Three Dobies in the Bar

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  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 The 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 Nicholas, 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 — Jeanne 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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