Three Dobies in the Bar



Yesterday was just a typical Saturday afternoon and evening
in Paris. At 4 pm (16h) I had made a rendez-vous with a girlfriend to
check out the new café/salon de thé on the Rue L’Olive, a pedestrian
shopping street that has been growing more and more lively during the
five years I’ve lived in the neighborhood. Lately, I’d seen small
tables and chairs set outside what used to be a beauty supply store,
with young, hip people sipping their coffee and tea. I didn’t know the
exact address, but since the street is only one block long, my
directions to my friend were “it’s just next to the Nicholas”. (As I
explain in my shopping guide, “Best Buys and Bargains in Paris,”
Nicholas is a great French wine store chain). I arrived a bit early
only to find that it was more than just a café/salon de thé/beauty
supply store. The owner, Max, is Senegalese, and has also opened a
small restaurant that serves great looking dishes, besides the drinks.
He addressed me in perfect English: “I believe you have an accent.
Where are you from?” It turns out, he had lived in the United States,
and I guess he still had fond memories (he was pleased that I came from
the U.S.).

My friend turned up, we ordered our thés à la
menthe, and then we started speaking about this and that. Suddenly, a
tall man came right up to our table and announced, with a broad
American accent, “I heard that you’re American!” I guess word travels
fast, in this case via our new Senegalese friend. We spent the next
hour speaking with the young man, who turned out to be an American
documentary filmmaker living in my neighborhood. This may not be
unusual in the center of Paris, but you’ve got to imagine my
neighborhood a blend of immigrants from: North Africa, the rest of
Africa (French speaking), China, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Sri Lanka and
India. You can also throw in a few Russians and some Romanian gypsies.
Plus, bien-sûr, a sprinkling of “French-French”. You get the picture.
In any case, I rarely hear English spoken.

The three of
us exchanged views on all aspects of documentaries, especially Michael
Moore’s Bowling for Columbine. The documentary filmmaker left. My
friend and I finished our tea, made a brief stop together at the
Chinese supermarket, Paristore, just around the corner, and then I went
home by myself. After that, a quick phone call to another girlfriend
who lives nearby. We had talked earlier about having dinner together.
Yep, she still was ok. I volunteered to bring over 2 bottles of blonde
beer (which I’ve just discovered made in Belgium–great stuff) plus
several slices of my chicken loaf. I must digress here about ground
chicken. I don’t know why, but the French still have not discovered
ground chicken or turkey. There’s a lot more poultry sold on the shelf,
but never ground. I, however, have a source. The previously mentioned
Chinese supermarket. They have a butchers counter where they sell
chicken fillets and, if in a good mood, the Chinese butcher will put
them through the meat grinder, “Madam, you don’t mind some pork coming
out into the chicken?” Well, I’m not kosher and I’m desperate for
ground chicken. “No problem,” I reply.

Thanks to the
Paristore, I arrived at my friend’s apartment with the chicken loaf
(secret recipe–always turns out great) and the beer. Now, my friend
(another American) has a Doberman Pinscher called Django. He’s a
fantastic dog. I believe his profile is more like a deer than a dog.
Really very sweet. Really. So, after our dinner, we decided to go for a
walk in her neighborhood. With Django. This was an interesting
experience, as I have never experienced such respect as when
accompanied by a Doberman. We bumped into Dominique, a friend of my
girlfriend’s, standing just outside a local bar, and he invited us in
for a drink. A friend of his then joined us who, it turned out, also
had a Doberman. “Why yes, he’s just out in my car!” Came into the bar
with his Dobie. But, this is not Django. I see a thin and extremely
nervous dog. His owner proudly revealed that this dog had just finished
a training course–including attack training! Oops. Nervous circling of
two Dobies. Of course, Dominique also had his Doberman, my goodness,
just outside in his car. Welcome Dobie Number Three, one and one-half
times a large as the two other dogs. Three Dobies in the bar, nervously
circling around each other. We finished our drinks real fast and
continued on our walk.

Just another typical Saturday afternoon and evening in Paris.

The Rue L’Olive and the Paristore are one block away from the Metro stop Marx Dormoy

Senegalese café/restaurant does not have its new name listed. Look for
the sign “Eden Flower”, the former beauty supply store. It’s located at
6 Rue L’Olive and is open everyday, 8 am to 11 pm. You can phone Max on
his cell phone at: +33 (0)6-7914 5636 if you need to reserve a table.

Paristore, 8 Rue de L’Evangile, open Tuesday to Saturday, 9 am to 7:30 pm, Sunday 9 am to 6:45 pm

4 bis rue L’Olive, open Tuesday to Friday, 9 am to 1:30 pm and 6 to 8
pm, Saturday, 9 am to 8 pm and Sunday, 9:30 am to 1 pm

Feldman is an intercultural specialist working with English speaking
expatriates to help them integrate into french life, both
professionally and personally. In addition she works with French
executives who need to communicate internationally.

Jeanne has also written a shopping guide, Best Buys and Bargains in Paris.

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