Essence of Paris
For reasons I shall coyly fail to disclose, I have been thinking about what someone could bring back from Paris as a present to a Very Wonderful Person. (Guess who the Very Wonderful Person is! If you guessed someone other than myself, you are probably right about them being a Very Wonderful Person, but in this case I had myself in mind.)
Unfortunately, many things about Paris are hard to pack in a suitcase.
The shop windows. The thousands of cafés and restaurants. The gardens.
And, alas, the macarons.
Now I have heard some people disagree with me on this. They claim macarons are better the next day, even.
NOT in my experience. And I have a great deal of experience in this matter. Like a baguette, macarons are better the same day.
So when I go to Paris, guess what is the first thing I buy?
This was from the little Paul stand in the Tuileries. Since my brother was with us on his first trip to Paris, he wouldn’t let me run straight to Ladurée. He insisted on stopping at the Louvre first.
Ma belle-mère said, “Oh, yes, you have to take your brother to the Louvre! There’s a very famous painting there. Did you know? La Joconde.” La Joconde is the Mona Lisa. Sometimes I wonder exactly how deep in the woods my in-laws think I grew up.
Here is why ma belle-famille has a hard time believing I’m civilized:
A very small portion of the chocolate stains decorating my clothing within an hour of being loosed on Paris.
And the clothes weren’t ironed, either.
My mother-in-law probably goes around behind me assuring people sotto voce, “No, no, she’s quite respectable really. I know she looks like she was raised by chocoholic barbarians, but she’s a professor! An author! Really! I promise!!”
Of course, Paul was just a diversion.
I was heading on up the Tuileries toward Place Madeleine for:
my Holy Grail of Macarons:
Nearby, Fauchon was doing some odd things with its macarons.
I didn’t care. Here we are, back in the Tuileries, were a baby can play and dispute this treasure box with her mommy:
I didn’t give it to her. What??!� She’s too young for sugar! I was doing the right thing. Not selfishly hogging.� Her daddy gave her a bite, though.
So ephemeral! I can never bring them back or save them for later. And no one can ever bring them back for me either.
Does that make macarons the essence of Paris?