Monday, December 2, 2013

Paris Day 6 - What's That Smell, and Why I Love the French

So this morning I had a shower and when I came out of the bathroom I said to my mom, "Whoo, someone's been farting up a storm." And she said No, she had NOT farted, thank you very much, but she had opened the fridge to get out our breakfast things. What I was smelling was this:
A simple camembert. Man, it reeks! And yet, it is also delicious. How can something that smells like farts, also be so yummy? It's a mystery. 

Yesterday was another fun day. My translator, Valerie, picked us up at 10:30 and we made our way to Montmartre for my first book store appearance, at Les Enfants Sur Le Toit. I was nervous because I thought I'd just be hoping for foot traffic in the store. But no, there was a book club waiting to meet me! Six lovely children, age 11 and 12 I think. Eugenie, Alice, Shirinne, Thomas, Lucas et Gaetan. They were just as excited as I was. They asked me really smart questions, and Valerie helped translate. Others came into the store and stayed for the duration, and the store sold lots of books! It was really fun meeting some of my French readers. I have photos of the kids on my camera but not the adaptor to download them, but here are a few photos from my phone. 

This is me with the store owners and employees. And yes, that is a new top I bought at Les Aventures de Toile. Afterward I headed back to the book fair. Have I described this thing properly? Two levels, HUGE, devoted completely to children's books. It was packed again on Sunday, this time full of families. Honestly, it blows me away how much the French love their books, and their children's books in particular. This was clearly an outing for thousands of families. I honestly can't think of anything that compares to it in Canada, not on this scale. So this is why I love the French; the reading culture is still very much alive and well, and they still love real books. I haven't seen one e-device yet. (Not that I'm against them, I have one myself). I met some more of my French readers, which was really cool. It's hard for me to describe how exciting it is to meet all of these kids and adults who have discovered my books in French. I also met a woman from Belgium who told me my books do well there, and that Henry K. Larsen has been nominated for a literary prize there. Apparently the award is made entirely out of Belgian chocolate. So, I really hope I win that one! 

 Just to give you a sense of how crowded this fair is.

When I got back to our flat, Mom and I headed out to do a bit of shopping, then rode the metro (which was PACKED with families) to the Champs Elysee-Clemenceau stop to see flying Santa. Basically it's a man in a sled on a slow-moving zipline, suspended in the air. It's part of the Christmas fair we'd gone to the day before, and I don't know - we just really needed to see Santa fly. I will only say that the experience was anti-climactic. We then walked partway home along the Seine, with the Eiffel Tower lit up like a torch behind us - beautiful.
We stopped for an aperitif at the Palais Royale, sitting outside under a heater. Then Metro'ed back to our neighbourhood for dinner at the Cafe Beaubourg. I had a Parmentier du Canard. How have I missed this dish?? It's like shepherd's pie but with duck. It was great. 

Today it was back at the fair for my final signing. The highlight, again, was sitting beside Steven Guarnaccia, who is a very engaged and engaging man. Met a bunch of librarians and booksellers today. Then it was home to get Mom. We wandered through more of St. Germain des Pres and shopped. Ooh, j'adore St. Germain des Pres. Tonight we will have dinner with Gilberte. Then tomorrow I have the entire day free, till 6 pm when I visit Merle Moquer, another bookstore. I think there will be a book club there, too. Then Wednesday - home. And now, perhaps I'll eat a piece of the fart-fromage ...

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