Rue de Paris, the “main street” in the small town near our village where we do most of our shopping is, to our great regret, in the throes of change.
A few months ago, you may remember, I told you about the closing of the librarie where we bought magazines, cards, calendars, books for Ella and my notebooks. Jean-Jacques and Joelle, the owners, became friends. Every time we went into their boutique there were people talking with them about some hot topic on the front pages of the newspapers they sold or exchanging recipes with Joelle (Joelle, slender as a reed, has a reputation for being an extraordinary cook).
The librarie was a meeting place. Now, right in the middle of rue de Paris its green shutters are closed.
Last Saturday, and this is a real heart-breaker, Jacky and Clarice sold their last eclairs, gateaux, tartelettes, framboisiers. . . and closed their patisserie, Tendre Caprice. This is where, for 20 years, we have been buying the most sensuously delicious special occasion desserts. Special occasions can be invented and we have always been remarkably creative in that domain.
Jacky graduated from the famed Lenôtre school and was a pastry chef at the Hôtel Ritz in Paris before he and Clarice opened Tendre Caprice. We, all of their loyal clients, felt exceptionally lucky to have them in our midst.
Late afternoon Saturday they invited their faithful clients and the owners of the other boutiques in town to a Champagne cocktail farewell with sumptuous hors d’oeuvres (another of their coveted delicacies). It was a bittersweet affair.
No one will replace them and thus another boutique front will be shuttered.
The town still has two boulangeries, both of which make classic tarts and cakes, but nothing like the sophisticated sumptuousness of Tendre Caprice.
“If this is progress.” one guest mused, referencing the librarie and Tendre Caprice, “I’m feeling rather discouraged.”