Zipping Up the Paradox In Paris

If you’ve been on a dessert-tasting tour of central Europe for 2 weeks, the dress shops of Paris don’t interest you. Over-crowded museums in summer heat are suddenly urgent on your agenda. Then I heard the siren song of this dress, vintage Herve Leger in nude, tags still on, swinging amid second-hand sequined tops and black lace blouses.My friends, French power shopper with inside game, Elaine, and Tracy, who can always throw a flag on a fowl shopping play, egged me on. The wily shop lady took charge and I heard the unmistakable and improbable sound of the zipper making its way up to the very top. “Oooo,” I said – broken French -“I think it is too tight.” With a shrug, she answered in French-salted English and squared my shoulders to the mirror. “No. I think you will not have this body forever.” Doink. That dress was SOLD to MOI, the aging matron still willing to suck it up and slither into a cocktail party in the not-too-distant-before-I-become-a-chunky-old-bat future. The French understand emotions as sales tools – fear, hubris, hope – they just know.

Much less painful to the ego and the wallet is the food. Earthy, oozy, fattening – everything a slinky dress will never be.  We moved onto lunch and agreed to accept this Parisian paradox of food and fashion; excess and precision; rich and thin.

Paris lunch





Susie Norris, Food Market Gypsy, recipes, cookbooks, food blog

brought me luck as this blog won an award the night I wore this remarkably uncomfortable dress


Many books have been written to guide you through the luxuries, the street foods, the patisseries, the markets, the vintage shops and the cafes of Paris.  Here are my favorites.


Food Lover’s Guide to Paris by Patricia Wells

Markets of Paris by Dixon Long & Marjorie R. Williams

The Sweet Life in Paris by David Leibovitz

Born to Shop Paris by Suzy Gershman

Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan

And for literature to read on the train or in between cafe outings or in recovery from too many espressos, museums, and fromages:

Belly of Paris by Emille Zola

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

The Ambassadors by Henry James

The Ladies Delight by Emille Zola

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

Paris Twilight by Russ Rymer

Chef Orlando’s Gateau Opera



Planning my revisit days – I never get quite enough of you, paradoxical Paris.

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