From Seville to Paris: A story of pain


We’ve been in Seville for nearly 3 weeks. It’s a trip we had planned before we took back our apartment in Paris. An example of a trip, Pat pointed out during our pre-lease-signing negotiations, that won’t happen once we have two homes.

And I agreed.

Yet Spain was already in the books. Fly to Paris for a night. Fly onto Seville for a month. Spend three weeks making our way back to Paris by train—Madrid, Girona, Montpellier. And finally a week in Paris before flying home.

We signed the lease and kept the trip.

When I broke a tooth just before Christmas, I emailed my dentist, determined it wasn’t an emergency, and made an appointment for early January.

My dentist, I should mention, is in Paris.

As tooth breaks go, this one was fortuitous. I pushed out our flight to Seville. The extra days in Paris gave us time to set up our apartment and settle in before setting off.

Our last day in Paris, I saw my dentist. He patched my tooth and said I needed a little root work a crown two more appointments. It could wait, but not too long.

I made an appointment for three weeks out. The next morning, we flew to Seville.

Sunday, I return to Paris. Monday I’ll see my dentist. Tuesday I’ll be back in Seville in time for siesta.

Now let’s talk about Seville.

By all measures, it’s is a beautiful, sunny, friendly, and vividly colorful city. The Moorish influence provides a dash of architectural panache. The historical wealth is stunningly evident and reminds me daily of how little I understand Spanish history. At times, it nearly motivates me to read about it, to learn something.

Maybe I will, but probably I won’t.

You’ve given me a hundred reasons to love you, Seville. So why don’t I?

Let me digress.

There’s a tradition with our grandson, Jack, where every night after dinner he asks a question of each person at the table. One night the question was, What’s your favorite food?. When it was my turn to answer, he said, “Grandma, we can skip you.”

My favorite food is well known by my family—butter, and all of its associates—caramel, croissants, butter cookies—and most of all, bread.

But unfortunately the bread in Spain is—borrowing a description from my friend—a tad pasty. I’m thinking of that 60s paste, the type my first grade teacher would scoop from a jug and glob onto a paper towel for each student. We’d return to our desks and paste colorful tidbits onto colorful paper. All of us except Jimmy B, who would return to his desk and eat the paste.

Jimmy B, if you’re still out there, you’d love the bread in Seville.

I realize it may be poorly perceived to write off an entire people due to low quality bread, so let me add, I don’t love the butter here either. Truth be told, the entire food scene has been disappointing, and for me, that’s a problem.

Thankfully, a dash up to Paris is just what the doctor ordered.

I’m ready to endure the pain in exchange for le pain (which loosely translates to sweet Jesus that’s some damn good bread.)

Food, it turns out, plays a disproportionate role in my happiness. The focus of my trip to Paris can be summarized as follows: croissants, baguettes, French butter, and Novocain (hot dentist sold separately).

Hot damn, I can’t wait.

During the last month, I’ve realized that we were right to take back our Paris apartment. I’m fine cutting back on the road—to dabble there, but not to dwell.

This week, Pat and I admitted to each other that while we’ve enjoyed Seville, we miss Paris. And for now, that’s the only lesson I needed to learn.

A look at Seville:

Categories: Life in Paris, Western Europe

Tags: , , ,

13 replies

  1. Is that the Alhambra by any chance? It’s breathtaking. Also, as a bread and butter person, I completely hear you. 🙂

    • All the photos are Seville. That’s the Alcazar. (Or the first photo is at the Cathedral).

      We are heading to Grenada in the morning. Alambra is up tomorrow afternoon.

      And let me say (as a self-proclaimed global authority), it’s hard to top French butter….

      • Oh wow, just as breathtaking. Hope you enjoy Alambra today and maybe even have more photos for fans like me. 🙂

        I’ll definitely take your word on the French butter – now if I could only get myself to Paris, ah!

  2. I would add cheese to my bread and butter love affair. And of course, Paris ticks that box

  3. Great photos..will be in Seville in Sept…I won’t have the bread or butter 🙂

  4. I am SO with you about the food scene in Spain. I won’t go into details but I was disappointed at every turn, except maybe the cochinillo in Segovia. I’ll just leave it to enjoy the history, architecture and scenery in Spain and leave all the comestibles to France and Italy.
    Hope the tooth’s healthier by now.

  5. Your stories brighten my day! Thank you.

  6. Hi Julie, your comments about the bread are exactly how I would describe what we found when we arrived in our little town in Mexico. I would also add Mexican pastries and sweet buns to that list.
    However, I must say that the fresh daily “bolillo” is quite good, especially when they are fresh and warm, they used to be 7 pesos, but now they are 10!
    We are saved from all of that because we have a French bakery that has fresh baguettes every day as well as a good offering of pastries as well. So no complaints here, because choices abound. You should visit, Pat would also have a blast with street photography, especially in the fiesta season.

I love hearing from readers. Please comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: