samedi 23 février 2013

La Queue

The French have a very organized way of waiting in "la queue"*. I witnessed this once again while waiting my turn at the hospital a few weeks ago. I walked in to the waiting area, only to notice one woman behind the desk and many more outnumbering her in the Salle d'Attente**. I was a bit nervous already because of my impending surgery, but wondering how I was going to get noticed in this sea of waiting people was beyond me. My pushy American self started to show through and I was poised at any minute to throw myself in front of someone who I knew had sauntered in after me. Then, I remembered, aha, you look around and notice the last person who arrived - and how do you do that exactly? This is basically what the French do - and it seems to work well, but I am never sure.......Well, easily enough, the woman next to me took it upon herself to start asking around whom was next and whom was last so, I would then become the "last" in. As more people arrived, they would ask who was last and it proceeded like that. I of course, was still at the edge of my seat waiting for the lady before me to finish. As soon as she was done, wouldn't you know it, but someone got up next and started to proceed to the woman behind the desk. My American side started to rear it's ugly head and I politely said, "I think I am next. You are just after me." She looked at me, and said, "Yes, of course, you are right and sat back down."No arguments, nothing. I felt awful for being so rude, but I get taken advantage of alot here in France because I don't know the "unwritten code" so to speak of certain things. When I was finished, I smiled and turned to her and said, "Yes, now it's you." She said, "Thank you" and that was that. I don't think this "waiting for our turn" method would work in USA as we need organization and structure. If we don't know exactly when our turn is by a piece of paper with a number on it, forget it, all hell would break loose. The French have managed with this system quite well, but it is all the "étrangers"*** that cannot cope with this loosey goosey process. Incidentally, la queue can also mean a ponytail. The latin origins mean tail - so literally one makes a tail when making a line or having a tail down one's back.

 * line
** waiting area

dimanche 17 février 2013

L' Etoile d 'Or


I had written about this amazing chocolate shop a few years ago when I stumbled upon it and didn't even know it was famous!! My instincts alone led me to this extraordinary shop the first time and I was not disappointed. Well, we once again stumbled on it a few weeks ago while in the Pigalle Area so why not do a quick write up about it once again.The candies and chocolates in Mme Acabo's shop, L'Etoile d'Or are the hard to come by chocolates and candies that are only produced in small quantities. She searches for the best of the best to sell in her shop. Just passing from the outside, one can't be helped but to be drawn inside where all sorts of temptation yields one to throw any type of regime* out the window and just go for it.

With the look of her school girl charm decked out in blonde and silver braided pigtails dressed in a school girl uniform, it's not hard to be drawn into the warmth of this woman. Mme Acabo treats all her customers as if they are number one and that's the way it should be done!! When I told her what I wanted and pointed to the fancy box to put it in, she politely asked me if it was for me or "une cadeau"**. I mentioned for me, and she laughed and said why do you want this fancy box, it cost more money - I will just put it in this nice cellophane bag tied up with ribbon and you will have one or two more chocolates in there as you won't be paying for the extra weight of the box. Now, I don't know any other place where such a suggestion would be made! She had me sold! She then asked did I want to choose or could she choose for me. I said, of course, you choose for me. I followed her around as she meticulously chose each individual piece saying, you have to try this, or this is my favorite. Her selection did not disappoint and neither will you be. Be sure and stop by this truly impressive, one of a kind shop if you are visiting Paris.

L'Etoile D'Or
Metro: Blanche
30, rue Pierre Fontaine


samedi 2 février 2013

Fête de la Chandeleur

 This is an old post, but thought I would share again as today is Jour des Crèpes.
Today 2 February in France is La Chandeleur or Fête de la Lumière or Jour des Crèpes. This religious holiday was to commemorate the purification of the Virgin Mary and the presentation of Baby Jesus. However, now it is mostly recognized as a celebration of a return to spring after a cold dark winter. The pancake link (as there seems to always be a "food" link with French Fêtes and why not!!) is that the pancakes symbolizes the round, golden sun.

An old superstition is that on this day one holds a gold coin in their left hand while flipping the first crêpe prepared in the pan in their right hand. If one has a successful toss of the crêpe, they will be rewarded with good luck all year round.

So happy tossing and mange beaucoup de crêpes!!