I started my day with a french lesson, followed by a breakfast of last nights’ leftovers. Upon rummaging through my pant pockets I discovered a receipt from the farmers market I visited Sunday — somehow I missed this at the time, but it included the names of all the items I purchased from that particular vendor, including the mystery tuber!
So, navet jaune “yellow turnip” — I was right about that one, capucine tubereuse is of course mashua, salsify, and, drum roll… cerfeuil tubereux = tuberous chervil a.k.a. turnip-rooted chervil or just root chervil. Cool! So the mystery tuber was just chervil root, though a variety of chervil that is quite uncommon these days, but apparently still available in parts of Europe. See this great and detailed guide to root chervil from the fantastic Cultivariable. This seems roughly in line with my experience, reminiscent of a parsnip, but with a bit of a different texture and flavor. Can definitely see the flavor leaning in the direction of chervil.
I pack up my things and head to the Observatoire, shouldering my laptop case and a backpack with the essential umbrella/water bottle combo. Its drizzly the whole walk there, but I’m getting used to it already. After attempting to walk through the vehicle-only entrance and receiving a sharp rap on the window, I make may way into the building (it always takes me a few tries to figure out how to open doors around here). I spend a few minutes convincing the guards/attendants that I belong here. Up to the seventh floor where I meet Marc (my advisor), his grad student Fernando (from Chile), and others. After some shuffling between floors, I am assigned an office on the 6th floor, whose only other occupant is a PhD student from Canada (the only other native English speaking north-american, I am told, though he’s also fluent in French). He points out that we have a view of the Eiffel Tower from our office window! Albeit, not the most impressive view, but its still there 🙂 You can see the top of it hiding in the background.
Around lunch time, all the PhD students and post-docs gather to head down to the “canteen” or cafeteria, which provides subsidized meals for everyone that works here. The food is pretty good, I am told. And a whole lot cheaper that anywhere else, at around 2.5 euros / meal (because of the subsidy). The food was pretty mediocre, but certainly convenient. A leisurely meal was followed up with an upstairs coffee session, featuring an assortment of Italian espressos (or rather “short” and “long” coffee (?)), provided and briefly explained by a few of the Italian students. By the time I left, the sun had mostly disappeared and been replaced by the twinkling matrix of the metropolis.
The Eiffel Tower, now a beacon on the horizon, welcomes the cloak of night. I make my way directly to another apartment viewing, this time near Place de la Bastille, a bustling district in the heart of Paris. After some confusion at the metro station trying to figure out how to get to the opposite-direction platform (good thing I left early), I successfully navigate the Paris underground, tour the apartment, and walk back to Edouard’s. We chat for a few minutes, and then head down to a nearby restaurant where he booked us a table for dinner. We each get a starter and a main, in my case a soft boiled egg in a parmesan mousse with shaved ham and duck served two ways (fast/slow cooked) with carrots and onion; in his case a butternut soup and lamb shank. Another busy day tomorrow, including switching from Edouard’s to an Airbnb and going for another apartment tour.