Day 12–Art Class & Down Time

I had to hustle from the gym to Graham Bibby’s place so I grabbed a pain chocolat on the way. Our boulanger was open today. I thought, we live here and how many more times will we have the opportunity to do this? None, likely, so there it is. Probably undid all the calories I burned at the gym but worth it.

Graham’s studio is near the Parmentier Métro stop. Parmentier was a scientist famous for perusading the French that potatoes weren’t just for livestock feed. There’s a statute and related description of his work in the station. Hence, if you are in a resto and something on the menu says “parmentier” you will know it has potatoes in it, usually small, diced potatoes.

Spent the next two hours learning art from the ground up, something very refreshing. I had absolutely no idea about basic colour, technique and so on. We discussed chroma, hue and value, three concepts, the names of which I knew but about I knew nothing. (Hue knew?)

Broke the 90/90 rule at lunch (L’Écaille du Bistrot) but in our defence, I have to say that if, on our return, it ever becomes necessary to indulge in bottle of wine and glass of muscat at lunch, we are in good shape to do it.

On the way down rue Paul-Bert, there was a wine shop I wandered into and, by chance, met a couple of winemakers who were there showing their recent vintages. One of them was Kellen Lignier, spouse of the late Romain Lignier, for those oenophiles out there who might be reading this. Sampled a few nice Burgs including a few of hers. She invited us to taste with her in Burgundy when we are next there, very cool.

I have to add, though, that the trip has been very illuminating in this way: the French, at least where we’ve been dining, simply enjoy the food and wine and don’t really care, or at least don’t seem to care, about this grand cruor that premier cru or anything else for that matter, just that the wine pairs with the food and isn’t corked. As a result, most of the wines on the menus and in the shops are very modestly priced.

So much to do, so little time. Every week, there’s an article about someone raving over some Parisian delight. Gerry sent me one from the NYT by Alexander Lobrano (a Gourmet contributor) a day or so ago and if I could copy and paste it here, I would. (Robert, how do I do that?) So, of course, we have to try a few of these things. Gerard Mulot’s place is near here, we have Le Baratin on our list and, as I was just saying, Lobrano rightly notes the accessibilty, breadth and reasonable cost of wine here.

I keep thinking that I should be organizing more excursions, more musems, etc. but we are rather trying to live like the locals (apart from working, of course) for these months and, franchement, it’s also a privilege to be able to sit around of an evening and read as we’re doing tonight. We also have TV here and, unlike what we do at home, can check out current shows like 30 Rock.

Anyway, I have to look at some French which Sandy is already doing.