Wednesday, 9 July
Basically, the greatest day ever.
Unfortunately, I have exactly zero pictures, so I can't illustrate it for you.
I woke up a little early, because I promised to make "les vrais pancakes Americains" for my host family, since my host mom had found baking powder. They were good, but there was no syrup - surprise surprise - so they didn't quite taste right, with honey or jam or left-over frosting from Lili's cake the night before. (As a side note, I did notice maple syrup in a grocery store a few days later - so evidently it is possible to find it!) Lili asked me to put the recipe in the family recipe book, which I did.
After breakfast, I took the metro across town to the 7th to meet a friend, Cosimo, for un café. He was my TA first semester of this past year for my French class, which was the best French class I have ever had. He graduated last spring (in '07) from Sciences Po, the political science university in Paris, and now he is pursuing a PhD (I believe) from Hopkins. He spent most of the summer in Baltimore, but he came to France on a short visit - he was only in the country 6 days, and only 2 or 3 of those in Paris, but he made the time to come have have a quick chat at a café near Sevres-Babylone. We had talked before, and he had given me quite a list of places to visit and see (and taste!) in the city, and we talked until I had to leave to get to work across town.
I ended up being 10 or 15 minutes late to work due to the length of our conversation and the speed of public transportation, but as usual I was still there way before Eric, who arrived around noon, as usual. The work the last day was not too different from any other day - a few emails, and I translated an article about the newest artist the gallery represents, David Bade. What was significant about the last day at Galerie Eric Mircher was lunch. Eric traditionally takes the intern out to lunch on the last day of the internship. Usually Lou, the assistant, would come as well, however it was Wednesday and she commutes into the city just for Friday and Saturday so she wasn't there. It was wonderful to finally really get to talk to Eric and hear about his life and how he got into what he does - he's so cool! He went to the école des beaux arts, the fine arts academy of Paris, and he used to paint, but he also has a business degree. Our conversation was all in French (as was my conversation with Cosimo earlier that morning) and so there were a few small details I missed, but I know he told me he worked as a journalist or an art critic or something like that, writing articles for several years, before he took a position in a gallery. He worked in a few galleries before he saw that the location for his gallery was available, at which point he jumped on the opportunity to open his own. It is clear he likes being able to keep his own schedule and do his own thing - and he acknowledged how glad he was to be able to come in an hour late, and for me to be able to leave early. For me, it was an incredible opportunity to work in such a small environment, because I really got to see and be a part of everything that happened in the gallery, so that I really have a good idea now of the work that a gallery does. Eric also told me that he has a sister who lived in Detroit for five years or so, and so he has been in the area on at least a few occasions. I was definitely sorry that we hadn't gotten the chance to really talk sooner, because he is such an interesting person!!
As much as I enjoyed the conversation, what was really wonderful was, of course, the food. Had I been alone, I would have taken pictures. (Although, had I been alone, I would never have gotten as much food as I did!) When we arrived, Eric asked me if I had had foie gras before, and encouraged me to get it, or whatever I wanted. Foie gras, if you are not familiar, is literally "fat liver" - it is a spread made of duck or goose liver that is a delicacy in France. I had indeed had it before, and been unimpressed, but I figured why not, so I ordered it. Turns out that was only my appetizer, what would I like for my meal? Oh. Uh, okay, how about the carpaccio? (that's an Italian dish, high grade raw beef sliced very thin, and served with seasonings and sauces and, in this case, with a salad of greens and parmesean cheese.) And to drink... well, Eric ordered a red wine, and please, wouldn't I like anything? Alright, I'll take a glass of white wine. The foie gras was much better than what I had previously had - very good. The carpaccio was delicious - again much better than what I had had previously, this time dating to on the cruise in Alaska last summer. And then dessert. I felt like such a fat kid - Eric didn't order any, but insisted I should, so I had a panna cotta aux fruits rouges - another Italian dish, that is essentially a light custard, with a confit of red fruits - strawberry and raspberry, I believe - served overtop. Light and lovely. And, of course, un café to finish. My meal ended up costing, I would say, about 60E. !!! Oops. But Eric encouraged me to get everything I got! Definitely the most expensive meal I had in Paris. But so good! Merci, Eric!!
At the end of the work day, Eric gave me an editioned print by Sylvie Fajfrowska, one of the artists of the gallery, and a small card. Very thoughtful. I was definitely sorry to leave!!
Unusually, as it was Wednesday, I had my class in the evening. But it was the last day for classes, so we had it a day early so we could fit everything in. The class was mostly just a review of old material to prepare for the final exam on friday. After class, I headed home to prepare for my oral defense of my rapport du stage the next morning. Notably, the 9th was also Killian's birthday, so joyeux anniv' to him! Unfortunately we weren't able to cross paths in the evening, but we made up for it the next night.... but that is another story for another post, that hopefully will come very soon.
Alors, à bientôt,