You don't have to be a child to be enchanted by a Parisian toy store window.
No big-box Toys R Us these, merci beaucoup, but tiny curiosity shops, bursting at the seams with the most delightful treasures.
At L'Arche de Noe (Noah's Ark) on Rue-St-Louis-en-Ile, hand-painted ceramic cups, plates and a curvy, baroque silver tea service, complete with candelabra, are laid out ready to serve a beautifully decorated wooden gateau.
In a tableau reminiscent of Goldilocks, a fair-haired rag doll, with a body shaped like the Eiffel Tower, snuggles up to a giant bear's head that unzips at the collar, et voila, out tumbles a family of little stuffed bears.
High up on a shelf, spare, sleek leather lunch satchels, that look more like designer handbags with their intricate contrasting top-stitching, promise to elevate a sandwich, banana and bag of chips to haute cuisine.
A hint of pink tulle peeks demurely from behind an old-fashioned chalkboard. I instantly whoosh back to Christmas 1965, when I awoke to discover my very own pink tutu with a silver sequined bodice -- exactly what I had put on my Christmas list.
I can't tear myself away from a display of wooden music boxes. On each lid, a trio of bumblebees, ladybugs, clowns, giraffes, frogs, butterflies or fairies, twirls in time to the tinkling melody. I agonize over which one to bring back to my niece.
If I write Pere Noel a nice note (en francais mais bien sur) on the pretty pre-addressed stationery by the register -- do you think he might deliver one of these lovely little stores to my neighborhood?
It couldn't hurt to ask; after all he came through on the tutu didn't he?
L'Arch de Noe
70 Rue St-Louis-en-l’Ile