The Heat

shortsAlthough I’m going to be devastated to leave Paris in a few days, I’ve got to say, I’m glad to be leaving this weather. Cities in the summer are the worst. And to top it off, there’s no air conditioning… I tried opening the window to get a breeze, but it’s literally the exact. same. temperature. inside and out.

All month, it has been surprisingly cool, but this week, we got hit by a heat wave. Tomorrow is supposed to be 99 degrees!! And yet every Parisian is still wearing cardigans and long pants. I don’t know how they do it. All us Americans have started wearing the types of shorts that make your tourist status a dead giveaway (when it’s this hot, who cares anyways).

The World’s Classiest Abercrombie

AbercrombieAt the far end of the Champs Élysées, there is a gate with ornate, gold embellishments which leads to an unknown building. Behind them sits an elegantly groomed pathway which looks like it was lifted straight from the Gardens of Versailles. Is it Burberry? It it Dior? Nope, it’s the once reigning suburban American retailer, Abercrombie & Fitch (the buff guys outside were a dead giveaway).

We figured if their entrance was this beautiful, the inside had to be spectacular so we decided to take a peek. And we was right. There were four of five floors of dark, strongly-scented clothing and an overwhelming amount of shrubbery blocking the passageways. So it was essentially the same as an American A&F.

There is a huge square opening in the center of the building where we could see the grand decor. I think it must have been a luxury hotel at some point before Abercrombie moved in. The detailing throughout the building was very ornate and French (like a mini Versailles).

Abercrombie isn’t the only American retailer moving into Paris. I have yet to see a physical store, but I see girls everywhere wandering around with Forever21 bags! With so many other affordable clothing stores around, I don’t see F21 really thriving here. But who knows? Maybe Europeans like the idea of shopping at American stores. Other American brands I’ve spotted include Claire’s, J.Crew, and Brandy Melville….

What You Can Buy for 1 €

It Pastadoesn’t sound like a lot, but 1 euro can get you a long way in Paris!

You just have to know where to look. My favorite grocery store, Monoprix, is like a smaller version of Target. There’s a clothing department as well as kitchen ware, household products, and food. They’ve got everything from Oreos to hiking boots! Unfortunately there isn’t one near the dorms so I have to take a 10 minute metro ride to get to the closest location. Everyone thinks I’m nuts for going so far out of the way for this one store. There are grocery stores much closer to home, but for some reason I’m very attached to the Monoprix at Temple.

I have to cook some meals for myself in my little kitchenette while I’m here so keeping grocery costs low is a priority (more money for shopping!) Luckily, Monoprix’s prices do not disappoint. Each tBreadime the price comes up at the register, I’m shocked. Both this huge bag of pasta and this fresh loaf of bread were only one euro each. That bag of pasta is going to feed me for the rest of the month! For only one euro! You can get a box of cookies for 70 cents, a liter of milk for 90 cents or a one euro bottle of champagne! Maybe I’m getting a little too excited by groceries, but I think it’s incredible that (some) food is priced so cheaply!

My absolute favorite one euro purchase, however, can be found at a chain of thrift stores in le Marais called Free’P’Star. Last time I was in Paris, my friend dragged me there and I fell in love…but not immediately. The stores are dark and a little dingy with overflowing bins and racks of clothing filled to the max. It’s chaotic. Like worse than the Union Square Forever21 chaotic.. and that’s saying something.

Their draw-in factor is their infamous one euro bins. Shoppers go crazy digging through the huge tangles of old, slightly smelly clothes. There are a lot of horrible things in those bins. Stained shorts, old jerseys, ratty t-shirts *yuck*. But when you do find one great thing, it’s such a great feeling. You just have to find it before the crazy woman next to you does. Recently, I tossed a lot of the one euro clothes I previously purchased (the low price encourages you to just buy things, even if you’ll never wear them). My personal best Free’P’Star find was a denim jacket that I still wear to this day. I actually brought it back to Paris with me and it’s hanging in my closet right now!

I’m definitely going to head back there this trip and hopefully I’ll find some actually decent one euro clothes.