I woke early and oddly refreshed. I had gone to bed quite early, so I suppose it wasn’t altogether surprising, but to me it was still a kind of novelty. As I put my clothes back on and put the couch bed back together, I looked glumly out the window. Rain fell lazily from the sky and the skies were grey. It reminded me of almost every day I had spent in Paris during the Winter of 2009–such a miserable time (weather-wise, the rest of it was fantastic.)
The only good thing, in my mind, about cold weather is that you get to wear layers and bundle up. Funny how quickly the weather changes. Yesterday I was prepared to wear short shorts alone and today I wore a sweater and a denim jacket. What a fickle thing the weather is. I was glad to have an excuse to wear my jacket, though, so I was not too upset.
Jessica was still asleep, so I got ready for the day and made plans. We didn’t want to buy another week of access to the Métro, and didn’t really want to waste the little money we had left on one-way tickets, so I tried to find things to do that I really wanted to see that were not too far away. It turns out that there were quite a few things that we could do around Les Halles–an area that wasn’t too far away, so after giving some more bread to the bitch birds, we were on our way.
The first place on my list was a little shop called G. Detou. The name of the place is a French joke. It is pronounced, “J’ai de tout.” In English, “I have everything.” Hilarious! I thought it was anyway. It should not have been hard to find and it was not hard to find, but sadly, we did get lost in the strangest of places.
In all my night walks and day walks, this was an area that I had never been in, and I’m glad that I hadn’t because if I had known of it, I would have felt a little less comfortable being out at night. Walking around the Marais and the islands is a peaceable place full of happy revelers, but Les Halles is full of industrial hookers. They line the streets in their garish blue eyeshadow with bustiers bursting open. They looked miserable, and quite frankly, I would have been too if I were wearing half a yard of fabric when it was freezing out.
Jessica was petrified by these women, which I found surprising, as she usually loves hookers. She was enchanted by Montmartre when we went the last time, but these women were a bit brasher. It seemed more of a local hooker hangout than a touristy hooker hangout.
We walked and walked, looking for Rue Tiquetonne, but Rue Tiquetonne was not to be found. As the percentage of hookers rapidly increased, I decided to turn back. My instructions were clear–we shouldn’t have gone this far. So, we waded back through the hookers and eventually found Rue Tiquetonne where it should have been, the sign conveniently covered in scaffolding.
It was a peaceful, quiet street and we were soon upon G. Detou, an unassuming shop inside and out. It was smaller than I expected and the variety of products that people had rhapsodized about were not evident to me. Yes, the shop was stuffed from floor to ceiling, but there was nothing that unique inside. Nothing that was impossible to find, anyway. I ended up with a box of chocolate and a bag of fleur de sel. The salt was ridiculously cheap and the chocolate was the variety we had used in pastry school, so I bought it for nostalgia’s sake.
The next portion of our little walk was just down the road: E. Dehillerin. This is an expensive cookware store that Julia Child frequented and made famous. I was eager to go and pretend to be Julia or Simca and talk about the advantages of copper pots with Jessica, who wouldn’t have a clue what I was doing. But, of course, the shop was closed, (let’s say it together) even though their website claimed otherwise! I’m getting tired of that.
But, I wasn’t done trying to be Julia and took Jessica two steps down the street to a restaurant called Au Pied de Cochon (The Pig’s Foot). It is a famous brasserie that Julia went to and raved about their French Onion Soup. I’m fairly certain that pork stock was used in the making of the soup, but I ignored my ethical issues and went inside.
It was gorgeous, like walking into the 1950s. It looked just like the set of a movie, elegant art and people and chairs and plates. I was in heaven. I felt just like Julia, settling down after a long day of shopping for a restorative bowl of soup or whatever she wanted.
Jessica and I both ordered the soup and I bought myself a glass of wine. It was a bit expensive, but it was the end of the trip and I wanted to treat myself a bit. The waiter was very kind and was soon bringing out our soup and beverages. Jessica gave the baguette a taste test–I wasn’t impressed by it, but it was for sopping up the onion broth, not for eating plain.
The soup was one of those dishes where you take a bit and say, “Shit!” I don’t use that word in public or in writing, but it was merited here. That was some good soup. You should have seen Jessica try to hold back her moaning. She eats a bit like a cave person normally, so I was proud that she restrained herself. And then the food was all gone. I was sad.
I didn’t really want to go, so I ordered an espresso. The waiter seemed to think it was hilarious that I was ordering all the beverages for myself. Jessica didn’t want wine or coffee–don’t judge me, monsieur! My espresso was quickly brought out and I was delighted by the amount of china that it was presented on.
Two plates! Sexy. I also got a lovely piece of chocolate. The espresso was actually really good. And then they brought out meringue pigs! We squealed in imitation of the animals.
They were adorable. I completely enjoyed my time here. Go there if you are ever in Paris, they are always open. Twenty-four hours a day, which is bizarre for Paris.
Then the bill came. It was not as much as we had expected. Either he forgot to add on the six euro bottle of water or he had taken pity on Jessica for some reason. Either way, it was ridiculously affordable and Jessica dumped all her change on him. We felt ashamed, so we scurried away.
Last on our list of things to do was to go to Colette again. We were both rather dumbstruck the last time we went, on account of Dita, so this time we wanted to look around. It was a bit of a walk, but it didn’t take so long. Sadly, there were no celebrities inside. My hair was a bit of a mess, so that was a good thing. I probably would have died Karl had been there. I’m now petrified of meeting him.
The clothes were all gorgeous and if I had the money I would have easily dropped a few thousand on shoes and belts and shirts and pants and watches and so much more. I didn’t have thousands and that was sad.
Jessica wasn’t in the mood to walk back, so we took the Métro. I didn’t want to take it, but I did so to please her. We bought some groceries and I looked sadly at Miss Manon, who was closed. I will miss that bakery so much.
The rest of the day was quiet. I started to get my things put together for the trip home and worked on the computer for a bit.