Yesterday afternoon I was enjoying an espresso and a book in one of my favorite cafés in Beaune. I was nibbling on a lunette framboise, a cookie with a light raspberry filling and powered sugar sprinkled on top.
As I was enjoying delicious bites, les piétons walked lazily down the street, meandering from window to window, finding various treasures. A woman bundled up in a wool coat and big mittens, walking her little dog buttoned up in a toutou sized windbreaker. She moved in a zigzag pattern from store to store, admiring the pulls, sweaters, draped in a window, or the chaussures, shoes, sitting neatly in rows. Two lycéens walked by playing music on their cell phones and sweeping the hair from in front of their eyes in one cool collected flip. They stopped to admire the newest Samsung phone at the Orange store. An elderly man paused in front of the pastry shop, eyes wide as a young boy's.
I must admit, this French hobby has definitely rubbed off on me. You haven't walked down a street the right way in France until you've learned to stop and lick the windows.
Well no, not literally.
That's how we would translate their definition of window shopping.
Besides being a great way to catch the la grippe A, the flu, I think it gives a fun quirky image.
A little girl with a lollipop, enjoying a treat.
Or maybe they were going more for the 'drooling over a new pair of boots' effect.
Stores are organized perfectly to accommodate all these window lickers.
They put new merchandise, their classics, their sale items,
right up front.
They even write all the prices next to the items, so customers know what they're in for when they enter the store.
And if you've ever been to Paris during Christmas,
you may have heard of the tremendous
Animated mannequins, robot dogs, feathers, upside-down children.
They get crazier. every. year.
I've already spent many weekend afternoons walking slowly down the streets
no schedule or agenda
stopping by my favorite places
to see what's new.
No pressure, no fuss.
And when finally a French woman or man decides to enter the store
(after discerning the windows to see if the store was worth an entrance)
I think there's a certain pride in the purchase.
The shopper was just as involved in the sale as the store owner.
One spent hours preparing the windows.
One spent hours deciding where and when to buy.
Both left feeling a sense of accomplishment.
'Regardez, look at this wonderful gâteau that I picked out at the patisserie'
'Voilà, the fantastic chaussures I found at the shoe store'
I think it's a wonderful method, to select and buy only what you would brag about!
And the process is kinda fun too : )
Have you licked any windows recently?