There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. We always returned to it no matter who we were or how it was changed or with what difficulties, or ease, it could be reached. Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it. But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy. ― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
Sometimes I think sugar, or one’s longing for it, alters one’s perception of reality. For example, take the planning of a certain NY|Paris|Aix en Provence itinerary. Fairly straightforward, all one needed to do was book the hotels, secure a Euro Rail reservation and call it a day. But then there was sugar — the romance of what Paris was for me at 25 and what the reality is now at 36 — and a botched itinerary. Yesterday I discovered that I’m leaving for Provence TODAY and that I hadn’t booked a hotel for my last evening in France (Saturday). After a multitude of phone calls, I got it all sorted out, but was saddened that my plans for today are now set for Friday.
But I digress. My train is at 3:05PM today, and I thought I’d make the most of this morning and explore more of the Bastille neighborhood and the surrounding areas.
Tipped off by my very sage work colleague, Stephanie Dolce (isn’t her last name perfect??!), I discovered Meert in the Third Arrondissement. A staple in Paris since the 18th Century, Meert is best known for their paper-thin waffles. From a few simple ingredients (the recipe is tightly guarded) — butter, sugar, vanilla from Madagascar — to a technique that spans a few hundred years, you’ll encounter a piece of sugary perfection. I kept my waffle simple, but feel free to order praline, pistachio or cherry (the options vary by season). One would think I would snarf a waffle and go, but I am no ordinary woman.
THERE WERE CHOCOLATES TO PROCURE! LOAVES OF GINGER BREAD TO HOARD! AS SAMUEL BECKETT ONCE SAID, “I CAN’T GO ON, I GO ON!” It’s strange to think that Beckett was a student of Joyce, but I digress.
And so it goes. The shop keeper was extraordinarily kind (so much so he offered to alter the lighting so my photos would be perfect: “We’re making a photo studio!” he exclaimed), doling me sample chocolates and giving me tips on how to preserve my goods longer. I noted that preservation would not be a problem, but rather survival from sugar shock? Another issue.
From biscuits to chocolate bars and truffles to caramels and loaves, there is no shortage of sweet confections at Meert. If you happen to be in Paris, I implore you, downright BEG you, to visit Meert.