Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Baguette Stalker

Parisien Boy by photographer Willie Ronis "Parisien Boy" by photographer Willie Ronis
Who doesn't know this world-famous photo by Willie Ronis of a Parisien boy carrying a baguette?
But who knew that Parisiens actually walk around with a loaf of bread under their arms in broad daylight!? Two sisters get the training. Naturally older sister gets to carry the bread or baguette...hmph
Can you tell I'm a younger sister?
I spotted this woman coming out of a boulangerie and followed her, hoping for a shot of this French phenomenon... You'd think with at least 6 baguettes under her arm, she was getting in supplies for a restaurant? Mais pas de tout. It's the norm to stock up for the day. Isn't this your typical Frenchman? deciding what wine will go best with his bread... Here's something else about this peculiar phenomenon...
French people are content to walk around with their bread PRACTICALLY NAKED! Exposed to the air and to street polution with just a tiny paper "scarf" around it.
I have a favorite boulangerie where I go for a wonderfully grainy, nutty baguette on rue Vavin. It has no name.
But why when I go in, the saleswoman, before I open my mouth, takes my baguette, neatly cuts it in half and sticks the cut ends into the bag so no bare bits are hanging out? Does she think I am a crazy-hygenic American?
The end of this fab bread, which Rick says I must tear off and eat immediately in the street. It's de riguer. I first bought their bread just for this adorable bag...Here's another rule of thumb in France. When eating in a restaurant or as a guest at someone's home, ALWAYS take your half-eaten bread and PLACE IT ON THE TABLE. Do not ask for a bread plate. When you're home alone you can put your bread on a plate...
A PB reader told me I MUST go to 64, rue Saint-Dominque 75007 and I'm so glad I did! Big Merci! There are 6 Le Moulin de la Vierge throughout Paris and they are all equally beautiful.

Did I mention that everything tastes DIVINE!

The French love these little worker figurines - a bit like Amelie's garden gnomes, non?
Another bread phenomenon. Not only restaurant menus/adoise are out in the street to peruse. Bread menus are there for a quick read too....
 What happens to the bread you don't carry around under your arm - it becomes delicious sandwiches like these at SECCO (formerly Poujauran) at 18, rue Jean Nicot 75007
French babies start training while still in their strollers.
Don't we want to pass as Parisians? Admit it. Here are some rules (regles) to follow:
1. Get on a line, any line.
2. Carry a loaf of bread under your arm, preferably naked (I mean the bread! not you).
3. Walk with a straight-legged stride.
4. Never run across the street. NEVER. Your straight-legged stride will get you there quickly and expediently. Plus drivers will see your baguette like a flashing headlight.
5. NEVER wear a hat even in the Artic temperatures (frequent in Paris).
6. You must wrap 9 yards of fabric around your neck at all times, but you've heard that one a million times.
Oh and try to keep your mouth shut (the biggest give-away)
AND DON'T WEAR SNEAKERS!I overheard a saleswoman saying,
"I can always tell ze Americains by their shoes"
7. And find a dog to drag around after you.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sonia Rykiel

Photo by Dominique IssermannPhoto by Dominique Issermann
On Saturday I went with Anne to see the Sonia Rykiel exhibit at the Musee Les Arts Décoratifs - Mode et Textile 107 rue de Rivoli 75001 I used to be a HUGE fan in the days when Sonia was the poor girl's Chanel.Photo by Dominique Issermann Photo by Dominique Issermann
Sonia gave us so many things - fabulous color, sweater dresses, the high arm hole and the tight sleeve, writing in rhinestones, STRIPES!!! and independence. Her models danced down the catwalk at her shows, like in this famous photo by Dominique Issermann.
Sonia's stripes were to die for. The colors and combinations were soooooo inventive - many of them nautical in origin.I never had anything like this! But I had the belts, the gloves, the socks (!), hats, pins, the bags on a belt (the first fanny bags), even lipsticks. Whatever I could afford to buy. I even made a very good friend, Parisien Christine, while waiting on line for the winter sales at Sonia at 7 AM. It was freezing and they put a little radiator out in the street and served us cups of coffee while we waited. Inside were cardboard boxes full of wonderful treasures marked down ridiculously! It was sheer heaven.Andy Warhol did this portrait of Sonia with her mass of fabulous red hair. After the exhibit we had a designer tea at Le Saut du Loup inside the museum.
Earlier we had lunch at Christian Constant's Les Cocottes, 135, rue Saint-Dominique, 75007
A new and very casual (et pas cher) branch of Constant's resturants - No reservations required
We shared this terrific salade des lardons with a soft boiled egg lurking inside - words can not describe how good.
My main was roasted cod, served in a cocotte pot bien sur, with carrots, potatos, almost like a stew = FAB!
Anne had poulet with creme. We did NOT eat this for dessert. There was a wall at the Sonia exhibit of letters of admiration and quite a long one from Pierre Herme. So I thought it only fitting to show one of his desserts BONJOUR LUNDI PB readers!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Marche Aux Puce

Last Sunday I went to the Marche Aux Puce!
There are around 15 different markets within the Puce... I made it to 2 in 2 hours. This one is Marche Vernison. There is so much stuff.To look at and admire. I spotted this chest And fell victim to this little Paris Par Arrondissements book from 1946. I had no plans to buy anything bien sur, but for 10 Euros and it's full of MAPS!!! Excuses...excuses.
Aren't we great at them when called for? Another sign warning guest doggies to FAITE ATTENTION (pay attention) This is a resident hound and he knows the rules. He's guarding his master's stand while he gets a coffee...I guess Here's a map of the other marche I went into, Dauphine.
It's huge.
So many things.
To look at. I did spot a few wonderful old architectural prints of some French facades, but when I got out my camera in an obvious way the vendeuse came flying.
Arrête ! Arrête ! (STOP!)
There are posh places too at the puce, but they not for me.
I left around noon to go to lunch at...

Rose Bakery, my favorite place to eat in Paris. This is the newish branch in the Marais at 30, rue Debelleyme 75003.
The food is Brit and organic and healthy. And the place is always packed with Parisiens. Go at opening time or you'll stand in line for an hour!
Dejeuner :)
Later I wandered over to the Musee Beaubourge. There are always performers.
Inside.And then to one of my favorite patisseries, Pain du Sucre.

These chocolate hippos and elephants are in the outdoor case everyone is gazing at - they are special for Easter (Pacques). Easter elephants?
There's a good reason this place is called Pain, because the decision-making process is pure torture. I ended up getting (again) their divine caramel macarons (2).
Please help yourself to one of these marshmallow-filled chocolate lollie bears (nounours)

There is a ROSE BAKERY cookbook if you want to make that salad plate yourself.