The sales person at Le Bon Marche sighs as I try them on again. It’s 7:45 pm and the store closes at 8:00 pm. My birthday is tomorrow. They are extravagant, but I do love them. I am not 100% sure about the comfort and after the pair I bought in Amsterdam last week gave me blisters, I am a little hesitant
“Shall I wrap them up?” she says with thinly veiled annoyance.
“What time do you open tomorrow? It’s my birthday.” I say with a smile.
“10 am.” she says as she sets the box down and gestures to put them in the box.
“Ok. I am going to think about them and I will come back tomorrow.” I say as I take them off and hand them to her.
She just stares at me like I am a crazy person, boxes them up and walks away.
The next morning I wake up with the sun and my first thought is of the shoes. They are perfect and will go with everything. Prada mules with rainbow bands. It is my 36th birthday. I head out for coffee and a croissant at Cafe de l’Esplanade. I enjoy the view of Les Invalides while keeping an eye on my watch. At 9:15 am I pay my bill and head over to Le Bon Marche. I arrive at 9:45 and wait for the doors to open. I can’t stop thinking about the shoes.
The doors open and I head straight for the third floor. I find the display shoe and pick it up. I look for a sales person.
Finally one greets me “Bonjour, Mademoiselle.”
“Bonjour, I would like these in a 39.” I say with a smile.
She smiles and goes to get them. The wait goes on and on and seems to take an hour. She returns with a scowl on her face and she is empty handed.
“I am sorry. We don’t have it. It is finished.” she says.
“But, I just saw it last night at closing. Are you sure?” I plead.
“It is finished. I am sorry.” she says again.
Defeated, I leave the store. I walk aimlessly on Boulevard Saint-Germain. How could I be so cautious and let them slip through my fingers. I must have them. I jump on the metro and head to Prada on Rue Saint-Honore.
I head into the store and look around and don’t see them anywhere.
“Bonjour, Mademoiselle. ”
“Bonjour. I am looking for the sandal with the colored straps.”
“Ah yes, we only have a 35 left. Very popular.”
After I returned to the states I continued to try to find them. InStyle magazine featured them a few months later, but they were no where to be found. I still think about them from time to time.
Fourteen years later, I was lucky enough to celebrate my birthday in Paris, again. This time with my husband and son. I was very determined not to hear “It’s finished” while still being cautious about my purchases. I did not buy that many little things, but I did go for a couple of bigger things like the shoes below and a handbag (coming soon).
I had my eye on this Veronica Beard blouse (below) before I left. I was saving all my shopping for Paris, so I held off. Imagine my delight when I learned it was on sale and still available in my size upon my return home. I styled it with denim, a striped clutch, my new sandals and my sunglasses (which were perfect in Paris as I could leave them on going in and on the metro and still read signs and be chief navigator for my family).