Paris homewares obsession leads to ennui de maison

Whenever I go to a homewares shop, there’s a row of pretend Eiffel Tower vases retailing for $25.99 plus a bookcase load of Eiffel Tower bookends, Paris notepads, Paris pens, Essence of Paris room spray (I mean COME ON), pictures, candles, cushion covers and anything at all really that is big enough to plaster the word Paris on it.

Paris itself I have nothing against: great art, architecture, food. Sure the people could do a few rounds at charm school; c’est la vie. But I don’t understand who started this faux French homewares explosion, why, and more importantly, when it’s going to end.

Because if I have something in my living room advertising Paris or a French provincial farmhouse, I want to be able to say – I got that in Paris. Even if it’s made in China, I still want to be able to look back an think, ahh, that 1997 Paris trip. I want memories, even bad ones will do, as long as they’re mine. But if I buy a Paris cushion cover in Sydney I only have a memory of going to Bed Bath and Table and parking at Westfield. Those are memories I can do without.

The French have an expression for when they have absolutely had it up to HERE – it translates as “my bowl is running over”. Yes, c’est vrai, my bowl is running over and I don’t want to have to go to a faux French homewares store to pick up another one.

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The Paris End

The phrase “Paris end” is bandied about almost as much as the phrase “plated up”.

How many times have you heard: Paris end of Collins Street, Paris end of Paddington, Paris end of Narrabri – ok I just made that one up. But here’s the thing: the Paris end of anywhere south of, say Paris, pretty much just means an extra tree and a coffee machine. Or maybe a second-hand bookshop and an outdoor bench.

And higher prices. 

The Paris end is kind of like a wedding/carbon tax/GST/fuel, flood or fire levy rolled all into one.  Coffee $9.50, friand $15.30? Well bien sur, you’re at the Paris end. Someone has to pay for this Parisien je ne sais quoi.

In fact je ne sais quoi is probably what any actual Parisiens who visit any of our Paris ends probably think. Quickly followed by WTF. Grande WTF actuellement. And even more quickly Mega Merde Maximale – call this Paris?

Ok, so let’s give a not-so-Gallic shrug, take a deep breath in and get back to just moderately extortionate coffee prices and call the Paris end what it actually is. Which is a bit of road with an extra tree the property developers forgot about and a dodgy seconds store. Sounds like the Aussie end to me, and I’m OK with that.