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I had a transcendent pastry experience this afternoon.

I was charged with the mission of finding the apartment building where my dad and his girlfriend Julie will be staying when they come to visit Paris in November. It’s not far from my school, right off the Rue Berthollet. As I stared at that name, I was wondering why it sounded so familiar.

As it turns out, it’s because of the Boulangerie Berthollet, which I had noted that day that I took the bus from the Cité Universitaire all the way to the Louvre. Leave it to me to remember a boulangerie! (As it happens, I also wrote down the location of a charcuterie, as I believe I mentioned here.)

Anyway, that boulangerie happens to be right at the corner of Rue Berthollet and the street on which my dad’s apartment is located (wow, the construction of that sentence is downright French!). I thought I would be remiss in my duties as scoper-outer if I didn’t treat myself to a little something. Besides, by that point I was peckish anyway because I had walked swiftly for about ten minutes in the wrong direction on Port-Royal (which I now know turns into Montparnasse) before turning around. I was hoping for a chocolatine, but what I ended up with was this:


It’s called pain au chocolat aux amandes. It’s like a chocolatine on steroids–not only is there chocolate in the middle, there is also some kind of magical dense rich almond pastry…something or other. I don’t even care. I finally sat down in Parc Montsouris to eat it and it was like all of a sudden the clouds opened and the sun came out–like this:


This guy came over to my bench to see if he could snag a bite.


But I was like, in your dreams, buddy.


While all of this was going on, there was some pretty hilarious bird action going on at the bench in front of me. Let me just preface this by saying that I am always amazed by how many different kinds of birds there seem to be in Parc Montsouris. There are gray ducks, there are whitish ducks, there are mallard ducks, there are these lime green birds that look like parakeets but can’t possibly be, there are pigeons, there are crows. And there’s Julien.


This, apparently, is Julien, according to the two ladies on the bench who seemed to be deep in earnest conversation with him. I’m pretty sure one of them was feeding him out of her hand too, which sort of makes me want to yell out, “Don’t get too close to the geese!” I can’t imagine anybody in an American park wanting to touch a goose. They’re gross! But Julien…I guess Julien might be special.


P.S. Did I mention that my voice teacher calls me “tesoro” (treasure, in Italian), and at the end of every phone call she says, “Je t’embrasse!” (I kiss you!)? Every time I hang up with her I’m picturing XOXOXO. Kisses!