Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday in Paris

Ah, we're back to fresh croissants for breakfast! As good as the day-olds were, it's the whole process of going to a bakery in the morning that is so deeply satisfying: it's the aromas, the displays of new baked goods...

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... and even the lines of customers waiting for their necessity/indulgence -- it's all rather special.

I choose Les Gourmandises Eiffel for today's pains au chocolate and croissants. Funny -- we have a dozen recommended bakeries in the area and I go back to the two I tried the first day here. Shouldn't I try all the others? Shouldn't I?

I backtrack and go to Sainte Duchesne Boulangerie (a third option! nine more to try!) for a little viennoiserie for Snowdrop: a mini pain aux raisins.

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And, returning to another favorite, I stop at Harry Cover for fruits. Why go there when the city is filled with beautiful fruit displays? Well, you have to love a vendor who seems to care about every berry he sells...

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... and who carefully hand picks cherries for your pack...

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... and who then unloads your sack, so that the proper order is preserved: apricots on the bottom, then cherries, then croissants, then the delicate raspberries.

Breakfast is a feast.

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And Snowdrop loves fraises des bois! (As well as cherries. And blueberries. And strawberries. And raspberries. And as of today -- apricots, which were so magnificent in and around Sorede that for a minute I recoil.)

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And so today we are a family of four.

Snowdrop feels now perfectly at home here.

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(Here she is, running as if with a football.)

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Then I say the magic words -- want to go out for a walk?
Really? Really??

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But where to? Oh where to?

That's easy. To the place where I will return when we will be a family of six. To the place where I go all the time to get strength to inhale beauty to find peace, even when I am one. To the Luxembourg Gardens!

But we take a long while to get there. (Too, it is a long hike. ) I dont have as many photos today, but I have the important ones. Yes, there are fewer street scenes, like this...

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But there's lots of love, like here:

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It is definitely lunchtime now and I ask where we should eat: at the grungy Cafe Madame that's cheap and good and very local and very welcoming? At the prim but well regarded Bread and Roses Cafe Bakery?  At the bookish Les Editeurs? At some random place that catches our eye?

We wind up at the Cafe Madame and it's a good choice.

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The waiter is funny (at least he makes a concerted effort in this direction and I like effort) and kind toward Snowdrop (this part comes easy to him). The food is fine. It's a place where I would never want to see the kitchen -- something tells me it's cramped and loosey goosey with what goes where, but the fact is, the croque monsieur I order (because Snowdrop loves it so much!) is as good as the one at the more swank cafe, where I ate yesterday.

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We're right by the gardens, but we're not ready to let ourselves loose there yet. We're also close to one of my favorite children's clothing stores. Madame knows of Snowdrop from previous visits. (I'm not such a big customer. It's a matter of habit here: a seller works to establishes a personal relationship with the buyer.)

Too, Snowdrop is oozing charm. Madame and her friend are full of sweet caresses and words of endearment. Ma poupee! (my little doll), madame repeats again and again. Snowdrop responds with her best manners, waving and smiling and generally being not the child I know who is way delayed with her nap time.

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(Dresses to choose from...)

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And still we are not at the park. One more errand! Pastry shop!

(Snowdrop wonders - why are they staring at all these cakes? Can't we just get them all?)

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Finally, the park.


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And perhaps the best part for the little girl -- a completely unconstrained romp through the toddler playground (which as you may remember consists only of sand pits).

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(Is a pigeon like a small chicken? Will it listen when I talk to it?)

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(A Snowdrop downdog.)

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(Watching another child: a twelve month old, form Paris. We compare notes.)

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(Grandma, a flower! Just like at the farmette!)

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It's as if a nap is very yesterday. Today, there is Paris.

We walk back deeply satisfied. Snowdrop stays awake during the long hike and she protests a nap when we get home. There is a lot going on in her little world right now. I expect when she does finally get back home, she'll crash. For now, she is on the go.

And in fact, her mom and I take her out on one more quick walk -- to the grocery store! We need milk. We need diapers. We need Badoit fizzy water. We need snacks for the other young couple that arrives tomorrow.

Finally, the day draws to a close. The skies open up and we have a beautiful weather forecast (albeit only for tomorrow). I dash out to grab a supper for myself, trying out today yet another of the numerous little places in the neighborhood (Bistro St. Dominique). Snowdrop's mom and dad will be going out to visit night spots I never knew existed. Me, I order a home made terrine and a plain omelette and I ask (the unpardonable question in France) if I can be out within forty minutes.
Of course!  -- the genial waiter answers. We aren't called a bistro for nothing!

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Evening comes. Snowdrop is in bed now, her parents are out on the town. It's very quiet here on the 6th floor  apartment by the Eiffel Tower. A special kind of quiet.