Thursday, March 20, 2014

La Poste, la pont, la Tabouleh, Jour du Macaron 2014

I've been MIA (missing in action) on PB. So here's a day in the life of yours truly. I got up late today at 5:21 am. I rush to address and fill envelopes so I can leave the house by 7 am for the piscine.
This doesn't happen now I've become a post mistress. I usually race into the pool at 7:50 with just 20-30 minutes to move my arms and legs around. I hang out by the side where a couple of older French gals yak away/bavarde (loudly) sneaking in a petite French leçon while I'm moving the limbs.
Then off to La Poste to drop your Paris letters into l'Etranger slot.
I'm having an unrequited love affair with La Poste. La Poste is not thrilled to see me.
I go inside and ask for 'timbre outre-mere' (overseas stamps).
I should be saying 'la Monde'.
They respond "Ou/where?"
Me: Etats unis, Australie, Canada etc.
They say: quatre-vingt-quinze
I say "Cinquante(50) svp"
They respeat,"Non, quatre-vingt-quinze" (.95 centimes)
Moi:"non j'ai besoine de 50 timbres!"
They duck under the desk and try to evaporate. 50 stamps is an outlandish amount of stamps to buy at La Poste. They would rather you leave immediately. They don't like counting them out.
I feel like T.S.Elliot's Alfred J. Prufrock.
"I am living my life out in coffee spoons postage stamps".
I thought I would finally be whooping it up in the Ile Saint Louis' little restaurants. My $$$ goes to La Poste instead.
Petite dej' at Printemps' Hugo et Victor tea salon = 13 stamps
A new Dior lipstick (what was I thinking?) = 32 stamps
Across the street from La Poste is the fabulous BU, a kind of French IKEA. 45 rue de Cardinal Lemoine 75005
They have all kinds of French gourmet treasures at bargain prices.
I bought an Alain Milliat nectar Abricot for a mere 3€.
Plus they have art supplies, lamps, umbrellas, you name it.
Time to head across the bridge and go to Thursday marché Bastille. I have become an 'island girl'.
There is nothing better than living by La Seine. It reminds me of summer nights I sat on Nantucket beach after waitressing at The Sandpiper (as a college student) watching the tide flow in eons ago. The water puts you in a calm state of mind like meditation.
No, I do not eat Berthillon ice cream everyday for those who asked.
I've discovered the best tabouleh on the planet at Marché Bastille. Thursdays and Sundays.
Today is the annual Jour du Macaron! I 'borrowed' this fabulous photo by top Paris pastry photographer, Laurent Fau from Coco's blog. The photo was styled by Coco. I want Coco's job.
Coco came to tea. Bear fell instantly in love. Being French he is not the least bit faithful. It's true he has a wondering eye.
*Please subscribe to Coco's blog.
You don't need to know French. Her beautiful pictures tell the story. I have no idea what she's saying most of the time but I love getting her daily in my inbox. You will too.
Off I go on bus #87 from Bastille to St.Sulpice and stop in at Pierre Herme, 67 rue Bonaparte. He's the man who brilliantly started Macaron charity Day in the first place.
One don (donation) = one macaron.
I got 'satiné' - cream cheese, compote d'Orange et fruit de la Passion, a new flavor. Miam
Then to Arnaud Larher on 93 rue de Seine, 75006. By the way only members of Dessert Relais are participating in Jour du Macaron. The big news is it's been extended through Sunday. So if you're arriving tomorrow in Paris you can still taste macarons like crazy for a small donation.
At Arnaud Larher they let you make as many donations as you like to a very good cause, Mucoviscidose. You get a macaron each time. Here's my fab haul. Fortunately my concierge was by the door when I got home and I gave them to her.
*To all expats with concierges, Easter is coming. Get ready to give your concierge some nice Easter chocolates. It doesn't hurts.
At Larher you can pick up the latest Free issue of Desserts by Relais Desserts pastry chefs. It's in English/French and always gorgeous.
On to more ordinary things like Chinese ravioli soupe at Chez Shen yesterday. We meet up to eat soup, talk shop, compare notes and basically goof around. We discovered ice cream for 1€ a boule/dip (at Flunch near Metro Rambuteau). Naturally we overdid it and got TWO boules. Next time we will stick with a single dip.
There have been requests to see more Bear. I'll try to let him out of the house more often. Indulge yourself and get a taste of Paris letters in your mailbox.  Why not?


  1. Lovely as ever, Carol! :-)

    And Bear with the "wondering eye" had me in stitches.

  2. Hmmm....I know you are paying postage on all the orders...but doesn't the cost of subscription cover that expense?

    1. It's not the costs, rather more about the learning curve and changes from doing a one on one product to shipping multiple items.

    2. And that learning curve includes dealing with the ladies at the post office. Oh mon Dieu!

  3. Bravo! another fabulous post...
    ... fabulous.... Your life is a collage
    of Paris! You're really busy,
    understatement, bien sur!

  4. ROFL! How I would love to accompany you to the post office and watch an American in Action! Just think, I simply buy my stamps from Zazzle. Spoiled! Utterly!
    Loved receiving my very 1st real mail.... I made a cup of tea, and sat down in the living room to savor it! Merci!

