more Flore

A few weeks ago I posted photos of the elegant, rather pampered folk who are willing to stand on the boul St Germain patiently waiting for a table on the terrace of the Flore. The inside may be completely empty as posers and voyeurs like myself wait for a prime spot; a table with a view. Today, for the first time ever, I had to wait my turn.

In a very UnFrench way, people wait their turn here. In a very French way, they refuse to wait in line, but stand there dispersed, keeping an eye out for who arrives when. They are un-stereotypically civil about waiting their turn.

So I stood there waiting, completely relaxed knowing that I wouldn’t have to worry about someone pushing their way in, pleasantly chatting with the waiter Dominique and watching the crowds, when two ladies with leopard-spotted silk scarves paid their bill.

“Attend,” he warns me. “Don’t get too excited, they’re enjoying making you wait.”

So I wait, and another couple is waiting, casually leaning against a sea-foam green Renault, when a very scruffy looking, local guy shows up with his kid. He is clearly seeking a table, prowling between the place where the civilized wait and the lucky bathe in the luxury of their table with a view. My radar goes up. He is being très uncool. He starts chatting up the two ladies in their leopard scarves and suddenly, they are giving him their place.

I pop up, “Excuse me, I was waiting for this table.”
“I was waiting, too.”
“Yes, but I was waiting much longer than you”.
The leopard ladies try to help him out… “Non, non, we assure you, he was waiting.”

I don’t care about the reinforcements, I am already seated. “Listen, I was waiting. If you have your doubts, go ask Dominique, the waiter.” I am relieved to have had a witness. There is no way both of us missed this guy as we stood there watching for ten minutes. I was there first.

He yells at me and I repeat, “Ask the waiter.”

The waiter for our section simply refuses to get involved. He is not Dominique.
The man is irate, he grabs his kid’s hand, storming off as he shouts, “You know, we can’t take living in France much longer because of people like you.

At this point I start feeling badly about having deprived the sad, washed out looking kid of a place to rest his feet and enjoy a snack. Italian – Jewish mother syndrome. Then, I remember the 50 empty seats just behind me, which confirms that the kid is sad and washed out looking because he’s stuck with that for a Dad. I happily order a guilt-free kir, as I sit and ponder exactly what he means by “people like you.” Did I just deprive a xenophobe of a seat? Does he think I’m an uppity Parisienne? Either way, I’m feeling pretty content with myself as the sun breaks for the first time in days.


This was the first Parisienne to come along my way, she looked so chic and fashionable, that I wanted to be her, and despite the soaring temperatures, she looks so cool.

The rest of us were not necessarily fairing so well, everyone looking slightly wilted thanks to a drastic temperature change. It is summer at last and I headed out the door expecting lots of summer wear.

What I say were legs. Legs everywhere. Poking out of skirts, popping out of dresses. From weekend wear to office attire, the Parisiennes were showing their gams. With lots of them having remarkably toned, tanned legs. Now how did they get those tans?

The ladies who look so relaxed and cool after a day at the office astound me and send me into reveries about where they are headed. Clearly she is all dolled about for someone. I love the mix of casual canvas heels with the taupe Birkin bag. As my friend in San Francisco says, “I want!” And she smelled fantastic as she breezed past…

Hermes not withstanding, the absolute MUST HAVE fashion accessories of the day, was, without a doubt, a large overnight bag. Parisiennes are going away for the weekend to get the most out of the summer temps, or perhaps to escape the Paris grey. And while a wheelie bag maybe practical, the vintage style Louis Vuitton almost smells like grandmère and summer weekends long ago.

Red hair and leopard prints. It seemed like everyone was going out tonight to celebrate the season.

Intricate back, gladiator sandals and maxi skirts. These girls seem to symbolize the recent fashion scene, as they rest, strategize and prepare for an evening in the sweltering heat, serving the über-trendy jet-set crowd on the ultra-cozy terrace of La Societé, one of the more discreet addresses of the Costes collection.


The fashion at Flore is fantastic, but what first drew me to this café was the history. Once there, I loved the vintage ambiance; mosaic floors, intricate glass light fixtures and the traditional green tables. Oh, and the dame de pipi. Not many places still have a bathroom monitor, but the Flore does, and she sits there, making sure the restrooms stay clean demanding a few centimes for your visit and offering candy as you leave. Makes you feel like you’re 7 years old. I kind of liked being 7.

But I started coming back for the people. Like Dominique, a waiter, but also a photographer who keeps a bird call whistle in his mouth, spontaneously spouting zippidy-doo-dah’s that leave visitors looking towards the sky, trying to identify the flock overhead. I get a infantine thrill when he does this in the inner terasse, and clients swoowh down, protecting their heads as they look for the renegade sparrow.








