Saturday, March 31, 2012

If I Lived in Paris...

I'm thinking about it seriously. Soon I'll be back in NYC looking at Paris street sign magnets on the refrigerator.

 Instead of the REAL thing dans le rue.
 If I lived in Paris I could show you les fleurs grande et petite.

By the way my French has improved a lot. People consistently respond to me in French (!) I just wish I understood what they were saying%$#@!

 I would show you many more ballerinas.

 Once a week I'd shoot with Mes VitrinesNYC the latest Paris fashion windows.

 And shoot more Paris backs regularly.

 I'd shoot more architecture...

 And more reflections in windows/vitrines.

 I could do more dessert research at Angelina's and other yummy places.

 And more coccinelle research.
I know you're all waiting for that. But honestly is there another town on the planet so smitten with this little red and black bug?

 Thanks to reading Bringing Up Bebe indepth before I left, I've been eating more fruit compote.

 And a lot less sweets (with a big helping hand from The Power of Habit).

 I will never give up MACARONS!
Don't worry. 
I am wondering how Weight Watchers France found me? They're bombarding me with emails!?

 I've become a BIG fan of La Grande Epicerie Paris macarons.

 Ah...Paris dogs. They would be on my menu daily if I lived here.

 I'd shoot more shoes on the bus and metro. Thanks to Jill of Mad About Macarons for pointing out that I did this. I didn't realize...

 When I finally finish my book on Paris, the back flap could say
'she's an ex-pat who lives in Paris'. 
Wouldn't that be nice! What do you think? Should I do it?

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Les petits bla-blas

 There are so many wonderful little shops in Paris full of delightful nonsense.
 Les Petits Bla-Blas fills the bill parfaitement.
7 rue du Crussol 75011
 These shops are meant for bebe shopping...
 But Paris brings out the enfant in us all.
 I fell hard for toys at Les Petits Bla-Blas.
 Adorable dollies!
 Ladybug/coccinelle buttons.
 If you're packing for Paris by all means bring something with a bird on it.
 Polka dots are IN big time even at La Bon Marche!
 I couldn't resist vintage facsimili French games by Marc Vidal.
 Do I really need to learn my ABCs again?
 On the other hand learning French politesse seems to be top of the list this trip. Manners count in France!
 A close family member has suggested I was 'raised with wolves', ahem. There were lots of books on wolves/les loups at Salon du Livre so maybe that's not such a bad thing in France.
 Yesterday I picked up Calme et Attentif Comme Une Grenouille(calm and attentive like a frog). It's meditation exercises for small children. Click and watch the video. You'll be instantly calmed and sleep through your nights.
 I've abstained from eating ice cream cones for a week.
But gorgeous weather in Paris has caused me to fall off the wagon. I'm hoping with daily froggie meditations I'll regain some restraint...
Bon Chance et Bonne Week-end! 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

French Dogs Drink Champagne

 French dogs drink Champagne.
Who knew?
 'Shanghai' drinks Perrier on a hot day in the park.
 There are water fountains for French dogs at the marche.
 They have their own celebrity mugs decorated with Tintin's Milou/Snowy.
 French dogs on occasion ride in a pousette with an umbrella!
French dogs get 'prioritaire' seating on the Metro.
 Yet it's not unusual for French dogs to make betises/be naughty and eat food off the street (even after it's been on the ground more than 3 seconds).
 It's perfectly OK for French dogs to jump up on strangers.
 Bringing Up Bebe is my guide to understanding French behavior and I've come to the conclusion French children are far better behaved than French dogs.
In fact French dogs are spoiled rotten.
Even American dogs are better behaved.
 I bought this book because I liked the pictures. It's table manners for princesses-to-be. I can use this.
 For example, one does NOT say,
'GO TO THE TABLE!' or shout, 'DINNER!'
Instead say gently/doucement,
'We will now go to the table'
One should NEVER say,
'EAT!' either.
 I bought this plate illustrated by French artist Soledad Bravi because it was cute. But it's a 'message' plate telling a child,
'I eat with my mouth closed'
 French kid's plates don't say,
'Good Job' or 'All Gone!'
but instill good manners from the getgo.
I sat next to a 4-year old boy on the bus.
His maman/mom was nearby with a younger child in a pousette.
I overheard them whispering, including a 'pardon, Madame'.
(BTW listening to little kids is a great way to learn French)
When his mom said, 'Now we will get off the bus'
The little boy said to me in a loud voice,
I wanted to reply, 'Merci, Monsieur' :)
French cats are better behaved than French dogs BTW. Should someone write manners book for dogs?
'Bringing Up Toutou/doggie'

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Paris By Mouth Food Tours

Yesterday I joined Paris By Mouth Food Tours to Montmartre. A little word to the wise - take the bus, do not take the Metro to Abbesses unless you love 100+ stairs.

Paris By Mouth is a terrific up-to-date website for Foodies on Paris - a don't miss daily read. Meg Zimbeck was our astute guide from PBM.

First stop bien sur was this year's best baguette winner.

Meg explains in detail what constitutes the best baguette. A hunk of bread will never taste the same.

We're joined by Barbara Austen, former pastry chef, for more details on texture, construction, flavours, ingredients. I scribble madly notes. If only I could read my hand-writing.

Meg shows us the difference between a plain baguette and a baguette traditional (the prize winner now adorns the President's table). The price difference between la creme de la creme and l'ordinaire is a mere 15 centimes. The French government decides these things tu sait.

On to the next course - charcuterie and another prize winner for their boudin noir/blood sausage (which we do not sample Dieu merci!).

Red meat isn't on my menu these days but you have to be flexible when traveling.

Meg and Barbara set up a mini picnic dans la rue for tasting. That baguette came in handy.

La fromagerie is next.

Chevre/goat cheese is my favorite. These are quite aged. We taste frais/fresh and unpasturized chevre.

The cheese seller is a beau mec/cute guy...miam

On to the park nearby to sample and discuss fromage at length. I must admit I buy French cheese at the super marche, never a fromagerie - shame on me. That evening I am brave and buy chevre frais with figue inside from a fromagerie.

On to dessert.
And rue des Martyr's newest most fashionable patisserie - reknown Sebastien Gaudard.

You can tell from his website this is going to be an elegant experience. Chef Gaudard came out while we invaded his shop. He chastised one of us not to touch anything (and correctly so). 
*Jamais/never help yourself in a Paris shop to the merchandise, especially in a patisserie.
l'interdit! I did not have the nerve to take a photo.

Les patisseries were lush. Meg picked 3 and I bought another 3. Can you ever have too much dessert?

Meg, always well-equipped, divies up in the street, the 1st taste - an Alsacian mini kugel - very light and delicate - the outer crust crunchie and caramelized.

Puit d'amour, Paris Brest + une dacquoise à l'amande (ou à la noisette  - meringue-esque - all exceptional.

And the rhum Baba.
Chef Sebastien Gaudard's adorable Jack Russell, 'Hot Dog' at Selby/Colette. Wouldn't he look handsome painted  in front of Gaudard's new shop 22, rue des Martrys?
You won't need lunch and your tastebuds won't forget the experience.