For the uninitiated, St. Nom, as it is known to the locals, is a sleepy village about 15 miles from Paris and 8 miles from Versailles, where we have lived on and off since 1988. It has a population of 5,000 and is situated on the border of the beautiful Marly Forest, previously royal hunting grounds, our favorite haunt for walks and bike rides. I just love to imagine King Louis XVI riding through with his entourage, until he got his head chopped off that is.
On opposite sides of town, two bakeries compete for the distinction of having the best baguette and the flakiest croissant. Trust me, this subject has been the topic of endless debate in our town. Both bakeries have changed owners several times over the past 25 years causing new fodder for these debates. We were particularly relieved to discover upon our return that the one closest to our house has a new proprietor as Patrice had been banned from setting foot in that shop by the previous baker.
The story goes as follows: The second to last baker and his pretty wife were a young couple just starting out. Their bread was excellent, especially their whole wheat varieties. However, we noticed that although the baguettes and other basics were always ready at the opening at 7:00 a.m. none of the whole grain breads, our favorites, were ever ready before 9:00--too late for breakfast. Simply wanting to be helpful one day, Patrice suggested to the baker's wife that it would be a good idea to have at least one whole wheat variety ready earlier. The baker took offense, most probably because he thought Patrice was flirting with his wife, and threw him out of the shop! When Patrice went back the next day to try to make amends, the baker came at him with a fist! We are very grateful they have now moved on...
But the winter chill is in the air and as hurricane season in the Caribbean is now at an end, thankfully without any major storms this year, Taka Trois is calling us. So we're leaving our house in the care of a trusty babysitter until next Spring and heading across the pond for the next few months. As the season for Atlantic crossings has already started, I’m very grateful that our journey this time will be made by airplane and can’t help but think of those who are already crossing by boat.