Paris Diaries: La Grande Horizontale
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I woke up late in that fluffy comfortable bed. I didn't even bother to get up for breakfast. I figured it was my last day in Paris, I could be as decadent as I want. I was sure there are those of you who think at my age I should stop acting like a 21 year old with impulse control issues. There may be even those of you who think I woke up feeling horrible and dirty and used. Those who think that all my bravado here is covering for some deep shame. I've spent too much of my life living by ridiculous rules, coping with suffering and madness, deprived of what so many others take for granted, to feel guilty about a single moment of pleasure no matter how sordid and vile it may seem to others. I woke up remembering the vow that I took when Eric left-I was going to take every pleasure I could get my hands on for as long as possible. I'll wear glitter and seduce foreign men until the bitter fucking end, and when it's all over I'll become famous writing a memoir about it.

I woke up in love with the world again, and even in love with the decadent whore, la petite coquine, that I am.

I lay under the covers looking out at the Parisian skyline thinking about the kind of damage I could do to Nikolae in this bed with the taste of his skin still in my mouth. How nice it would be to fall asleep in this bed next to him-sweaty and satiated-only to have him waken me hours later for more love making. No foreplay, no pretense, no nervous flirting or phantom conference room lights, just unrestrained passion. I smiled at the very thought of it, and stayed under the covers-warm and snuggle-y a bit longer, unwilling yet to give up my early morning daydream.

Unfortunately, the debauchery of the previous evening had triggered a bit of a relapse of the flu. Rather than head off to St. Eustache, as planned, I thought I needed to start the day off right with a decadent tea at Mariage Frere. I ordered a pot of the Earl Grey Fleur Bleu and the chocolate Tentation-which was the delicate french version of Death by Chocolate. I sat too tired to read or write, pleasantly letting my mind wander, and each time I found my mind meandering in the general direction of Nikolae and the damage I could do to him.

I tried to distract myself by paying attention to the moment I was in. I realized that unlike my previous time in Mariage Frere that the song "Tomorrow" from the musical Annie was playing on the sound system followed by Ethel Merman singing "Everything's Coming Up Roses." I found myself smiling at the musical choices. I finished my tea and decided it was finally time to seize the day-and I began by buying a Mariage Frere white ceramic teapot. It was, by far, the most expensive teapot I've ever considered purchasing. Even now I shudder to think what I spent, but I decided that as a potential "family heirloom" it was worth the expense. I'm not sure to what family I was thinking of as its pretty clear that I'm never going to get married and my cousin who traffics in child pornography-he's probably not going to have any kids either. But I don't think that way in Paris. In Paris, I think it could happen. So I bought the teapot and another tin of decadent tea, this time Earl Grey Fleur Bleu. If it could bring even the ghost of the feeling I had in Paris it would be money well spent.

I did absolutely nothing from the list I wrote at Laduree the previous afternoon. Decided to give the shops at Place des Vosges and St Eustache a miss entirely because IT WAS SALE DAY! Every clothing store in Paris had massive sales, and there were plenty of places for me to put a sizable dent in my bank account right were I was-no metro trip required. So I decided that the Lord meant for me to go shopping near my hotel. I strolled around buying dresses and tops-waiting for fitting rooms along with other french women who chatted animatedly with each other about sizes and colors. And with every store, with every clerk who was rude once they realized my French isn't fluent, with every jostle from a fellow shopper, I fell deeper in love with everything, more convinced that in Paris I am guided by some invisible benevolent force. I was so in love with everything that I had buy another suitcase just to be sure I could take it all home.

I dropped off my armfuls of bags filled with dresses, skirts, sweaters and tops that would inspire men to want to bite through the fabric to get at my lusciousness just in time to capture the sunset at the L'Arc de Triomphe. I tried to save the moment with my digital camera,but I knew nothing could capture the feeling that I had admiring the beauty of world, appreciating the brilliant surprise of it all at that moment.

Napoleon wrote "You shall go home beneath triumphal arches" in 1805. I should have known one short ambitious person would look out for another. If Zola was the strange author of my happiness in May, then Napoleon was in January. My photo card was full and to take the pictures I had to erase the pictures I had taken from my previous trip to Frehel: the view from the Sauvage's apartment, the grassy place we stopped for lunch on the way to Provins, my spot on the bluffs, the French children digging ditches by the sea. I had to erase them all without thinking.

