Via della Scrofa is my favorite road in Rome, probably because of its schizophrenic views– facing north is a straight shot glimpse to the clean lines of Richard Meier’s Ara Pacis while a turn south invites you into the ant-farm chaos of Rome. I could say it reminds me of. . . well, moi, always with two contradictory view points. A continuation of Via di Ripetta, via della Scrofa connects the dots that make the multi-personality Rome portrait. And it just happens to have the shops guaranteed to make me happy: Arcon at #104 (fabulous furniture- oh sing to me, Kartell!), Volpetti at  #31, (the gastronomist’s dream, location 2), Libreria Dotti at #58 (rare books, first editions), and finally, Miss France at #13.

For a long time, I’d walk up and down Via della Scrofa wondering  what Miss France was. A jam-packed window of stuff hiding a tiny store that was never open. In my head, it was an old lingerie store left to decay, while its two ancient owners watched visitors from across the street, some how locked both in their apartment and in a time warp of never-ending nicknacks.  I always felt a bit nostalgic and maybe even melancholy when I looked in the window- Smurfette gazing back at me, reminding me of growing up in the 80s, my friends and sisters in cities far away.  And inevitably it made me laugh- who in world would possibly be looking for  fluorescent earings, adult-sized Disney t-shirts or a used baby bib? Genius.

This past Friday night, I solved the mystery behind Miss France,  à la  The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vault, G. Rivera, 1986.  Nope, no couple locked in their house, but a very friendly and polite Maryse Fabre, Miss France 1956. Maryse collects things- from clothing and accessories to stories, all of which she willingly shares from 9 pm to 1 am on most Friday and Saturday evenings. Some of her found items are gorgeous (with even more gorgeous labels like Cardin, Chloe and Cacharel), others are not, and most all are used.

Walking the streets on a Friday night? Pop in for a visit.  Note to the curious, Miss France only accepts one person at a time.

Miss France, nocturne

via della Scrofa 13

certain Fridays and Saturdays, 9pm to 1 am