Could there be anything more tasty than a warm baguette? That’s a rhetorical question. But if you were wondering, the answer is no. On the way home tonight, I stopped at the boulangerie to be prepared for Friday. Perfect timing – he handed me the bread and it was warm! Hardly able to resist it before getting to the apartment.
I have discovered there are two breads: une baguette or une tradition. This link takes you to an excellent explanation by Marie-Louise http://www.complete-paris.com/blog/tradition-vs-baguette-a-tale-of-two-breads/
I usually asked baguette because I was uninformed. This time, when I asked for a baguette, he said, nope, all gone. (well, he didn’t say that but that was the idea). But there were Tradition on the shelf. Looked like a baguette to me. So I bought that and felt the warm bread. Now I am totally hooked. Things you pick up over the months. And I think this is now my preferred boulangerie. There is one closer and they brag on their window that they have won awards. But they are snooty. And the other bread tastes better. An extra block for French bread is nothing!
This may be a backwards blog. Before the bread, I enjoyed another couple hours with the MeetUp group of expats and French. These people are so interesting and friendly. Always pleasant to spend a few hours with them – we were up to 20 people today. Sat outside (chilly!) and conversations shifted as usual – French, English, people moved places. Learned new things, made new friends. Couldn’t ask for more.
Before that, a real adventure. But we will back all the way up to Tuesday. (Time confuses me enough here, I get to confuse you too!) Claire, my conversation exchange friend, met me in the 3rd arrondisement (Paris is divided up into 20 districts or arrondisements). She showed me two of the “portes” of Paris – the gates into the city when there was still a wall around Paris. I had seen one of these last October on my search for the covered “passages.” But I didn’t realize that is what it was. Then we walked past the street she lives on as we headed to the Archives. On the way, there was a wonderful old building – the tower built in the 1100s. I thought I knew these very old places so I was happy to add it to my list. And at the Archives – exactly what the name says – a place for archiving records – she showed me a beautiful hidden garden. We sat there for our conversation. This is exactly the type of garden I have been seeking: on the list for the summer for places to go read and think. She also gave me a book that she published. Well, it’s confusing to me – she comes up with the ideas with her husband. He takes the photographs, she usually writes the text, they lay it out as a finished product. Then they go to publishing fairs to find someone who will take on the publishing of it. We had talked about Calligraphy last time – she brought me a book as a gift, how sweet! Now I have to calligraphy a sign for her… some cool quote in English.
And the attorney and I met this morning. Yes, they both correct me a lot – I hope it is because they are feeling comfortable with me and because that’s what they are supposed to do. Not that my French is deteriorating. Although it could be because I have been speaking English too often with my visitors. When my next guest leaves, I am going to add more conversation exchanges. Just scheduled two hours this afternoon. And found a Frenchwoman to go to the cinema with.
And now back to today for the most exciting event. It’s been 9 weeks since I have had a haircut. I feel like a shih Tzu with my hair covering my eyes. But OMG how to find a styist? It’s difficult enough in California. Heck. It’s not difficult, it is traumatic!
I understand there is an American woman here in Paris who flies back to NY every month or two to get her hair done. Not going to work for me. It’s a great story, but maybe she goes back for another more serious reason and just takes time for the haircut? I have asked around, I have searched Yelp, but my favorite research spot came through. TripAdvisor had a question just a week ago in their travel forum about where to get your haircut in Paris. The best response was from “Pattyinparis”. Michel, a stylist who is great and speaks English. I went over there today – it’s off the Place de la Bastille – maybe 30 minutes Metro from me – to see about an appointment. Patty on Trip Advisor suggested (and it made sense to me) to go in person the first time to set up the appointment. Fewer chances for miscommunication in person than over the phone. I was building up my courage. Ready for step one on this adventure – making the appointment. Then I figured I would have step two – the appointment itself and would have to again build up my courage. Yikes. Michel was available in 15 minutes. Um. OK then. Just quote MacBeth and say yes. “Screw your courage to the sticking-place.”
And I like it. Overall. For a first haircut, I am pleased. The real test will be when I wash it and have to do it myself. Another milestone of life in Paris successfully passed.
And now to spruce up the apartment for my Guest Two arriving mid-day tomorrow. She’s here in time for some rainy weather but I have a weather goddess friend who is working on that right now. The real question for me is Friday. Le premier mai. France’s Labor Day. I hear a variety of things – from everything is closed, including metro lines, to transportation will be fine, restaurants are open, and just avoid the “manifestations” (demonstrations).