Praying For Bread?

Weekends are my least favorite times in Paris–everybody is out and about, everything is crowded. Sundays are the worst because everything is closed and everybody is still out and about. So, before I even got out of bed, I decided that we wouldn’t do much, just stay in and have a cleaning day. That sounded exciting to me, but I was sure that Jessica wouldn’t be quite so keen on the prospect. As the church bells tolled, I thought that we might pop into one later. Catholic mass is a gorgeous thing, even if I don’t know what is happening nor support the proceedings. There is something wonderfully magical about it all, though.

I had really underestimated Jessica’s disdain of tidiness and hatred of cleaning because she became hysterical as I began to organize her room. There was no reason that it had to be so sloppy. We hadn’t even been in the apartment for a week and there was already a path on the floor with refuse on either side. I found Q-Tips sitting in a crusted over bowl of soup and plastic wrappers from who knows what. She defies my logical recommendation to take a water bottle with her every time we leave, so she buys a new one on each trip after she becomes dehydrated and laughs in the face of my ecological disdain of plastic bottles. I have made a kind of art installment of water bottles on the shelves behind her bed, and I think it looks kind of interesting actually. Better than in a landfill.

We chatted with Ma and Pa on Skype for some time and I somehow managed to confound them all by telling them a price in British pounds. A long, stressful, conversation ensued when we were all arguing on whether I had said the price of a ticket to Disneyland in dollars, pounds, or euros. Once we had figured out the proper price in euros and American money, Ma was still unsatisfied with the figures so she told us that we needed to go to the Disney Store on the Champs-Élysées and then send her a Facebook message with the proper amount. So, off we went.

Jessica was amazed at my knowledge that the Franklin D. Roosevelt Métro stop pops right out at the Disney Store. So, we walked in and Jessica started exclaiming that she wanted everything. We found the prices and then looked for a McDonalds because they have free Internet so we could send Ma her message. We couldn’t find the one with the McCafé inside (more on that later), so instead we looked for a candy shop that Jessica had gone to before. After a few wrong turns she found it and happily stocked up on jelly octopi. I didn’t see the appeal. I bought one mint.

I didn’t want to walk all the way to the end of the road again, so we went to the Louvre where there is a McDonalds and an Apple Store. One of them would be open. McDonalds was, so we stopped in there. In France, McDonalds doesn’t have the same disgusting mental picture that it does in America. It’s trendy, they call it McDo and they have a really fantastic spinoff called McCafé. McCafé is a pretty decent bakery. I bought myself three macarons and an espresso.

They were all good and all of them were better than Ladurée. I mean this completely. They are affordable and delicious with the perfect texture. Ladurée is simply overrated.

On the Métro, we began to shoot a day in the life of me, which garnered many an odd look on the train and on the streets. Here is a day in the life of a super sexy model:

I don’t really know what this was:

Why was the bear so sexy?

For dinner we had a nibble course. This is like my version of tapas. Except, preferably, with miniature pastries, which is exactly what I had.

Miniature chocolate éclair, miniature raspberry tartelette, miniature croissant, and full-sized madeleine, they didn’t make them small. The éclair was great–better than Angelina’s. Jessica loved the tartelette and I thought it was good, too, but I’m still not super excited by these the way Jess and Ma are. The croissant was delicious. It comes from Miss Manon, down the road, my favorite bakery in the area. The madeleine was from there as well and it was decidedly underwhelming. Nothing can really compare to a homemade madeleine slathered in lemon glaze, though. All in all a good dinner.

Jessica managed to break one of the glasses somehow and about had a total breakdown–she is really quite sensitive to everything. After reassuring her that nothing terrible was going to happen to her we practiced our Dancing With the Stars twirls and then left the apartment to go to the mass at Notre Dame in honor of all the bakers at the bread festival.

We were running late, because of our dance practice and impromptu transformations into black swans. This is really a regular occurrence with us…we’re basically prima ballerinas. Natalie Portman ain’t got nothing on us. Neither does that lady who claims to have done all the dancing. So, we walked too fast and I was in my fancy shoes that hurt my ankles and I sliced them open something fierce. Worth it, though.

It was beautiful in Notre Dame, I always look like one of those people who run around gaping all day when I go in there. (Holla at the Funny Face reference!) I am more in awe of the fact that people assembled together to create this structure more than I am in awe of the fact that it was built as a house of God. I’m not a huge supporter, as I’m sure you’ve read before, of organized religion and of the idea of a church in general, but this is surely a beautiful place that gave me many ideas for my novels. In my writing, religion always seems to show up one way or the other.

Because this service was for the bakers, there was a sampling of baguettes from the festival on the alter.

I had a very nice time watching the people and the mass and the alter boy waving the censer to and fro sending up clouds of incense. It all seemed very theatrical to me and I really enjoyed it. If only there were a singalong dance number I might attend church once in awhile!

Here are the bakers and their assistants.

Then Jess and I headed back to the apartment where we proceeded to do much more nibbling before falling asleep.

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