I have these American friends. Let’s call them John and Lexie, with a teenaged daughter named Laney. They have lived in Brazil, Paris, and London, but this summer, they are moving back to God’s Country. Houston, Texas.
Before they left England, they decided to try those junk foods that Brits rave about. The foods that warm the cockles and mussels of British hearts.
It’s raw meat squished together with spices, maybe some cooperative herbs or veggies. They shape it into a little patty and serve it as the main course with vegetables or fries. Here are the main types of tartare I’ve found in Paris.
We ladies of a certain age have some tricky decisions to make. We don’t want to look like Gramma, but we just don’t want some of the trendier styles these days. More than one millenial sales clerk has tried to get me into a jumpsuit, but I remember how hard it was to go to the bathroom in those in 1984. Nope. A chic French saleslady offered me a blouse with parallel ruffles up the front (the “prairie look”), but I told her I wore that in seventh grade and couldn’t go back.
I went to the Paris Préfecture de Police this week with Kid 3 and Mr. Taquet, the Frenchman we hired to help us with tricky French visa bureaucracy. It was the third time we had been to that office trying to get one little stamp in my son’s passport, and I was going to write a funny blog post about it. The absurdity of the French legal system is low-hanging fruit for humor. I’d describe the three different clerks that gave us three different answers, the various combinations of family members and legal assistants and paperwork we were required to produce each time, the way we finally got the stamp after Mr. Taquet raised his voice and pounded on the desk, demanding to see le chef du chef. You were going to laugh.
When I checked the listing of concerts in Paris last weekend, one caught my eye: Rachmaninoff’s first piano concerto and Stravinsky’sRite of Spring, in a big echo-y cathedral. Rachmaninoff is big and splashy and thrilling and swoony and if an orchestra and a pianist and a venue all agree that it can happen, it’s worth my time. TheRite of Spring premiered here in 1913 and caused quite a stir, and I was ready for the grotesque juxtaposition of music which depicts human sacrifice performed in a church.
When we moved to Paris, we joined a big, old, formal Presbyterian church. The building has stone floors, stained glass, a cavernous vaulted ceiling, a steeple, rooms for every purpose, real wooden pews, and bona fide catacombs. The choir wears robes. The clergy wears robes. There is an organ with pipes the size of a drive-in movie screen. It’s the real deal.