When on a tour, your mind is scattered. Between finding the perfect spot to tell a historical story, judging the interest value of each child as you babble on about Napoleon, dodging traffic, and minding the time, mental exhaustion sets in quickly. Things are forgotten, details are ignored, and often pastries are stashed in bags for later consumption.
After a trip to the bakery Gérard Mulot for some organic baguette tradition and a splurge item – chouquettes, little dough balls covered in pearls of sugar – we tasted the bread and talked history. I tried to remain as focused as possible.
“We’ll save these choquettes for later,” I said, obviously placing sweets after savory. We still had cheese to taste and it was beginning to rain. I wanted to get moving before the heavens opened up.
“Sounds great!” the dad told me.
And so the pastries were packed away for a final tasting. More specifically, I packed them away in my bag. Fatal error.
At the end of the tour, as I handed over the cheese and charcuterie that we had purchased, I said good-bye and we hustled to find a taxi to whisk away the family as the rain started to overtake us. As I reached into my bag to get my phone, I felt a paper bag crunching under my hand. The chouquettes. I had forgotten to hand them over with the rest of the food!
Had they forgotten, too? Was I so distracted by the cheese selection, the questions, and the translation of the various terrines at the charcuterie that I didn’t process the contents of my bag? Or did I all-too-conveniently forget, I thought to myself as I polished off another sweet morsel by Notre Dame? Possibly.
The guilt wore off by the time I threw the bag away in the Marais on my way home. Well, as much as Catholic guilt can wear off, at least. I had splurged on some other fruits and pastries for the family (including a fine-looking bag of mirabelles, or yellow plums), so they were set.
But tourists be warned. If ever a sweet items finds its way into my bag, don’t hesitate to remind me, gently or otherwise, to surrender said item before we part.