jeudi 9 février 2012

While buying the breakfast bread at the boulangerie last weekend, my eyes were drawn to the cake case. There was a small individual tarte au chocolat, as there would be (for it was Sunday, the day that the French eat treats after mass/lunch). What struck me was the careful detail on the tarte; the surface had not only little scrolls of white icing, but it also featured a small flat chocolate disk upon which was printed part of a piece of sheet music, in edible gold. It was delicate and beautiful.

This is why I love living in France. This attention to detail in places one doesn't always expect--or miss, really, if it weren't there. (I'd still buy a tarte au chocolat even if it came without a musical score.) The buildings with their larger-than-life caryatids and finely-finished facades; the lavendar water the maid fills the iron with when she presses the bed linens; the knife rests and the napkin rings you still see as a normal part of a table setting...all this attention to beauty, so pleasing to the eye (and the nose), the effort made to evoke pleasure through the visual and the visceral.

1 commentaire:

  1. Oh how I hate to bring a discordant note to all I agree is beautiful about my favorite country, but I must. Though I admit that I have enough idiosyncrasies to make living in this world difficult, let alone travel joyfully as much as I do, imagine this scene: I usually disinfect every surface of a hotel room and bathroom that I will touch or that will hold personal objects and I bring my own pillow cases and towels.
    What am I do to, though, when I step out of my room in the morning and I find the nicely laundered and ironed linens that are awaiting placement on the beds and in the bathroom, neatly dropped off on the floor, in the hallway, in front of each room? Yes, sir, right there on the carpet, in the hallway. The same carpet on which thousands of shoes that have walked, the ones that traveled the streets of Paris, bathrooms, metro and see where this is going...
    The pillowcases and towels that one touches with one's (horrified, in my case) face, were helpfully prepared to be used by the next unsuspecting guest, as we had the previous night. Yep, those elegant linens on those floors, probably smelling freshly of lavender from the beautiful fields of Provence live in my memory as the underside of those filigreed gateaux.