One of the joys of being in Paris for an extended period of time is that you don't feel in a panic to rush out every day, afraid of missing something. Instead, life takes on a leisurely pace. Some days we don't go out at all. Other times we don't plan to go out, but then suddenly the sun bursts out, blue skies appear and we decide, spontaneously, to go for a stroll, to become a couple of "flâneurs" for an hour or so.
A few days ago we were lured by the warm sunshine to wander a bit in our 2nd arrondissement neighborhood, which is the heart and soul of the garment district of Paris.
The streets are often full of men like this one, rolling carts piled high with bolts of fabrics.
From shops selling fabrics...
...to shops selling all manner of lacy and sequin encrusted trim...
...to dress shops with astonishing bargains to be had, although I didn't quite see me in either of these outfits!
Nor this one, for that matter!
Should you be in the market for a mannequin, though, this is where you go to find one in all sizes, shapes and colors.
And if you want that dress to have a true stamp of authenticity, here's where you get your faux "haut couture" labels!
Crossing over behind the Louis XIV arch, and heading up Boulevard Strasbourg, we found ourselves in the gritty 10th arrondissement, with its slogans blazing out...
Once inside the Passage, however, we were delighted to discover Paris' Little Mumbai! Along with several delicious looking restaurants, which we will certainly return to sample...
...a whole row of Indian dress shops displayed their selections of multi-colored saris...
...and food stalls offered exotic, and in some cases unknown, fruits and vegetables.
Leaving the Passage Brady we came to the rue du Faubourg St. Martin. To the left, just a few blocks up, stood the Gare de l'Est, to the right this baby clothing shop caught the eye of both of us (soon to be grandparents!), and in particular this display of boxes of baby booties, emblazoned with symbols of countries and religions, two dozen in each box!
By now we'd been sauntering around for an hour or so. Time for an afternoon coffee and a bit of a sit down to watch the passing parade, before heading for home.
Ah, the joys and pleasures of passing an unplanned hour or two as a "flâneur" or a "flâneuse"!