The repairperson was supposed to come today and fix the washer. They had already cancelled twice, so I was hoping they would again, but as I went to bed last night I was disappointed to see that there was no message from them, so I had to set my alarm early. I did not enjoy the alarm going off, even if I did choose a happy song to wake to. I’m sincerely not a morning person. I can be if I get up, but I’d much rather not.
As I groggily threw off the blankets and stumbled over to the computer, I was sadly disappointed again that they still hadn’t cancelled, so I scurried around scrubbing things and tidying things and locking Jessica safely away in her messy room. A few minutes before ten, the doorbell rang and there was a woman from the rental agency and the repairman, they were both very friendly and then all of a sudden it was over. The repair took all of ten minutes–which surprised me and Janet (the woman from the agency). It was also free, which totally delighted her, as the washer was still under warranty. I always hear horror stories of people in France dealing with those in the service industry, but this went over very smoothly.
Since that was out of the way, I went to wake Jessica up, but she was like a corpse and was not budging, so I carried on with my day, poking at her every ten minutes until she finally muttered something nonsensical and crept into the main room clutching her pillow and falling back onto the couch.
I went to the grocery store while she was waking up and enjoyed browsing. I haven’t really looked about the upstairs of the Monoprix, only the grocery section. There was an entire aisle of sponges, an entire aisle of garbage liners, and an entire aisle of dish soap. I don’t understand why there was such a massive variety, but I appreciated it, picking out just the right sponge and lemon-scented dish soap. I also wandered about the men’s fashions area. Simple clothes, but all perfectly chic–not like that crap you pick up at Walmart or even Target nowadays. I’ve become increasingly disappointed in the clothing at Target. Anyway, I will surely be buying myself a few pieces from Monoprix before I come home. They even sold flip-flops, which I find odd–nobody here wears them. I wonder if they are for the gym or for taking on vacation? I wanted to buy a pair, but I won’t until I see somebody else wearing them.
Down in the grocery department I bought myself a wedge of Poilâne bread because everybody is always going on and on about. Giada de Laurentiis will not shut up about it, travel guides rave about it, blogs are devoted to it–so I had to try. I was excited, it looked beautiful, and hurried back up the road to the apartment to have a piece. What a let down–I’m getting sick of everything not living up to expectations. It tasted like bread. Maybe it’s because I’m a baker and a cook and I make all my own food to my high standards so I don’t approve of almost anything? Now I’ve got a loaf of mediocre bread on my cutting board. I suppose I’ll make a panini or two just to get rid of it.
Jessica was finally ready, and I had a list of things at the ready, so we headed out the door and up the Rue de Rivoli. It was a very warm day, I didn’t even bring a sweater along. Those who know me know that I’m like an Olsen twin–I’d wear two sweaters in the middle of August, it’s always cold. We easily found our first destination called Julien Aurouze and Co. It is a pest control shop that is famous for their creative window display of taxidermy rats. It’s pretty gruesome, the rats are in traps and hanging up by their necks and tails. More friendly ones are sat at the bottom nibbling on cheese and playing with each other.
If you watch Ratatouille, you can see this shop featured in the scene where Remy’s father is telling him how horrible people are. We are pretty awful. But I think Remy was right, too, there are some good people–like me.
After we looked at this, we poked into the bakery that was right next to the shop–odd choice of location–but it looked really nice so we both had a tart. I had a chocolate tart which looked like a slice of heaven and Jessica had a strawberry tart. We headed over to a little park (there are parks everywhere in Paris, which I love) and munched on our tasty nibbles. This park was developed on the grounds of a ruined church, supposedly one of the oldest in Paris. All that remained was the bell tower, which had been extensively restored.
The chocolate tart was perfect. Chocolate shortbread shell, with vanilla shortbread on the inside and then filled with dark chocolate ganache. Shouldn’t be too hard to make back home, and I will be–often.
As we walked to our next stop, l’Hôtel Hôtel, we passed a GAP store, they are very common here, and I wanted everything on the mannequin. Denim shirts and salmon pink shorts–must have. Will have when I get back home where it is all cheaper. We crossed the wrong bridge on the way, so our walk was longer than it needed to be, but it was nice to look in on the river vendors and we were soon on the right track.
I seem to be drawn to dead animals psychically these past few days–we walked right by this:
We passed a few art shops and I wanted to buy the little kits full of water colors and pencils and sketch something. I always want to be an artist, but I never take the time to do it–I’ll buy it all and get out the paper and then look at the white space waiting for something to come out of me, but it rarely does. I shall have to work on this.
And then, we arrived!
Oscar Wilde died in this hotel, so I felt we should see it as I fully believe myself to be the reincarnated Oscar. His last words were supposedly, “Either the wallpaper goes or I do.” If that is not proof of my past life, I don’t know what is.
We passed a Ladurée on the way to our next stop, so I glowered in the window at the patrons for awhile, wondering if they were buying for the bag or if they were actually fans of what they were buying. Probably tourists who didn’t know that they can easily find macarons of equal quality (read, not great, but of equal quality) for much less at bakeries around the corner. I still do applaud their daring for charging what they do.
It was a lovely walk along Rue de l’Université and it wasn’t too long until we were at Deyrolle. Jessica asked what it was, and I kind of mumbled something until she saw the window full of taxidermy animals. “Not again!” she shouted, but in we went and were instantly confused. There were gardening utensils everywhere. “Gardening?” I thought, where are the stuffed lions? Finally, I saw a stairway that went up and up and then I saw this:
They were beautiful–all the animals were lounging about together as if they were about to walk up to me and nuzzle my hand. I wasn’t supposed to take this picture, but I did for you, dear reader. Jessica was bothered by the whole place, which I find really rather hypocritical as she tells me how much she wants a hamburger and stuffs receipts into her leather bag. I admired the animals and butterflies, but everything was terribly expensive, so we left.
Next stop was La Défense, the business district of Paris–kind of its own suburb. Jessica was not at all enthused about this, but that is nothing new. She didn’t seem to enjoy the Grande Arche or it’s beautiful views of Paris.
She didn’t want to pose:
“Je donnerai naissance á un enfant, parce que je suis enceinte…d’un enfant, á qui je donnerai naissance, mais pas tout de suite, plus tard. AHHH!” Holla at the Le Coeur a Ses Raisons reference. (What, you don’t get it? Fine, watch here around 13:00.)
And I wanted to jump!
I was totally enjoying myself and Jessica finally seemed to perk up around the Esplanade. We watched a girl wading out in the water for reasons we couldn’t understand–why would you want to wander around with wet pants all day? Resting by the water seemed to cheer her up, she even posed for this picture:
We took the train back to the Champs-Élysées so that I could get a croissant at the bakery where I had my first authentic croissant and so that she could get some more of those jelly octopi that she loves so much.
We got separated on the Métro, so we had to take individual trains home–wasn’t that big of a deal though.
I had a few rounds of nibbles, so I didn’t cook myself any dinner and perused the Internet. Dita Von Teese is in town–wouldn’t it be great to see her?