Still, my amble through the pricey district of Paris was amusing. I kept looking in the windows of the jewelry stores and designer boutiques on the Champs Elysee and thinking “the price of that watch would fund my entire Japanese bath in the Cyprus house” or “I could have hand-made kitchen cabinets for the cost of that rather ugly ring” or “Who would spend that kind of money on a trendy coat that will last a season when the same amount could put in an entire orange grove that will last years?” I somehow seem to have acquired distinctly middle-aged values somewhere along the way.
Even so, there is no place like Paris for sheer indulgence. In my perambulations about town, I have been making a minor study of patisseries and Salons de Thè in preparation for the course I’m about to embark on tomorrow. I have decided that I could never tire of eating macarons or brioche, though the very pretty chocolate desserts are frankly too rich for me. Pastry cream, praline and fruit seem to be much more the thing. And of course I’ve had both brioche and croissant everyday for breakfast this week. Delightful. But in peering through café windows around town, I was amazed to see how many seemed to offer tarte tatin and crème brulee as the only sweets on the menu. And the desserts and pastries some displayed next to their several-thousand-dollar barista machines weren’t even tempting to look at through the windows. I can’t understand how so many in a city renowned for its desserts can have such world-weary offerings. Paul, which is a café chain (!) had some lovely things, and tea at Dalloyau was indeed splendid. But elsewhere? Disappointingly mediocre.
I am interested to see what the Chef has planned for me this week. I left the content of the course up to her, though I did mention that mille feuilles would be nice to be able to make. I just want some time in the kitchen with someone who really knows how it all works and can give me a good foundation to go on and create on my own. Pastry is so very delicious to work with, and though I’m not supposed to eat it, I can always give it away. My colleagues will be very glad of a Cake Fairy in the staff room, I have no doubt. Meanwhile, the Musee d’Orsay and the tea rooms of the Left Bank await my last day in Paris. À bientôt.