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La Coupole
Okay, all you Paris detractors, it doesn't get much better than this. I'm at the famous old Montparnasse brasserie, La Coupole, enjoying the free Wifi in the caf section. Lucy, mon chien miniscule (my microscopic dog) is curled up asleep in my lap. The waiters treat her like she's the second coming of Coco Chanel, which doesn't hurt my seating arrangements, I must add. (Also, it helps that I don't dress in plumber clothes and big white tennis shoes, like so many American tourists here.) Today, I'm wearing a vintage rose-pink boucl jacket, a frothy rose-pink shawl, and a long black skirt. But enough about me; let's talk about yet another food-gasm: I just had a plate of paper-thin veal carpaccio, about the color of my jacket, topped with pine nuts and a small pile of greens, with spring vegetables on the side. I'd wanted tuna carpaccio, but they were out of it, whispered the waiter, state-secret-imparting-style. He went away, then came back. They were also out of my next choice, carpaccio de magret (duck), he discreetly informed me. Why, you ask, are they out of half the four carpaccios on the menu at noon, before more than a few customers have even arrived? Of course, because everything's fresh here, and if it isn't fresh, it isn't served.

P.S. More about bratty children soon -- this time, on airplanes for 12 hours. Not to lieu of parental intervention (I mean, beyond parents intervening against me for asking the brat to cut the crap)...I (sort of indirectly) warned the kid he'd end up strung out on drugs. It put the fear of something-or-other into him...for all of five minutes, I believe.

Posted by aalkon at July 4, 2004 8:26 AM


We we mon ami! I too have glorious adventures
this weekend I went to Pari-except it was here in
CAlifornia- I drove through a town called Perris
california. Oh the glory, the splendor! We we. The cuisine was we we. I ate at a taco bell and had extra onions on my burrito. Bout that time I saw a drunk hispanic lass puking on the sidewalk cross the street. See walked over to the taco bell parking lot, saw me in my car and offered to give me a blowjob for 20 bucks american. We haggled, I tried to get her down to 12.50 she would only blow for 14.00 bottom line. the rest of the story is how you say, off de limets. WE WE.

On my way out of town i ran over a dog. it was, how you say, de french poodle. Its guts are still on the treads of my tires. i dont think I'm going to wash it off. WE WE.

Posted by: chris at July 4, 2004 8:44 AM

I'm living through BOTH OF YOU! There'll be no frothy pink shawl OR Taco Bell blowjob for Lena this weekend. I'm on terminal deadline, it seems.

Posted by: Lena at July 4, 2004 12:25 PM

PJ sez:

"A lot of people get all moist and runny at the very mention of Paris. I don't get it. It's just a big city, no dirtier than most, but it's surrounded by the most depressing ring of lower-middle-class suburbs this side of Smolensk. In fact, one of these suburbs is actually named Stalingrad, which goes to show that the French have learned nothing about politics since they guillotined all the smart people in 1793. True, you can sit outside in Paris and drink little cups of coffee, but why this is more stylish than sitting inside and drinking large glasses of whiskey I don't know.

"The French women here, whether pretty or not, all walk around with their noses in the air (and pretty big noses they usually are). And Parisians never deign to understand a word you say in their own language, no matter how loud or how often you pronounce it."

Plus, the despite literally being frogmen, the fuckers don't scuba dive.

I'd rather spend a weekend in Colonia, Yap than Paris, France. The women are topless throughout the island nation, and the diving is unreal. Plus you can still find evidence of the Japanese army in the hillsides, whereas the French like to pretend the German occupation never happened.

Posted by: Crid at July 4, 2004 7:49 PM

Hmm, well, I find, if you don't wear big white tennis shoes here, and shout, and expect things to be exactly like they are at home, people treat you very nicely here. Moreover, I have long conversations with people in my fractured French. It seems effort is what counts.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 5, 2004 12:53 AM

Where does PJ live?

Posted by: Lena at July 5, 2004 1:15 AM

DC. But he spends "Holidays in Hell" (Grove Press, 1988).

Posted by: Crid at July 5, 2004 6:01 AM

Though I'm not sure PJ dives, either.

Posted by: Crid at July 5, 2004 6:02 AM

May I ?
Only one small detail in my poor english.
About duck, I think you want to speak about magret (no "i"). Maigret (with "i") is the policeman hero of famous novelist Simenon.
Enjoy your journey in "ville lumiere", anyway !

Posted by: mathieu at July 5, 2004 11:10 AM

I will always love The Two Maggots (next door to Cafe Flore).

Posted by: Lena at July 5, 2004 12:31 PM

Quite right. Thanks for the correction. I am adventuresome in my eating habits, but I don't think I'll be dining on detective just yet.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 5, 2004 12:31 PM

Les Deux Magots is where ole walleye used to hang out and study the waiters for Bad Faith, back in the days when France was still relevant. They have a web site:

It's cute that the little Froggies are trying to go high tech.

Posted by: Richard Bennett at July 5, 2004 12:48 PM

For such an irrelevant place, it sure has your attention. In fact, you seem captive to France. PS I voted for Arnold despite his SUVs. Being in a country doesn't mean you rubberstamp everything that goes on there. Not even being a citizen of a country means that. I'm appalled by George Bush. You don't see me moving to France -- or Canada, do you?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 5, 2004 2:22 PM

Hey. Don't knock Canada. At least we have the good sense not to clog the fast lane. Savages.

Posted by: Sicilicide at July 5, 2004 3:05 PM

Don't get me wrong, I love French cooking and wine (what would a chicken-fried steak be without white gravy?) and I respect many of their dead philosophers (Merleau-Ponty, Camus, Malraux, even Sartre.)

But France nowadays is little more than a museum, a commemoration to a civilization in serious decline. The most amusing feature of the place is their funny little language, which would have died out completely (in favor of German) were it not for the sacrifices made by some very gauche farm boys from the American Midwest a few years ago.

France is *so* last century.

Posted by: Richard Bennett at July 5, 2004 3:10 PM

I actually have a huge soft spot for Canada. Spent much of my childhood there, at least at vacation time. Amazing place. Guns everywhere, but people don't seem compelled to shoot each other. How do you do it?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 6, 2004 1:10 AM

Richard, apparently you didn't get the memo. We call it "freedom gravy" nowadays.

Posted by: LYT at July 6, 2004 2:26 AM

PJ wrote:
>And Parisians never deign to understand a word you say in their own language, no matter how loud or how often you pronounce it."

That hasn't been my experience. More than in any other country, the French have repeatedly gone out of their way to be helpful to me. Although, I don't try "loud". Maybe that makes a difference.

Posted by: Ron at July 6, 2004 10:20 AM

Exactly, Ron. My experience is the same. Polite and friendly go over big here. As does an effort to speak the language, no matter how terribly you do it. The waiters upstairs at Flore have deep permanent lines in their forehead from trying to understand me in years past when my French was especially dreadful.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 6, 2004 11:08 AM