Normally I am a person who holds onto the past. I have, after all, spent an entire year writing about events that are long since over. Normally, I would agonize and fret over deleting these photos, even though they were all downloaded onto my computer. But I gave them up easily. Those times were over-I had to make space for the present, for appreciating the moment I am instead of looking back on a long since dead happiness.

I stood there until the lights on the Champs Elysees were illuminated. I couldn't believe that tomorrow I would be home. I knew I was going to miss Paris, the feeling of love, the sense of interconnectedness as well as the assurance that my timing is brilliant. As I looked down at the Ferris Wheel lit up I knew two things: I will never be done with Paris, and Paris is far from done with me.

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Paris Diaries: Redefining "Room Service"*

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I was surprised that he kissed me there in the foyer. There was a window behind him; any passerby could have seen us-not to mention that in any American hotel the entire foyer would have been monitored by several video cameras. The forbidden nature of it, the fear, intoxicated me as much wrapping my legs around his slight body. He delicately fingered the base of spine as he kissed me, and I gasped arching further into him. I knew from the way he kissed, how quickly his hands found those secret pleasure axes on my body, the smell of his skin that I could inscribe 33 books of epic poetry into his flesh with my nails and my tongue. I could make all of his senses sing with desire like the Muse who inspired the Odyssey. I could take him the way Alexander conquered the Persians, showing generosity if welcomed, and no mercy if resisted.

And how I hoped he would resist.

He pulled me off the barstool, whispering into my ear before kissing my neck "There are cameras here, but there is a conference room." He gestured with his head. "You first." The conference room was, indeed, right off the foyer. I opened the door- and the lights from streaming in from the foyer revealed notebooks out on the table as were half drunk bottles of water and scattered pencils. He waited for a moment before he followed me in closing the door behind him. For a moment, he took in the room in the shadowy darkness and shook his head. "I'm going to have to clean this later." All I could think was that I wouldd like to help him wax something other than the mahogany table. But it was just a moment hesitation, as suddenly he was pushing me up against the conference table.He was short, well matched for me, so I could feel him hard against the arch in my spine, his breathe on the back of my neck as he pulled off my sweater. Now his hands were fumbling with the buckle on my belt-I hit them away-not yet. I wanted to take my time with him-see how long I could draw it out, part of the pleasure being the torture of delaying gratification. I turned towards him and pushed him into a chair-unbuttoning his shirt as he pulled me into kiss him. One of his hands slid under my bra strap, pulling down, his hand and then his mouth on my bare breast, sucking and then tickling the erect nipple with his tongue.

And then one of the lights in the room went on, and he froze like a possum in headlights-eyes wide, body tensed.

My thought was that the room had been rigged with motion detecting lights, but he seemed genuinely panicked by it rebuttoning quickly as I pulled on my bra and sweater. "I'll meet you in the foyer." I was not sure who he thought he was fooling by following a minute behind me. WE WERE THE ONLY TWO PEOPLE AROUND-I mean if Rainman watched these videos, he would have cottoned onto what we were doing in the conference room especially since we had been openingly kissing at the bar. Nervously, he investigated the table to make sure nothing was out of place and joined me. "What do you think happened?" he asked as he stepped behind the bar so as to make his pantomime of innocence complete. "Motion activated lights. Our movement tricked them." He looked at me like a dog contemplating an elaborate card trick, "You think so?" I smiled at him-he had a lot to lose, and I could afford to be confident. His willingness to risk his job to fool around with me made him even more attractive and made me more determined to reward him. He tried to chat behind the bar as if nothing had happened, but now he had a taste of my skin in his mouth, the smell of my sweat, the promise of the pleasure whispering in his ear, overriding his reason, his concerns and within five minutes he was kissing me again-his hands on my breasts.

