Month: July 2023

French Revolution Paris Historic Walk: An Airbnb Experience

I first met Thierry Collegia in 2020. I’d embarked on an online tour of Paris and decided to attend the virtual Airbnb experience French Revolution Interactive Journey. A lovely married couple joined the host and me. They’d been to Paris somewhat recently and shared their vivid memories. I hadn’t been there since 2014 and couldn’t recall rich details like they could. I knew I would visit the Revolution-related sites Thierry transported us to via Zoom; I just didn’t know when.

Two years and a few months later, I attended French Revolution Paris Historic Walk. I joined the group in front of a bookshop in the Ier arrondissement. Thierry was outfitted with a microphone, small speaker, iPad, and trusty backpack. We greeted each other like old friends. The other attendees were surprised that we’d already met. I like when things come full circle. Judging by the Airbnb reviews, it is common for tourists to take multiple Parisology tours.

Although the experiences are geared toward tourists interested in history, others will find them beneficial. Any excuse to go for a walk in Paris is a good one. I saw the arcades of the Palais-Royal and the black and white colonnes de Buren for the first time. Le café Corazza, a former Jacobins meeting place, was a Manolo Blahnik. Inside, a slender customer modeled sparkly shoes. The group—there were about 11 of us—took a walk on Rue Saint-Honoré passed a handful of noteworthy brands: Castañer (#264), Maison Goyard (#233), Christian Louboutin (#400), and Longchamp (#404). The townhouse, turned hotel, that was once owned by the family of Adrienne de La Fayette stands at #211. Maximilien Robespierre’s former residence is located at #398.

In the middle of his story, Thierry assessed our tolerance for gore. I was reminded that the tour was about war and not window shopping. I told him that I was all in, and the others seemed ok with the decision I made for the group. We advanced to Place de la Concorde where Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and Robespierre were executed. I was immediately taken by the shiny golden plaque at the foot of the obelisk that pays homage to the king and queen.

Our two hours together came to an end. After a few photographs with the storyteller, the attendees said their goodbyes and left one family at a time until Thierry and I remained. We took some selfies in front of the obelisk to commemorate our first in-person meeting. Thierry departed to meet his next tour. I went to buy a new Longchamp. I knew we’d meet again; I just didn’t know when.

Veja Campo

I received my introduction to the French brand Veja in October 2018. I’d ordered two pairs (in 39 and 40) of the V-10 from Zappos. The high top rubbed uncomfortably against my ankle, and I returned them. I waited a few years before ordering a different style. In September 2022, I bought two pairs of the Campo in bronze and white, again from Zappos. They were stolen in transit. My third attempt at acquiring and keeping a pair of Vejas was successful. In March 2023, I purchased the Campo in white and black from the Veja store in the18eme and have been wearing them ever since.

Deciding between sizes 39 and 40 took at least an hour. My instep is on the higher side, and the 40 seemed accommodating in this regard. However, the length of my foot is closer to a 39, which is the size I ended up committing to. I loosened the laces to allow for a little more room.

The break-in period for this sneaker was long and uncomfortable—at least a month with consistent wear. Initially, the toebox rubbed against the top of my toes. After a day of walking, I was relieved to take them off. Eventually, the leather became supple and the sole pliable. I don’t have issues with the toebox now.

Veja sneakers are attractive. The V logo looks like it’s peeking above the rim of the sole—clever in my opinion. Known for its sustainable measures, the brand uses materials like bovine ChromeFree leather, Amazonian and recycled rubber, organic cotton, rice waste, and recycled polyester. The sneakers are manufactured in Brazil through fair trade partnerships

Although the Campo may not be comfortable enough for me to buy again, I’d be open to trying other Veja styles, some in the running category perhaps. It’s pronounced “veh-ja” by the way.

Works Sighted

Veja Campo (white/black)

Lola (1961): Cécile in Nantes

In Jacques Demy’s Lola (1961), single-mother Cécile (played by Anouk Aimée) balances life’s demands gracefully. She’s always rushing and asking people for the time. On a typical day, she picks her son up from school, tucks him into bed, and heads out the door for work. Known on the stage as Lola, Cécile performs nightly at a cabaret in Nantes.

The cabaret is a party with free-flowing Champagne, ribbons, and music, a playground for the American sailors passing through the port city. In her line of work, it’s common for male patrons to become emotionally attached, but Cécile’s heart is reserved for someone else, and she isn’t timid about making this fact known.

Cécile finds pleasure in being feminine: admiring her silky hair after it has been washed, applying lipstick in her signature color, accessorizing a sheath dress with just the right necklace and jacket. She doesn’t know her own strength when it comes to captivating men on and off the stage. Even if she did, she wouldn’t sacrifice her attractiveness. She adorns herself with makeup, jewelry, and clothing for her own enjoyment.

Works Sighted

shirt // top hat // necklace // coat // tumbler // book

silver ribbon // gold ribbon // Champagne // bodysuit // comb // lipstick // fedora // candles

comic // dictionary // heels // flowers // cake

satchel // trumpet // vinyl // suitcase