There was just no way to avoid them — so if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!
On our first night, over dinner, a Frenchman told us to go to Paul to try their chocolate at least once while we were there. That wasn’t going to be too difficult as they were found pretty much all over the city. The deciding moment happened by chance a couple of days later when we went down into the metro and were stopped in our tracks. Here it was in front of us, Paul Patisserie with its doors wide open, so why not finally try it. As I started taking photos of the place, one of the women behind the counter motioned me not to take pictures. Even if there wasn’t really much to shoot (it was’t that big a shop), I just had to let out an audible ‘whhhhyyyy?’ (in French of course). She didn’t bother answering.
It was a nice break as we sat down and enjoyed some delicious, thick, hot chocolate; cannelé; and pan de chocolat. Heerlijk! as the Dutch would say.
As we exited the store and walked away into the sunset (literally-speaking as we were walking westward in the late afternoon), I felt exhilarated from the whole transaction. It was for me a different reality, and a worthwhile learning experience. I saw how people behaved in that rarefied world and can now say I’m a little less naive and a tad more worldly-wise. As an experiment, I thought to carry the Prada bag over my shoulder to see how people would react. My conclusion — Parisians are absolutely blasé to visiting nouveaux riche wanna-be’s like me. And that’s just how it should be.