Summertime is here and that means cruising around on pink Vespas, lazing in gardens and keeping your Dalmatian hydrated. It also means grass stains, 160° on metro line 4 and more Eiffel Tower key chains than normal.
What it doesn’t mean is palm trees, parasols and yachts. And that’s why I’m moving to Nice. Nice is nice. Nice is colourful. Nice is strolling around with a gelato and The Girl from Ipanema in your head. On the French/Italian border I’ll be able to croissant around town in the morning and play bocce ball in the afternoon. Bien! Bene! Buon…… wait, what?
Thanks, Paris, it’s been a slice. A slice of the creamiest quiche Lorraine with the perfect ratio of cheese and bacon. We’ve had good times, we’ve had bad times. But most importantly we’ve had times. Times I’ll never forget.
Now blog off.
This week I took myself to the cinema to see a Turkish film with French subtitles. Bit weird, yeah. But that’s not the weird part.
A flamboyant type with drawn on eyebrows burst into the tiny 42-seat salle mere minutes before the film was about to start and demanded that the early-comers shift seats to accommodate his party of five. Being France, this caused a tsunami of emotion and the entire audience started muttering soft profanities and passionately voicing their views on correct cinema etiquette and the state of modern society.
There were so many irate arms being flung in the air obscuring my view of the trailers that I decided to just join the debate instead. “If you wanted to ensure good seats for all your friends, you should have arrived 30 minutes in advance!” I added, elongating my last consonant for dramatic, French emphasis and throwing my arms up in disgust.
That’s when it happened. One by one, the Frenchies turned in their seats and nodded at me with a look of respect that said “Hey, let’s just forget that you killed Joan of Arc and have a much better rugby team.” So much so that a silver-haired retiree by the name of Michel moved one seat closer to me and vented his emotions.
And it was like that that I ended up on a date with a 75-year old. We talked about books, cheese and genocide. Then he wrote his number down on the back of a metro ticket.
Should I wait 3 days to call him?
An American chef once said, “A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch.” I considered this at Christmas while ploughing through a free-range, grain-fed [privately educated] turkey and washing it down with half a box of Quality Street. After a week of stews and pies in London, I then got the train back to Camembert. Hello quiche! Hello magret de canard! Did you miss me?
A friend of mine spent the holidays in Marseille and wasn’t so food fortunate. She ate at this café. Check out the translations. Crunch-mister? Salted Softness? Districts of fresh butter? Sounds like the kind of thing Nigella would fix herself for breakfast. She wrote the name and number of a translator on a napkin and secured it to the menu with a hair clip.