Wednesday, May 13, 2009
jour no. 13 - "earlier that day...."
I was all a-buzz with my ballet experience last night, and neglected to post about the rest of my day: exhausting French lesson in the morning, in which I spoke with the fluidity of a tiny child learning her first words (my French is regressing; this was not the plan), then went to the 7ème for lunch and a visit to Musée d'Orsay.
Lunch was at Cuisine de Bar, a small spot next to Poîlane. Cuisine de Bar specializes in tartines (open-faced sandwiches) made on Poîlane's tangy, chewy bread. My lunch was fine, but no great shakes: the formule included a small salad to start, which was kind of a joke; it seemed a cross between the salad you'd get with your bento box meal at a Japanese place in NYC, and the salad I vaguely (despite industrious efforts at deep repression) remember from elementary school cafeteria: it was chopped-up iceberg, with a sweet dressing, a sprinkle of raisins, and a sprinkle of kidney beans. My (internal) response: Huh? Am I still in Paris?
The sandwich was perfectly fine, but not fab. I got mozzarella and tomato with basil. Way too much mozz, in my mind (a problem with the pizza last week, too), which overloaded the sandwich, and the tomatoes were weak. When I eat a bad tomato like that in a good restaurant, I think of Union Square Cafe, which refuses to serve its delicious BLTs out of season.
French people eat their tartines (and their pizza) with a knife and fork. So fine. Probably just as well, as the crusts were tough to saw through.
After, I headed to d'Orsay, feeling so smug that I was finally going to a museum, and that I was avoiding the weekend crowds. I came around the corner and voila! A line like you'd see outside MoMA on an August afternoon. I thought, "I've come all this way...," so I dutifully queued up and managed to handle it for about 25 seconds, at which point I split. But as I fled, I noticed a dusty little office with a sign that seemed to say something about advance tickets, so I went in and clumsily asked the guy, "Can I buy a ticket for tomorrow?"
"And then do I have to wait in that line?"
"Un billet pour demain, svp."
So I'm heading back today, hopefully with a victory against The Line.
Then I had the afternoon open ahead of me, and the pull of the dingy Paris movie theater was too great. I went to see Carole Lombard in "Nothing Sacred" (called, confusingly, "La Joyeuse Suicidée" here); not my fave movie, but it was a delight to hear all that kooky 1930s slang. I wonder if they just made up whole batches of slang whenever they made a movie about New York newspapers, or mobsters, or chorus girls.
I strolled around a bit after. I bought a couple gifts (at least, I think they're gifts, unless I get greedy) at this funny shop with the spiky sculpture/sign, and then had to stop in a perfect sliver of a chocolate shop and buy this sac of cocoa almonds; each one has a crunchy coating, then dark chocolate, then cocoa. And it was only 10 euros, instead of the 20 I spent on that tiny bag of orangettes, so I feel it was an incredible bargain.
I crossed over to Ile de la Cité and was enjoying the views and the late sunshine, when all of a sudden, I actually jumped: "Oh jeez, I'm going to the ballet tonight!" It was 6pm, ballet starts at 7:30, and I was in jeans and sneaks. So there was a mad dash to the apartment, a mad dash to change and primp and snack, and a mad dash back to town. I felt there needed to be zany music playing on the soundtrack.
But, as you know from my earlier post, I made it.