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The Armchair Traveler: Paris

Dec 6, 2010

by Ayun handmade and vintage goods

Ayun_bio.jpgAyun Halliday is the chief primatologist of East Village Inky, and the primary contributor to The Zinester’s Guide to NYC — an illustrated, anecdotal, wholly analog, highly participatory, low budget guidebook that’s cheaper than a movie. She is the author of the four self-mocking autobiographies, including No Touch Monkey! And Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late, and one extremely serious picture book for children entitled Always Lots of Heinies at the Zoo. She lives on the top floor of a Brooklyn brownstone with the playwright Greg Kotis and their two children. Turn-ons include parades that anyone can march in, Balkan brass, mail that comes in envelopes, comics, summer camp, cowboy shirts, Chinatown, chipotle peppers, Facebook, and falling asleep with the lights on.

Bonjour! Plane tickets are expensive — magical armchairs are less so. So get comfy in your seat and join me for a 5-day whirlwind tour. Our first stop? Paris…

AT_Paris_1.jpgClockwise from top left: French Valentine Maid Bralette by madamemignon; Feathered Beret from Katrina Couture; French Wool Beret by Chocolatine Boutique; Eco Dog Coat by Annie’s Sweatshop.

Paris has a certain je ne sais quoi that will make your sagging Spanks and worn out bra feel like a liability. Quick! Slip into the WC and change into a French Maid costume, and maybe throw on a feathered beret. But sadly, it’s not just underwear and hats. Even children and dogs in Paris are dressed better than you!

AT_Paris_2b.jpgClockwise from top left: Paris, Shakespeare & Co. by Jen Murray Photography; Maids’ Room, Paris, 2002 by milkntea; Walton 8mm Home Movie from theENDpeace; Cemetery Dirt from Montmarte Cemetery from Aldetha; Wee Gargoyle by GrammyKnitKritters; Tobacco No. 001 Eau de toilette from Portland General Store.

Enough of the couture, let’s drink in some sights! Sylvia Beach was (platonically) rocking the likes of Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, and James Joyce at Shakespeare & Co. long before Ethan Hawke noticed Julie Delpy loitering by the door in Before Sunset. Romance! The legendary bookstore also offers a free bed for penniless authors, provided they read one book a day. Are you a penniless author? You are? Parfait! While you’re at it, gather some dirt from the Montmarte Cemetary and find your own gargoyle — no need to chisel one off of Notre Dame. Pick up a bottle of tobacco eau de toilette because Pepe Le Pew is in the minority of Parisians who finds natural odors to be irresistible. When you get home, you’ll be able to invite the Drapers over to view your 8mm footage of the Pigale night clubs.

AT_Paris_3.jpgClockwise from top left: Miniature Box of French Biscuits by Paris Miniatures; French Bread by CoopersFancies; French Cream-Filled Pastry Swans by Paris Miniatures; Orange Essence Sugar Cubes by fahrenheitgoods.

Let us savor Paris on our tongues! Grab some wine and cheese, and let us picnic on the Seine. Baguettes are the reason budget-conscious American backpackers prone to describing themselves as “starving” get fat and happy. The reason French women don’t gain weight is because all of their pastries are 1/12 scale, such as these little cream-filled swans or the miniature box of biscuits. Also, there is that disturbing American habit of devouring sugar cubes. Try explaining to the waiter that our sugar comes in packets!

AT_Paris_final.jpgLet’s rest our travel weary bones for now, for tomorrow we’ll be on the road again. À bientôt!

Enjoying your virtual world tour? Stay tuned tomorrow for the next edition of the Armchair Traveler series.

Shop Local: Paris | I Heart France Team | Etsy French Blog | Articles tagged “France”


  • DonkeeHouse

    DonkeeHouse said 6 years ago

    I love the mini cute! I really like the armchair traveler series...inspires me to look for more places to explore!

  • bylynnkrestel

    bylynnkrestel said 6 years ago

    so fun!! ayun! would love to go today!!

  • cottonbirddesigns

    cottonbirddesigns said 6 years ago

    Great article!

  • Asianexpressions

    Asianexpressions said 6 years ago

    What fun!

  • AZCreativeStudio

    AZCreativeStudio said 6 years ago

    Great post and amazing finds!!!!

  • eRosasjewelry

    eRosasjewelry said 6 years ago

    does Shakespeare and Co. have a place for penniless metalsmiths? Just kidding, I love that place. :-)

  • outofline

    outofline said 6 years ago

    Great timing:) While looking forward to the Holidays I'm also feeling a bit of wanderlust.... thanks!

  • 1dream

    1dream said 6 years ago

    I love Paris..Lovely article..

  • maggiemaevintage

    maggiemaevintage said 6 years ago those pastry swans!

  • SunflowerGlassworks

    SunflowerGlassworks said 6 years ago

    Just returned from Paris - what a wonderful (and yummy!) place!

  • dollcollection

    dollcollection said 6 years ago

    I was in Paris. Thank you!

