Olivia Hunting

The baguette we had purchased on our first day here had long since gone stale–no amount of reheating would resuscitate it, so I went downstairs to the bakery only to find it closed. That sucks, I thought to myself, but noticed a woman up the road with a baguette tucked under her arm. Following the obvious clues, I went to the end of Rue Saint-Paul and was presented with another bakery. I am thoroughly impressed with the goods I have sampled so far. I bought myself a croissant and a sesame-seed baguette, and my goodness are they tasty. I love sesame seeds on anything, though.

I saw online that Gaga had been a four minute walk from where we were searching for her…I’m still trying to hold back sobs. I’ll find her someday, though, it is inevitable,

I decided that we should go to the Louvre and buy our season pass. It is only fifteen euros for people under twenty-six, and it includes entrance to the temporary exhibits, so it is an incredible bargain compared to the single use ticket which costs nine euros.

Jessica grumbled a bit when I told her that we would be walking there from the apartment and that it would be about half an hour from start to finish. She didn’t mind so much after I told her that the river was lined with vendors selling books and postcards, knickknacks, and a bit of everything, at least I think she didn’t. I remember that she had enjoyed seeing them the last time we were here together.

There were many things I would have liked to have bought myself, but I need to make sure I keep enough money for the rest of the month. I can always go back and see if they are still around, but somehow I doubt it. One was an original issue of Paris-Match that was put out after Édith Piaf’s death. It was thirty-five euros and glorious, but I couldn’t bring myself to it. Another was a set of original fashion sketches from the sixties and seventies. They were eleven euros each and I really should have picked up a few because they would have looked fantastic framed. There was also a funny postcard of a smiling child about to be crushed by an elephant–I should have sent some of them.

The streets along the river suddenly turned green with vegetation. It seemed that all the plant vendors in the entire city were along this stretch of ground. There were flowers of every variety, massive rosebushes, incredibly beautiful palm trees, and herbs galore. I really enjoyed looking at them all and regretting that it was impossible to take them into America. You can only bring dried seeds home with you.

I bought myself an Édith Piaf record of her song, A Quoi Ça Sert L’amour, that she had recorded in her later years with her much, much younger husband. The cover is adorable in a cougar kind of way. And look at her sensible shoes!

I also bought a postcard from the 50s that was from Lourdes. I am a bit obsessed with the legend of Lourdes and the reports of the miracles that took place there, so I am really very fond of this. I am plotting out a story that takes place in the area, but I think I will have to go and experience it before I can fully form my ideas.

There were many pet stores along the way as well. I had never seen a pet store before in Paris so this was very interesting. Dogs and cats are very expensive, but birds, rabbits, and mice are not. If I had known about these places I would have certainly bought myself a rabbit or something to keep me company a few years back. I go quickly crazy without any animals. I’m not a big dog person, but I saw one that melted my heart, but unfortunately, I did not want to spend six hundred euros on him. I will probably always regret that. Jessica and I played for a while with a cat that was sitting on the counter. It was very nice.

We finally arrived at the Louvre and it was really busy, so we walked along the Rue de Rivoli to enter from the side. A person I had known from Le Cordon Bleu once told me that Karl Lagerfeld frequented Angelina’s, a very ritzy teahouse across the street from the Louvre. Of course, we had to stop in and poke our noses about. The pastries were all beautiful, so we had to try a few. The woman behind the counter was really quite rude, but I got what I wanted.

Raspberry/Choclate Macaron, Chocolate Macaron, Mandarin Orange Macaron:

Raspberry/Chocolate was nothing special, chocolate was good (not so good as my own, of course), and the mandarin orange was excellent. This is a newer, very popular flavor and I will have to try it out, too, it was delicious.

We also had a croissant that was bland and forgettable:

Lastly, I had a chocolate éclair that was really quite good. I am not the biggest fan of eclairs, but this one hit the spot.

We entered on the Rue de Rivoli without waiting a moment–people who enter the Louvre via the Pyramid are wasting a lot of time!

We stopped in the new Apple Store and played with the white iPad. I think I love it, but I know I don’t need it. The Apple Store is huge here, and very nice. We also poked in a store that sold what seemed to be Japanese-esque oddities. I was amused by a set of tiny cups that said “For shot of espresso…or vodka.”

After a bit of window shopping we went into the Louvre to buy our passes. It took a while, but it was all fine. The woman helping us was very nice and asked about how we were finding Paris and various other pleasantries such as that. About a half hour later, we both had our cards. They print your face on them now–I don’t think my original one had that, but the more I think about it, the more I think it may have.

Jessica and I walked about the Jardin des Tuileries for a while admiring and laughing at the statues, saying what it looked they were thinking, “God! I wish Raphael had given me another week before this sitting. I could have lost a few more pounds…”

After this we went Olivia Hunting. I was incredibly excited for this and even though nothing came of it, it was still good fun. The 16th Arrondissement is very pretty and I think I will try to stay here on my next Parisian jaunt–all the more reason to stalk Olivia de Havilland, I suppose.

We easily found her apartment, and as I turned on the road she lived on, I felt nervous, excited, and my heart raced a little. I mean, what if I did meet her? Would I be able to resist quoting The Heiress? Probably not, and I would deeply embarrass myself by saying, “Oh, but I can [be cruel], Aunt. I have been trained by masters!”

She lives in here somewhere!

I had Jessica take a picture of me in front of the townhouse to have proof that I had shared air with a two-time Academy Award winner. I should have a few of those soon, I expect.

I shouted in a stage whisper, “I loved you in Light in the Piazza,” and then Jessica and I headed back to the apartment. I’m sure that she heard, and I’m pretty sure that we’re future best friends. I hope so, anyway.

On the way by the church of Saint-Paul, I darted in and was surprised at what a beautiful place it is. There are so many churches in Paris that are absolutely unknown and it is really quite sad that more of them are not appreciated. Notre Dame is lovely, but this church was amazing.

I roamed about slowly, wondering how you pray in a Catholic service, how to use the basin of holy water, all sorts of questions revolving around Catholicism. This meditative state was cut short when I saw a fingerless leather glove in the confessional. There is only one reason for this: Karl Lagerfeld felt so guilty that he had not stopped me in one of his black-windowed cars and offered me a job as his protegee that he had come to have his sin resolved and to offer up his soul to God. There are no other explanations.

After heading back to the apartment to freshen up, Jessica and I took a shortcut right through the church to the restaurant she wanted to try called Pizza Momo. The reviews on TripAdvisor.com were pretty good, so I was alright to go. The food was simply okay and the waiter seemed to hate us upon sight. I had Pizza à la Coque, which was a cheese pizza with an egg baked on top. Odd. They generously sprinkled the top with oregano, which was very good. I will try that when I get home. Jess had a cheesy penne dish that was rather nice. I think I would have enjoyed it more than the pizza. I don’t think we will go back there. There are many places around here that have me curious. Also, for some reason, and I’m not saying this to sound annoying, but I’ve never felt thinner. I am not sure why this is as I certainly have been eating a good deal. All the walking I suppose, but still…

We sat next to a group of Americans–deeply unpleasant people. Loud, constantly changing their orders, the child was out of control, they drank beer, they ordered pizzas and salads and were all around annoying. They amused me to a certain extent, but I was more than happy to leave them.

Nothing else exciting happened the rest of the night…all in all, it was quite a pleasant day.

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