Browsing in Paris

Yesterday, I decided that since I was the last person in the world to be using Safari as a web browser, I should switch to Firefox. Everyone says it’s better and since I use Movable Type for the blog, Firefox has little buttons to make things bold or to italicize, so I don’t need to type in a bazillion symbols everytime I do that.


About twenty years ago, which I hope means the statutes of limitations has run out, when working in that vegetarian restaurant I mentioned, someone brought in something for us to, er…well…let’s just say, it was something that was designed to change your perception of reality if you took it.
So of course, we did.

When you work in a restaurant, you develop a rhythm, especially when it comes to setting up your statio in preparation for the rush of customers. If you have a fixed menu and you’ve been working in the same place for a while, when you arrive, you can almost work on auto-pilot to make sure everything’s in place (called mis-en-place), so when the rush comes, you’re full-organized and never get buried under orders (or as they say, ‘in the weeds’). If you’ve done it right, the evening runs like a finely-tuned Swiss watch. If not, you’ve got no business in a restaurant kitchen.
And your night will be a catastrophe (not to mention the customer’s as well).

So one evening, someone brought in something which we ingested that was terribly strong and radically alerted our ‘perception of reality’ (yes, even vegetarians have their vices). As we started our work, though, the owner arrived and surprised us with a brand-new menu, full of items we’d never seen before. So we had to completely change our set-ups and prepare all new dishes.
It was a massive bummer, to put it mildly.

It’s like your computer crashing, taking everything with it, and you need to re set-up everything again. To make a long (long) story short, once the customers arrived, it was like your worst dream coming true, the kind where you’re running towards something, but the faster you run, the farther away it gets. So as the order tickets started coming in, we all panicked and found ourselves seriously in the weeds (in more ways than one), and the evening was a catastrophe.

When I installed my new browser yesterday, everything changed on my little Mac.

My beloved bookmarks, which I’ve spent years collecting, I cherished as your grandmother cherishes her Hümmel figurines, were gone. And the look of my blog platform changed: Yes there were those terrific little buttons that add links, italics, and what-not, but each time I used one, it jumped up to the top of the document, meaning I had to re-scroll back to where I was typing, prompting a mad dash to find where I left off. So like coming down from a bad high, back to my familiar reality, I’ve returned to Safari.

I guess old habits die hard. Like my love for rustically grainy breads, and had a chance to return to one of my favorite bakeries in Paris yesterday when I had a doctor’s appointment on the other side of the city.

In Paris, there’s lots of little streets that are called ‘market streets’, and the rue Poncelet in the 17th arrondisement is a good one. After meeting with my surgeon for my upcoming intervention, I realized that I was just a few blocks from Stübli, a terrific German bakery and delicatessen. (The good thing about talking to a French surgeon is that I only understand about 54% of what he said, so I have less reason to be scared of whatever’s going to happen when I go under the knife.)


But as I walked down the rue Poncelet, like an unfamilar browser, I found the name had changed of the bakery…but thank goodness the grainy breads were still there. I purchased three weighty loaves (two to cache in the freezer), a couple of salty-brown pretzels, then I headed across the street to Alléosse, one of the top cheese caves in Paris.

Although they’re very nice, I’m sometimes scared to go in there (which is funny…I’m not scared of surgery but I’m afraid of a cheese shop), since their selection is so astounding and I’m a bit overwhelmed by their glorious selection. But now I go in and chat them up, asking lots of questions and always find myself carrying home a few new and curious cheeses to try.

When I got home, I fixed myself le snack, and a glass of Lillet rouge to calm my nerves from the shop, (mais oui…) and realized although I’d been on one of the best shopping streets in Paris I’d come home with German bread and English Stilton.

I guess they’re like old bookmarks, and like my browser, I’m can’t give them up.

13, rue Poncelet (17th)
T: 01 46 22 50 45
(Closes at lunchtime.)

(Formerly Stübli, which still has a good bakery and boutique across the street.)
10, rue Poncelet (17th)
T: 01 48 88 98 07

Never miss a post!


