Monday, June 6, 2011

Oui! Oui! Boulangerie!

I awoke this morning obsessively fixated with the word 'boulangerie'.
For those not in the know, 'boulangerie' is the French term for a bakery dedicated to the most delicate, mouth watering, sweet & sensuous pastries that incite trickly tears of happiness, everytime one touches your tongue. Think croissants, Danishes, tarts and scrolls. Salivating yet?

I  craved to be in a little corner of Paris, taking my 3 well-dressed daughters and dashingly handsome Mediterranean husband for a saunter down a little cobbled path, locating the warmest, sweetest Boulangerie we could find, ordering cafe au lait and savouring some melt-in-your-mouth buttery croissants with jam. (Ah, the joys of daydreaming! You can go anywhere, be anyone, at anytime!).

 Boulangerie sounds so much more glamorous then bakery or bread shop, doesn't it? Boulangerie! Boulangerie! Boulangerie! Probably couldn't get away with calling my next child 'Boulangerie'  (though  some celebrities have come up with stranger names for their offspring), but maybe, a cat?

I once walked those romantic streets of gay Parí as a young lass. Freshly graduating from University (I have a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Film & Television Studies, with a Minor in Archaeology: go figure!) I treated myself to a dream trip to Europe. I had slaved away worked earnestly for months selling Ladies Shoes, saving every penny I had for the airfare to Destination: Destiny.

I travelled Europe solo, a girl with a backpack and journal filled with dreams and aspirations, guided by my heart , with a dash of Instinct and Inspiration. My journey had begun in Barcelona when, after two sumptuous weeks following the trails of Dali, Picasso and Gaudi, I felt Paris calling. My last Barcelona purchase was a cute pair of Mary-Jane style Camper shoes, before boarding the overnight Express train to Paris. I shared a cabin with the wife of a Spanish Diplomat who grabbed my Parisian guidebook and circled all the sights I must see, and the ones to avoid.

My trip was spontaneous and I hadn't made arrangements for accomodation. Checking my guidebook I saw that there was a Youth Hostel nearby. Upon arriving at reception (the Hostel was a renovated 17th Century Mansion) at 8 am, I was lucky that there was a bed available, but it would not be ready until after 2pm. Leaving my luggage in storage I set off. The morning was glorious! It was so... Parisian! I walked, and I walked, and I walked with quite probably the biggest smile that had ever graced my face. I felt like Audrey Hepburn in the film 'Funny Face', when she arrived in Paris for the first time and sang 'Bonjour, PARIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!' (Lucky for the locals I did not induldge in the song-and-dance routine, though lord knows it took a hell of an effort to restrain myself).

Walking the promenade along the River Seine, I was approached by an elderly lady.
"Bonjour!", she greeted me.
"Bonjour!", I replied. This, and 'merci' were probably the only words I knew in French.
"Excuse me," she continued, "do you speak English?"
"Yes, I do," I replied.
The little old lady shoved a map under my nose.
"Do you know where I can find this Hotel?" she pointed to the map.
"Oh no, I'm sorry, this is my first day here" I apologised.
"My apologies", said the British Tourist, "you look Parisian".
Yippeeeeeeeeee!!! What a compliment!

My little Camper-clad feet trod the Parisian streets for 6 hours non-stop on that first day. I am not an athletic person by any means, but that was the most beautiful marathon I'd ever walked in my life. I didn't know where I was going, but I didn't care. I was in PARIS!!! Oui! Oui! And my greatest joy that day came when I turned a spontaneous corner and was greeted by this:

The Eiffel Tower (image from
The Eiffel Tower! What a sight, what a joy!

I dream of going back to Paris one day. I would love to share the romance of it with my darling hubby, and I know that my girls (when they are older) will be inspired by it too.

As Audrey Hepburn once said, "Paris is always a good idea".


Renee said...

Oh my goodness! This just brought tears to my eyes. All my memories of travelling solo as a bold, courageous and determined 19 year old came flooding back and for a moment I was lost in the beauty that is Pari! I too would love to take my family back to share in the mystique of Pari!
What a wonderful way to start my day. To remember the freedom and courage I had forgotten I (still) have! I think I may just go and visit a bakery and dream of a Boulangerie in Paris... x

Julia kuku Couture Invitations said...

This brings back so many memories, I was in Paris less than 2 years ago on my honeymoon, we travelled through Europe for 4 glorious months where every day we woke up thinking what could we do today that could bring us joy. I thought then that we should think this way everyday not just on holidays but I had forgotten that till now.
Thanks for reminding me to find joy in the everyday
p.s love ur blog xo

Jessicats said...

Thank you ladies xxx It's true, Paris is a magical city that has an enchanting effect on all those that have been blessed to walk her beautiful streets. It's amazing the impression that we all share, of wanting to 're-live' that joy we felt in Paris, and translate that into our everday lives. I often get that 'Paris thrill' when I pop into my local 'boulangerie' and spoil myself with an almond croissant. Thank you for sharing your beautiful Parisian memories with me xxx

Yelena Starikova said...

I really love your writing style. You can easily be a writer or maybe even better write your own Book!)
Thanks for stopping by on on Facebook!
Im following you!

Warm Regards,


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