  • beachglassshop

    beachglassshop said 6 years ago

    bonjour....wonderful blog...thank you for sharing!

  • 1313Vintage

    1313Vintage said 6 years ago

    Nice article. I just visited there in September and even popped in the Shakespeare & Company bookstore... ahh memories. Thanks

  • VintageMarketPlace

    VintageMarketPlace said 6 years ago

    cute post

  • jewelrybyjackie

    jewelrybyjackie said 6 years ago

    Ooohhhh! I love Ayun's writing!!! Can't wait to see where we're going next!!!

  • OdaraElle

    OdaraElle said 6 years ago

    I love this!!!!

  • SpottedFish

    SpottedFish said 6 years ago

    I LOVE the dog coats, super cute!

  • AlyTheRed

    AlyTheRed said 6 years ago

    I'm currently reading No Touch Monkey. Thanks for the great article and visual goodies tour. Happy Holidays!

  • vivikas

    vivikas said 6 years ago

    This is great! I love the eco dog coat!!

  • Emmamaha

    Emmamaha said 6 years ago

    Love this:) The French bread and French sweets especially made my day a whole lot better:)

  • AvianInspirations

    AvianInspirations said 6 years ago

    This is the most perfectly timed blog post ever! Here I am stuck inside with termpapers due and sleet outside, and I am momentarily transported away to Paris. Just perfect.

  • hattieshouse

    hattieshouse said 6 years ago

    what a great trip, love the retro suit and sugar candies!

  • birdie1

    birdie1 said 6 years ago

    Ooh la la! Dogs in Europe are so much better behaved than here in the U.S. You can dress them up and take them anywhere. Thanks for the great post!

  • ikabags

    ikabags said 6 years ago

    Great article ! Yay for Paris :))

  • Mclovebuddy

    Mclovebuddy said 6 years ago

    heheh. love it. very witty. :D

  • ismay

    ismay said 6 years ago

    I was in Paris this time last month and it already feels like a year ago. Thanks for reminding me of how wonderful it is!

  • Gerryvirge

    Gerryvirge said 6 years ago

    Great info and intrique for the Armchair Travelers among us. You certainly exhibit the attitude of "Je Ne Sais Quoi"; which is great. Very enjoyable! Thanks.

  • rebeccasanchez

    rebeccasanchez said 6 years ago

    Love the vintage!

  • etcetrix

    etcetrix said 6 years ago

    Love this feature. And.. OH! that gargoyle!

  • Gerryvirge

    Gerryvirge said 6 years ago

    Wonderful read and you certainly exhibit the je ne sais quoi attitude; which is great. Thanks.

  • BigSkyArtworks

    BigSkyArtworks said 6 years ago

    Paris, je t'aime!

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 6 years ago

    Beautiful finds very sophisticated!

  • DalkullanJewelry

    DalkullanJewelry said 6 years ago

    Thanks for a fun read! I've been to Paris, and it's always great to go back, even if it is only via the magic armchair. :)

  • cakemates

    cakemates said 6 years ago

    I love Paris and i love this post one of my favorites so far

  • annieparsley

    annieparsley said 6 years ago

    I needed that. Thank you. :0)

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 6 years ago

    Fun colection!! ...and now I'm starving...

  • mypetitemaison

    mypetitemaison said 6 years ago

    What a fun getaway! I love it and the Cimetiere Montmartre object, made me giggle, certainly a conversation piece. Thanks for bringing back memories of Before Sunrise too... a great movie!

  • friendlygreenfrog

    friendlygreenfrog said 6 years ago

    love them all picked with the describe of traveler guide . great post.

  • doveandflower

    doveandflower said 6 years ago

    Love your writing, Ayun. Those sugar cubes make my mouth water. Yummy!

  • riorita

    riorita said 6 years ago

    I guess I'm an arm chair traveller too! Great post!

  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    SimpleJoysPaperie said 6 years ago

    Thanks for the lovely tour! :)

  • Earleyimages

    Earleyimages said 6 years ago

    would go today if i could lol

  • StemDesigns

    StemDesigns said 6 years ago

    Such a cool post...i love those miniature biscuits...yum yum!

  • BlueRoseRetro

    BlueRoseRetro said 6 years ago


  • Verdurebydesign

    Verdurebydesign said 6 years ago

    Love Paris and I feel like I've been again. Thanks for the word pictures that captured sight, sound, smell and taste of Paris.

  • BelieveJewelrySupply

    BelieveJewelrySupply said 6 years ago

    Thank you for bringing some Paris chic to Etsy! I would love to go to Paris someday! But, for now, I shall live vicariously through articles like yours! Thank You!

  • CynthiaCreations

    CynthiaCreations said 6 years ago

    Wonderful place, love Paris~! Thanks for sharing =)

  • WhisperingOak

    WhisperingOak said 6 years ago

    Oh, the pastries look delicious

  • sunshinesketches

    sunshinesketches said 6 years ago

    The only sentiment in the article that I can disagree with: my dog is well-dressed! :o)

  • ivoryAndOrange

    ivoryAndOrange said 6 years ago

    I love the swan pastries. It isn't quite Paris but Swans and afternoon Tea our a Christmas tradition!

