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This Must Be The Place

le bar a huitres, Montparnasse

Well, gosh, this is hard, this transition. The sleep situation is way messed up. I slept for four hours, woke up, had a sandwich, then went back to bed for eight hours. Julie and Nora still sleeping.

But yes, this must be the place, Paris. Matthew and I set out this morning looking for power adapters, as the one we brought didn’t fit the plugs in this apartment (which is weird, because it fit the plugs in my Paris hotel fine this spring). We went all the way down the Blvd St-Germain to the Monoprix on the  rue de Rennes, and bought “France/USA” adapters. We stopped on the way at my favorite place in all of Paris, the Huitrerie Regis, which was not yet open, of course, but I made my devotion.

Then, after Monoprix, we trundled over to the nearby Poilane bakery for croissants and one of their famous miches. Walking back through the Luxembourg Gardens, I thought about how great the food culture here is. To buy something that’s at the height of gastronomy — Poilane bread, I mean — and to have it available to you at an affordable price … well, it’s incredible, just incredible. I would rather be inside Poilane, or Huitrerie Regis, than on any beach in the world. But that’s me. And by the way, the butter and the honey and the cheese I bought at Monoprix (think Target with a grocery store inside) is as good as the best American has to offer.

The stupid adapters didn’t work at all, and with all our electronics down to almost no power, I had to set out again, this time in a different direction. I went down to Montparnasse, after finding a tiny electronic store on Yelp. I walked in, and, in French, said hello, then, fearing I wouldn’t be able to manage this transaction because I lack vocabulary for electronic things, asked the old man behind the counter if he spoke English.

If a face could give a Gallic shrug, his did. “Vous parlez francais bien,” he said. Which is not true, but I knew exactly what he was saying: You’re in my country, young man, so you speak my language. Somehow, I made it out of there with three adapters. On the trek home, I passed le bar a huitres in Montparnasse (see above), the Marais outpost of which was the first place I ever tried French oysters (and will therefore live in, um, famy).

The new adapters work just fine, which is why I can post this. All is well.

Or well-ish. My iPad died before we got on the plane in Baton Rouge. No idea why. No attempt at fixing it works. I can live without it, but Matthew put about 10 books on it. Matthew without something to read is like a fish out of water; he’s in the living room of this apartment, flopping and gasping. And my biography of Gen. de Gaulle is on the thing. Observe, the advantage of having a real book instead of an electronic book. So I have to find my way across the river to the Apple store in the mall under the Louvre, and see if they’ll replace the damn thing. Frustrating how dependent we’ve become on electronics. I just want to put my head on a pillow of Poilane and sleep, but my electronic needs won’t let me.

But: the chestnuts are falling in the Luxembourg Gardens. I have seen them myself, this morning, and the sight filled me with pleasure and comfort. This indeed must be the place.

P.S. I see that Romney is widely thought to have won last night’s debate. Good. I don’t know for sure which one of these men I want to win (truth is, neither, but you know what I mean), but I don’t think Obama should coast to re-election. Make him work for it, I say.

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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