It is almost impossible to be blasé about Paris, even when skies are patchwork grey and rain threatens. The city has a life and breath of its own, tourists notwithstanding. A half hour from home is rue de Rivoli where WH Smiths, une bouffée d’Anglais, nestles almost cheek by jowl with one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, the Crillon whose website gives no indication of the cost involved to walk through its hallowed portals. Dressed in Ralph Lauren, I felt like a pauper when taking this photograph. A little adroit navigation around the tourist traps reveals English books– blessedly uncensored – it seems that people do actually read these days, abundant and hot off the press. Bespectacled bibliophiles are thumbing languidly, myself among them. A word or two exchanged speaks volumes. A prize unavailable under burning suns is seized. Rue St Honoré runs parallel and one can find pairs of socks for only 50 euros. Amongst other things.