Everything, from the precious packaging to the servers in their little pin-striped vests, makes me swoon when I walk by one of their little shops. This place is probably on most people’s to-eat list when they visit Paris and I don’t blame them. Ladurée is like French chic contained in a walk-in jewel box. They even have a little Ladurée cart at the airport.
Here’s Ann, my old high school buddy, at her final French tasting spot before hopping onto the plane back to LA. She became a macaron addict as soon as she had her first French macaron in the 6th.
When I was a child, I used to have hobo aspirations. I would pretend that I was a runaway, with fingerless gloves and all.
In this scenario, I ran away from home with my red hobo bindle, packed with, among other basics, Lipton tea bags to keep me warm on those cold nights living in the park up the street from our house. Because the tea bags were also shaped like envelopes, I could send messages to my sister, scribbled with musings on my new life as a vagabond. Occasionally, I would meet her by the picnic tables where she would bring me a warmed-up tv dinner or canned soup and some clean underwear.
Now that I’ve run away to Europe, I still harbor anxieties about how to eat as a self-imposed impoverished person. Life would probably be easier if I just found a full time job, but it makes lunch more interesting.
This past weekend, the question was “What can we cook using a camping stove?”
In the past, I never saw the appeal of picnics. To me it seemed a lot more effort than it was worth: you have to make sure everything is packed just so to avoid any spillage, there’s the constant shooing away of flies and everything just seems to get sticky by the end of it all. And there just never seems to be enough napkins.
Since I moved to Paris on Bastille Day (the 14th of July), I’ve been on more picnics in one summer than I have in all of my adult life. Some of the loveliest places where I’ve made a seat on the ground: Canal St. Martin near Republic, Champs de Mars by the Eiffel Tower, Pont des Arts by the Seine, The Parc de la Villette, Parc Monceau in the 8th.
Along the way, I love to look at what other pinickers have on their spread: cold pasta salads, crudités, cheese, bread and wine.
Night picnics are even better. During the warm summer nights in Paris, it doesn’t get dark until nearly 10.
So what changed my mind about pinics?
I realized that sometimes all you is a bottle of wine, which makes life a lot easier. And when you have good company and this kind of view while chomping on a baguette, I have to say picnics aren’t too bad.
The weather has been grey for the last two days, signaling the end of summer and picnic season in Paris. And I was only just beginning my love affair with outdoor eating. Tant pis.
I would define most of the style in my new city as coquettish: both whimsical and seductive. Macarons are no exception. To me these delicate pastries are quintessentially Paris.