When I was a little girl, I thought it would be cool to live in Paris one day and have children who spoke French. Watch out what you wish for!
What I hadn't realized is that by the time your children speak good French, they are pretty French. Mais oui, they are part foreign!
Ladurée is an old favorite of mine in Paris, from the days when they had only one store, on the rue Royale. Nowadays Ladurée is an empire and always crowded with tourists. L had a craving for a religieuse à la rose, so we made our way to the original Ladurée and stopped, horrified. The entire pastry section had disappeared, replaced by a little boutique selling candles in Ladurée's signature tasteful pale green boxes. There was a line of tourists waiting to be seated at the tiny, uncomfortable little tables. (I always used to go upstairs where there is way more room.)
"Il n'y a plus de vente à emporter?" I asked the cashier.
He smiled reassuringly and waved his hand behind his back. "Si, si!" he said. "They just moved it next door."
We went out and saw that next door was another whole Ladurée shop, with a much longer gleaming line of pastries than ever before, and a queue to match. The three of us dutifully got in line behind about twenty Japanese tourists and some Americans and Brits. After N and I had waited for a few minutes, I noticed that L was no longer standing with me. I looked past the end of the queue and saw her paying and being given two little green boxes of pastries in a bag. She beckoned to me.
"Did you just walk right in front of all those tourists?" I said.
"But Maman," she said, "I'm a Parisian. Why should I have to wait in line behind tourists?"
"Didn't anyone say anything?" I said.
She made a moue. "Well, yes, the garçon asked me if I had waited in line, and I said yes. I had!"
"And no one else said anything?"
"No. You see, because I'm Parisian, they just think that they're doing something wrong."