Paris: City of Mermaids?
This week I’ll be leaving our non-world-class city to visit a real world-class city, one that presumably has a state-of-the-art sports arena and at least one mermaid bar, if not several: Paris.
In preparation, I’ve been listening to French podcasts—“Je voudrais un verre de vin, s’il vous plait”—and quizzing Tassina, the owner of Le Petit Paris, about what I can expect. In addition to running her charming boutique and cafe, Tassina leads tour groups (made up mostly of Sacramentans) to Paris several times a year. Serendipitously, she will be in Paris with a group when I’m there, and she is going to let me tag along for the day and report about it for SN&R, so stay tuned for that.
The cafe side of Le Petit Paris has been open for a year, but I only recently checked it out and am pleased to find that it’s a great place to get classic French sandwiches, such as the croque monsieur, within walking distance of chez moi. The ham and Gruyère tartine with cornichons is another tasty option: served on sliced baguette, open-face, a pile of petite cornichon pickles on the side. The ham is medium-thick and salty, with Gruyère melted on top.
Petit Paris is understandably proud of its macarons, which is a delicate French confection made of egg white and filled with flavored cream, not to be confused with the similarly named sweet American lump of coconut. The store offers multiple flavors, and my favorite is the fanciful apricot lavender. Le Petit Paris also serves beer and wine, adding to its authenticity.
To further immerse in French culture I took in a showing of The Class at the Tower Theater. This movie, winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival, is hyperrealism, and I was in heaven watching it, engrossed by the intense story of a year in the life of a teacher in a poor and racially heterogenous neighborhood of Paris. I never wanted it to end. But if you’re not into loquacious French movies, you may feel like it won’t ever end.
No French connection, but Saturday was the umpteenth annual Loft Halloween Show. The date of this bacchanal is migrating further and further away from actual Halloween, and this year the Loft-overs convened at an Oak Park house instead of the now-defunct Midtown venue.
At Loft Halloween shows, local bands dress up like famous bands. This year, the likes of ZZ Top (the Four Eyes with epic beards), U2 (members of Knock Knock and Touchez) and Sticky Fingers-era Rolling Stones (!!!/Chk Chk Chk) made appearances. Paris may have a lot to offer, but surely nothing is as hilarious as a Loft Halloween Show.
Now, if someone could just tell me how to say “Where’s the mermaid bar?” in French.