It shouldn’t come as a surprise that ironing is an important part of life in Paris. After a croissant, I think a clothes iron was my first purchase when I arrived. I bought a little travel iron from an electronics shop for 15EUR. As an iron, it’s best feature is that it’s pink.

David Lebovitz, in the quite enjoyable “The Sweet Life in Paris”, mentions finding himself in Paris amazed to be now ironing everything he owns, from his socks to his linens.  It’s totally true, everyone here seems to have a close relationship with their iron.  It’s interesting, ironing even seems to be more important (and occur more often) than clothes washing.  I’m convinced this is where the “stinky French” stereotype comes from – I think it’s the clothes.  Culturally, I think people shower a *little* less than Americans do, but I think it’s more that clothes get a few too many wears between washings.  It’s somewhat understandable, most homes don’t have dryers and, at 4-5EUR per load of laundry, it’s really expensive.

Anyways, a 15EUR travel iron is good in a pinch, but it wasn’t really getting the job done for day after day ironing. My clothes were at best transformed from wrinkled to demi-wrinkled.  That wouldn’t pass muster for two full years, so I decided to head over to BHV to purchase a real “fer a repasser.”

BHV has five tiers of clothes irons, from 15EUR to 1500EUR, and my previous iron was sitting there at the bottom of tier five.  I decided to move up to the lower end of tier four, which offered the selection of roughly ten different irons.  One of my favorite things about BHV is that the sales staff are surprisingly helpful, and extremely plentiful.  There’s usually one or two salespeople per aisle, playing a sort of zone defense on customers.  So, I decided to consult with one of the two tier four and five iron saleswomen.

I’ve always thought you want an iron like you want your sexin’:  hot and heavy.  But, after befriending the BHV tier four and five iron salesladies, it turns out I was way wrong.  Instead, you want an iron like you want your sexin’:  hot and steamy.  I had no idea.

In the end I bought a Rowenta DZ5110 2400W Focus that puts out 40g/min of steam, with a 130g/min steam shot.  Ironing is kinda fun when you fill the entire room with huge jets of steam.  I can’t recommend it enough, I’m totally wrinkle-free!  It’s certainly better than a hostage situation.