Monday, July 21, 2008

La vie quotidienne



Wednesday, 2 July


I had hoped to visit a new area of the city after the work on the 2nd, but it was raining and I had a paper due the next day in my class, so unfortunately I didn't have a very exciting day. For lunch, I visited a small bakery and for once, I ate in to avoid the rain. I had my first flan, which was incredible and lead to many more flans over the following week. I am sorry to say that as I am writing about this day more than two weeks after it occurred, I do not remember it very clearly.


Thursday, 3 July


Since it was Thursday, of course I went to the market for lunch! I visited my favorite vendors for cherries and peaches, as I always do. Evidently, we had become quite good friends by this time, because not only was I greeted with a smile of recognition, but on a fait la bise - that is, we did the 2 kisses on the cheek. The vendor who you can see in my original market entry, the one with the cherries over his ears, evidently decided that now that we were such good friends, it would be a good idea to ask me for my number, and to get a coffee..... Oh dear. I tried to play the dumb American who doesn't understand much English, and in fact as he spoke rather softly and with an accent, I really couldn't make out a lot of what he said. I don't know if he was offended that I turned him down... at any rate, I still got a great discount on my fruit, just like they always give me.


After work was class, and after class I don't recall having had any big plans for the evening.


Friday, 4 July


Happy fourth of July! The fourth is celebrated about as much in France as we celebrate Bastille day, July 14, in the states.


My boss was gone for the weekend to Salzburg for an exhibition featuring one of the artists the gallery represents, so it was just me and the assistant, Lou. Now that we're getting into July, business is slowing down as Parisians are leaving town to go to the countryside. We had a slow day, labeling hundreds of envelopes for invitations for the next exhibition in September.


For lunch, I visited le marché des enfants rouge - the oldest covered market in Paris. There are a handful of different ethnic food vendors - Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Moroccan... I had couscous with chicken and vegetables, and a mint tea which was sweet and delicious, and a baklawa. There is shady outdoor seating, but not a great deal of it. Here's another cultural difference - people don't care about sharing tables with strangers. It is not at all uncommon to have two completely different parties sitting at the same table not only at an outdoor venue like this, but in restaurants as well. Even when tables are separate in restaurants, they are very close together, so it is very easy to join the conversation of the table next to you.


The fourth was an absolutely beautiful day, about 75 degrees and mostly sunny. After work, I took a walk down to the park I discovered on the 16th of June, after my visit to Notre Dame. On my way, I stopped in a patisserie, Pain de Sucre. I had my first Parisian guimauves :




Or, as they are known in English, marshmallows! French marshmallows are not like their American counterpart - old and hard on the outside, and sold in bulk in bags. They are square, as above, and sold individually, and, most importantly, flavored. Above is fruit de la passion - passion fruit. I also had a rose flavored one. The are delicious - very sweet and moist. And fun!


I sat in the park for a couple of hours, copying recipes from my host mom's recipe book that she has been compiling for decades. I copied dozens of recipes and I am very excited to try them out now that I'm back here. Eventually I walked home, and ate my other purchase at Pain de Sucre : a pepino :




It's a pastry shell filled with cream and covered in fraises du bois : tiny wild strawberries that are very sweet and must be found in nature in season. The strawberries were good, the pastry was a little odd - the cream tasted peppery to me.


Saturday, 5 July

Saturday, with Eric gone for the weekend, it was just Lou and me again. I only worked a couple of hours, until lunch time, and then walked through the 3rd to the 2nd to visit Les Halles - a district filled with tons of specialty stores. I went to a kitchen store, and bought myself a few souvenirs : a tart pan, four mini individual tart pans, a grease splatter cover, a silicon pastry sheet, and three cookbooks. Pas mal, eh? On my walk home, I stopped in a Piccard, which is a chain grocery store where absolutely everything is frozen. It's actually really cool (no pun intended) - they have all sorts of fruits and vegetables as well as meals and pastries, cakes, ice cream, macarons... Everything you would hope to find in the freezer section of a grocery store. I got some frozen rhubarb. For the summer, when most of these vegetables and fruits are in season and so good from the market, it seemed a little silly to me to buy them frozen... But when they are out of season, it must be a great store.

I spent the afternoon working on my internship report. In the evening, I made my way over to the champ de Mars to relax with a few friends under the new, blue, tour Eiffel. For the next couple of months, the tower is lighting up blue due to the presidency of the European Union being in France. On the other side of the tower there are also stars, so that the tower matches the flag of the EU. The tower has never lit up blue before, and apparently people are coming from all over Europe to see it, so I just got lucky enough to be there at the same time.



It still sparkles every hour, on the hour, for 10 minutes :



I am trying to get caught up with the rest of my trip asap... But Baltimore has certainly kept me busy! I've got just over a week to go! So, hopefully,

A bientôt

1 comment:

I need orange said...

Great shots of la tour bleu! You did such a great job of documenting!!!