"Want to check the room?" I asked, but I was off the barstool walking towards the room unasked. He followed me, and the lights were off. And as quickly as I found the lights were off so was my sweater immediately followed by my bra as his hands fondled my breasts- him kissing the sensitive grove of my spine. I arched in pleasure against him until, again, his hands tried to explore the increasingly moist space between my legs. I pushed him into a chair, he pulled me onto him. I regretted wearing jeans. If I had been in a skirt, I could have been riding him already. There was no more concern about drawing this out-now I wanted satisfaction. He kissed my breasts, his hands sliding down the back of my jeans as I leaned back enough to undo his pants so my hand searching for the hard taught skin of his erection. Even though I knew it was big, as my fingers explored his shaft, I marveled again at how big. "This thing should be a national monument" I thought, "This motherfucker IS La Tour Eiffel." He moaned in pleasure as I ran my hand up and down his his cock. I stood up so that I could taste his desire, and yet again the lights went on-again Nikolae panicked. He only partially redressed-"I know where to go" he said as he grabbed my hand.

I couldn't imagine where he was taking me-a storage closet, a spare room, the floor behind the desk. I found myself on the landing of a stairwell. "There are no cameras here" he whispered into my neck. There was a part of me that wanted to object, that wanted to say while there's something hot about fucking on a conference table, a stairwell is entirely different. But the pleasure center of my brain was screaming "YOU'VE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME. YOU CAN NOT DEPRIVE ME OF THIS ON SOME RIDICULOUS MORAL GROUND. YOU'RE FOOLING AROUND WITH A CONCIERGE YOU BARELY JUST MET FOR CHRISSAKES. YOU HAVE NO MORALS, SO STOP PRETENDING-NOW LET'S SEE HIS COCK."1 I unbuckled his pants, and in the bright light of the stairwell saw what I had been feeling for the last hour.

I didn't have many dates in college. In fact, I almost didn't have any. So when the cute red headed guy with freckles at the Original Espresso Shop asked me out, I jumped at the chance even though I thought he had a girlfriend. After a few drinks at a slummy bar, he asked me back to his place. Now I was about to graduate college with a degree in a field I didn't want to pursue after spending four years surrounded by gorgeous gay men who I couldn't have. I looked at him and his freckles, and I remembered what my high school geometry teacher used to tell us in class "Every once in a while, you have to look around and say 'What the fuck?'" Afterall, he probably did have a girlfriend so it wasn't like I was ruining my chance at a meaningful relationship. Much like Nikolae, he was slight and thus I had no idea what I was agreeing to. "Want to take a shower?" he asked as soon as I put my pocketbook down on his couch. "Go on in, and I'll join you." I went into the bathroom, folded my clothes and waited-he came in already naked, and I gasped at the very sight of it. "Think you can handle it?" he asked me, and me, in all my wide eyed honesty said, "I don't know."

I remembered that moment fondly as I pulled Nikolae's erection out of his pants.

I brushed my lips ever so gently against his shaft before running my tongue down the length of his erection. I teased the head of his cock with my naked breasts before he pulled me up to him. He turned me around and stepped down one step, so that when he pulled me to him, his cock was between my legs. I could feel his erection rubbing against my clit through my jeans and gasped involuntarily in surprised pleasure. I braced my arms against the wall as he thrust against me, his hand slipping under my belt, under my panties. Now it was my turn to moan and push up against him, my cheeks flushed, eyes closed, my mouth half open trying to say "Please don't stop," but too far beyond language to actually say it. He was saying "Ouiaasssss, ouiaaasss" into my ear as both his cock and his finger thrust into me until I was unable to hold back anymore. Afterward, he gripped my waist with both hands, pulling me harder and faster along his shaft. I knew he was close, and arched against him until his knuckles went white as he came hard-moaning into the back of my neck. I watched the come drop to the floor between my legs. I half smiled as I thought, "I guess he'll have to clean that up to."

Both of us stood there for a minute, panting and dazed. He quickly began to button and smooth his clothes, while I put on my sweater. I walked out of the stairwell first and went back to the barstool for a moment. Nikolae crossed after me. I could see that his conscious mind was beginning to try and grapple with what just happened. As a Parisian, I thought he should have a more "C'est la vie" attitude, especially where hot forbidden stairwell fondling is concerned. What could be more French than that? But I could see his rising panic and knew it would only kill my buzz, so I picked up my pocketbook, which I left by the bar, and left him standing in the middle of the foyer trying to figure out what to do next. I bid him good night as I smiled at him briefly and distantly as the elevator doors closed.

