Blah, blah, blah and the fourth of July is for something equally as important that happened here and I'm not typically a big celebrator of that holiday either but the 14 July has one prospect that the 4th of July doesn't offer me….a bit of France while on American soul.
Once, many moons ago, when I was waitressing at this cute french cafe in Brooklyn. For Bastille day they closed off the street and had a great party. There was a petanque pit made with sand and all which everyone took turns playing, others milled about chatting, drank wine (and later on Pastis), danced a bit and had an over all good time. Oh, there were cute boys (some french, some not) a great time was had by all. And ever since then, I roam the streets every 14 of July hoping to recapture that same 'joie de vie'.
So you can imagine how with my new fangled desire to move to France, the french lessons (though I'm still looking for a new Mme Tutor) and the ever present hope that I'll meet a cute guy of ANY nationality, I was super excited about the approach of this day and busied myself with finding a Bastille Day event to attend.
I'm currently a member of several different sites having to do with all things french and the one event I kept getting emails about was the Bastille Day street fair being held on the 12th by the Alliance Francaise. It seemed like just the right thing for me to do – it was being held outside on a sunny summer day, where there'd be food, shopping, music and best of all it was FREE!! (because everything else those sites were pushing had cover charges and though I'm a francophile lover – I'm a poor francophile lover, so free wins out!)
Anyway, I get Jacobs to join me (my partner in looking for a good time) and we werre off to 60th street. Once there, it's almost the same as any other street fair; little stalls selling random wears, stalls selling food and lots of people all pushing you out of the way so they can get to whatever wears or food they want to buy.
It initially felt disappointing.
But then we hit the stalls of all stalls – the line around it was chaos – all it took was one look at the name to understand why.
Payard Patisserie! Described as one of the best french pastry shops in New York, they had a selection of yummy cakes, sandwiches and cookies being constantly replaced by employees. I, looking at the insanity of the crowd yelling trying to get their favorite goody, couldn't have been bothered. The ACTUAL store is only a few blocks away but Jacobs would not be swayed. Her eyes had locked on a deep chocolate brownie/cake goodie that she wasn't leaving without. Just as we tried to squeeze into the madness, a nice lady at the stall next to it told us there was another Payard location one block down. We thanked her, (in kindness) took a flyer from her table (it's for a weekend french intensive being offered by the New School which I'll discuss on another day) and headed to the next block in search of desserts.
Lucky for us, this location wasn't nearly as insane as the first. Sure there was a wait, people were yelling back and forth and desserts were flying on to plates and into patrons hands – quicker than frisbees in the air – but it was better. Jacobs and I saddled up to the side where a nice male employee making change for another customer stopped and looked at me. And then it happened. What I had kinda hoped would when I got dressed in my cute green frock that morning….I spoke french!
"Excuse moi, combien pour l'eclairs?"
He responded "quatre"
"Je veux un eclair et une boite macroons."
WhooHoo!!! It wasn't perfect (and it wasn't long) but it was a foray into speaking. I literally felt like a little kid who just got a gold star as he handed me my treats. I said something and someone who spoke french understood me – PERFECT! Jacobs and I went on our way to eat our desserts and continued to search for the two hot french men who would help us with other things french! (alas, we would be disappointed on that front but there's always next year!!)