Friday, March 25, 2011

A letter to the butcher

Dear Monsieur Boucher,

I wish I could speak French.

I would ask you many questions. For starters, I'd want to know how you stand outside la boucherie all day long. Do you like your job? Where do you go at the end of the day? What else do you like to do?

Each day I walk up to Rue Mouffetard and see you selling your meats. I smile and say Bonjour. You smile and say Bonjour. I go for long walks for hours all over the city. I think a lot. I try to remember my French words. At the end of each day, I walk back down Rue Mouffetard and see you again. You smile and say Bonsoir. I smile and say Bonsoir.

Today I stopped at the end of my day and sat at the café across from your shop. I pretended to read my book but I mostly watched you. I imagined what your life is like when you're not on your perch, roasting up chickens and potatoes. I bet you follow a sports team passionately and that the friends you have are friends you've had a long time. I bet they are good people. You seem like a good person.

I watch you smile at children. You lean down to hear little old ladies. You shake hands with men. You check me out.

I wish you could sit with me at the café. You would talk French. I would talk English. We would not understand each other, but we would grin and offer up sheepish smiles.

It would be nice.
Bonsoir mon mystérieuse ami,

And below is a video of that very moment when I was writing this letter to him in my journal as I sat at the café.

Admittedly, nothing much is happening in these four minutes, but the song was so lovely that I had to make the video for at least as long as the song. Plus, there is something meditative about watching him and the Parisian life around him. The song is Juste Quelqu'un De Bien (Just A Good Guy) by Enzo Enzo. The lyrics speak of bored man and a woman who fantasizes about him. She sees a good guy without a great destiny but she adores him anyway. Or maybe that's just me.


  1. I love this, Janice...To me this is the magic of travel. Once the sightseeing is out of the system, then the seeing starts...And the French. They are simply more civilized.

  2. Could he see the little red light flashing is that why he kept looking in your direction?

  3. oh my god, Janice! can't you see? Are you blind? go get yourself some meat lady!

  4. Huey, Thanks for all your encouragement. I'm glad you're digging the French blogs. And thanks for your recommendations.

    Nicholas, I checked to make sure the little red light wasn't flashing. That would have ruined everything.

    Anonymous, I can see... but I'm still not eating that vile chicken.

  5. people make movies of this scene next you will be on the big screen that would not surprise me.I will be your biggest supporter

  6. You have a magical way of making a good looking french butcher doing his everyday job very entertaining - the music drew me in and I just sat and watched the whole thing with my tea looking at the sushine and the snow on this Canadian Saturday morning. Felt like I was there with you - wish I was.

  7. Referring to the man not the meat!

  8. I'm overwhelmed by the beauty of this.

  9. Love this. He's adorable. I love the way he smiles at the kids. Who knows, Janice, maybe somewhere out there on a French butcher's blog, there's a Letter to an American Girl.

  10. Great song. I think I could listen to French music forever.

    Janice, if you don't fall in love during these travels I will be totally shocked. And I will buy you an ice cream when (if) you return to LA.

  11. That's one hot butcher. And you're such a stalker.

    Hohh hohh hohh.

  12. I just watched the whole thing. I couldn't tear my eyeballs away, and it was fun to watch the people, and he looked painfully bored, and I kept expecting him to fall off the platform.

  13. How wonderful. Isn't life interesting!


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