After a strong start in Montpellier, my whistle-stop tour of the South of France continued in Arles, a town that interested me because it was once home to Van Gogh, my favorite painter. I wanted to see the place that had inspired him to create some of his most beautiful work. Continue reading
Tonight on my way to the subway, I passed Ladurée, the Parisian macaron shop. Even though I hold as objective truth than one should never step foot in foreign outposts of shops that are beloved institutions in their home countries, I did anyway. Blame my overactive bladder and preference to use the bathroom in a fancy French café over a McDonalds: once in the door, I couldn’t help but eye the offerings. And when I noticed rose glace on the menu, the battle was over before it began. I had been on the lookout for floral-flavored ice cream above all other food in France, because I remember like it was yesterday the moment I had my first taste of fleur glace from a street vendor in Paris two decades ago. One of the best things I have ever tasted. And yet, I could not for the life of me find flower-flavored ice cream in wintry Paris. No street vendors in sight, and the shops only had rose sorbet.
All this to say, I quickly abandoned my deeply-held convictions and ordered a scoop of Ladurée’s rose glace, from an excessively sweet waitress with a Staten Island accent. It tasted delicious in the way American ice cream can taste delicious, but it was not at all like the life-altering French ice cream I had in 1993. While eating, I eavesdropped on conversations transpiring in English. I paid with dollar bills.
And I felt the looming threat of tarnishing the memory of the Ladurée in Saint Germain, where I bought macarons made more heavenly by the knowledge they came into existence in their motherland, were sold in a luxe shop that would have been guillotined during the French Revolution, and were requested in halting French from snooty employees who couldn’t be bothered with silly American customs like politeness. Ladurée should never have crossed the Atlantic.
And I should never have followed that ice cream with chocolate… but that’s a story for a different blog.