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LIVING MY GAP YEAR

Chocolate and the King's Concubine: Paris Fashion Week

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Fashion MONTH ended yesterday, and today is my first day off from work in weeks! So it’s a special occasion. And naturally I'm celebrating it- as any sensible person would- with “the best hot chocolate in Paris”(according to Coco Chanel)—and as far as I’m concerned, the best hot chocolate ever— at Cafe Angelina in the Louvre. It is orgasmic, this chocolate. Served in a petit pitcher, its thick as gravy and rich as Trump and not sweet but rather earthy. And I am in the Louvre, the Louvre for the first time, the Louvre after how many years of dreaming of it? 

To anyone planning a trip here, I would strongly recommend seeing the Da Vinci’s on display in the Italian wing. My favorites are his Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, which is an unfinished work but all the more touching for its rough-hewn charm, and La Belle Ferroniere. This small, unassuming portrait depicts the alleged mistress of the King of France, whose husband, hurt by her infidelity, intentionally infected himself with syphilis so he could pass it on to the king through his wife-- or so the tale goes. The woman portrayed is very graceful, though I think I liked the piece better before I knew it’s background…

I also spent bunches of time adoring the Fra Angelico’s here. Having painted an icon myself (last year for my “senior project”- but that’s a blog post for another time), I can well appreciate the depth and nuance of these paintings. So divine, all of them: something so precious and protected and secret in the pure colors, the radiant figures, the simple compositions and the pervasive sense of tranquility. I would hang them all on my heart’s walls…

God, this chocolate is amazing. And the afternoon sun is laying on me, stretched in my lap, nudging my pen and gilding my paper (I write better in a notebook than a screen). I can see the famous glass pyramids in the courtyard outside, I can feel the marvelous chocolate like a rock in my belly, I can hear lilting French echoing in the hallways all around me. What more on earth can I ask for? Nada: This is complete Zuzu heaven.

Da Vinci's La Belle Ferroniere, crappy iPhone photo courtesy of yours truly...