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Written and photographed by Jennifer Harlow.

Midnight in Paris

“Paris loves style, in that it celebrates those who are happy with and proud of their own image.”

While walking in Paris, it is inevitable not to notice the tenor and sophistication of this city. Parisians have this natural and innate ability to look effortlessly stylish even while doing the simplest task. Whether it’s a Christian Dior haute couture gown worn at a charity benefit or the Bohemian college student in a Ralph Lauren tweed jacket sitting at a cafe while sipping an espresso. It’s not just the clothes, but knowing when and where to wear the right attire and how to play the part.

Further, it’s not just the la mode aspect that makes Paris in vogue. It’s the whole embodiment of this magnificent city and its citizens – the entire lifestyle of the mundane day-to-day. Whether you are catching the metro to Centre Pompidou or enjoying a long afternoon lunch while sitting on a park bench at Germain des Prés Square, it’s a seamless transition from one activity to another with no visible boundaries in regards to fashion. From the artistic and architecture heritage to the artists and poets sitting at the corner cafes contemplating their mere existence — it’s the ability to enjoy every aspect of life through design, art, architecture, cuisine, and literature — all in the name of a prevailing and decorous existence.

With these sentiments, embarking on our second day in Paris proved to be just as eventful as day number one. Between the random encounter with the curator of the Musée Picasso, lunch with the Fashiontographer team at Le Café Marly, walking hand in hand with my daughter through Le Louvre and finally, viewing the contemporary designer, Araisara’s runway show at Le Garage Turenne, we all did our best to seamlessly transition from one venue to the next with effortless style.

And so without further ado, our day unfolded as such:

11:00 am: Still on Washington DC time, we woke up later than anticipated. I borrowed Lisa’s Custo Barcelona dress, which happened to be a great choice for the diversity of genre throughout the day.

11:30 am: Headed to Le Petit Fer à Cheval for breakfast. I had a café au lait and Sarah enjoyed a pain au chocolat. Sitting outside while people watching, I observed that leather is definitely back in style for the Fall/Winter season. And make sure you pick up a stylish pair of boots, both high and low and a big chunky belt. Also red lipstick seems to be resurfacing this season.

1:00 PM: After walking the streets of Le Marais, we finally found the Musée Picasso. Although the Musée Picasso was temporarily closed for renovations, by happenstance, Sarah and I met the curator of the museum and she invited us to take a personal tour of the Picasso Exhibit when the tour arrives in Washington DC.

1:30 PM: While overlooking the famous architect, I.M. Pei’s stunning glass pyramids at Le Louvre, the gang adjourned for lunch at the gorgeous, Le Café Marly, with the exceptional view of Le Louvre. I met Charlie Holm, Fashiontographer’s European Editor (who also happens to be Esprit’s Global Head of Design for Kids). Loved her.

1:45 PM: Sipping an espresso still at Le Café Marly, Walter and Lisa handed me a goodie bag which they picked up for me at the Allude runway show (and had been lugging all around Paris). With great anticipation, I opened the bag, only to find out that my “goodie” was the most ridiculous pair of turquoise sneakers, size 40. What? I’m guessing the Chanel goodie bag was much better. At least they were thinking of me, right?

3:00 PM: A few hours roaming Le Louvre is clearly not enough time to even scratch the surface of its many walls of paintings and sculptures, but definite highlights were showing my daughter several famous works, particularly, The Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and The Winged Victory of Samothrace.

5:00 PM: One of Sarah’s favorite parts of the day was visiting the corner creperie in our neighborhood for an afternoon snack. Instead of her regular Nutella and strawberry crepe, she tried lemon and sugar. No complaints.

6:00 PM: Taxi drivers in Paris drive much faster than taxi drivers in NYC. Running late, we grabbed a taxi from Hôtel de Ville to Le Garage Turenne, where we were covering a Japanese designer’s collection. In the rain, Sarah and I stood at the back of the line holding our invitation. Not sure what happened next, but before I knew it (and for no good reason) we were led by a very auspicious bouncer dressed in a dark suit, beyond all the other people and directly to our seats in the theatre. Nice, because we did not have an umbrella and the line was really long.

6:10 PM: Looking up, I saw two familiar faces – it’s Walter and Charlie looking very chic hanging out in the photographer’s podium. It was a definite highlight watching them commingling with an international group of runway photographers before the Araisara Collection debuted in Paris, which was fresh, bright and somewhat poetic in nature. Bravo.

7:30 PM: Even though Charlie could not recall the name of the quintessential wine bar that we were destined (or not) to see, we found Minimes which turned out to be one of our favorite spots for a glass of champagne and post-show conversation. And the upstairs was even better. I am reserving the private table for my birthday in January 2013.

9:30 PM: We rendezvoused with Lisa back at our apartment to relax before dinner. With no real agenda, we wandered toward rue de Thorigny and found a perfect restaurant for a late night dinner. The food was amazing. Lisa and I shared escargot, sautéed in a butter, white wine, and parsley sauce – delicious! Charlie told Walter us to never ask for french fries while in Paris – a sure sign that you must be from Mesquite, Texas. Who would have known?

12:00 AM: Exhausted. It was time to head to our apartment and call it a night. Walking in the rain, it was midnight in Paris, and yes, we were still feeling en vogue, despite the blisters on my heels.

Jennifer tried to “accidentally” leave this beautiful pair of turquoise sneakers, which I ended up carrying on my flight from Paris to DFW to DC and hand deliver them back to her in McLean, VA.  And who would have known that some kid from Mesquite, Texas who lived down the street from the Mesquite Rodeo would eventually receive full media accreditation from the Fédération Française de la Couture to photograph Paris Fashion Week. That’s gotta come with french fries.















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