Friday, July 13, 2007
I’ve finally figured out why everything takes so long in this country …
Everyone is high! A new study was just published in Gallic newspaper Le Monde with the headline: “Cannabis: a French Addiction.” According to the report, 1.2 million French people regularly smoke “hashish,” 550,000 of whom smoke every day. By age 17, half of the French population has already experimented with marijuana and 200,000 Frenchies admit to growing their own “shit” (pronounced “sheeeet”).
So THAT’s where the famous expression “Paris is burning” comes from. This explains so much. Why is my waiter taking 1.76 hours to bring out a boeuf tartare not even in need of cooking? He’s smoking a doobie with the pastry chef in the back room. Why can’t I get anyone on the phone before 11 am? They had a little “herbal tea” with breakfast. Why are there no taxis to be found on a Saturday night? Because the cabbies are cultivating their plants at home, of course. France spends an estimated 832 million euros per year on the drug (yet they can’t afford to give me free health care mind you.) French history makes so much more sense now.
Take this weekend’s upcoming Bastille Day celebration. Why did the people of Paris rise up and storm the Bastille on July 14th, 1789? Well, because the state prison symbolized the absolutism and arbitrariness of the Ancien Regime, right ? Mais non. In fact, there was a secret stash of weed hidden inside so storming the place with force was the only way to get a hold of the hash. When authorities questioned said druggies, they simply responded « it was in the name of freedom ! Vive la revolution ! » and the holiday was born.
The « Dark Ages » actually represented the years when the hashish crop was suffering and the French had to endure years of limited marijuana supplies.
And Louis XIV ? Nicknamed the « Sun King » of course because he was always wearing protective shades to hide his red eyes. Napoleon was so short because his growth was stunted from all of the pot his mother smoked before he was born. And how else do you explain all of the mirrors in Versailles ? When Marie Antoinette said « let them eat cake » she was actually referring to the munchies. The Eiffel Tower is really just a very tall joint. And why do you think Jacques Chirac always has that sly smile on his face ? Not to mention that US comedy “Weeds” is one of the most popular TV shows here. And you’d need to be high to laugh at most French humor. It’s all so clear now.
Resto of the Day: La Ferme Opéra. It’s the only “farm” you’ll probably ever find me at. “Le Ferme,” located just a stone’s throw away from Opéra, is my latest obsession. Totally “bio” (organic), La Ferme offers homemade, fresh products for breakfast and lunch. My personal favorites include their heavenly scones (dipped in a “noisette noisette,” an espresso mixed with milk, hazelnut syrup and shaved hazelnuts), amazing carrot cake, healthy salads (quinoa with avocado, almonds and tomatoes or bulgur taboulé with feta, olives, tomato and a mint pesto), wraps (chicken with eggplant spread, coriander and cucumbers or lemon-marinated chicken with avocado, carrots, and cucumbers), quiche (feta and sundried tomato or cucumber carbonara), rice pudding with mango and strawberries or fromage blanc with dried fruit, meusli and honey. Sit in the cute “garden” in the back room or take advantage of their free wireless in the main area in the front. And – sacré bleu! – they’re open on Sundays! (and do a great Sunday brunch mind you).
Crazy French expression of the day:
“Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l’ours avant de l’avoir tué.” (“Don’t sell the bear skin before you’ve killed the bear.”)
In English, we say “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”
Musical selection of the day: Martin Rappeneau’s “Poupée Russe.” Martin Rappeneau, son of director Jean-Paul Rappeneau, is currently wowing France with his soft, lyrical tunes such as this wonderful ballad from his CD “L’Age d’Or.”
“Oh ma poupée russe, Le passé est semé d'embûches.” (“Oh my Russian doll, the past is scattered with traps” – yes doesn’t everything just sound better in French?) and “Sous ton visage d'autres visages, Dans tes yeux d'autres paysages Bien difficile à effacer. Dans tes mains d'autres caresses, Dans ta mémoire d'autres adresses,
Que l'on devrait laisser cachées. Oh ma poupée russe, On trouvera bien quelques astuces. (“Under your face, other faces. In your eyes, other landscapes, difficult to erase. In your hands, other caresses. In your memory, other addresses, that we should leave hidden. Oh my Russian doll, we’ll find tricks.”) Martin, feel free to Rapp(eneau) your hands around me any day ;)