Voilà, a nice baguette for Madame

My head is buzzing with madness.

If you think of queuing, you think of London and its neatly lined up bus passengers. They do not exist in Paris. If a bus stops, the heap of people in front of the bus stops like a pack of wolves on the doors. But in other matters, the Parisians are very well and well-mannered serpent. You'll be in front of the bakery, the fishmonger, the florist, the cashier in the fashion boutique, at the entrance to "Café Angelina" and even at the entrance of luxury stores like Louis Vuitton on the Champs-Élysées. Of course, it is because in so little other European capital so many people live in such a small space and the rush is accordingly large. But that is not the only reason. The fact is that the actual deal in Paris takes longer than anywhere else, because the French have to make a huge fuss about everything.

You do not just buy a croissant

Take the everyday example of a croissant purchase. When it's my turn to line up, it sounds like a bell-like voice: "Good day, Madame! What can it be, Madame?" In Germanic brevity I say: "A croissant, please!" Now the baker's wife starts a litany of friendly sales talk. "Of course, Madame, a croissant, Voilà, the croissant, for the Madame, a nice croissant, is there anything else, Madame?" I shake my head in silence, and on it goes. "Madame wants nothing more, Alors, just a croissant for Madame, that's in the bag right now, and that makes one euro and ten for the Madame." My head is buzzing with madness. While I put the change on the cash register, on the other side of the counter, the little croissant bag with a big gesture and a swinging-sporty arm twist is cleverly screwed in at the corners so that an air cushion is created between the croissant and the paper bag inner wall. I tried to imitate this gesture at home dozens of times. Unsuccessful.

The French take their time, a lot of time!

Basically, the more expensive the product, the more spectacular the trappings. One can imagine the extent of purchasing a Dior bag can take. However, my personal favorite in terms of shopping is the teashop Mariages Frères. Especially the branch in the Marais quarter. It is advisable to buy a newspaper before your visit, because until it's your turn, it takes half an hour to pass. But then you take on the supporting role in a perfectly rehearsed play. Without ever having been in the rehearsals, the tea seller tells me that I'm doing everything right. For my wish "Darjeeling" I get a nod, which means that I have drawn from the lottery drum the only valid card. The salesman whirls around like a ballet dancer and quickly pulls out of the huge wall of tea containers four large black-red decorated vats, which he lets me circle in well-paused intervals and with elegant hand movements one behind the other under the nose. Here is my application! I have to smell, react, decide. Which of the four Darjeeling varieties is mine? A wink from the salesman silently conveys: "Take your time! Do not pay attention to the snake behind you!"

The play is over.

After the decision is before the decision. Because after the tea, the packaging must be chosen. "Which box would you like to have?" Dazed by the scents, I stand at the cash register. About ten minutes later, I return to the seller with the receipt, but he is still busy with the 300 grams of Darjeeling. Only when the last loop is pulled on the third outer packaging, the curtain lowers. The play is over, the supporting cast may resign.

"Paris is the benchmark for externalized aesthetics", aptly written by Ulrich Wickert in his classic "And God Created Paris" and dedicated to another chapter of French staging art, the emotional attachment of Parisians to their pompous house facades. Quarter, address and appearance of an apartment or office are important. Less important is how it looks like. looks. The reality of a stink-normal French office, therefore, is usually made of a water-damaged and stained with coffee stains carpet and shabby office furniture from the 70s. A German worker would be shocked. Normally, the visitor catches a neat and well-dressed receptionist in the fancy entrance hall, for smaller business conversations there are designer furniture ready, larger deals are negotiated anyway at the meal.The outer form is maintained, the distance politely celebrated - especially in the French business language, which is about to reek pompous tapeworm sentences.

The French need their phrases

At the beginning of my life in Paris I was unaware that these phrases, which were strictly pre-formulated, were to be observed, and so I made a tragic faux pas. When I waited patiently for several months to settle an invoice, I translated a German reminder literally into French and sent it off. The answer came quickly and clearly. An unknown lady from the accounting department called me and showered me with reproaches: What came to mind and what a tone! In France, no bill would be paid within three months, my reminder was outrageous. , , The message was clear: it was not you, the defaulting payee, but me, the unpaid service provider, that was evil because I did not stick to the codes of opulent talk presentation. It was a lesson to me. Today I play the theater (mostly) and greet the baker's wife daily with an exuberant "Bonjour, Madame!".

Des baguettes en 90 min sans pétrissage (March 2023).

Paris, Baguette, Spectacle, London, Bakery, Louis Vuitton, Champs-Elysees, Croissant, Staging, France