Alesia neighborhood, Discount Heaven, Cells Phones, and more


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Photo by Chris Card Fuller ©2007

You remember in a previous post (Black and White), I mentioned that if you ignore the shop windows, the clothing colors you’re most likely to see worn by women in the streets of Paris this spring are: black and white, black and red, and the eternal polka dot, with some sixties graphics thrown in for good measure.

Alesia is one of the neighborhoods where smart Parisians go to shop for discounted designers in ‘Stock shops’. You’ll note that the friendly Parisian who agreed to pose for this picture is dressed in a very dark navy blue with a white T-shirt. She was very surprised when I immediately recognized her as being Parisian. “But I’m not representative!” she demurred. “People always think I’m a tourist.”

Far from it. She really embodies the Parisian knack for looking casual and elegant at the same time.

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The hub of Alesia is the Metro stop Alesia. Most of the stock shops can be found on Rue d’Alesia. You will also find here a few shops for Tailles Grandes (Big Women) La Femme du 42 – 56 (French sizes for women’s clothing starts at 36 (Size 2-4 approximately), 38 (Size 4-6) 40 (Size 6-8) etc. (Some of my friends have complained in the past that it’s hard to find shops for big size women. In truth, it’s also hard to find the extremely small sizes i.e. smaller than 38.

I stopped in at Jean Marc Philippe at 92 Rue Alesia www.jeanmarcphilippe.com. which specializes in clothes for large women. Prices were reasonable by French standards i.e. under 200 Euros for an ensemble.

Aside from Stock Boutiques, you’ll also want to take a walk down Ave du General LeClerc if you’re looking for cell phones or SIM Cards.
I stopped in at the France-Telecom Orange store at 39, Ave Ave du Gen Le Clerc where I bought a SIM card for 19 Euros plus two months worth of talk time for 25 Euros to replace my Cingular SIM card. The salesperson replaced the SIM card for me in two seconds (almost as fast as Jason Bourne does it in the Bourne Supremacy – one of the coolest scenes in the movie!). Use your French SIM card for Local calls – then switch back to your US SIM card for calls back to the states!

If you don’t want to go with Orange/France Telecom, Bouygues and SFR boutiques abound. The Apple Store is located right next door to France Telecom/Orange. If you want to buy a laptop with a QUERTY keyboard (for English/American users) as opposed to the French keyboard (AZERTY), they can special order a computer for you. Plan on waiting a few weeks.