  • Alisa
    February 8, 2007 6:48am

    Ya wanna make a support group? I still use safari as well, Aléosse scares me too, Epicurya does a mean sausage sandwich on the street, and we were the last family in my neighborhood to get a color t.v.

  • February 8, 2007 7:38am

    Safari is a very good browser. If someone is on a Windows PC I highly suggest switching from IE to FireFox (before their world crashes), but in the Mac world Safari is just fine. There… now an IT guy has supported your return to the old. Enjoy!

  • February 8, 2007 7:49am

    David, there is a way you can switch to Firefox and still have your old bookmarks. With Macs. We did it.

    Personally, I like Safari better.

  • February 8, 2007 9:14am

    why choose one over the other when you can use both?

  • February 8, 2007 10:12am

    I just did this as well (I actually switched from a PC to Mac, then from Safari to Firefox). While in Firfox, click on the File: Import button and there’ll be an option to import bookmarks from Safari. Very easy!

  • Benas
    February 8, 2007 10:26am

    I’m viewing this page with Safari right now… I actually did a switch the other way around when I went from using a PC to my Mac… I prefer Safari to Firefox, but on PCs, Firefox is great!

  • Judith in Umbria
    February 8, 2007 11:36am

    I do not know Safari, but I do know Firefox. I don’t have those problems you are having. Maybe it is your blogging software? I have one on WordPress and the other on Blogger. That jumping around thing I get in Blogger.
    Now let me ask, are you using a French keyboard yet? Because if you are not, you will think the change of browser was easy peasy when you try to get used to a new layout. And when you get to an operating system in another language– disaster ensues. Sure, we speak the language, but not cyber-jargon in the new lingo! And none of the ubiquitous help forums know what that means in Italian, French, Spanish either.

  • Susan
    February 8, 2007 11:40am

    Loved the analogy — most upbeat spin on computer disaster I’ve ever read! Am I the only Mac user who uses FOUR browsers? Safari is my default, but Firefox and IE are available for sites optimized for those browsers. My secret weapon is Opera, from a Norwegian company. Elegant. I would use it more if I weren’t too lazy/uninterested to tweak my software settings.

    Bon courage avec l’intervention.

  • February 8, 2007 12:35pm

    Alisa: Somehow the sausage sandwiches never held the same appeal for me as they might for you!

    Susan: Four? Yikes…

    Judith: I use an American keypad. I can’t deal with that much change at once.

    Ovens to Betsy: I tried that and when it said to ‘click here to continue’, nothing happens in Firefox (which I’m used to from Safari.)

    Jason: The main reason to switch was because those darn buttons for HTMLing things don’t appear in Safari, which is a serious bummer for those of us trying to preserve our wrist from all that coding.

  • February 8, 2007 12:59pm

    Hm, funny … I waged an internal debate about whether to post about cooking with something that alters perception of reality. I was going to do it a la OJ Simpson “If I Did It,” as it was timely, but ultiamately decided to self-censor and not move forward with it. In retrospect, I sort of wish I hadn’t, and totally wish he had.

  • JennyL
    February 8, 2007 1:40pm

    Browsers, schmowsers, SURGERY?? Are you OK?

  • February 8, 2007 2:27pm

    I am a new mac convert (yes, it was an ipod, then it was a mac, and next it will be a macphone. I am a bandwagon jumper!)… I love Safari but have to download and use Firefox for blog posting. When will people start making things for Safari! Love the blog.

  • February 8, 2007 2:32pm

    Hi David,
    If you updated your Movable Type installation to MT 3.3, you’ll find those buttons available in Safari when you create or edit your posts.

  • sam
    February 8, 2007 2:52pm

    english cheese? oh yes please.
    American boy in Paris wearing French thong, not so sure?

  • February 8, 2007 2:53pm

    For something of a compromise between Firefox and Safari, you could try out Camino.

    It happens to have an Import Bookmarks feature for copying over your bookmarks from whatever browser you were using previously.

