Tuesday, August 29, 2006

ParisBreakfasts @ Cafe de Flore

Towards the end of my stay I got M. to go to Café de Flore for petit déjeuner with me. M. isn't keen on cafés, brasseries and most other public places. Her father was a G.M. (general manager) in many of Paris' top brasseries so she grew up amidst smoke and crowds.
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Therefore she neither smokes nor drinks and refuses to be near others thusly engaged. An impossible woman to drag out anywhere unless it's to an organic marché and who wants to do that while in Paris?

I love this picture of M.'s clenched hands while I record her cup of tea for future possible "research" purposes. We got the works. I got a pot of chocolat chaud and oeuf dur and M. got thé and actually ate TWO croissants and FOUR types of confiture (jam).

This has to be some kind of record for M. who is not your average French woman except that she does watch what she eats.

I always forget to watch = my downfall. I just eat. Haven't you heard that many times, "Watch what you eat!"

Of course these lavish so-called "petit" breakfasts are not petit at all. 4 kinds of jam? Who does that at home. It takes a huge effort to forget there is just 1 kind of jam sitting inside the refigerator while you eat your unbuttered toast, much less munch on a magnificent French croissant.

AND they bring you a big round pad of Normandy butter to put on your already buttery croissant. Coals to Newcastle and all that... Oh well, that's the point of going on vacance, even if you do tell people you'll be very busy doing research. Yeah, research on croissants and confiture and chocolat chaud! My vacations are ALWAYS research-oriented.

Now here's a tip you'll only find out from a G.M.'s daughter. Why don't café glasses have their logo on them?

Because everyone takes them home as a souvenir, that's why.

I bought a Flore glass at the Café Flore shop around the corner - open 12 noon. I'm sorry to report it's a far more elegant version than the sturdy, robust glasses served in the café, where they stand up to wear and tear of daily usage and rowdy customers.. Disappointing all the same :(

Café Flore P.D.,watercolor, 10" x 12 1/2"

While we were sitting there wolfing down this "grand" déjeuner, a big elevator-contraption appeared in the Flore doorway. This mammoth thing brings stuff up from the cellar - dishes, bottles, whatever. She and her brother used to ride up and down it for kicks!

M. told me she would also monkey around with the beer pressure in the cellar. When her father would serve a beer from the tap, it would blast out like nobody's business. Evidently there were indulgent parents back then as well, since she never got spanked for any of these bistro pranks.

I took a special still life painting class with Susanna Coffey, called "Perishables" at the National Academy. We painted the same still life over and over for a month and by the end of class, that thing was seriously "perished".
Now this is what I would call a perished p'tit déj' if you can say such a thing. I'm not nearly as in love with the perfect untouched, pristine still life as I am with the devastated and devoured one.
This is a living thing and not so still. And it's going somewhere -> to the kitchen and the trash. OK. It's future is not so serene as a Morandi or Chardin still life hanging in the Louvre. But it is very alive.

12 comments:

  1. Enjoyed your post, as usual. Especially liked M.'s clenched fists! Photos and art are always lovely, enhanced by your narrative. Look forward to it every day!

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  2. Ditto - and thanks for the links to the other art, still lifes. i enjoy as I sip my peet's coffee with sourdough toast

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  3. I'll take breakfast #4.Unearthed your lovely site over at runaroundparis.

    I"ll be back for lunch!!!!!!!

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  4. Carol,
    Your posts lately are making me very nostalgic for Paris cafes! You have beautiful compositions and capture those early morning moments so well!

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  5. Hey, organic markets in Paris are great fun and right up your alley, I would have thought! Enjoyed this lively story but am feeling stuffed to the gills after reading it! Can't you write less vividly ;D.

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  6. Are you leaving Paris?

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  7. I am heading straight to Cafe Flore! (If I don't get sidetracked at Deux Magots on the way)

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  8. Perishable still lifes is an intriguing and presumably punguent idea...

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  9. If I haven't said it already, your blog is overly awesome. :) I'm going through it now so I can take note of places to visit. Ooh, the list...so long...so many calories...

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  10. Anonymous7:25 AM

    I love this one- the ratio of round things to rectangular things is great. I love your abstraction of the pastry. You are beginning to get into Morandi territory without being too referential. The negative spaces are coming alive! The soft color is great.
    Susanna

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  11. That looks like the best breakfast ever.

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  12. Anonymous6:48 AM

    I HAVE FALLEN IN LOVE WITH ALL YOUR WATERCOLOURS... DESCRIPTIONS... PICTURES... IN SHORT YOUR ENTIRE BLOG...LOVE PARIS CAFES....GRANNY SMITHS GREEN IS MY FAVOURITE COLOUR TOO.........THERES NO HELP FOR ME.......HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BEST FRIEND JANET WHOSE BIRTHDAY IS TODAY......CMARGARET

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