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Miserable in Paris

Miserable in Paris

July 31, 2012
Posted in: Totally Random | Reading Time: 6 minutes

I know what you're thinking. How can anyone be miserable in Paris? I assure you, it is possible.

They tell you to beware of pickpockets in Paris . . .

. . . but nobody warns you about clowns who mock the innocent passerby for street entertainment.

Usually when we are in Paris, we stay in the Latin Quarter which is alive with entertainment. This time, for a change, we stayed in St. Germain de Pres, within a dangerously short walk from the legendary chocolatier, Debauve & Gallais.  The French will do anything to get you to eat your vegetables. I forced myself to eat one of these 'shrooms just to get my daily vitamins.

Dating back to to opening it's shop in St. Germain de Pres in 1800's, Dabauve and Gallais served as the Louis the XVIII's personal chocolate supplier. A former chemist under Louis XVI, Sulpice Debauve maintained and advertised that,

 "Chocolate is not only pleasurable to the taste, but truly a balm for the mouth, keeping glands and mucous membranes healthy."

Further, in those times, some doctors would even recommend chocolate as therapy:

"Eat chocolate as it loosens the cough that shakes like a fury your entire body. It softens the ills better yet than any other syrup. Come and have some if your digestion is difficult. You will recover your strength in no time and your winter will turn into a green spring."

Needless to say, I had to eat a lot of these to keep the ills and misery at bay.   Mr. Wild Dingo will never again stand a chance against my argument for chocolate. We purchased a bribe gift for Saint Bérnard, the only kennel in all of Switzerland who can endure the cracker and the criminal just so we can have a miserable time in Paris.

We bought special VIP front row seats to watch the last stage of the Tour de France. But the racers didn't even have the common courtesy to slow down for a decent photo from the fans.

Though some are thoughtful enough to at least "smile" for the camera, however forced it may be.

My favorite racer, Jens Voigt was off-the front most of the race.  Jens Voigt doesn't complain about what suffering does to him, but suffering constantly complains about getting picked on by Jens Voigt. Check out more facts on Jens Voigt. Refresh the page for each new fact.

No! Please don't make me go!  Finally, a sculpture in front of the Louvre that truly captures the depth of my feelings about the Louvre. Seriously, everyone in the world should visit the Louvre at least once. Mr. Wild Dingo had to drag me kicking and screaming this time. Four times is not a charm.

On the upside, the Louvre did have a teeny, tiny (read: miserable) exhibit of one of my favorite Cage-inspired artists with nothing to say, Gerard Richter. The exhibit consisted of scribbled drawings, actually described as "non drawings" and studies that preceded his larger pieces. Just what the heck did I look at? Drawings or non-drawings? And what the hell is a non-drawing? Typical Richter. Always makes me mental.

Crepes are the secret to surviving a potential bonk from the endless hours spent walking Paris' unique neighborhoods. But when you are allergic to wheat and gluten intolerant, they're off the menu.

Thank Dog and praise cheeses for the galatte, made completely of sarrasin (buckwheat), which ironically is not a wheat and contains no gluten and therefor safe to eat until my heart and belly content. Another Paris secret, Breizh cafe, a melange of Japanese and Brittany cuisine, served both traditional wheat crepes and buckwheat galettes. I even tried the buckwheat tea. And while it did not disappoint, we had to go all the way to the Marais just to get it!  At least I didn't starve to death.

Night life can be rather dull.

Sarte once said, "Anything, anything would be better than this agony of mind, this creeping pain that gnaws and fumbles and caresses one and never hurts quite enough." I'm pretty sure that's what this chick was thinking as she was playing with fire.

The last few times I visited Paris, it was considered gauche to tour the Eiffel Tower. Like the '80's, La Tour Eiffel has come back into fashion. And now, its famous restaurant Le Jules Verne mocks me with its long waiting list and outrageous prices.

I'm not a fan of taking photos of art work in museums as I feel it ruins the experience for others. I mean seriously, buy the postcard or a print if you like the painting, right?  However, I have no issues taking photos of the architecture and general building of a museum if it's not bothering anyone's experience. My favorite museum in the world, the Musée D'Orsay has always allowed photos of its large rooms. Until now. It seems photos of any kind, are not allowed anywhere in the museum. Yours truly did not know this until she was told by a pissed off curator. Quelle dommage!

Restaurant websites will tell you that reservations are not necessary. Not true.  At L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, which was close to our hotel in St. Germain de Pres, we were told the wait was until 11 PM to get a table. Mr. Wild Dingo was much too impatient so we left. Only to be turned away at every restaurant that night. Talk about miserable! Wandering the streets of Paris, cranky and starving, we returned to L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon and they happily sat us at 11 PM.  I was secretly stoked to be turned away from all the other places. Just look at the simple tomato salad above. Is it me, or is that salad flipping me off?

Last time I shopped at the Champs Elysees, I walked into a store, bought a few things and went out a happy shopper. Living in Switzerland has made me miss the shopping at normal stores, so I was hoping to bring home a few bags of clothes, maybe even buy a Louis Vuitton purse. But The Champs Elysee has turned into some sort of Disneyland in Hell. Stores were packed with so many looky-loos, it would make Buddha himself pop a few Valium with a whisky chaser. Even some of the most upscale stores felt like Filenes Basement on a Saturday afternoon; clothes were thrown all over the floor. As Paris' favorite existentialist once said, "Hell is other people when you're trying to shop."

So Mr. Wild Dingo bought me the above Moo-Cow chip clip. It moo's when you open it. Seriously: I went to Paris and all I got was this freaking chip clip.

Internet, don't be surprised when I report that this chip clip was accidentally covered in peanut butter and fallen into the Husky's bed.

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10 comments on “Miserable in Paris”

  1. No, that salad isn't flipping you off, it's making a much more directly phallic statement. Just saying. Because I took art history in college, and if the answer isn't 'Madonna and Child' then it's a phallic symbol. (There may be a reason why I didn't do so well in the class, although I loved looking at all the slides...) And I didn't realize the 80s were back in fashion. I'm trendy again! Go me! And you really should have a talk with those cyclists; thousands of miles in a mere three weeks, and they can't slow don't to smile at the expensive seats? *sheesh* 😉

    -Dr. Liz, who is not miserable at the fact that you were miserable in Paris (erm, that didn't even make sense to me...)

  2. Hey Julie,

    Oh wow! Museums, Tour de France, French cuisine, Chocolate... you must be having a fantastic time! Damn I miss living in Europe.

    Another province worth checking out is the South of France but avoid going during summer - expensive and overcrowded!

    On another note, while you were at Musee d'Orsay, did you come across this particular painting by Gustave Courbert who painted 'The origin of the world'? I/we came across this painting and I was a little ahem... 'surprise'.

    Lastly, great photos! My favourite photo is the old clock. 🙂


  3. I think the cow chip clip is a definite keeper... as is Mr. WD.

    P.S. I have no doubt that Mr. WD would totally understand my post about global warming, devil cats, and my lingering bitterness at being robbed of the title of MM Bad Sport.

  4. Trying to whip up some sympathy for your miserable visit to Paris. Nope, it's not working. Read the link - including ALL the pages - and still have no idea who the hell Jens Voigt is. Is he a real cyclist or a joke like that guy that sells Mexican beer [or whatever]?

    Cannot tell you how thrilled mama is to discover chocolate has so many medicinal qualities. She is framing this post for sure. She's also upping her chocolate consumption and expects to shortly return to the robust health she enjoyed in her 20's, as opposed to the decrepitude she currently enjoys. We'll let you know if it works.

    Jed & Abby

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