Our last full day in Paris started with breakfast in the 6th, wandering ostensibly in the direction of the Jardin Luxembourg. I was sure we were going the wrong way, but Bingley was in charge of directions for the day and so I left it up to him as we wandered through side streets and colourful alleys. After the customary tartine and oeufs we headed down yet another side street while I looked bewildered at Bingley knowing for sure that we were headed in the wrong direction to get to the gardens. In fact I was arguing this point as he gestured to a fabulous window display as a way of distracting me.
I stopped arguing and instead smiled brilliantly at the display of perfectly finished shoes on display, sitting serenely in the window, their indecent red soles flashing to the keen observer. "Which one would you choose?" asked Bingley as I licked the window, French style, salivating over the perfection of form. "All of them" was my flippant answer, preparing to wander past, not really in the mood for pining over something I couldn't have.
"You should try them on" said Bingley, opening the door, and that is how I found myself, sitting on the velvet ottoman in Christian Louboutin, admiring dozens of pairs of spectacular shoes while a sales girl looked on bemusedly. No one came to my assistance at first, and I am sure that they assumed that we were yet more gawkers intent on "browsing" as I fingered a pair of shoes and tried not to look at the neat price tags. And to be fair, I wasn't sure we were doing much more than that either, and was waiting to be thrown out Pretty Woman style, however Bingley insisted, stating that he wanted me to have a pair, as my birthday present.
I was finally approached by the sales assistant who asked if she could help, and in terrible French I told her I wasn't sure what I was after, but that my husband wanted to buy me a pair for my birthday. After that, she was all smiles and soon had a little pile of boxes in size 36.5 sitting beside me. I loved them all, and in an alternate universe where paying hundreds of Euros for a pair of shoes is not laughable (though if it keeps trending as it is, this may be a possibility...) I wanted them all. In the end though, I had narrowed it down into a pair of plain navy pumps that were comfortable and perfect and a pair of black Mary Janes with an impossibly slender heel that Bingley loved. In the end, in spite of the 200E difference, I left the decision with him and then proceeded to grin inanely as we wandered the streets of Paris with a Louboutin carry bag dangling off my arm.
To say I was excited was a shallow echo of the jubilant girl bouncing through the streets of Paris like a 4 year old on Christmas morning. The weather was greyer than it had been for the few days prior but I felt luminescent. We found the Jardin Luxembourg with its majestic paths and flower beds and the spectacular trees and I couldn't help it, even knowing that the white gravel would tear into the red soles I had to try them on again, to wander in Paris, in amongst beautiful Autumn leaves wearing something so elegant and perfectly fitting that it seemed to have been made for my foot alone.
And as I gazed at the trees and the sky and beamed, I was approached and asked for directions, I was smiled at, and I smiled and smiled. I may not have been a 21 year old etudiant, living off baguettes and beure but an older Jenn, a wiser one with more elegance than the youthful starry eyed one was there instead, tripping along in her Louboutins.
The rest of the day was spent wandering along Rue Rivoli, through the Marais and ending up again at Trocadero for the best hot chocolate I had in France before tired and happy coming home to our apartment. We went out for dinner that night, and sat on purple velvet chairs, and though I knew that it was tomorrow to be goodbye to a city I love as a soulmate, I knew that we would meet again. And in the meantime, when I am sad, I can unwrap my beautiful shoes, do up the tiny buckles around my tiny ankles and marvel at the wonder that is a perfectly crafted pair of shoes.