Day 8: Paris

Sadly, all wonderful things come to an end and today was to be the last full day I stayed in Paris. Tomorrow would be the beginning of the return journey home, but I still had twenty-four glorious hours to spend in my hometown of Paris. It’ll always be home to me.

I looked over the list of things I had to do and realized that I would never ever get them done. I would need a year in Paris to maybe finish them all. Someday I’ll cross each item off, but by that time, I’ll surely have a hundred more entries and the happy process of discovery will never end. So, after Jessica made us another breakfast of ravioli (I believe she has developed a rather sinister plot to make me fat. I don’t appreciate this at all, but I do appreciate Monoprix ravioli and parmesan.) I turned on the new Cher single…MANDATORY DANCE PARTY

…and tried to choose what to do. It was ridiculously difficult, but I finally made my list and headed out onto the streets. Ma and Jessica had left before me to do some browsing and shopping at the Carrousel du Louvre and probably eat at the McDo again. I admit that they’re food is much better than we have here in America, but their obsession was really getting unreasonable. How many le Cheeseburger Royals can you actually eat? I couldn’t eat any, because, you know, dead cows are gross. And so sad.

The first place I took myself was Colette. I do enjoy it there. I picked up The Eye Has to Travel on DVD. It was priced exceptionally high, but I realized there was no chance of me seeing it anytime soon back home and I was ridiculously wealthy on this trip, so why not? Much like in Asian shops (which reminds me that I never did manage to get to the gift shop at the Japanese Embassy, one of my favorite places in the city), they will take your purchases from you as you browse about the shop and set them behind the counter. Convenience! I looked at golden cellphones, foreign fashion magazines, designer clothes, ironic shirts, and the chic coffee table books while I scanned the crowd looking for designers or models or celebrities. It was only fashionistas this time. Shrugging in a Parisian way, I budged to the front of the queue and paid.

Today was very nasty, really. Rainy and cold. My shoes didn’t seem to have any grip and I would oftentimes slip on the smooth pavement and cobblestones. Really rather frightening, the thought of your skull cracking open on the Parisian streets. I would finally get my dream of a tomb in Pére-Lachaise, but I wouldn’t be around to enjoy it. My biggest life goal is to have one and take a picnic there. I don’t see the purpose in having a tomb if you don’t ever get to see it. I’m pretty much convinced that I’m not going to give a crap about what happens to me after I die, just so long as that I die elegantly. Wouldn’t it be awful to die in a common, pedestrian way like in a car accident or a mall shooting? I want to die in a glorious yachting accident in the Mediterranean or surprisingly while doing some fantastic stunt such as skydiving or vacationing on the International Space Station. I just don’t want a normal life and I certainly don’t want a normal death.

Anyway, my shoes were slipping and sliding as I walked down the rue Saint-Honoré in the drizzle making my way to Patrick Roger, a chocolate shop that I have heard so many good things about. The shop was not at all what I expected. There was a giant chocolate moose in the window, which might have impressed me under normal circumstances, but there was an even bigger chocolate moose at the Iowa State Fair this summer. The decor was sparse and dull, but the whole place smelt of chocolate, so that was nice. When it was finally my turn I told the gentleman at the counter that I wanted a small box, but he convinced me that a little sachet of chocolates would be better. He then asked me what I wanted. None of the chocolates had labels. I didn’t get it. I was confused. I said something with raspberries, he seemed to think that was exotic. I ended up pointing randomly at things and spent a whole four euros on a bunch of chocolates. I did get a nice bag, so that evened out my lack of a box.

I made my way to the Jardin des Tuileries so that I could get to the Louvre. This was my first and only trip here this time. I love the Tuileries and especially the seating area that overlooks the Place de Concorde. So peaceful. I’ve sat many an hour there watching the world go by. Today wasn’t a pleasant day in the park, though–cold, windy, and wet. My shoes were sinking into the mud. Not at all chic. I felt bad for a crew of gardeners who were planting bulbs. I don’t know why they didn’t wait until the chilly rain had stopped. Probably on some kind of schedule. They didn’t look amused.

Once inside the Carrousel, I began to look for everybody, but they were not to be found, so I started looking through the shops thinking that they might still be browsing, I hadn’t been gone all that long. They weren’t. Ma finally found me…so did the cancan dancers.

Suddenly, as we were walking to the food galleries, loud music began playing and shrieks were heard and a group of 19th Century looking dancers pranced by–screaming and kicking their legs high up in the air. I had never seen anything like that in the Louvre. It was rather surreal.

Jessica, it appears, had been in the McDo the entire time, but I doubt this. I had already wandered around the McDo. While we sat there waiting for Ma to buy Jessica and herself another cheeseburger, Jessica and I watched the woman across from us. She was so sad. Everything she did was tragic. She looked utterly miserable. A faint smile crossed her lips as she examined the toy in her Happy Meal, but after that she went back on hating life. Jessica decided that she had suffered a miscarriage in the restroom and was carrying around the dead fetus in her oversized bag. I’m not sure where she came up with this.

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After the Louvre, we went back to the apartment to drop a few things off and then went back into the streets. There was a little shop across the way that sold what looked like gorgeous little ceramic plates. I was, of course, intrigued, and stopped in for a look. Exorbitant! Even I thought it was expensive and I think designer prices are reasonable. Cute plates, though. I wanted one with a skull and crossbones, but not for forty euros. Who knows if it would make it home in one piece?

