Okay. I realize the title of this post may seem weird given that, ultimately, I'm going to write about lingerie, but bear with me.
Shopping in France is a pleasure. I haven't shopped much, given the state of the dollar, but I have bought two things that require a certain amount of effort--shoes and lingerie. Shoes and lingerie must be tried on. Let's suppose for a minute, you are lingerie shopping at Target. Place yourself in this cavernous environment and imagine...it takes a very long time to run back and forth between the dressing room and the lingerie department (putting your clothes back on each time you do so.) And even if you were willing to spend quite a bit more money--at Nordstrom, let's say, it would still take the sales lady a very long time to run back and forth between the dressing room and the immense inventory of lingerie she must peruse to bring you what you need.
Nordstrom has a fabulous yearly shoe sale. It's a vrai fête de chaussures, but when those handsome sales guys run off to get you a different size or a different color, they have to take the bus somewhere, I think. And then they must climb three-story ladders and inch slowly back down, their arms laden with boxes....
The stores here are small. Very small. Think of the size of your bedroom, perhaps. Think of an average, efficient sales lady (that's right, one saleslady) and voila, you have the French shopping experience.
I bought lingerie in 20 minutes. Gorgeous lingerie. After we determined that I was---sit down for a moment my American girlfriends--a size 90 C, the saleswoman laid out 5 bras in my size that had the potential for co-ordinating culottes that were neither bikinis or thongs. So even with this particular style restriction, I had a very good selection AND all the bras fit perfectly.
All the bras never fit perfectly at home. Why? I have no idea.
Once in the dressing room, the saleswoman was an arms length away (while still at her cash register) which allowed her to hand me les culottes (which were on a shelf behind her) and things proceeded apace.
Done with the shopping.
Now for the wearing.