June 7, 2015

The Adventures of the Lost Macaron

After a morning of Renaissance culture spent at Notre Dame, Brooke, Lindsey, and I went off in search of my other personal favorite cultural time period. 

Whilst wandering the Latin Quarter of Paris and into the St. Germain-des-Prés area, however, we were inevitably distracted. 

First by a window display of undeniable macarons (to be saved for later). 

Second, of course, by the rumbles in our tummies demanding a tourist-trapped, but still delicious, many course lunch. 

Since nearly every menu we passed by in our indecisiveness offered roughly the same meal, we finally picked a cozy, warm toned restaurant that promised soupe a l'oignon as a starter. The only downside to this is that now French Onion Soup is ruined to me anywhere outside its actual country of origin. 

(Excuse my privileged traveler problem.) 

For my second course I had the salmon, though it was, admittedly, nothing to write home about. 

However, despite the lackluster second course, the girls and I quickly realized that the perk that is really worth mentioning about eating off a three course menu, is that we could each pick a dessert and share. It doesn't take much more than a flan, chocolate mousse, and apple custard pie to please us. 

After stuffing our faces with food and our purses with complimentary bread (don't judge us, we were poor vagabonds), we wandered in a few more circles before finally discovering Shakespeare and Company

This fantastical bookstore was founded by George Whitman and named in honor of Sylvia Beach's original store, where the so called "Lost Generation" spent their days honing their craft (for a more in depth history, click here). 

Outside of this sneaked picture of the cubby where you're invited to leave notes to other writers, photography is not allowed in the bookstore. As a snap happy traveler, of course I wanted to, but looking back, I think it's great they don't allow photos. 

Bookstores, for readers & writers, are like stepping into a home away from home. There is nothing more peaceful or welcoming as shelves lined with titles, both familiar and foreign. Everywhere you turn there are stories to fall into and adventures to be lived. That comforting atmosphere is not something that can ever hope to be captured in an image. 

The three of us split ways in the store, each enamored by the feeling of stepping into another time, romantically wishing we were standing amongst Hemingway or Fitzgerald.  

We all had to buy something, soaking up the novelty of where we got to make our purchase, but also just because we're a bunch of book nerds who wanted to buy out the whole store.

Each of us chose a classic. 

For me, after having finished The Sun Always Rises in the south of Spain, the obvious choice was Ernest Hemingway's most famous, A Moveable Feast. I would recommend the book even if I hadn't read it while in the city of its setting, but I implore anyone who has the delight of traveling to Paris to pick up a copy as well. As Hemingway leads you through his torrid life he paints an exquisite dream of Paris as it was in the early 1900s, and an engaged reader can nearly look up from the novel and see Ezra Pound writing poetry at the adjacent table or Gertrude Stein advising Sherwood Anderson over cafés au lait.   

After making our splendid purchases we sat down with our own cafés au lait & le choux á la créme (which roughly translates to: delectable French cream puff that is so tasty you would lick it off the bottom of your shoe if necessary) at Odette.  

We also took this seated moment to bust out the array of macarons we had purchased earlier that afternoon. 

Being very lady like and also photo happy we laid them delicately on a separate plate, delegating how many we would eat. 

It's lucky the picture below turned out, because had I dropped the chocolate macaron I was rationed, I would have been denied even one more from the box. 

"Why would your rations have been denied?", you ask. 

I dropped the pink one. There: I admitted it. In my first attempt at a macaron close up the damn thing leapt out of my finger tips and rolled gracefully about six feet away, where it would remain while the elegant Parisian women stepped around it in disdain. 

Our poor stray macaron's adventure on the street was short lived. Soon some uncivilized heathen would walk buy and stomp the precious gem into the ground. It was quite a traumatic moment for everyone.

It took us at the very least twenty minutes to recover from both the hysterical laughing at what would later become known as "The Adventure of the Lost Macaron" and the hysteria of it's tragic ending. And honestly, out of all the incredible sights we saw in Paris, this is likely the ridiculous memory, shared with my best friends in the world, that will stay with me most vividly over time.

Yours, Kenna 

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