The internet is great for some sorts of shopping, but sometimes you can’t beat the real thing. That’s why we headed to Paris last weekend.
If you can’t find that special gift in the city of lights you might as well give up. The shop windows alone are enticing enough to convince you that you have made the right decision.
We went armed with a list of things to get. For some, we knew exactly what we wanted – my dad wanted a new aftershave balm, for example.
He can’t wear perfume as such, but a balm is fine. He likes Dolce & Gabbana’s The One at the moment, but you can’t buy the balm on its own – and it doesn’t make sense to spend 60€ on a coffret just to get a 30ml balm.
So, I had a very knowledgeable assistant in Sephora help me choose a balm that had similar woody notes but also a freshness to it. Together, we decided that Yves Saint Laurent’s La Nuit de l’Homme was just the ticket.
The BHV Marais department store gave us the inspiration we needed for others, including my aunt and uncle. They’re very artistic and each year I go to great lengths to buy them something they will like.
I found an iron lantern that will light up their zen garden beautifully.
“The weekend in Paris was also a chance for Damon and me to have some time together”
I’ll be honest, the weekend in Paris was also a chance for Damon and me to have some time together. He’s working all over Christmas and I will be looking after his mum, who is coming to stay with us.
It’s fair to say, neither of us considers this the ideal Christmas.
So, a lovely hotel – a converted tap factory – just off the Canal Saint-Martin seemed a perfect indulgence. It meant we could turn a day trip into a weekend.
Less rain and fewer gilets jaunes would have made the weekend even better, but we did our very best to overlook both.
We also got to catch up with old friends over dinner on Saturday night and have a sumptuous lunch in the stunning Bouillon Racine on Sunday.
And we were able to take in the Picasso Bleu et rose exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay too – we agreed that his Pierreuses au bar was our favourite. (The exhibition is only on for a few more weeks, so if you have the chance, go.)
What’s more, we were even able to pick up a necklace for Damon’s mum in the gift shop, so our stop-off proved perfect all round.
Only one gift remained to be bought.
Ironically, it was Damon’s. His gift proved the toughest nut to crack on my Christmas shopping list.
We searched high and low – there wasn’t a floral shirt or a suede boot in the whole of Paris that he didn’t try on over the weekend. But none was quite right, and eventually we had to concede defeat.
So, imagine my joy when I nipped to the supermarket on Monday and, on my way, saw the ideal present. I can’t say what it is – he reads this, after all – but it is perfect.
Maybe we didn’t need to spend a weekend shopping in Paris. But I’m really glad we did.