The Miracle of Meandering

Ladder to HeavenMy plan today was to walk around. I had no exact endpoint, but I had some options in mind.  I started early enough to visit the Latin Quarter without everyone else visiting it at the same time.  I considered taking a bus up to Montmartre, but by the time I found a bus that actually went up there, I found something more enticing to do.

With my map sitting on my couch at home, I connected familiar streets with new ones.  While on new territory, I gazed in windows to observe copper pots, cooking utensils, and bakeware.  I found a cookware shop.  And not just any cookware, but the best one in Paris that has been open since 1820 (E. Dehillirin)!  You know, the one that Julia Child used to go to purchase supplies while training at Le Cordon Bleu.  The one my chef recommended at the cooking school.  Of course I stumble in the entryway with excitement.

The first step in reveals what looks like and smells like my granddad’s garage, only filled with cooking items instead of tools and nails.  It is packed with pots, pans, people, and all kinds of nifty little gadgets.  The thrill of a cooking store is always high for me, but this one was like the best roller coaster at the park.  I bumped into people and looked around in awe and confusion.

What is that used for?  Where are the prices?  What do these numbers mean?  I spent at least an hour looking at this table, then going downstairs, then going back to the table, and still trying to figure out what it all costs.  I heard the word catalog and the light bulb turned on.  The numbers refer to items in a catalog which will indicate the price.  I wrote down the numbers of possible purchases and sought out a catalog.  Aha!  I’ve mastered this system.

After careful consideration of my budget, I opt for a few standby utensils.  My dreams are bigger, but my wallet is not.  Enchanted to be buying something from a professional cooking store, I make my way to the counter to pay.  Once again my basic logic of how a store operates proves to be wrong.

First you have to visit the guy with the order notepad.  He records what you have selected.  Then you leave your items on the table and go to the counter.  A new man looks up the prices and returns with a receipt.  Once all items have been paid for, you go back to the table where they wrap and bag your desires.  The man in front of me bought over 450 Euros worth of copper pots.  If only I could afford these pieces of artwork and magic, or be able to ship them home.

What a thrill to learn and achieve success with this wonderful store.  Ready for more, I went down the street to find another cooking store.  The charm and dust were not there, so I left quietly.  If I want to shop at a store like that, I will go to Sur la Table at home.  Let’s just say Sur la Table has nothing on E. Dehillirin.

With a culinary mindset, I decided it was finally time to have some escargot.  Perhaps a restaurant named l’Escargot would be a good idea.  It just so happened they had a special with the tasty little snails and veal.  My meal was good, but I still set escargot I devoured in Madison, Wisconsin as the best in the world.  I think my favorite part of the meal is becoming the cafe.  To think I never used to like coffee, and now it doesn’t feel right to end a meal without one.

15 thoughts on “The Miracle of Meandering

  1. Heyjude says:

    I stopped eating snails when I realised it was the garlic butter I preferred!

    Funny how meandering can lead to some of the more interesting places. Happened to me when I literally found La Pagode. Wasn’t looking, didn’t know it existed, then a glimpse of the garden led me to it http://wp.me/pL2aa-3J

    As for your buying experience that sounds a lot like shops in India! Truly bewildering for us westerners, but a much more personal experience. Again, thank you for the wander.
    Jude xx

  2. Linda says:

    It goes to show that there is much more to the Latin Quarter than meets the eye. What a great find, and such a flaneur!

  3. Kerry says:

    “To think I never used to like coffee, and now it doesn’t feel right to end a meal without one.”

    I felt the same way after our return from Italy. I had seven photos of caffe! Dear husband has suggested that we purchase an espresso machine and I think I’m going to take him up on that offer.

  4. L. White says:

    This was on my list to see when I was in Paris. So glad you were there and can tell us all about it. I know your parents will be so happy when you are home safe, but I will miss these fascinating posts of life in Paris.

    • Liberated Traveler says:

      It is too bad you didn’t make it there. There is always next time.

      Didn’t you hear that I got a sponsor and will become a professional travel writer and photographer? I wish. I’m going to have to find some ways to keep my blog interesting while I’m not on the road.

  5. Kim says:

    I showed my son the pic of the escargot and in his very good 8th grade 3rd year French he said… “ahh les frites in a petite tower!” We love the little building of potatoes! So much fun! Happy to see you are having a blast!

  6. Kerry says:

    Could you travel to a museum, park, lake beach, trail, farmer’s market….with a photography challenge in mind? When my old camera died and I needed practice with the new one I went to a small museum that I hadn’t visited since 1986. I had a great time, learned a lot, spent $5, and traveled only 13 miles.

    • Liberated Traveler says:

      Kerry, I think you are right. I will basically have to be a traveler in my own territory. I do live next to Chicago, so there are plenty of things to capture. I also want to take some day trips to Madison, WI, Galena, IL, and Indianapolis. I’ll find ways to keep myself busy until the next big adventure.

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