And I am not alone in my fetish, these men are stereotypically impatient Parisiens who are not really familiar with the concept of waiting in line.  And they are regulars, so normally, they’d expect special treatment, but the tables on the terasse at the Flore are on a first come, first served basis. Trying to jump the line may earn you the wrath of the staff and that is a daunting thought, so they stand there and wait. And wait…

Here is someone who never has to wait. Bernard-Herni Lévy is France’s foremost philosopher. Yes, being a philosopher is actually a career in France and Henri is famous for doing it while wearing a bespoke white shirt, wide open to the sternum. Even while visiting war torn Libya (he played a not insignificant role in the tear). He is also famous for his sex symbol girlfriend Arielle Dombasle. He is so cool that we just call him BHL.

Then there are all the people who just look famous, even if they’re not.

Today was a particular fan-ta-bulous day at the FLore, because we had a brief window of sunshine and the girls were out in their most colorful finery, thrilled to be wearing summer cloths, even if it was for just 1/4 of the day.

The End.


Last week New York, this week Clichy. FindingNoon has been busy this month. This week I am Clichy parachuted in for freelance gig writing some copy. This stuff is confidential until it goes live, so I can’t tell you who I am working for, but I can say that I’ve been tackling beauty products. Due to some irrational shyness and an incredibly dense workload, I don’t have “my” café just yet.

Instead of a rerun, I thought I’d share a theme I didn’t get to use from previous shoots at the Flore. BFFs get ready, this post is for you. I am not the only one who thinks that Paris is an extremely feminine kind of town.

And while the fashions these girls are wearing are decidedly too warm for the gorgeous spring weather that finally came, better late than never this year. You may notice a common thread.

Because everyone, with a few saintly exceptions, is wearing red this spring. Rain, or shine. Sweaters, scarves, and even, or especially jeans.

Red jeans, in every tone from deep bordeaux to dust pink, for women and men, Parisiens are dressing in warm tones, just the opposite of the New Yorkers and their obsession with blue.

Others are less discreet, opting for the all-out red look.

And then, there are the rebels, aschewing (wrong word, poor spelling… did I mention the work load around here?) red altogether, sticking to traditional black. Because after all, nothing flatters a woman more than being with her friends.

PS, Friday@Flore is developing quite the fan club, with this group of Paris regulars showing up to share a coupe and watch me at work. I love, simply love the support. It was lovely ladies. Thank you!




It is not easy to follow fashion from my favorite café in Paris when I am out exploring New York City. Fortunately, NYC is a fashion capital in its own right and there was an overwhelming choice of outdoor terrasses, but I had no way of knowing which would be the perfect place for setting up shop. Finding “your” café is not an easy task. Parisiennes each have their own personal favorite and their choice is about as logical as their ability to eat full fat cheeses while maintaining the longest life expectancy in the western world.

Fortunately, I have friends to guide me. The beautifully bright blogger Kristen, behind Un Homme et Une Femme, is an intrepid NYer who was ready to help, happy to share a private slice of her beloved New York with a Big Apple neophyte like me. Kristen pointed me towards Pastis in the Meatpacking District.

I had a great time sitting there watching the crowd go by. It wasn’t long before I was ready to get up and start firing, très contente that Kristen had aimed so well.

After the shoot I settled back to “my” table, to start looking through the photos, when suddenly, as if hit upside the head, I was transported from 9th Ave to Sesame Street, “One of these things is not like the others…” infusing my thoughts.

Because in NYC, BLUE is IN.

And it would seem, that when something is IN in New York, it is on everyone, in every style imaginable.


From traditional business, to casual not-so-chic, NYers were chasing away the rainy day blues with their own shades of blue. Every shade of blue; denim, electric, navy, bright, cornflower… the tones were limitless.

But if the Michel Kors photoshoot, the bright splashes of color and the pink pants on every other man in Paris is any indication, NYers will soon be seeing red!





Immelda, take note… its shoe time!!! It has been a weird, wet spring and women seem to have had enough of their Hunter or Aigle rainboots, opting for the classic ballerinas shoes, trendy boots and even heels. Not practical choices, but sense when is fashion about being practical? In France there is a rule about spring fashion, “au mois de mai, fait ce qui te plaît….”*

Wedgies are back, and this time they are in the style of running shoes, or ballet slippers, adding a bit of chic to the sporty look and giving you an elegant, long legged silhouette while looking considerably less painful than your traditional, leather soled heels.

I was loving the ballet slippers with a twist. They were by far the most popular shoe choice last Friday, I edited it down to two pairs I particularly loved, which just happen to show off two of the most popular trends in shops today.

Ankle boots are in, and the cowboy look seems to have come along for the ride. Went to the very fashionable Merci boutique the very next day and there were feathered jewelry, braided belts and fringed tops for the total look.

My step-daughter is the ultimate fashionista and just last week she started talking about the kilim boots that were going to be the next “must” have. It was not much of a surprise, then, when I spotted two pairs of boots that looked very close to what she’d shown me.

Out last Mademoiselle seems to be an incurable optimist with those melt in the rain espadrille platform sandals that were big (no pun intended) last summer, but if the shop windows are any indication, they are less of a fad this year.

Cafe de Flore

* in the month of May, wear whatever strikes your fancy…