This is a three subject blog.
The title refers to the French capital city located on the Seine. The Vikings, called Normans, sailed up the Seine and conquered the main Celtic tribes about 1,000 years ago. The Norman overlords have controlled the entire French population ever since.
The people who live in France call their capital Pari. We don’t. The use of our name for major cities is always a little peculiar. We call Wien Vienna, Roma Rome and Barthelona Barcelona. And many other Anglicizations. I wonder why? It serves no obvious purpose.
I want to wax sentimental as a way to point out Puritanism's broad reach. I went to Paris in 1957 with my girlfriend. My fondest memory was being awaken in our hotel room early in the morning to a woman bringing us a bed tray with cafe au lait and a croissant. Wonderful, magnificent, true hospitality.
I never saw it again on return trips to Paris. Paris had become overrun with tourists and a stranger entering a hotel room with two naked people in bed was never again acceptable.
Japan was almost entirely populated with public baths where men and women shared the same room before the war with America. After America won, all the baths put a wall down the middle of the room to separate the men and the women.
Lastly, we now have some good coffee and croissant in San Francisco. The good coffee owes a great deal to the Seattle coffee explosion in the early 1990’s, which brought Alfred Peet’s great selection and blending skills to the masses. I knew Alfred who loved tea but ‘lowered himself’ to blend coffee.
The great croissant is now here in several places. A new paradise called Arsicault Bakery in the Richmond District and at the Hearth Cafe in the Castro. Just butter and air; but what great air.