I stripped off my clothes and slid naked into my big cushy hotel bed. I curled up satisfied and flooded with decadent, adventurous pleasure as the winter breeze cooled my still flushed cheeks. I fell into a deep and satisfied sleep, but not before thinking. "In NY, I get exactly what I want in the least useful form possible. In Paris, I get exactly what I want in a way even better than I imagined."

*A moment of meta-I hope you all appreciate how freakin difficult it is for me to write this-not just to reconstruct the scene in my head, but also the anxiety that goes into writing such a scene-one because I don't want you all thinking "THAT SLUT"-but also I don't want to write a crappy, disgusting, nauseating sex scene.

1 It's a little known fact that I am such a rational human being that even the pleasure center of my brain is capable of reasonable argument.

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Paris Diaries: La chaleur
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I was nervous when I walked back into the hotel. I couldn't see Nikolae, but the moment I walked in I heard his voice. "Would you like a drink?" He was standing behind the little hotel bar on the opposite side of the foyer.

It's rare for me to turn down a drink. It's almost unheard of me to do it when an attractive man is offering it, but when the only other option is going up to one's very large, very comfortable, but very empty bed alone? Well, at that point having a drink with the attractive man becomes a moral imperative.

I walked over to the bar. "We have anything you like-wine, coke, even coffee." I looked behind the bar; There were perhaps 8 bottles behind the bar-one of them was Jack Daniels, which amused me. While I may be an all wine all the time girl in Paris, there comes a time when one must go for something stronger. There was a bottle of whiskey. "Some of the jamesons on ice, please." He quickly poured it and gave it to me. He was constantly in motion-touching glasses, re-arranging bottles, buffing the counter top with a towel-while I sat still and watchful. We chatted a bit-about books. He worked the night shift so after one or so he was left on his own-generally to read or cruise around on the internet a bit. He had grown up in Paris, and we chatted about various places-or more accurately he brought up several places in Paris thinking I hadn't been there. Finally, a bit deflated, he said "You know Paris very well,"

I sat there smiling and confident. I was unsure what he had in mind. I mean he had asked me for a drink, and I'm fairly sure he didn't have a discussion of the hotel's internet connection in mind. Occasionally people would come in and he would run over to the desk to take care of them. I was getting tired. Looking at my watch I had been chatting with him for over an hour. Where did I think this was going to go? I mean, sure he was cute and amiable, but there comes a time when a girl should just go on to bed. I had to rest up, after all, for my last day in Paris. I was considering this very fact as he dealt with a couple checking in. He hurried back over telling me that was the last check in for the night-from here on out things would be quiet.

"We shall wait and we shall see how quiet things are," I thought to myself.

"Aren't you cold?" he asked once safely ensconced behind the bar. Parisians seemed shocked that I would go out in 40 degree weather with a heavy sweater and no coat. "Not at all" I said and held out my arm. "I'm Irish and German, I was made for this kind of weather." He seemed embarassed to touch me. "Go ahead," I said "It's just my arm. You'll see I'm not cold." He touched me. The look of pleasure and shock on his face when he realized that indeed my skin was warm despite being "underdressed" was delicious. Touching my skin, he said "chaleur." "What does that mean?" I asked, "Heat." He seemed to both enjoy my touch and pull away at the same time.

"What is it?" I asked him as he turned back to organizing things on the bar. "I'm trying to make you uncomfortable, but it's not working," he sheepishly admitted. Going for a bit of the quid pro quo, hoping that I wouldn't keep my upper hand. He really didn't know who he was talking to. "I have never been made uncomfortable by an attractive man behind a bar offering me whatever I want" I laughed. He smiled, nervously, and shook his head as he confessed that he didn't understand what I meant. "Don't worry about it, honey" I smiled at him in full femme fatale mode.

