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Cider And Other French Delights

Can’t you hear the fizz of that Breton cider in the cup? Man, I love that stuff. The artisanal apple cider from Bretagne and Normandie amazes and delights me. It’s so complex — like sparkling apple wine, really — and, I find, tastes both elegant and earthy, a pleasing paradox. In a little more than a week, I’m traveling with my son and my friend Philippe, and his son, to the D-Day beaches at Normandy. We will be driving through apple country, which means cider country, which means the trunk of the car will arrive back in Paris heavier than when it left.

And yet, I must confess that I’ve come to the end of my first burst of foodie frenzy here. I’ve had to; remember, Votre Jeune Travailleur has mono, which entails an aggrieved foie. This morning, after liturgy, I crashed, and had a few twinges of pain that signalled une petite crise de foie. Of course! Last night I had a double cornet of Berthillon cherry sorbet on the way to dinner, then a crepe with cheese, mushrooms, ham, and egg at Breizh Cafe, washed down with a carafe of cider. I’ve been noshing on chevre and other cheeses bought at the farmer’s market on the Place Maubert, plus these delicious babies:

 … which taste like Thanksgiving in a chip. Roasted chicken and thyme potato chips! Only in France.

I brought back some salted butter caramel from Cafe Breizh, made with the cultish Bordier butter:

It’s hard to find the words to describe how delicious this stuff is on toasted baguette.

Anyway, you get the point: it’s too much, and I’m going to be gouty as a late Bourbon if I keep this up. So, tomorrow, I back off a bit, and the blogging will be more expansive and cultural. We’re getting our feet (with blisters like enraged jellybeans) on solid ground here, and the whee! we’re in Paris! flush is abating. It’s a real comfort to know that we’re going to be here for a few weeks, and don’t have to rush, rush, rush to do everything. The museum going starts in force tomorrow, though. We plan to do a tour of the Notre Dame cathedral, Sainte Chapelle, and then the Cluny museum, which is the national museum of the Middle Ages.

It was, by the way, an inspired decision by my wife that we should book a place within easy walking distance of the Luxembourg Gardens. The kids absolutely love it there. While I napped this afternoon, Julie took them over there again, and they played in the basin with rented sailboats, which were awesome. When you’re done there, you can have crepes with Nutella at the crepes stand, which is also awesome. But there I go again, with the food.

I want to mention as well that the Divine Liturgy today was lovely. We walked over to a tiny storefront Russian Orthodox parish, near the Place Maubert. The congregation must have been only between 20 or 30 people, but they filled the chapel, and there was a sweet sense of radiant joy among the people. I have been in Orthodox parishes much larger than that where the atmosphere of blessing wasn’t nearly as golden and rich as what we experienced there today.

UPDATE: Change of plans — we’re going to save our museum passes for later in the trip, once the blisters on Mom and Dad’s feet have turned into hardened driftwood capable of enduring anything we have better acclimated. Tomorrow: an easy-peasy bit of poking around the Rue du Bac (including a visit to St. Catherine Laboure’s incorrupt body), Deyrolle, and maybe even a step across the river to pay our respects to the macarons at Fauchon.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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