We made our way to the first Pierre Hermé location on the rue Bonaparte. This was, I believe, his only location that I had not yet visited. I love me some Pierre! It was a very full train getting there and Jessica was not at all amused by this, but what can you do? Soon we were back out into the gloom and were quickly in the shop. It was tiny and packed. We were on an old train, too, so we got to see this little warning, which I’ve long adored.

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We were unfortunate enough to enter the same time as a tour group. Americans…horrible to meet your own kind when you’re out and about, especially on a tour. Nothing worse than Americans on parade. I love America, I do, but calm down people! They were pushing and shoving–like we do, and I do hope that I wasn’t recognized as one of them. I was dressed too nicely for that, so I wasn’t really worried.

I ordered a gorgeous chocolate tart and the kindly gentleman behind the counter wrapped it up for me. As I was waiting in line to pay, I realized that there was a lemon tart there and that I hadn’t ordered it! It was very important for me to get this since I make this exact recipe oftentimes at home and love it a bit too much, so I added that to my bill. I paid, got a free postcard and macaron and was on my way out! It was a caramel macaron, so I wasn’t hopeful, but it’s Pierre, so he somehow managed to turn one of my least favorite flavors into something delicious.

The bakery is just down the road from Saint-Sulpice, which I had never before seen and wouldn’t have recognized if I didn’t know what it was. Gorgeous place. There’s a massive fountain out front that was equally lovely. In the water were the bloodless remains of a headless pigeon. Rather macabre. I’m assuming a hobo high on bath salts ate the head. It’s the only logical thing. Are bath salts the things you get to fizz in the water when you soak in the tub? I don’t understand them. How would you even ingest this drug? I don’t want to know, never mind.

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Outside, I decided to do my best runway walk for my America’s Next Top Model audition, and I must say that I did a bitching job. I also turned Jessica into a bag lady as she filmed me. I looked great in the drizzle.

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Finished with this area, it was time to try out another bakery. It’s very important to get a varied sampling, you know? I’d also heard good things about Jacques Genin, but I wasn’t really as impressed as I thought I’d be. Trés chi-chi, tu sais? I didn’t like the area, either. It was in the middle of an arrondissement I had no familiarity with and the shopkeepers were very haughty. If I had been quick enough to think of the translation, I would have said this à la Absolutely Fabulous, “You can drop the attitude. You only work in a shop, you know?”

I had a chocolate tart and a lemon tart. Quite a nice box, though.

From the bakery, we decided to go to the Mosquée de Paris for tea to warm up and to watch Jessica lose her mind from a mint tea high. It was a bit tricky to get to, because I refused to go on a thirty minute train ride. I found a shortcut, which would have worked out fabulously, but the Jardin des Plantes was closed for the evening. I had not known this. It wasn’t a tragedy, though, since you can just walk around the Jardin and there’s the Mosquée.

It’s a gorgeous place, the second you go through the entryway you feel like you’ve suddenly gone to Marrakech. Actually, I’m not sure if this is true, as I’ve never been to Marrakech. I’d very much like to go to Marrakech and lounge by a pool with a group of trendy friends, much like Yves Saint-Laurent in the 60s. I don’t really understand hippies, but I can appreciate the luxuriousness of their life. I don’t know if they thought they were living luxuriously, or if I know what I’m talking about. I’ll stop now.

I had a pastry with a date inside and a glass of tea. The pastry was crap, but the tea was rather marvelous. It’s so good. Jessica had two or three and had a wild look in her eyes as she contemplated another. Ma didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as we did, but I’m sure that if she had gone in the summer in the daytime as we had done the year before, she would have found the ambiance much more charming. We looked around the shop, but there was nothing that I’d like. Well, nothing I wanted to struggle with to take home. I’d like a tea set and a tajine and a great big brass table.

We certainly hadn’t eaten enough, so we made our way back to Iolanda’s where we are absolutely beloved by the staff. It’s strange. We’ve only been once on this trip (I’ve been there innumerable times), but they remembered us and got us the same table and refilled our carafe of tap water not once, but three times. That has never happened before. I’m still a bit stunned by it. I had four cheese rigatoni and then split a rather good crème brûlée with Jessica and then had an espresso. Lots of cash. Lots of tasty food. I rather do like it there.

We went to the Eiffel Tower again, because, well, why not, there it is.

And then we saw the Louvre again. Well, we see it every day.

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I decided to go to Monoprix to buy some gorgeous little things. I just had some cash to blow, really. I bought a lovely striped sweater and a woolen cardigan and I’ll look like the most adorable sailer ever. I also bought eighty black market Nespresso pods. I don’t know why we can’t get them here in America. We have freedom of speech and religion and whatnot, but we can’t have freedom of coffee pods? THEY’RE DENYING MY RIGHTS! Whatever. I’m moving away from pods anyway.

I saw my old woman in the window of Miss Manon.

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We made our way back to the apartment and started eating.

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I was really rather hungry. (This is a joke, do not take it seriously.) I began with the Pierre Hermé chocolate tart and it was marvelous. There was dark chocolate and white chocolate and milk chocolate and a hint of coffee and a sprinkle of sea salt. Divine. The lemon tart was next and I was pleased that I think mine turned out better. He puts candied lemon inside of his and then glazes the whole thing with jam. I don’t care for candied fruit.

I was so effing full.

Good evening.

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