  • funkyjunkyart

    funkyjunkyart said 6 years ago

    What fun!

  • J2Jewelry

    J2Jewelry said 6 years ago

    Merci pour le mini-vacances merveilleuses! Il s'agissait d'une pause bien méritée de ma Kalamazoo l'existence mondaine. Si seulement ils pouvaient comprendre les transporteurs déjà!

  • NGjewelry

    NGjewelry said 6 years ago

    great! I love travelling and this series is so lovely and inspiring! Paris is one my favorite places, thank you for sharing!

  • elmstreetmarket

    elmstreetmarket said 6 years ago

    How appropriate is it that I stumbled upon this while sipping espresso at a French-style cafe/bakery! That cemetery dirt is freakishly cool. Reminds me of the times I would walk from my apartment to Montmarte, never thinking to dig the cemetery dirt. Not that I would ever dare to!

  • paramountvintage

    paramountvintage said 6 years ago

    ooh, the pastries look delicious!

  • hankietankie

    hankietankie said 6 years ago

    Bonjour Ayun Halladay, your memoir's sound intriguing, i will look them up! thanks for the great tour & appropos finds! xoxo je taime xoxoxo i am forever inspired by france xoxo

  • VeronicaRStudio

    VeronicaRStudio said 6 years ago

    I haven't been to Paris in ages! I would love to go again... Someday :)

  • artstudio

    artstudio said 6 years ago

    I love Paris and was lucky to live there for a few years. While I don't live there anymore, the time I spent there still inspires me and my paintings. Great article, thanks!

  • gilstrapdesigns

    gilstrapdesigns said 6 years ago

    I've always wanted and still plan on going to Paris and these pasties makes me so want to go. They look so good and of course the breads.

  • QueenofCuffs

    QueenofCuffs said 6 years ago

    beautiful, stylish, la belle France.

  • shop1848

    shop1848 said 6 years ago

    Great article, such fun!!

  • jaipuronline

    jaipuronline said 6 years ago

    Great article......

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 6 years ago

    Love your article! Paris is enchanting!

  • SavoyFaire

    SavoyFaire said 6 years ago

    Thanks for sharing these wonders of Paris!

  • Ayun

    Ayun said 6 years ago

    You guys make excellent traveling partners. See you tomorrow for a trip to...oops, I don't want to spoil the surprise.

  • felicitycrew

    felicitycrew said 6 years ago

    Thanks for the tour!

  • redemptionart

    redemptionart said 6 years ago

    ....someday, someday! thank you for the virtual i wish i could reach out and touch!

  • AllureByU

    AllureByU said 6 years ago

    Every thing is so "delicious"

  • henatayeb

    henatayeb said 6 years ago

    Takes me back to the four marvelous days my husband and I spent in Paris. Feels like forever ago

  • GracefullyGirly

    GracefullyGirly said 6 years ago

    I'd love to go to France, but not without a fabulous guide like you! Thanks for the ride... Almost as good as being there in person. Oh, and since the pastries are 1/12 the size I might be inclined to eat 12. I'm such an American. ; >

  • strawberryluna

    strawberryluna said 6 years ago

    Paris, je t'aime toujours. C'est parfiat. Paris c'est ma ville préférée. Great piece on the City Of Light and lovely Etsy reminders :)

  • PlumeandPetals

    PlumeandPetals said 6 years ago

    Paris~ such a romantic place =)

  • sydandmarc

    sydandmarc said 6 years ago

    Love the child's beret, reminds me of myself as a little girl I often wore berets and could usually be found reading books in trees, near rivers, and quiet corners..

  • KeepEvolving

    KeepEvolving said 6 years ago


  • LisamichelleCol

    LisamichelleCol said 6 years ago

    Great article! I loved your selections.

  • TheNightjar

    TheNightjar said 6 years ago

    love traveling in an arm chair! thank you : )

  • littleloveblue

    littleloveblue said 6 years ago

    Love Ayun's work! I've nbeen a fan for years:)

  • ViewPatricksArt

    ViewPatricksArt said 6 years ago

    Love the dog coats!

  • fashionL

    fashionL said 6 years ago

    Great post!

  • PattiTrostle

    PattiTrostle said 6 years ago

    Love this article!!

  • FireHorseTextiles

    FireHorseTextiles said 6 years ago

    I would love to go back to Paris one day - I love your finds with a French feel to them to admire in the meantime ;o)

  • AnnaisBags

    AnnaisBags said 6 years ago

    Nice piece! Paris ... x

  • LoveShinyObjects

    LoveShinyObjects said 6 years ago

    J'aime Paris aussi et your article, too!

  • Nora8Co

    Nora8Co said 6 years ago

    Great article! I love everything including Paris!!

  • Jaminko

    Jaminko said 6 years ago

    Too much Fun!!! Meet me in Paris, we'll hang out!!!

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