Quirky Old Paris – Musings On The Parisians

Parisian Train shop for grown-ups copyright Carla Coulson

It has been pouring for days in Paris and it has got me thinking about this town.

A friend arrived yesterday glowing from the south of France telling me that she had just left the beach. I was a little envious being a water baby!

I am not sure whether you have this afflication but do you ever ask yourself should you be living somewhere else?

Then I took a little stroll and had a think about Paris. Why do we love her so?

She is quirky, like this fellow gazing into the train shop window. What store in the world would even still sell trains that run around on tracks for little (and big) boys? Paris is chock full of quirkiness from Deyrolle, the taxidermist boutique that is out of this world to the stamp sellers in the 9th.

Who collects stamps when the whole world sends email I ask? Only in Paris..

Paris doesn’t fix things if they aren’t broken, she doesn’t replace the 18th century carousel in the Luxembourg gardens for a new one that will make you scream at the top of your lungs and she wouldn’t dream of updating her wonderful steel chairs that have been kicking around her gardens for centuries for plastic ones that would be cheaper, easier to maintain and move around. No Sirree.. Not in Paris. And she would never dream of  tearing down those wonderful wooden shop fronts that need repainting every year for a new whizz bang version. Don’t we love her?

She loves the individual, in Paris you can still find it all in a funny little shop that just sells cord, or another that only sells leather trims or one type of handbag. And Parisians aren’t scared of the competition, they generously gather the same type of cords shops, stamp collectors or camera shops together in the one quartier. How awfully thoughtful when you are shopping for a new camera or wanting to add to your stamp collection, no running around all over town just head to the stamp collecting quartier. J’adore Paris!

She loves beauty and attention to detail and generously plants flowers and almost hand trims the lawns in her public gardens, such attention to detail that would bring a grown man to tears.

Beauty, is there a city that loves beauty as much as Paris, from the wonderful graphics of her exhibitions, the breathtaking gowns of her couture runway shows to her decorated patisseries!!

Ok, so we don’t have the weather, we don’t have the beaches – but we will always have Paris!

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast. Ernest Hermingway



PS: Paris lovers might like my Paris Pinterest Board 

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
10 years ago

Ooh such a lovely post about beautiful Paris. We will be there next week and I am bursting with excitement! I can’t wait 🙂

10 years ago

A beautiful snapshot of one of my favourite cities, Carla! I sat on one of those wonderful steel chairs enraptured by a Chopin recital; I love looking in Parisian shop windows – they are so stylish; I love the croissants; and I love listening to French being spoken by the natives! What a city!! xx

10 years ago

C’est vrais. J’adore Paris!

10 years ago

Hi Carla
My father finally went to Paris last year at age 72. He isn’t always mobile, it changes day to day, however the stories he could tell just by sitting and looking out his hotel window. He has said if he had gone to Paris as a young man, he imagines he would have stayed forever. I am so happy he finally had a chance to see her, he is talking about returning next year.

10 years ago

I adore Paris, Carla….I love City Parks and the Luxembourg gardens are one of my favourites and their wonderful steel chairs 😉
Funnily, my husband and I are asking ourselves this question at the moment…should we be living somewhere else….sadly, it won’t be Paris…but we have to visit every year for my ‘Parisian Fix’ 😉
Have a good week.

10 years ago

Beautifully written Carla, your such a good story teller. Please keep writing your wonderful books. Paris is such an amazing place I agree, love it so much. I found this tiny, tiny hat shop in Paris that was out of this world. I felt as if I had stepped into a previous century. Exquisite hats made by the lady who owned the shop. Pieces of art! xxx So much to love about Paris

Trudy Florence
10 years ago

Loved reading this. Paris is such a beauty, I love her uniqueness. Living there at some point in my life is definitely in the plan!

10 years ago

Dear Carla, if you want another share of quirk and strange little shops , please come to Genoa and you’ll be happy.
And I’d be even happier to act as a guide.
Have a nice day, Rosanna

A Gift Wrapped Life
10 years ago

You said it so well Carla, I love your writing. It is those specialty stores that intrigue me, we found one just for umbrellas, one just for gloves! I am really missing Paris this time home, we have been watching House Hunters in Paris alot -lol!Much love xx

10 years ago

If you’re a water baby go to one of Paris’ FAB 38 pools many with BIG skylights.
I beg to differ on Paris renewal.
Everytime I go to a favorite restaurant or other it’s covered with scaffolding.
That’s how Paris survives.
Thank gawd they don’t redo store fronts like NYC does at a drop of a hat with no attachment to tradition or the past.
I have to book a seat to Poitiers today! 🙂

10 years ago

Love Paris! nice old world shot

peggy braswell
10 years ago

as the song says-“I love Paris in the springtime, I love paris in the fall, etc.” such a wonderful blog you have. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

mary jo
10 years ago

You always make the best case for Paris Carla. Here, we are a bit more apologetic as Laguna is behind the embarrassing Orange Curtain, as they call it (but the good part). Still, whenever I make it 5 mins down the way to the beach, I can’t think of a more beautiful place to be in the world. That said, I think that one day I may live somewhere else…that’s what so romantic about dreaming about travel and distant places. Love your photo of the quirky old guy–you really capture the feel…
xo Mary Jo