On my first ever visit to Paris, about 15 years ago, my luggage got munched by the giant luggage handler in the sky, ripping an entire corner off my case, leaving my clothes splayed out along the baggage carousel like some sort of bizarre art installation.
Paris was the first stop on a multi-stop European vacation, so I needed to get a new suitcase fast. The hotel concierge recommended I make a visit to BHV, a department store next to the Hotel de Ville (HDV) in the centre of town. They had a great selection of cases, I purchased one, and off I went on my adventures. And that was that.
Now, you know I've started baking lately, and am loving the new "Rachel Khoo's Little Paris Kitchen" on BBC 2. She cooks gorgeous French recipes in a simple style in the tiny kitchen of her old Paris studio apartment. In the first episode she made Lemon & Raspberry Friands (not her recipe, but hers in her cookbook and that's only just been released) and they looked so amazing that I decided I must have a friand tin so that I can make friands too - of course!
So I added "friand tin" to my shopping list for our Paris trip and was sure I'd find one in Galeries Lafayette, but NON! They had every other kind of tin you could imagine, but not a friand tin. Now, I know I can make friands in mini muffin tins, but let's face it, everything tastes better if it looks the way it should, and I wasn't going to take any chances.
BHV popped into my mind and I decided that I should head over there and check it out. For my Adelaide people, it's like Harris Scarfes, but bigger and better. It seems that tourists to go Galeries Lafayette and locals shop at BHV. It's vast, and even has a Metro stop in the basement. The basement is basically a giant hardware store, and they even cut wood to size down there - it's amazing.
Anyway, I headed up to kitchenware and there it was, my lovely new friand tin! I grabbed it up and thought I'd go down and look around the hardware store in the basement. I had heard or read somewhere that they have fantastic French signs available and some friends of my parents have one that says "CHIEN LUNATIQUE" (mad dog). I really wanted one and thought I'd see if BHV had them. They did! I bought one!
So, if you're in Paris, and you want pretty much anything, and want to shop like a local, get yourself along to BHV.
55 rue de la Verriere
75004 Paris, France