Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy "Three Kings Day"

Systems are not exactly up and running--still no cell phone--but I do have an ipad that allows me to take photographs.  This is one of Matt in front of a highly recommended bakery called Du Pain et Des Idees, where I have been wanting to go ever since we got here, but was thwarted by a) holiday closure, and b) the fact that it's only open Monday-Friday.

Poor Dana arrived in Paris with a list of bakeries and restaurants that she wanted to try, and most of them happened to be closed for a long holiday break.  We spend a lot of days walking around with David Lebovitz's "Paris Pastry App," which finds his favorite bakeries by arrondissement, and then locates your proximity to them, only to discover said patisseries shut down for two weeks.  They take their vacations as seriously as their pastries over here.

It was a little alarming, for instance, to get the schedule for Max's new school (he started today) and learn that he gets 2 weeks off every 6 weeks.  As our neighbor put it, "There is a very high rate of unemployment in France.  This gets them ready."

Both of our upstairs neighbors have children Max's age--there are two seven year old girls, and a five year old boy.  We met them all last night for the first time, and the kids immediately hit it off, already running between the apartments, to Max's great joy.

"Tomorrow the kids go back to school," one of the parents said wearily, once the kids had vanished into a bedroom.  "Tomorrow, our vacation begins."  Having just spent a rather intense and compressed (wonderful! exhausting!) 3 weeks with Max, we had to agree.

Here is a photo of Max in front of his new school, about to enter for the first time.  His question before bed last night, upon learning that French kids don't bring a lunch box to school?  "What's on the menu?"

Here is what was on our menu for lunch without Max (and Mimi's last day in Paris).  We debated heating up some soup  but decided it wasn't worth the bother.  The best of this bunch was the "snail" of pistachios and chocolate--back left corner.

We're still trying to decode "The French Paradox."  How do the natives eat so much butter and stay so lean?  Or do they not actually eat?  We've spent the past few weeks walking around the city and while here is a patisserie on every block, I don't think I've spotted a single gym.

But I have seen a fair amount of this:

Mimi was just noting the svelte legs on this French grandma when she pulled out her cigarette and lit up.  Dad quickly joined in.  We noted several others at the Luxemburg playground pushing swings and strollers with cigarettes conveniently tucked between their fingers.

Hey--you've got to do something to keep your metabolism going.

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