I got on the bus for the first time this afternoon. Usually I take the train, but today I just couldn’t face the thought of spending all of that time underground. And the 21 bus starts practically at my doorstep and goes to the Rue de Rivoli, the Louvre and the Palais Garnier–the Opera House.
It was a long bus ride, but I like being able to look out of the window and see the city going by. I made a note of a charcuterie on Rue de la Glacière that I want to investigate, being partial as I am to any form of cured or smoked meat. A few stops in, a very elderly couple got on the bus, and I got up to give one of them my seat. I didn’t sit back down again, even when seats opened up, because a lot of elderly people take the bus in Paris–I wouldn’t want to negotiate all of the steps and the heat in the métro either! Around the Rue de Rivoli, a man sitting near me gave up his seat for an old woman, and when she protested, he said something about how if I could give up my seat and not sit down again to make room for people who needed seats, so could he. And then he said to me, “Je te souhaite une vie facile.” I wish you an easy life.
Well, that just made me glow a little inside. When I got off the bus, I was feeling so relaxed and so at peace with life and the universe that I just mosied (that’s not French, just emphasis!), maybe for the first time ever. I’ve said that since coming to Paris I’ve realized that I need to learn how to wander, walk slowly, just enjoy the city or a park, with no destination or goal.
So I walked around aimlessly, looking in store windows (can I just say, the reason that Parisian men are so well turned out is because the selection of men’s shoes here is phenomenal. I mean, women’s shoes are good too, but the men’s shoes are gorgeous–all that leather!), like this one:
It’s a little hard to see–I’m wary of taking pictures of stores, especially if it doesn’t seem like a chain or anything–but this store is called Antoine, and it sells fans, umbrellas, and canes. Awesome.
Also along this road were numerous travel agencies and airline storefronts, advertising trips to almost anywhere you can imagine, including
No exit visas necessary, though they probably ought to let people know that there is no water in Casablanca.
Around this time I found myself thinking, if I see a chocolaterie between here and the opera house (which I could see a few blocks away by this point), I am going to go in and get a macaron. Macarons are little pieces of heaven. I can’t even pinpoint how they make them–I know I’ve seen recipes online, but really, I’m reluctant to find out. I don’t want to know where they come from. It’s enough for me to know that they exist. Anyway, as you may have guessed, no sooner had I thought this than I saw a sign proclaiming CHOCOLAT. Maybe not as exciting as this one–
–but it smelled divine and sure enough, there was a gorgeous rack of multicolored macarons. There must have been at least fifteen different flavors. I chose chocolat croque sel, which was chocolate and sea salt. I put it in my bag and walked a couple more blocks to the Opéra–which had suddenly become exciting not because of this–
“Did I not instruct that Box Five was to be kept EMPTY?!”
“It’s him! I know it, it’s him!”
“Your part is silent, little TOAD.”
“A toad, madam? Perhaps it is you who are the toad!”
“SHE IS SINGING TO BRING DOWN THE CHANDELIER!!”
–but because there are steps in front of it where I could sit and eat my macaron. Yum yum, macarons! (Those pictures were taken last summer, by the way, when I met up with some of my FAVA friends and actually went inside the opera, undistracted by pastries.)
I took the métro back home. It was hot and sweaty and gross and I missed the bus.