Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mom's 1953 Europe Road Trip - Shopping in Paris

From Mom's Europe trip diary, in the "PLACES VISITED" section: 
October 19, Monday – Paris, France
Went to American Express and had 8 letters -- 3 from Fred.  After breakfast, went shopping for perfume* -- bought almost all that I have to buy.  Also bought three silk scarves.**  Walked down the Rue de la Paix, Place Vendôme, Place de la Concorde.  For supper tonight had snails.  They aren't very pretty and do not taste like anything too much.

* According to the "PURCHASES" section of the trip diary, my mother bought the following perfumes at the following places for the prices listed:

one bottle L'Heure Bleue*** at Guerlain for 3450 francs
one bottle En Avion at Caron for 3840 francs
one bottle Ma Griffe by Carven at Au Printemps for 1550 francs
one bottle Robe d'un Soir*** by Carven at Au Printemps for 2475 francs
one bottle Joy by Patou at Au Printemps for 2900 francs
two bottles Arpege at Lanvin, one for 1650 francs and one for 4600 francs
one bottle My Sin at Lanvin for 100 francs
one bottle Presence at Houbigant for 1325 francs

** One scarf was purchased at Monik for 900 francs, and the other two at Bentley for 850 francs each.

***In French, L'Heure Bleue means The Blue Hour and Robe d'un Soir means Evening Dress.

Paris - Au Printemps [10 May 1960] / Roger Wollstadt / CC BY-SA 2.0
Au Printemps rotunda {22 October 2006] / Tuscan Knox (Own work)
 / GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0

Au Printemps (French for "in the [season of] spring"), pictured above in 1960, is a department store in France that still exists today.  It opened at the corner of Le Havre and Boulevard Haussman in Paris on November 3, 1865.  It was rebuilt at that location after fires in 1881 and 1921.  The figures of the Four Seasons on the façade (pictured at left) were sculpted by Henri Chapu.  The store was a pioneer in many ways - one of the first with electric lights and elevators,   It also changed retail business practices with such ideas as set prices, discount sales, and window models for the latest fashions.

The Rue de la Paix (pictured below) is a main shopping street in Paris. It was created on Napoleon's orders in 1806 and was originally named for him.  It runs from the Palais Garnier to the Place Vendôme.
Buildings along Rue de la Paix, Paris [5 September 2011] / Britchi Mirela (Own work) / CC-BY-SA-3.0
Place Vendôme Column [29 August 2009] / Ricce (Own work) / Public domain

The most notable feature of the Place Vendôme is the Vendôme Column, pictured at left.  It was built on Napoleon's orders between 1806 and 1810 to celebrate his victory of Austerlitz and is modeled after Trajan's Column in Rome. It is covered with 425 spiraling bas-relief bronze plates made from cannon captured at Austerlitz.

The Place de la Concorde is noted for the Luxor Obelisk, which originally came from the Luxor Temple in Egypt and was given to France by the Egyptian government and installed at this site in 1836.  The yellow granite has hieroglyphics praising the pharoah Ramesses II.  The Place de la Concorde also has two fountains flanking the Luxor Obelisk.  They were built in 1840 with the themes of rivers and seas.  Detail from one of the elaborate fountains can be seen in the photograph below. 
Place de la Concorde Fountain, detail [28 August 2013] / Beata Poznań (Own work) / CC-BY-SA-3.0

This is the 73rd in a series of posts transcribing entries in my mother's 1953 Europe Trip journal.

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.

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