11 July 2006

Rabbits and Eggplants

What is a nimble rabbit? Not what, but where. Le Lapin Agile, actually. If you ever find yourself in Paris, exploring the neighborhood that surrounds painters square behind Sacre Coeur, you, too, might come across this little brasserie. "Le Lapin Agile?" I wonder, quickly doing a high school French translation in my head. "The Nimble Rabbit." Huh. I chuckle to myself at the absudity and go about my little Parisienne promenade, enjoying being "on holiday" as those Europeans call it, tra-la-la, not a care in the world. We stop at Les Deux Moulins for une chocolate chaude and wonder, in this part of the city, a few blocks from the more famous Moulin Rouge and the more infamous Pigalle neighborhood, where were there two windmills of enough note for which to name a cafe after?

[I also stop to take a picture because I am That American Tourist who really only sought out this specific cafe because it is where the movie Amelie was filmed. Luckily, there are some British folks there doing the same exact thing. We all feel cheesy together.]

The next day, we stop at a place called Les Deux Magots. I do not order the chocolate chaude, because it's like 6 friggin euros and know it will be the size of a thimble, so I get une cafe avec creme et une quiche lorraine while contemplating why this cafe is named after maggots. Then my wise traveling companion, who sips her espresso sans sucre like a pro, who also happens to be living in the 16th, tells me that it's named after two magi, not maggots, and that Hemingway used to hang out here. I think, "We'll that's good," even though I don't really like Hemingway much (Shut up, all your English majors. Just because he's rumored to be one of the greatest writers of the 20th century doesn't mean that some of us just find him really droll and depressing). Our waiter does nothing but sneer at us from the tip of his nose. He is the only French person on my trip that lived up to the stereotypes. Probably just assumed we were sterotypical Americans. Oh well. Later, I find out that the chocolate chaude is 6 euros because that's what this cafe is famous for, and I kick myself for not sucking up the cost and ordering it. I am on holiday after all.

So while I walk about, exploring streets and neighborhoods, eating croissants for breakfast on my daily constitutional, popping into trendy shops I can't afford, peering into the windows of hip eateries that I'm not hip enough to eat in, and wondering how fabulous it must be to be Parisian, I also think about what I would name my cafe, if someone gifted me a little nook of a shop on a pedestrian street near the Seine, preferably dans la rive gauche. Something quaint and cheery, I decide; something that sounds lovely in French but truly ridiculous in English. And that, my friend, is how "L'Aubergine Joyeuse" is born.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I love this Katie. Great name and you brought back some of the joy of Paris that was lost to me when my father proposed to his wife under the Eiffel Tower on New Years Eve. Yeah, romantic as hell, but Paris has sucked for me ever since. Someday I hope to find joy again in the city of lights...perhaps having a crepe avec chocolat at your little cafe.