There is a moment when you know that you have a man. When it is so real, it's a historical fact. You could say "Get over here, kneel on the floor, and lick the inside of my knee." And it would happen so quickly his body would appear as a blur. It's a wonderful feeling. He touched my arm again. "I'm not a heater," I reproached him "Je suis une mauvaise fille." (I am a bad/naughty girl.) It seems despite my utter lack of real French, I instinctively know how to talk dirty in any language. He gasped, but I could see what I said turned him on. "Say it again," his eyes large. "Je suis une mauvaise fille." "Again." "Je suis une mauvaise fille." I could see the effects of my words on him-they pulled him and he stepped around the bar. He stood so close to me without touching me. I hadn't been teased that long for a kiss since my very first boyfriend. He was so close I could almost taste him, his skin, his cologne, his hair, his full lips. My entire body was suspended with the agony of waiting for that kiss, yet hoping at the same time he would wait one more second-draw out that pleasure just a bit more. Finally, neither one of us could resist. This wasn't a delicate kiss-it was passionate and wild, his hand already under my sweater at my waist, my breasts pushing against his chest, finally able to taste him. He stood pressing into me as I sat on the barstool. His body was wedged between my legs, his cock against my hip. He took my hand and guided it until I could feel him, his desire.

I've never been a size queen. I have openly admitted here that I have had great sex with men who were average and in some cases below average. On the other hand, I have been friends with some of the great size queens of the 20th century. I'm friends with guys who have sucked more dicks in one afternoon than I have...ever.** I couldn't believe what I was feeling was him. Not only that big, but rock hard before even touching me. The suggestion of me, the proximity, had been enough. He was so slight in every other respect. All I could think was I could ride him until there was nothing left of him, but a french inkspot and barely break a sweat. And I knew, when I felt his desire that I had to keep going. There was no turning back now if not for me, for every size queen in the free world.

Because for me this is what France is all about, unexpected adventure and ill advised, but satisfying liasons with attractive men. And it had always served me well.

(Don't worry there is more to come about Nikolae and myself-I just wanted to tease you all a bit.)

**This is actually true. I have a friend who sucked 60 dicks in one Paris now that I think about it. I don't even know how you suck that many dicks in one day

Paris Diaries: C'est La Vie
When I got back to the hotel, absolutely exhausted, there was a cute little concierge who greeted me when I walked by saying "Oh, it's you!" Considering I had never met him before, this was fairly odd. It's not often I get mistaken for another person. Not just the personality, but I'm four foot six with the body of a pin up and a tongue like a diamond drill. Occasionally some asshat in a bar will walk up and say "I think we've met." I always say "Honey, if you met me, you would remember. I'm not the kind of girl that doesn't slip your mind." Looking at that slender french man, he was the type I would remember. The type I would think about wrapping my legs around as he moaned "Mon Dieu" in my ear. I paused a moment. "No, I saw you on the street a while ago. I looked right at you, but you didn't notice me. And then here you are." He said to me.

One of my lesser known qualities is that I have a hard time knowing when a man is hitting on me short of throwing me on the floor and ripping my clothes off with his teeth. At that point I think, "He might want me." So when this attractive man spoke to me, I thought "Is he hitting on me or is that just my desperate wishful thinking?" instead of "Holy fuck, I'm gonna grab this one by the lapels before he escapes!" I decided to play it safe.

"Indeed" I said over my shoulder, "Here I am." On the elevator, I noticed him staring at me and smiled at him feeling the blood rush to my cheeks as I hoped that the elevator doors would close to hide the fact that I was blushing as I haven't done since I was in high school. I headed upstairs panicked about whether I had totally blown off a quality piece of Parisian ass, but at the same time thinking I needed a bit of rest and a shower before dealing with dinner never mind hot French male attention.

Dining alone is always the most daunting part of Paris as a single girl. While I don't mind having lunch or breakfast alone, dinner always makes me feel a bit lonely for company, not necessarily even a lover or a man, but a girl with whom I could gossip and compare notes. Furthermore, I'm usually so exhausted by dinner from the Enforced Cultural Death March that I don't venture far from the hotel. I could take a cab to some well known restaurant, but somehow I thought that would make me feel worse. I prefer to go native and investigate little local places than go to some famed place like Les Deux Magots. While I don't admit it, part of my avoidance of these fancy places, is fear of French snootery and rejection. I would rather not risk it and discover some hidden treasure like Au Petit Monsieur than end up feeling like a patsy alone at Jacques Cagna.

