French phrase: translated as 'lick the windows'
Meaning: to go window shopping
Example: faire du lèche-vitrine
The shop windows in the Triangle d'Or are astounding. Some are filled with scenes taken straight from my dreams: live butterflies flitting about in a forest of Hermes scarves; and giant dandelion puffs surrounding red cashmere sweaters.
These windows full of clothing have the passers by drooling just as much as those filled with chocolates and macarons. The French have made a real pastime of window shopping, calling it Léche Vitrine - to lick the windows.
I remember the first time I visited the Triangle d'Or. I was a pilgrim, on a break from my studies in fashion, accompanied by my very patient mother. I nearly cried when I had to leave behind the most sublime red coat in the Valentino store. 5,000 Euros for that slice of heaven, with its perfectly aligned seaming. I also spent an inordinate amount of time praying at the shrine of Chanel on the doorstep of 31 Rue Cambon, where the icon herself used to live and work in the apartment concealed above that famous mirrored staircase.
Since that first time, I have made the pilgrimage out to the Triangle d'Or - that intersection of roads: Avenue Montaigne, Avenue George V and Rue Francois 1er - I have made that pilgrimage twice. And of course you can visit those well-known delights on the outer edges of the triangle, the Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe, the Tuileries. But the real gold is located in the centre of the triangle.
...WINDOWS OF NOTE...
231 Rue St Honoré - Jean Paul Hévin.
In the window: chocolates. Some really great chocolates.
An upscale patisserie and chocolatier, selling some of the most delicate chocolat chaud in the city. A cozy tea room is locate upstairs.
18 Rue Royale - Ladurée Royale
In the window: pastel colours, ribbons, gold trim, and small pastries. A scene that would make Marie Antoinette smile.
This is a flagship store of a flagship French brand, specialising in macarons. Go just for the window displays, if not for the rosé macaron.
31 Rue Cambon - Chanel
In the window: mannequins dressed in smart black and white cigarette pants, and a glimpse of the famous mirror-paneled staircase.
While you may not be able to afford the incredibly high prices of the items behind the windows, it never hurts to look (or so they say). Just down the street, at 38 Rue Cambon, is the infamous site of Princess Diana's escape from paparazzi before her death.
Place de la Concorde - The Best View
The window: a place on the stone fence on the edge of the Tuileries.
The view: A sparkling Eiffel Tower, every hour on the hour at night.
Place de la Madeleine - L'église de la Madeleine
The window: a 18th century Roman Catholic temple, complete with painted ceilings.
The view: a classical concert, maybe Vivaldi, and an impression of the cosmos painted onto the eye of your mind by the violins.