Paris’ Best Baguette? Bitch, Please.

When I got myself moving today, I flopped towards my computer and tip-tapped away on a blog post. With that finished, I wondered what I would do today. I scrolled up and down my list and finally settled on buying the baguette that had won the award of best baguette in Paris. The winner received the title for the year, a few thousand euros, and had their bread served at the Presidential table for the year. It’s a huge honor for bakers, so I was excited to try what a jury of professional bakers would claim perfect. Also, as an insufferable food snob I was thrilled at the prospect of it being bad.

After taking a shower, I looked through my clothes, rummaged through my shirts. Nothing was making me happy. Everything hangs on me wrong these days. I haven’t lost any more weight, my weight is just seeming to shift to different places. My arms are bigger and my waist smaller. So, I just wasn’t pleased. I mean, I’m very happy to look the way I do. I walk a lot and I eat a lot–I eat more than I should. Thankfully, I seem to have restarted my metabolism. I will need to buy myself new jeans when I get home–they cost too much here for the brand I like.

I’m pretty sure I will have my dream job of underwear model in a few weeks. I’m not kidding about that–I have always wanted to be the face/body of Calvin Klein. If I were able to use the Make-A-Wish foundation, that’s what I’d ask for. Not a trip to Mount Rushmore or something silly like that. When I was finally dressed to my satisfaction and cinched in with a belt, I was ready to go.

In the Métro, there was a man with a cat in a cage. He got attention from everybody, well, the cat did, she was grey and white and beyond adorable. I had to resist talking to her–I’m fluent in cat. Kakkkkaakkkkakkakkka. Try not to be too jealous. There was also an old man with an ancient camera around his neck. I sat between him and the man with the cat. The old man proceeded to chirp like a bird. Over and over and over again. Everybody was looking at him, and I was sure he was insane. He reached across me and poked the cat. He told the cat, “I have eaten a lot of duck.” Nobody knew what this meant and he continued to chirp. It was frightening. I was happy when I exited the train.

It was very easy to find Au Levain d’Antan–a rather unassuming shop. There was a crowd gathered around and we were all there for the same reason. I excitedly asked for, “La meilleure baguette, s’il vous plait.” It was one euro ten–they told me with a smile that they could charge that now that they had won the title. I applauded their pluck and pulled out another coin.

It looked and smelled like every other baguette. I decided to wait until I got back into the apartment to investigate it further and amused myself by wandering around Montmartre.

As I walked along, I was arrested by the sight of a beautiful display of macarons. They looked well made, well filled, and there was a decent variety, so I broke the promise I made to myself to stop trying macarons and went inside.

The man behind the counter was very friendly and the prices weren’t horrible. One euro fifty per macaron, so, I bought two. Raspberry chocolate and chocolate dipped in chocolate. I had never seen a macaron enrobed in chocolate before, and I was charmed by the gluttony of it. A few moments later, I was clutching my baguette and macarons to me and fighting off the bracelet weaving beggars to get to the top of the hill where the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur stands. Those guys are so annoying. Do not stick out your fingers! I warn you.

There was a beautiful fountain on the landing before the church that I had never noticed before. I sat myself down and watched the people around me and took in the spectacular view of Paris.

I didn’t look too terribly enthused to be there did I? It was an exhausting climb by itself, worse when you are dodging immigrants desperate for your money. There is no charm in this place as there should be–it is spoiled completely by cheesy shops and vagrants who should be corralled up and put into someplace less picturesque, like Belleville. But, it is how it is.

I went into the Basilica and walked about, it isn’t that impressive on the inside when compared to the splendor of the other cathedrals in Paris. It is beautiful, but somehow cold. I couldn’t imagine going there often.

The area behind Sacre-Coeur is still rather picturesque with tiny shops and curving roads and I delighted in wandering about them. I love the apartment buildings that are built up the hills, they are so unique. And they have a great view of the Eiffel Tower. I couldn’t live here, though, too much everything.

As I passed a park, I saw this and whipped my camera out. Is it a Banksy?

Fantastic isn’t it? I can’t find anywhere online that confirms this was done by Banksy, but it certainly seems like one of his. I really enjoy tasteful and comedic graffiti.

I walked and walked along beautiful road after beautiful road. Then things started getting less beautiful. I walked and I walked along pedestrian roads that were being occupied exclusively by locals. I was deep into the residential areas and deeply unhappy. Where was the damn Métro?

