Paris redeemed itself today. How can I say that about this beautiful city? What’s wrong with me, you ask. I’ll tell you what happened. Last week I started to think, “Maybe I should go back to the states.” What’s wrong with me? Did I miss my husband who is in LA working? Did I miss my friends? Did I miss the beach? Nope. Do you know what I missed? Bacon. Real bacon. I was about to throw my entire beautiful life in Paris away over bacon. All I wanted was an American BLT sandwich with Wonder white bread, Miracle Whip, Oscar Meyer bacon, iceberg lettuce and a juicy tomato. Yes, yes, yes Paris is the mecca of cuisine, but honestly I was getting sick of such good food. I want real food. I have a wonderful caregiver who used to be the chef for the designer, Nina Ricci, and she makes me all sorts of delicious French food. But I don’t know how to say to her without being rude, “Can I just have a grilled cheese sandwich?” It didn’t stop there. I started imagining all the deliciously disgusting American food that I missed. Taco Bell bean burritos at 2 o’clock the morning. In and out Burgers. I don’t even eat meat, but I would now. Chinese chicken salad from Chin Chin. Regular Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies. A big fat glass of iced tea with a crap load of ice. That doesn’t exist here. Fried chicken. Waldorf salad. A submarine sandwich. I would love a Thanksgiving dinner. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, like the kind you get in your school lunchbox. Biscuits and gravy, yes, I’m from Texas and Missouri. Barbecue from some nasty roadside stand in the South. Okay, you are getting the picture. So I was getting a little, “Down with Paris!”
Then, then, then I went out yesterday.
Glorious, glorious Paris. The cherry blossoms are starting to bloom. Flower shops are bursting at the seams. Everyone is enjoying the sunshine sitting outside a cafés. The beautiful gardens are packed with Parisians walking their perfect Parisian dogs. Short sleeves on Vespas. Passing the Louvre on the way to the grocery store doesn’t suck. And best of all, yesterday, was the opening of the Empress Josephine exhibit at the Musée de Luxembourg! I took both of my caregivers with me so it would be easier to haul my paralyzed ass into a taxi with some sort of grace. One positive feature of being completely handicapped and in a wheelchair is that I get into museums first and free! No three-hour lines or €20 tickets for this girl. First and free! So in we go to the exhibit. Par for the course, it did not disappoint. There were about 120 pieces of Josephine’s possessions. Paintings, jewelry, tea sets, beautiful engraved champagne glasses, her makeup table, her harp, her dresses, sculptures, books, etc. It was fabulous. The collection had been pulled from various other museums around the world. My sweet African caregiver told me that this was the first museum that she had ever stepped foot in. Then she asked me if everything was for sale. 0MG. Love her.
I learned a lot about Josephine at the exhibit. For example, her name wasn’t even really Josephine. Her first name was Rose. But Napoleon didn’t like that name so he used the feminine form of her middle name, Joseph. Josephine as the Empress was always on display and considered the best-dressed women in the Empire. She was elegant, cultured and loved the arts. Renowned architects designed new models of furniture for her, such as the armchair with armrests in the form of swans. She collected paintings, antiques, her rose collection was the largest of its time, loved music, brought the first Australian black swans to Europe, and loved botanicals. Maybe she was a bit like the Jackie Kennedy of Paris
I got through the exhibit within a half an hour because I’m a professional museum goer, and I don't dillydally. Next up, the gift shop. Oh, how I love a museum gift shop. I bought the exhibition book and a giant giant giant poster of Josephine that I think will look best over the toilet. What’s wrong with me? Next stop? Lunch at one of my favorite little patisserie/boulangerie/sandwich shops in Paris called Gerald Mulot in the 6th near the museum. You walk in and on the right side there is a bevy of bright colored desserts. Keep going a bit and there is the, I guess you would call the deli section. Lots of salads, tabouli, green beans, ratatouille, croque monsieur, shrimp in a creamy sauce, lots of fluffy quiche, and sandwiches galore. I chose a delicious hard-boiled egg sandwich with creamy mustard/mayonnaise, tomatoes and lettuce. My African caregiver made sure that her sandwich did not have pork because she’s Muslim. My other caregiver chose a buttery pain au raisin.
So, in all, a lovely day was had. I guess I could learn to survive here in Paris without Taco Bell. It’s a give-and-take.