Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Twenty-four hours from now, I'll be somewhere over Greenland.

I gave up my personal crusade to go to Paris and not visit the Louvre. Mostly because it's raining. I didn't actually buy a ticket and look at the exhibits, but I wandered around the lobby, looked at a map, walked around the gift shop, ate lunch in the cafeteria, checked out the famous Pyramid (it's lovely), and walked through the Louvre Mall, which features a Body Shop, Virgin Megastore, and 2 Swatch stores, or maybe just one with two entrances. I know I sound silly going to Paris and not spending three days staring at the magnificent paintings and sculpture -- and I don't at all deny their magnificence -- but, like I said earlier in the week, I just don't feel like I get anything out of looking at paintings. On an intellectual level I know I should, but for whatever reason I'd rather walk around a supermarket than an art gallery.

And so I searched out the nicest gourmet supermarket in Paris -- Le Grand Epicerie -- and wandered around for a while. Fresh squeezed juice appears to be an American thing -- all of the fresh squeezed juice in the supermarket had English labels. There was a stunning selection of refrigerated pastries that we just don't have -- charlottes and melbas and ednas (not ednas) -- as well as lots and lots of varieties of plain yogurt, but only a few varieties with fruit. Lots of biscuits and chocolates and breads and jams and cheeses, obviously. Not much frozen food. Not really all that many different kinds of vegetables. Lots of foie gras, but I think that was a function of the "gourmet" part of the supermarket. A huge wine section. Walking around the supermarket really was interesting. This is why the travel book I write is going to sell fourteen copies and end up in the bargain bins a week after it's published. Chapter 1. Supermarkets. Chapter 2. Books, CDs, and the cheapest souvenirs the city has to offer. Chapter 3. Street food. Chapter 4. Magazine stands. Chapter 5. Funny signs that wouldn't be funny if you actually spoke the language (today's observation: the copy shop sells Tampons! [really]). Sidebar, page 93. Museums, cathedrals, churches, monuments, and cemeteries, plus a small drawing of a monkey to fill up the blank space still left in the sidebar.

I pieced together another lunch of random parts today. The theme was, "it's my last day in France, but I'm tired of French food, so let me get more creative." At the Louvre Food Court, a magnificent 12-stall homage to the American suburban shopping mall, my choices were wide-ranging, from the Muffin Shop (there are no words for muffins or cookies in French -- they're American imports) to the Sushi Palace, to the Pyramid of Taco, to the Sicilian Pizza Jamboree (I'm making up these names, but the themes are accurate), to the Well-One-Of-These-Stalls-Should-Be-French-Since-You're-In-France Bistro, to the Hamburger Angioplasturie, to the Wok To The Louvre Chinese Buffet to the Pretend Indian Food. I chose the Spanish Tapas stall, which looked really tasty. And it was really tasty. I had cold fish in a lemony vinegar sauce, and scallops in a tomatoey sauce. 2 appetizers. Total cost, $5. Excellent. And an Orangina. Because I really like Orangina.

Two hours later, while walking down a lovely 13th-century shopping street, I had gelato, which is probably not French. Yogurt with mixed berries. It was possibly the best thing I've eaten all week, no joke. And I've liked the food here. But this was unbelievable. Maybe it was just because it's a little warmer out today than it's been, and I'd been walking for a while... I don't think there's any explanation needed though -- it was just really, really good.

The best thing about what I've eaten today? No bread. I'm tired of bread. There's too much dough in this cuisine. It's either bread, or pastry, or quiche... everything's made of dough. It's good dough, but a week of it is enough.

So -- I ended my tourist adventure by wandering around a street market, eating my gelato, and going into Disc King, a discount CD store that offered piles upon piles of Glen Campbell's Greatest Hits for $6 and the new Ronan Keating CD for $30. And that's about it. Then I went into the University Bookstore, looked at a couple of books of French comics that I did not understand, bought a small pen and pad to write down my observation that the copy shop was selling Tampons before I forgot, and got back on the metro. Tonight I go with my cousins to a Christmas Eve dinner at someone's house, and then tomorrow I fly home. Such has been Paris.