Preparation, Weather and Apartments.

It’s a Monoprix delivery day.  Stocking up for visitors.  And while I wait for the delivery man, I am cleaning.  Actually, this is the most efficient cleaning I have done since moving here.  Although, yes, I am using my blog as an excuse for a break before vacuuming.

Why the activity?  A good friend arrives tomorrow.  Some Paris and France sightseeing and then off to London via Calais, Brighton and Bath.  She flies home from London and my niece arrives in London.  She comes back to France with me and leaves October 1.

Mon Dieu!  For an introvert who has been away from US friends for a long while, this is both exciting and wonderful… and fatiguing and overwhelming.  I must admit to liking my quiet time.  But once she arrives tomorrow and the adventure starts, it will be great.  Just have to remember to manage my energy.

It’s raining today.  Wish I could sent it to California…. Weather in Paris reminds me of the Sierras – wait 10 minutes and it changes.  The forecasters are pretty accurate.  Even if it looks ominous, if they say no rain, I leave the parapluie (umbrella) at home.  And they are right.

Paris apartments.  I have visited 7 so far.  All quite nicer than my 400 sq ft in Neuilly.  Shrug.  (Gaelic shrug!) (bof!)  They live here.  They have their own furniture.  I live here and have claimed my space as my own, but it’s not my stuff.  It’s more a base for my adventures.  My heritage – daughter of an architect and interior designer – enjoys seeing the way they use space.  And it varies so, of course.  Some very modern, some classical, and some  50s comfort, French style.

Bread Laws!

In the 1790s – I have read – the French feared a shortage of bread – a famine, in fact.  So they passed a law that said the bakeries had to stay open.  Fast forward to the twenty-first century.  When most businesses just close for August, bakeries had to declare either July or august as their vacation time.  And somehow the government managed it so that there was always a bakery open in a neighborhood.  In fact, the closed bakery had to tell the city hall of their vacation and also had to post their notice of closing where the closest open bakery could be found.

The baguette is a staple of a Frenchman’s diet.  But that has been changing.

Stats from 2013:

97.6% of French people eat bread but consumption in France has dropped to half a baguette per person per day, down from three baguettes per day in the early 1900s and one baguette in the 1970s.

THREE baguettes a day?  Mon Dieu!!!  I have been cutting down on bread consumption myself.  It’s so deliciously tempting.  When you stop at the Boulangerie and you discover that they have just put out warm bread – sacre bleu!   How can you be expected to get home without nibbling on the end… and when you get home, what?  Where did that bread go?  You just have an empty bag!  Merde!

My French friend Veronica, who insists that the laws about the Soldes (sales only twice a year) make total sense, seems more lackadaisical about the bread laws.  She said to me,
But you wanted progress?!”  Well, sure, but drop the Soldes law and keep the bakery laws!

The posting notice has gone away.  The decision to drop the rules was made in 2014 so this is the first year.  News articles are saying that disgruntled Parisians are searching in vain for their baguettes.  And two weeks ago, a Parisian stopped me in the street and asked when I had purchased the baguette in my hand.  I may be lucky she didn’t wrestle it away from me.

These changes are all done in the spirit of removing bureaucracy.  But why why why start with bread?