The kids are already outgrowing the clothes we brought with us. The weather has gotten noticeably warmer and Mark and I didn’t bring any summer attire. Our bag of rags British Airways lost (but we got it back) has been working overtime this past month.
We need clothes.
Our apartment is located in the sheik, designer boutique area of Lyon and I’m not about to spend $400 on a pair of sandals, so we jumped on the metro and headed for the nearest mall.
For the past few years all of the clothing I’ve acquired for myself has been purchased online, snagged from consignment shops or stolen from my mom. I’ve forgotten why I avoid shopping malls, but I know that I do it on purpose. Since this was France however, I thought we should check out the French version. We headed to the nearest mall, La Part Dieu, and after a few minutes of mallitude, my memory improved.
When I used to go to the mall, I tried to make sure it was during the week day. At this time there would only be a few mall walkers, mothers pushing strollers and retired people. For this visit we went on a Wednesday since that is the day our kids don’t have to be picked up for lunch or escorted anywhere. Whoops. This mall was packed with people of all ages, as if it were a holiday. I guess not only do the kids get a break in the middle of the week but many adults do as well.
La Part Dieu Shopping Centre is substantial with over two hundred stores. When I looked it up on the internet I learned that it is one of the largest shopping centers in Europe. Despite being built in the mid-seventies it didn’t look too dated. It resembled any medium sized mall you’d find in the States, except for a few things: It conveniently had a subway stop inside, bathrooms were few and far between, the McDonalds had a gourmet patisserie attached and people spoke French, of course.
What problem do I have with malls? A mall is where people go who enjoy looking good and being looked at. I’m a walking fashion faux pas. My tastes in clothing don’t seem to coincide with the current decade. Can you blame me for not wanting to enter this den of menacing mannequins?
This gal was one of the more friendlier looking ones, and I liked what she was wearing. We browsed in two of the anchor stores, “H&M” and “Galeries Lafayette.” The pricing was steep. I might have to take up sewing clothes instead of bug costumes.
Before I resorted to the mall, I searched for consignment stores. In all of Lyon, the second largest city in the country, I came up with only one shop called Frip’attitude. According to this, there is only one other store like it in all of France (although her post was from 2009). Since I am not “allergic to clothes worn already” we went to Frip’attitude and I ended up finding a few nice things. Next time, I’ll bring in all of Kailas’ flood pants. What people do here with all of their used, unwanted clothing is still a mystery for me to solve.
Did I mention I am having Amazon.com withdrawal? One night I went to that site and filled up my shopping cart even though shipping things to France incurs import taxes, customs duties and fees. It would also take lots of extra time. I ditched that idea and instead got my online shopping fix with a local mail-order company, La Redoute.
Maneuvering around the La Redoute web site has been the best French language lesson so far. It was fun to discover what the word for hat was in French – chapeau. I looked at the chaussures, too. I had to figure out what size I was on a European sizing chart. There could be some really big mistakes in my cart; we’ll see next Wednesday when the shipment arrives.
After our visit to the mall yesterday, we walked over to visit our new friend, Serge. He is a diver who travels the world and has just returned from Mozambique. We became acquainted because we almost rented his home this summer. It was a lovely visit and we talked politics and religion (what else with Mark, right?) and had some wonderful homemade apple pie. Even better still, along with the pie we polished off a bottle of Gewurztraminer “Cuvée Laurence” from Alsace, which was divine.
Speaking of mannequins (and needing clothes), here’s another photo I took a few days earlier. Although I don’t think it was intentional, these little plastic tushies pressed against the glass got a few double takes from passersby. Nice.