Sometimes when you travel, it’s not the places that you see, but the people that you meet, or at least pass by, that make an impact.
Our day on Wednesday began with a walk up Rue St Denis. This is a red light area and it was not long before we began to see a few women standing in doorways in different sorts of attire waiting for something to happen. I noticed one woman who was perhaps in her forties wearing an overcoat unbuttoned to her waist with a very impressive display of cleavage. Perhaps when you are getting old and a little overweight and past your prime in terms of appearance, you need to show off your best assets in order to gain business.
Our second encounter was with a quite attractive young blonde woman in a perfume store. She had a strange sort of accent and when we got further into a conversation, we found out that she was Russian (from Moscow) and had been living in Paris for five or six years. Then it clicked – I remembered that young Russian women have a unique ability to dye the roots of their hair black and leave all the rest of their shoulder length tresses in their natural colour. I should have guessed!
By lunch time, we had walked to the beautiful Galleries Lafayette department store. The centre of the area under the dome was decorated with an enormous Christmas Tree, over five stories high. We found that they had a sushi bar restaurant and we decided to have our lunch there. Our waitress was obviously Asian and we again struck up a conversation. Her story was quite remarkable. She had been forced out of her home in Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge and lost most of her family. She was forced to live in a jungle camp for three years and finally escaped to Vietnam by following the Vietnamese soldiers. She and 400 other people then escaped on a boat headed for Malaysia. Somehow they lost their direction and were saved by a British warship that took them to Hong Kong. Somehow from there, she was resettled to Paris. A nice lady and a great story of survival! She told us that there were three occasions in all of this in which she thought she might die, but she was happy now in Paris with her remaining sister and two cousins. I felt like giving her a big hug.
Finally, we shared a dinner table with a nice couple from Finland, but more of that in a minute.
Along with all of these encounters, we found another couple of good finds. Along one of the broad avenues, was a hotel in which we stayed on our first trip to Paris. The entrance was off an arcade in which there were a lot of antique shops and curio stores. We wandered through the arcade for a look and came across a great store that sold dolls houses and miniature pieces for furnishing them. This was just what I needed! I had once built a dolls house for Cathy but over the years, some of the furniture has been broken, and our cat once chewed off some of the little plastic flowers in the window boxes. This shop had a lot of things that I needed to replace them with – especially the flowers!
Our evening concluded with a visit to Moulin Rouge. This is where we shared a table with the couple from Finland. The Moulin Rouge show was quite something. We caught a taxi because it was raining and we arrived quite early. We waited in a line for about thirty minutes and were then ushered into the main theatre/restaurant area to a table on a raised area with a good view of the stage Our tickets cost us a little over $400, and these included the show, a three course dinner (which was surprisingly good) and a bottle of wine. The theatre holds over 900 people and to feed and service this large number of people in a very short fine was quite a feat.
The show was really spectacular. The dancing was excellent and the costumes were spectacular. I think some of them, especially those with feathers in the head dresses would have been very heavy. The dancers were all very good looking. The physique of the men would have been any fitness fanatic’s dream and the women were stunning. Most of them danced topless although most of them had very small breasts. In fact some of the dancers were pretty skinny with their ribs sticking out. I guess it’s just a matter of how you like your women!
There were no photos allowed so the pictures below are ones that I photographed from the program that we purchased. This may infringe on Moulin Rouge’s copyright and I will remove them if requested.