Finally I found a road that seemed at least moderately busy and had to wait outside of a hotel as a film crew blocked the street and carried cart after cart of cameras and cables and whatnot inside. I didn’t mind, it distracted me from my desperation for a Métro, and I like any taste of Hollywood, no matter how small. They wouldn’t tell any of us the name of the movie, so pissed, we all left in a huff.

Then I saw this…shit. Even the logo looks similar. Life is not fair.

I was sick of wandering around, so I stopped in a grocery store for something to drink and instructions to a Métro. I was then given the worst directions in the history of mankind. “Go to the end of the road.” I did. There was nothing there. So I wandered around for another half an hour. Why the woman couldn’t tell me, “Go down the road, turn right, go down the stairs, and then the Métro is to your left, and by the way there is no sign!” I don’t know. I was super angry–I don’t like being lost. In the end, I was only one Métro stop from where I started off. I have no idea how that was possible.

I had dinner back in the apartment, ravioli, but I wasn’t very hungry for some reason. All the walking sometimes makes food seem unpleasant. I broke the baguette open, it had a beautiful crumb, I thought, then took a bite. Underwhelmed isn’t the right word, nor is disappointment. I was just offended really that this is the baguette that a jury of professionals had chosen. This tasted bland, it didn’t look all that good, and it was, in my opinion, not worth the walk from the Metro to the bakery which extolled all of five calories. I was irritated. I wonder how they bribed the jury into winning? I’ve tasted baguettes that were so much better.

The macarons were really quite good that I had bought. They weren’t the best I have ever had, as I haven’t had many that have been that great, but they did not offend me in the least bit. The raspberry flavor was authentic and pronounced and the chocolate was of high quality. I was pleased with the purchases and would surely go back if the area were more convenient.

It seemed that everybody was in their window tonight, sitting out and watching the people. They must all text each other, because it seems that the entire road does it together or nobody does it at all. I do it all the time. Nobody texts me.

I took myself down to Notre Dame to do some writing–I’m basically a modern Victor Hugo with faster pacing. [Holla at the Hunchback of Notre Dame reference!]

And so, I took myself off down the road quite fiercely. Because I have bad posture, I have decided to pretend that I am always on a catwalk in the middle of a walk off. When I model walk I stand quite straight. This is a win-win situation. I will walk better and one of these days Karl will see me walking by his limousine. Or Anna will or Tyra or André or Nigel or Mr. J or Miss J or anybody remotely connected to the fashion world. I would pose for Dollar General socks if they paid me for it.

So, as I walked along, I contemplated the fine line between an angry look and a sexy look–it is very small. There is also a fine line between charming and clownish. Being a model is very difficult, you have to be in complete control of every nerve ending of your body–completely aware what every angle looks like even though you can’t see yourself. Such fun.

I realized that whatever career I end up in needs to be something where people pay me to create beautiful things, whether it is beautiful poses, beautifully decorated rooms, beautiful food, beautiful clothing, whatever. I just have to be doing something slightly irreverent and beautiful to be happy.

Down at Notre Dame, I scribbled and scratched away on my novel until I was approached by three people. I looked up at them. They looked at me then at each other, then started babbling in broken French. I must have looked panicked so I told them I spoke English. They all look relieved. Suspiciously, I asked what I could do for them. They were some kind of spiritual organization on a trip for cultural enrichment. I tried not to be sarcastic and make a rapture joke. I did well and kept it on the inside, but if I had a studio audience and a sidekick with a drum set, I would have brought the walls crumbling down with hysterical laughter. They asked me about religion and I was pleased that they weren’t going to convert me after I said that I didn’t practice any particular faith. They really were just curious. I don’t understand why they cared, it seems to me to be something that is deeply personal and completely unimportant to anybody else. I never understand religious groups trying to convert and save people. It’s all nonsense. They were the most polite churchgoers I had ever come across, though.

They asked me my opinion on spirituality in France. I blinked a few times–what an odd question. I said something about churches being filled with tourists, revelers on the stairs, hobos living inside, and then I finished with, “I don’t think that they’re heathens.” I got a laugh.

They would not go away. They talked and talked about what I liked about France and what they liked about France. Oh, I like to look at the people. Oh, really? We like to do that to. It’s so interesting. Yeah, I also like to go to the parks. Oh, really? We went to a park today. Oh, that’s nice. Yeah, we had a great time at the park. Great. Great. Well….bye. Oh, bye!

That was exhausting.

So, I walked about a bit more and to my delight I found another Malineau bakery a few streets away from our apartment. I was right! The one beneath us does none of its own baking! I now smirk smugly whenever I walk by and proceed to purchase my baked nibbles from Miss Manon.

Good evening.


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