Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Good things...

Summer has arrived in the city and the day's temperatures are supposed to clear 29 degrees Centigrade.

I lamented on my Facebook wall this very morning that I just might give my life for a Great Baguette.

After having a taste of what's possible when we lived in the 16th arrondissement, I have been munching my way along rue de la Convention down in the 15th.  Nothing.  Nope.  Nothing but air-filled Wonder-bread style baguettes.

I couldn't believe it.  This was not why I moved to France.  I thought Good Bread was more widely available than this.

By contrast, I wish there was some way to rid the city of pick pockets.  They are a nuisance and are more readily found than Great Baguette.  Fortunately, they have become somewhat easy for me to spot.  From the way they hold their satchels (where they store their booty), to the way the rove about in sometimes boisterous gangs, to the way they find and work their prey.  I don't like being prey, but that's what happens when a person grows older and slower.  I try to keep the important stuff inaccessible to Thieving Hoards of Rom Youth.

Over the Champs-Elysees

Summer has arrived, and with it the heat...

Over breakfast and just after I shared my Great Baguette lament with the world on Facebook, Jude suggested that "using the Force", that is, to make a quick Google search, was in order.

Two articles instantly stood out.  The first was a blog entry from 2011 that talked about the best baguettes to be found in Paris.  The second was a blog entry on David Libovitz' site that recently dates from May, 2012.

Both sites talk at some length about how decent bread is not a "given" here in Paris, and the two sites talk about what to look for in a good baguette.  Further, Paris Notebook had a link to a Google Map that marked boulangerie locations throughout the city.  I saw there are potentially three good places to buy bread near our apartment.

My wife and I headed out to buy some books.  Jude was lacking something decent to read and found WHSmith by "using the Force" (Google).

Our Metro line is conveniently located and we were able to reach Place de la Concorde in 15 minutes.  We found the well stocked and air conditioned English bookshop at 248 rue de Rivoli just a few moments after crawling out of the Metro.

Two good things [1]
Cheap Plonk and the most evil thing on Planet Earth...

I must be pretty clueless about a lot of things here in Paris.  I was clueless about Cheap Plonk (less than 8Euro) wine and Bubbly Stuff (also less than 8Euro).  I was clueless about how to turn off automobile horns (it turns out, eggs are most useful and very effective at turning off noisy klaxons de voiture).  I was clueless about Rom Curses.  I was clueless about Good Baguette.  I was clueless about Evil Bookstores.

Evil?  Why, yes.  Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.  Evil.  Evil in the sense that bookstores are categorically NOT supposed to sell the most evil thing on Planet Earth; Devon Clotted Cream.

I have an old friend to thank for this.  He turned me on to Devon Clotted Cream one day while we sat for a cup of tea located in a brick hut somewhere out in the vasty sheep filled fields of Hertfordshire.  It's so Evil, this Devon Stuff, that the only way to get through the experience is to pile, slather, scoop, cup, or gingerly finger it up on top of scone or, it turns out, when in France, a decent Petit Pain (containing nuts, raisins, and figs).

Avoiding yet another Thieving Hoard of Rom Youth as we boarded the Metro at Place de la Concorde (they jumped on right beside us, ready, no doubt, to work us over if they could), Jude and I made our way to the first purveyor of Great Baguette on my list.  We instantly know this was The Place by the way it smelled.  If you had a good sniffer, you could follow the incredible smell straight into the shop from at least a city block away.  It smells SOOoooooo much better than those Baguette Dives that line rue de la Convention.

Two good things [2]
Je voudrais deux baguettes de tradition, s'il vous plait...

Today's midday meal included Great Baguette.  Yes, we have found Great Baguette!  For only 1Euro10 per Truly Great Baguette.  Spread with Grand Fermage aux cristaux de Sel de Mer de Noirmoutier (butter laced with a very special sea salt - it is better than you could possibly know unless you've tried it yourself). Chased by Cremant de Loire Monmousseau, for only 6Euro99 per, making it a Truly Great Cheap Plonk (in a rose to help chase the heat of a summer day away).  Followed with Petit Pain piled, slathered, scooped, cupped, and gingerly fingered up on top of each tiny morsel, that most evil thing on Planet Earth; Devon Clotted Cream.

See how good life suddenly becomes when you find Truly Great Baguette?


  1. I got a piece of bread today just like yours at the Saint Louis Bread Company (Panera Bread) and it was as good as the ones I had in Paris. I had it with their famous summer corn chowder.