a French ex I haven’t seen in 7 years inviting me to his birthday party. Turns out he lives down the street from our apartment. I dig around Pam’s suitcase and try on a few different dresses before settling on a black t-shirt and jeans. I’m American, I guess. But check out the necklace I wore!

I get to the birthday party and it’s full of fashionably drunk Frenchies in their late 20s. Julien’s new girlfriend is a dress designer, so we spend some time discussing fashion and my job in NYC.  Then I dip out early to go meet Pam & Allison back at the apartment.

One of the best things about Parisians is their disciplined commitment to having a good time.  This year marks the 10th anniversary of Nuit Blanche, which is basically an all-night citywide party in which local art galleries team up with bars and restaurants to stay open late (or all night) and offer free admission. Not a bad way to spend an evening, and with so many visitors in town for fashion week, the city was swamped with stumbling people in beautiful clothes.  The three of us decide on the Pompidou, Paris’s modern art museum that’s conveniently located one block from our apartment.  It has a huge courtyard outside that’s usually filled with street performers entertaining museum-goers as they wait in line, but tonight the entire courtyard is littered with bottles of wine. Admission is free, so we breeze through the line and spend the next few hours marveling at French modern art. It’s really weird to be in a museum at 1am with a bunch of drunk foreigners.  That whole respectful museum hush that normally permeates each room is gone--people everywhere are chatting, laughing, running, dancing, and drinking. It’s hard not to gain a new perspective on modern art hearing the discussions and laughter of everyone around us. Pam and I spend a good few minutes discretely pointing out Pompidous & Pompidonts from the eclectic outfits in the crowd.  Above are some shots from our Nuit Blanche museum tour.

The next morning we’re back in the warm 2nd floor of the Joyce Gallery speaking with magazine editors as they pass through, but there’s an odd tension that’s permeated the gallery. Today’s the day Anna Wintour is scheduled to visit.  The designers are hiding their nerves behind anxious smiles, but everyone is fussing with their displays like they expect her to come in with a ruler and measure the distance between each piece. I’ve never met her, so I half expect her to do just that.  Ten minutes before she arrives, the weird hush is amplified with the bustling sounds of people reapplying makeup, shuffling their feet, and adjusting their clothes.  When Anna finally comes upstairs, she’s exactly as I imagined. Not a frigid, daunting queen bee as she’s been described often. She’s actually a sharp, insanely elegant woman with a concise way of speaking that reflects her busy schedule and rightful position as an editor of one of the most powerful publications in the world.  She sweeps through the gallery offering brief praise and commentary on the collections. Then she’s gone.  You can almost hear the sighs of relief once her car pulls away.  Someone brings in champagne for everyone, and the day eases back into a more relaxed stride.

I step out later in the afternoon to get a 3-course snack with my friend Benoit, complete with desert and a can of beer. I decided my French wasn’t good enough to bother discussing with the shop owner why the beer had Jamiroquai on the label. But I have always had the theory that more often than not, popular French music is just popular American music from 10 years ago.  Then I spend some more time talking with Fanny, a lovely French woman who works with George Esquivel and has been living in Dubai for 6 years. She runs (think Daily Candy meets Garance Doré), uses 3 different cell phones, and has more stories than anyone I’ve ever met.  Thanks to her, time flies and we’re done for the day by 6pm.

On the way home we decide to spend some time shopping on the Rue de Rivoli.  I found these awesome gold platform creepers from Zara.  They’re no Esquivels, but they’ll do just fine. We pass a Pharmacy and decide to get all girly. We’ve been convinced that any beauty product in France is superior to it’s American counterpart no matter how cheap it is, so we spend a good $50 on makeup, face masks, lotions, and nail polish. Then we all head back to the apartment to research Viviscal, which is some French-made pill that’s supposed to make your hair grow really fast (like latisse for hair).  Allison tests out the facemask and decides it’s too potent for her sensitive skin.

Pam takes off for the airport, and Allison and I decide to stay in since we both leave early the next day. But first we run down to the corner store and buy brownies, wine, and chips. I’m pretty sure that just means that deep down we are frumpy Americans who’ve been experiencing serious veg withdrawal.  The shop clerk gives us both crappy Eiffel Tower key chains (probably for the same reason), and we spend the rest of the night in the apartment trying to listen to Bikini Kill and Shitty Limits on the terrible 90s 6-cd changer that only reaches half volume at maximum.  Total success.

More Francais? Check out Paris Fashion Week Part I and Part II.

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