10 May 2009

When in Paris (Part 2)

Sundays in France always used to be pretty boring--all of the shops and most of the museums, mouments and other attractions were closed and so options for entertainment were generally limited to a long lunch followed by a long walk. Luckily, some shops do now open on Sundays, as well as various exhibitions and so on but, more importantly, the tradition of le brunch is now more ubiquitous in Paris than anywhere else in the world (spawning a verb bruncher as well as the extension--drunch--which is the meal you eat at 3 or 4 p.m. soon after you wake up after returning from clubbing at about 7 a.m., therefore encompassing breakfast, lunch and tea). Not every Sunday in Paris is quite so Sunday-like anymore then:

1. Bruncher. We went to Little Georgette, Monsieur E's favourite brunch spot, just off the place du Marché St Honoré, a square populated almost entirely by restaurants and bruncherias. Parisian brunch is like an American brunch on steroids--it's not just a matter of having a really big pancake dish washed down with coffee and OJ; instead, it's a multicourse meal, involving a pre-main course pudding as well as a post-main pudding, in the case of Little Georgette. They offer various different brunch options, all wittily titled. We went for the, "Georgette chante, Born in the USA," option, consisting of: (N)espresso (or other hot drink), freshly squeezed OJ, "house cakes" (chocolate cake and lemon cake, randomly served instead of bread to keep you going until the main course), bacon cheesburger (burger and cheese were excellent; the bacon, not so much), and a pudding (we had mini US-style pancakes served with a shot glass of slightly warm Nutella; you could also opt for cheesecake, fruit salad or ice cream). Brunch don't come cheap in Paris, compared to the price of, say, a two-course dinner. Our selection was 25 euros each! Luckily, I hadn't eaten breakfast and probably won't be eating dinner so it wasn't such bad value for a whole day's worth of (very unhealthy food).

2. Promener au bord de la Seine. Having brunched, we attempted to walk off some of the calories, down through the Louvre and across onto the Left Bank, which was pleasant in the afternoon sunshine, although the incompetent mass tourists did get on our nerves. We ended up strolling all the way over to the Grand Palais for our culcha injection and then back along the Champs Elysées to Monsieur E's house. Paris is a very walkable city, both in terms of its size and its attractiveness; it is thus a shame to see so many tourists spending their entire visit on a coach tour.

3. Visiter Shakespeare & Co. OK, so it's now become a ginormous cliché to visit the famous Left Bank bookshop but they do have a good selection of books, including some American editions with interesting covers or bindings and a wide variety of second-hand things. It's just a shame that the number (and size) of the American tourists in the shop make browsing more difficult than it ought to be. Plus, the sales assistants tend to look at you down their more-cultured-than-thou noses unless you a) buy something suitably intellectual and/or b) speak in your best RP.

4. Voir une expo. The Grand Palais is the Crystal Palace of Paris, only it is still standing and currently holds a range of cool exhibitions in its grand, glass-roofed building. We went to see Le Grand Monde d'Andy Warhol, which was very well done and interesting. We wished our parents had known Andy in the '80s and had commissioned him to do a portrait of us. Having purchased my art yesterday, I refrained from purchasing a blue-toned print of Jackie O and one of a generic, blonde American woman from 1976, who bore a strong resemblance to Mrs Don Draper.

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