And at that moment, I hit upon a cunning plan.

Fresh from the shower, powdered, dressed, made up, feeling all my hooterliciousness, I went down to talk to the concierge.

The moment I came out of the elevator, I saw the change in him-the excited nervousness, the pleasure as I walked right towards him at the desk. "Bon soir" I greeted him before switching to English. "I was wondering, since you seem to know the neighborhood, if you could recommend somewhere nearby to have dinner." He smiled and took out a piece of paper and wrote the name of a few places giving me specific directions. If I had been unsure about his attraction before, his lingering questions, his particular attention to detail, his inquiries about how well I knew Paris, left me no doubt.

The man wanted me, and really, who can blame him? I was built for a city like this-to hang out in museums and cafes by day and make love with passionate abandon in four poster beds by night.

I thanked him for his advice, but before I left the hotel, I hesitated. "What's your name?" I asked. "Nikolae," he responded excited that I would ask. "I'm Bunni" I said on my way out the door. I mean, a girl has to eat-and not just the cute concierge. I stepped out into the night thinking that maybe Paris isn't done with me yet.

Nikolae sent me to P'tite Bouchon Gourmand, a very small restaurant, where they seated me quickly as Edith Piaf came on the sounds system. The door to the kitchen was clear so I could see into the kitchen. This appealed to me on two levels: one it gave me something to focus my gaze upon since I didn't have a dinner partner, and two I enjoy watching the theater of kitchen. One thing I appreciate in Paris is the artistry of everything-not just cooking, but cooking as theater. So I sat and watched steaks smoked while the cooks collaborated as expertly and silently as surgeons.

I ordered a glass of wine and reflected upon the concierge. I shouldn't be thinking about him, but in my head I was already having an affair with him. He was in my big fluffy hotel bed with me begging not to leave.

And I had a moment of regret, when I remembered that I made the Sauvage that happy once.


I told myself the affair was better off imaginary. My steak arrived and the meat, done to taste, literally melted in my mouth.. At least with an imagined romance, I don't have to buy plane tickets or scramble for a hotel room when things don't work out. I won't have to stammer out half assed break ups through babelfish or deal with any cat pee wreaking apartment. No shoes thrown at me in disdain. No meditations on the loss of love.

"Do I regret it?" I wondered.

No, not really, and I realized I now have the perfect Mastercard ad.

Last minute stay in hotel room by the L'arc de Triomphe: $1,610.00
Cab ride from outskirts of paris to Champs Elysees: $12.58
Finally sleeping unmolested in white clean sheets in a hotel room with chocolates on the pillow and rose petals in a pleasantly scented bathroom: priceless

Oh thank you, thank you, thank you Mastercard, I thought.

Still and all, I thought as a very much in love young couple sat next to me drinking champagne, I didn't harbor any hard feelings towards the Sauvage. In truth, I stayed invested too long, a mistake I've made with many lesser men like Ivan the Horrible, but I had some unique adventures with the Sauvage. I saw France as I never would have been able to any other way. And truth be told, I left the relationship better than when I met him, while He was definitely worth a shot. So he hadn't worked out. As he would say "Ce n'est pas grave. C'est la vie."

I paid the check, and found I was excited, and worried, about seeing Nikolae on my way back to the hotel. But as I always, I put my faith in Paris knowing that the city had something stunning in store for me no matter what.

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Paris Diaries: La Petite Conquine Takes High Tea
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After escaping the D'orsay without killing any of the asshats, I decided to walk down the Champs Elysees for tea at Laduree. I figured by the end of the walk I would need a rest and a place to collect my thoughts, why not do it in the most decadent place possible? Could there be a more Bunni in Paris solution than that?

