I tore myself away from ‘Cauchemar en Cuisine avec Philippe Etchbest’. As reality shows go, it had it all. A woman sat sobbing her heart out through false eyelashes, head in hands, muttering something about Beaujolais. Two substantially apportioned gentlemen looked on unsympathetically as one of them bellowed at her ‘Mais OU est LE CANARD??!!’
Outside my window in Paris the sun decided to shine and I took my cue. I’d spotted a particularly fancy lingerie/hosiery shop around the corner from our B&B, and the love of a good pair of tights and all things underwear related spurred me on.
Les Caprices looked like a treasure trove of goodies – and it was. An array of brightly coloured patterned mannequin legs adorned the windows. From the sublime to the super sublime – Les Collants had all. I opened the door and stepped inside.
It was hard to know where to look, and I started practically hyperventilating at the wondrous eccentricity of shelves and walls crammed full of coloured stockings and tights. No order seemed apparent, but on pointing to a particularly fetchingly festooned leg and asking where it was, the long haired gentleman assistant immediately went to the source. His looks were incongrous to the setting – perhaps more suited to a hippy commune in Ibiza – and his colleague’s, an African lady with short cropped hair and an eclectic outfit, also not quite what one might expect of this 50’s style emporium.
Even in my limited French, I managed to express my delight and enthusiasm: “C’est fantastique!! Superb!” I exclaimed and mentioned how there was nowhere like this in London. “Uh, but the French, they say it is much better selection in Londres”, L’homme replied. Well, they’re wrong. In London certainly nothing of this higgledy-piggledy haphazard charm in Bas Collants exists – au contraire, it is generally way too ordered and structured, a bit like we’ve all become.
A couple of carefully chosen pairs later, I said goodbye to the noble assistants of Les Caprices. They were gracious in their adieus and I told them I was already looking forward to my next visit. Back at the hotel, Philippe and contestants were still going strong. He appeared to be asking them to tidy up the backyard of the restaurant. Perhaps it was opening tonight? There was a lot of ‘Okay, okay’ and mention of the ‘Poubel’. The next shot showed him in the church – praying no doubt for the reappearance of Le Magret du Canard and an early retirement.