    1. I miss those zazzle self-stick stamps ;(
      No self-stick for overseas/le Monde ;((

  5. Louise B9:10 PM

    Living in New York does not make one an 'island girl'
    More like a high rise girl?

  6. This post made me smile all over! I felt as though I was with you at La Poste -- and wished I was with you everywhere else! Macaron day -- my friend and I made a pact to learn macarons (101) next month. They will NOT rival Pierre Herme! But we'll have a blast.

    A question -- how did you find your wonderful new apartment? Did you use an agent? Have a friend or "know people"? Just curious as Jerry is having a hard time.

    And waiting with baited breath and checking my mail every day for another of your wonderful letters from Paris!

    1. Word of mouth and friends were key to getting the apartment. All the apartments in fact. You got to know people in this town?

  7. Beautiful pics! At least you have Spring weather over there :)
    So Bear is not to be trusted? LOL....
    You're so lucky to be living by the river.....

    1. Yes I truly love living by this river
      It's an unexpected treat!

  8. Brooke6:34 AM

    I wanted to visit Bu the store you mentioned in your post yesterday but I can't seem to find exact address when I google it.

    Would you advise street that Bu is on?

    1. So sorry...I forgot

      45 rue du Cardinal Lemoine 75005
      Near l'institute Arab

  9. Hello!
    I was wondering if you were at the swimming pool this morning (are you the woman wearing blue gloves?).

  10. Several times we've tried to get into the BU store. Guess we'll try again. Are its hours crazy? Love your tales of La Poste!

  11. Reminds of the time that my Internet box was delivered to my "local" poste. There are 3 postes in 75004. Each denied having the package. The number on my notification slip was indecipherable, even by the French! On my second try to get the package the poste on Île St Louis told me it had been picked up and signed for! I demanded that they actually look in the back for the package. This idea met with great reluctance. Finally a woman at the Hôtel de Ville poste actually took a minute to decode the tracking number and told me the package was at the poste on Cité. The guy there reluctantly went into the back and came out with my package.

    1. OMG !
      Horrid nightmare story
      You were persistent! Wowza

  12. So I did see you this morning, we swim in the same area :-)
    Next time I'll come and say hello!

  13. That's a lovely photo of janice:)
    I joined Coco's blog..she reminds me so must of a co-worker I had..Pierrette.
    Her style is so unique.I am sure I will love her blog..
    carol I thought it was you in the pool pics:)
    Bet it could be..
    Bon Weekend!

  14. Marnie9:47 AM

    Carol, I love your missives. Beautifully done, great humour and enriching in every way. Keep it up! I

  15. Carol, this particular post was so full of so many things...very lively. A true sign of spring.

    I think that your mail from Paris is a brilliant idea!

    Love the pictures of the Seine. xo

    1. ;))
      That's an average day at the OK Coral here on Lake Wobegone...whoops

  16. I Have been following your amusing adventures with the French postal system. When there in 2012, I used the postal office located in the Hotel de Ville, which was across from the apt where I was staying. My friends and I mailed lots of cards and shipped our French finds back home with no problem except for: I wanted to have my own souvenir proof that I had been in Paris, so I mailed a postcard to myself, the front of which was the beautiful Olympia by Edouard Manet in all her bare glory. Do you think I received the card back home? Not a chance. After discussing it with my postman, we decided that either the US Post Office was much too prudish to let it go through or someone along the line coveted the card for themselves. We had a good laugh.

  17. cyndi from SD10:37 AM

    Great post as always.I am BU to my lists of must visits.
    I also just ordered Janice's book on my Kindle.I can immerse myself in it on the plane.

  18. I loved your story about La Poste. I’ve been to the post office in Paris, but I force my sister to do all the talking. I ask her to get the stamps that I need, or, if she refuses, when I get to the window, I repeat what she has just said, but change the numbers.
    She speaks the language quite well, having taken several French courses in the last few years.
    The last few times that we were in Paris, she bought several children’s books, that came with
    a CD. When she got home, she spent hours, translating the French into English. It works for her.
    When we attended the Biennale des Antiquaires at the Grand Palais, we actually memorized the
    French phrases for: “Is that your best price”?, “Will you take_______Euros?” etc…. When we got there,
    most of the items had no prices listed, and a lot of it was Jewelry by Chanel, Bulgary, Tiffany’s, Harry Winston……
    Needless to say, we didn’t need to use those phrases!
    Have a great weekend.

    1. Too true
      They speak 18 languages at least and are open every day !!!

  19. Carolyn2:14 PM

    Great post seeing you meeting up with friends, eating ice cream and macarons and shopping! I need to get a big map of Paris to mark places I need to go that you have told us about! BU is a new one for me:)

  20. Kasey C3:49 PM

    Thanks for recommending Coco's website. It's a beauty!
    You're listing so many great places to visit -- I hope I have
    time to see them

  21. Anonymous2:25 AM

    I so enjoy your posts about your daily life around Paris, and especially your new home on Ile St. Louis.Leslie G.

  22. Anonymous4:22 PM

    There is very good lebanese food at marche place monge on wednesdays, specially something named manakish. It is delicious, with spinach, tomatoes and cheese. 5 euros and it is huge.


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