Mariage Frere is a hushed grace. Its genius is in its understated elegance-its simplicity. The white ceramic cups, the white linen outfits of the waiters, the soft, classical jazz-all these elements arouse the senses rather than overwhelm them. Laduree, on the other hand, is like the Serendipity of Paris
. If Marie Antionette were alive today, you could bet she would have said "Let them eat macaroons at Laduree" instead of "Let them eat cake." There is even a tea named after her there, which tells you the kind of place it is. Laduree is all about decadent sumptuousness-with draperies, marble, oil paintings, sprawling staircases, and antique furniture. It looks more like what one would imagine an upscale french cathouse would look like circa 1871 rather than a tea room. Entering Laduree I was tempted to imagine corseted and pantalooned women cavorting down the staircase to kiss on the cheek a favorite customer or coquettishly chat with some of the other girls, while some dissolute young blades talk about the latest scandals at the salons of La Piava or La Presidente.

The hostess showed me upstairs to a table where I can see the Champs Elysees. I ordered a small sampling of the famed macaroons and a pot of Marie Antoinette tea and turned my attention to how spend my last day in Paris. I reflected on past last nights in Paris. There was always some "How will I spend this evening?" panic about not giving Paris some grand farewell and then something wonderful and unforeseen and infinitely better than I could imagine lands in my lap. My first trip it was drinking Coke with Henri and his friends in his kitchen while answering questions about the girl gangs of Harlem before he and I retired to his bedroom to make love. In May, it had been an spending an evening with the Sauvage as he told me he adored me as I rode him. I didn't know what the next day held for me, but I knew Paris would find some grand way to send me off. Considering this reality, it would best serve me not to have too much of a plan. Still I needed to have some goals-I decided I should go to cote de france for a bag of chocolate, find my favorite jewelry store at Place des Vosges, casually stroll through St. Eustache, and then have dinner at my favorite little secret restaurant in Paris Au Petit Monsieur. I had been dreaming of eating there since my vacation in August; It was time to finally returned. It seemed like a short do-able list, but I know what happens in Paris. There are distractions, interruptions, curious investigations that have a way of leading me unforeseen adventures. Still, as long as I left Paris happy what the hell did I care if I got to walk in St. Eustache of not?

(Of course, the care was that tiny voice in the back of my head saying "What if this is your last chance to see St. Eustache and you end up missing it? But I generally manage to silence that voice with a nice glass of Cote de Rhone and some hot French lovin'.)

As I contemplated my list, a beautiful older french woman with a yellow twin sweater set and pearl earrings caught my eye. I can only wish to be as beautiful and poised at one point in my life as this woman was in her 70s. Her eyes were casually focused off to the side as her husband went off on what was a clearly well rehearsed "rant" about the evils of the tourists in this fine establishment. I say "rant" because by my NYC standards his comments were more like polite commentary. Still her eyes wandered and then I found I was looking her in the eyes. We connected for a moment, that stately French woman and myself, and I smiled at her; I felt a connection with her in that moment, an overwhelming affection for this woman and her immaculate taste. I was pleased to even be peripherally part of her evening. Unfortunately, the moment was lost when an Americna tourist at the table next broke into what I can only call the closest thing to the Eddie Murphy laugh I've ever heard. It was loud and unembarassed, but immediately sent me back into my notes lest this woman in the yellow connect me with these unfortunately rude braying American jackals.*

While I loved the decor of the Laduree, I wasn't impressed with the actual tea or the desserts. The macaroons were tasty, but hardly worthy of the effusive description from my guide. The desserts at Mariage Frere were so far superion that I'm fairly sure they would be insulted to be mentioned in the same sentence as Laduree. Furthermore, where Mariage Frere balanced the delicate melange of flavors to deepen my appreciation of tea to an entirely different level, the Marie Antoinette tea was overwhelming and cloying. While it first seemed a lovely taste, afterwards it would cling to the tongue like some horrible liquid antibiotic I had to take for an ear infection as a child.

As I sat there becoming increasingly nauseous with each swallow of tea, the lights on the Champs Elysees came on. I looked out into the night and saw couples strolling among lit trees. It was beautiful and while I wasn't pleased with the tea or the dessert, I loved the ambiance. I thought it would have been better as a wine bar with couches where I could sprawl like the petite coquine that I am, breasts delicately heaving as I consider the Parisian evening. But the evening was beginning and it was time to leave Laduree and see what adventure the evening held.

* Do jackals bray? Arent' they supposed to cackle?

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