The last time I came to Paris, I felt so shattered every time I tried to speak French, and the response would generally be extremely impatient or gruff accented English. This time, it seems that I’m getting better service everywhere. People are actually responding back to me in French, or when they do respond back in English, it’s generally been in a very friendly tone. I don’t know if it’s because of where I am going this time around, or maybe it’s because I look older and can somehow command more respect even though it’s only been four years? The language is coming back to me quicker than I thought it would, and as the days go by, I can feel my listening comprehension getting better.
And there’s really no better place to practice your French than in the endless boulangeries, patisseries, and chocolate and tea shops all over Paris. Today, I dragged Chris and his parents all over Paris to three different chocolate shops (Jacques Genin, La Maison Du Chocolat, and Patrick Roger), a gorgeous and famous bakery (Du Pain et Des Idees), a macaron/chocolate shop (the love that is Pierre Herme), and a Parisian ice cream shop (Berthillon — incredible cassis, pistachio, salted caramel and mango ice creams and sorbets). In between, we managed to squeeze in lunch at Le Comptoir in Saint Germain and a visit to L’Orangerie to visit Monet’s endless water lilies panels. This trip to Paris has been fuller and more positive than the last one, not just for the language aspect, but also because the eating has been better because of my endless research before we arrived.