Margot descended on Paris! She just arrived back from journeys to the south of France, visiting an old school friend who is now teaching English in Pao. In just two days of Margot-time my knowledge of Paris has improved exponentially. For example, I now know that it is perfectly legal to drink wine outside, even on the grounds of national treasures. You can picnic with rosé at the Eiffel Tower, walk through Jardin Luxembourg with champagne, or, as I know first hand, sip a bottle of red wine in the reclining garden chairs of the Tulleries outside the Louvre. If that seems surreal, don’t worry, it is.
In other miraculous news from Paris: it is possible to buy wine for less than it costs to buy a Café au Lait and a croissant. Yes, that too is surreal. (I may be stretching the strict definitions of surreal here). You can buy pretty tasty wine for 4 Euros! It’s pressed wine, wrung from the dredges of really good wine—the grape skins and nasty stuff naturally removed from the barrels when its time for the 60 euro bottles to age to drinking maturity—but I think these table wines still have a lingering taste of the grapes that went into their fancy cousins. I can dream.
For all that Margot is able to accomplish for 4 Euros, I’ll just say I have some skills too. I handle the bread-cheese-chocolate needs. I’m not great at finding bargains, but I can find some darn perfect macaroons and tarts. And now, I can even I pronounce pistache and framboise properly. Chocolate was always easy to say.
I may have exaggerated about my skills. All they amount to is my determination to look in the window of every shop that sports the label “boulangier,” “cremerie,” or “patissier.” I will cross streets, brave motorcycles, and bump into gorgeous French children in order to check out the display. For some reason I’m very positive that looks will tell me a good French pastry when I see them. Usually, don’t judge a book by its cover, but in this case, a perfect looking pastry is probably a perfect French pastry. Example: the French macaroon. This is a fundamentally ridiculous food; it looks like a diet hamburger for a pastel loving china doll! The macaroon, let’s face it, popular mainly for its adorableness first and deliciousness second is a food that is eaten because you can. It is a beautiful frivolity. It is my ‘perfect’ model for understanding le desert.
I found the day’s Patisserie, Gosselin, in a pretty obvious spot for beauty and frivolity: Rude de St. Hon0re. I already admitted that I’m not a bargain hunter. Margot got a chocolate tart and I ordered a massive pistache framboise macaroon. No, not because those are the only two ingredients I can ask for! By the way, there’s no shame in learning your favorites first. I got it because this macaroon was a ridiculous puffy pastel hamburger made human size. Yes.
What a lovely cocktail hour… once I finally realized that we truly were allowed to have a bottle of wine in public. Something about it feels so devious. Oh those French! They take the coolest deviance and convert rebellion to nothing but a nonchalant evening. Margot kept laughing at me while my eyes darted around looking at all of the joggers and families. They were so close! And we were just out in the open! Sipping from a bottle of wine!
Apparently, this country is paradise.
St. Honore and just off Rue de Louvre
(to your left when approaching the Louvre on Rue de Louvre).