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rue-madame's Diaryland Diary

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G. Sand et le fromage

My lovely landlady gave me an invitation to a vernissage tonight, and I just got back. It was for a show of Hungarian photography from the 20s and 30s, and the images were really moody and nice. The best part was that the show is being held at the Musee de la Vie Romantique which is a beautiful collection of buildings in a garden courtyard in the middle of Pigalle--the sleeziest neighborhood ever. I think I must have passed tens of sex shops and peep shows, prostitutes and creepy guys. The hookers here are so nonchalant; they hang out in doorways like it’s their office and they’re just having a smoke. They say hello to the neighbors, tell kids to watch out for traffic.

In the Musee de la Vie Romantique was an entire section on George Sand. They had some of her furniture, paintings, jewelry, even locks of hair. There was a plaster cast of her right arm (hand to elbow) since that is the hand she used to write her novels. Practically holding her hand was a plaster cast of Chopin’s left one. It was a little eery, sad, romantic (duh!) and creepy. The hands were my favorite part.

Now I’m drinking Martini Rouge and eating olives and cheese made from unpasteurized milk. This is forbidden in the United States, did you know that? Here are some dangers that I am willingly submitting to:

1. St Marcellin (goat)

2. Morbier (cow)

3. Crottin de Chavignol (goat)

4. Comte fruite (cow)

Here, there is an affineur down the street who has excellent cheese. It is called Rouge et Creme, and it is run by 2 guys: one straightlaced and finicky (Monsieur. Rouge,) the other disheveled and goofy (Monsieur Creme.) Of course, these are not their real names—these are just the appellations I have come up with to keep me amused. One time, they didn’t have the right change for me in the register, so M. Rouge asked M. Creme to lend him a 50 franc note. M. Creme then took out a crumpled wad of bills from which he extracted a 50. This elicited the most hilarious chiding from M. Rouge: “How can you keep money like that? In your pocket? They are like crumpled tissues! You are an adult! You should have a wallet!” M. Creme defended himself saying, “This is my system! The money never falls out of my pocket and no one can rob me. It is my method! You just don’t understand!” I couldn’t help laughing and laughing. M. Rouge gets really flustered when there are more than 3 people in the store; M. Creme, on the other hand, loves the chaos. He’s always in the middle of slicing cheese when I go in there and always offers a taste. If you buy what you taste, he tells you that this is his secret marketing weapon.

Cheese is good.

10:02 p.m. - 2001-07-23

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