  • peter
    February 8, 2007 9:13pm

    am using firefox after years of IE and like it (just be careful of add ons) but agree better to have both particularly for internet banking whether firefox or the banking system has a problem

    david we only get to paris once every 18 months these days so i enjoy your rss giving me dauily parisian flavour (pun intended)

    rgds pcm

  • Gary
    February 9, 2007 12:25am

    Correct address for Alleosse link. :*)

  • February 9, 2007 1:18am

    In case you don’t have enough comments on this topic, I’ll throw in my 2 centimes. I also use Safari as my primary browser. I too missed my masterful collection of bookmarks (for which I’m sure I’m due a Pullitzer or Nobel or something) when I attempted the switch. Now I only use Firefox when I write my blog entries (which has lately been very infrequently!).

    Take care of yourself, Chocolate Man. Stay out of those scary cheese shops. Oh, and that other thing – I hope it’s nothing serious.

  • February 9, 2007 3:01am

    JennyL: A bunch of Parisians who read my site cornered me in a dark alley one night, and surgeons need to repair the damage.

    (Actually, I’m going in for a minor procedure for circulation problems due to too many years standing in restaurant kitchens.)

    Gary: Thanks for catching that…My tiny screen makes it hard to see those things (grrrr), like missing a little ‘l’. I may be switching blogging platforms to something easier for me to read.

    For my penance, I hyperlinked your comment : )

    Sam: Check your inbox for pictures…(and don’t show them to Fred.)

    Ben: Interesting browser…seems like the best of both worlds.

  • February 9, 2007 6:32am

    Monsieur Lebovitz, How could you come to Rue Poncelet and not contact me!?!?! I live one block away!!! I have the same reaction at Alleosse, it’s a little scary and exciting at the same time. The staff are friendly but the selection is overwhelming. Have you tried their yogurt or creme fraiche? Deliceux.

  • Nils
    February 9, 2007 8:22am

    “Stübli” – how cute. Sounds like it had Swiss roots. I think too, that a compact whole-grain-bread can be one of the more satisfying things in life.

    Thanks for this blog entry.


  • February 9, 2007 9:38pm

    What an awesome piece of writing! I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this.

    Lillet Rouge – something else I’ll have to try. I’m using Safari and I think I’ll keep using it.

  • Maiolicagirl
    February 10, 2007 11:15am

    I own a PC and I keep IE and Firefox on my computer. I can move seemlessly between both browsers-especially handy when IE is acting out. I recently upgraded to the new IE and had a mess of problems-my teckie friend fixed them but it was so annoying. Speaking of bookmarks, I’m bookmarking several of your suggestions for my trip to Paris in April. Loved your spot on the Chocolate Confidential-best part of the show!

  • February 10, 2007 11:27am

    Glad you enjoyed the program. They neglected to give the names of the chocolatiers who we visited, so here they are (…and have a great trip!):

    Patrick Roger
    Jean-Charles Rochoux

  • Val
    February 10, 2007 1:30pm

    I lived on the Place de Ternes when I was studying abroad. I loved the market on rue Poncelet.

    And after Safari crashed 5 times a day on me, every day, for about a month, I gave up and migrated to Firefox. *sigh*

  • February 11, 2007 1:20am

    I have both Safari and Firefox on my Mac. Safari simply won’t work with, where I have my blog. I continue to use both, although not for my blog updates–for that I always use Firefox. I’m surprised that you lost your bookmarks, though. When I first downloaded Firefox, it asked if I wanted all my bookmarks and transferred them.

  • February 11, 2007 2:58am

    Hi David,

    I am also a happy Safari user. All my friends use Firefox because, they were told it was better. But guess what, Safari is not only faster, it looks and behaves better. The only problem I have with it is that it won’t work with some sites. For those rare problematic sites, I use Firefox.

    They say technical people gravitates towards Firefox. But I’m the guy that most people I know go to when they have computer problems so there goes that theory.

  • cj
    February 11, 2007 6:11am

    Get yourself to a good homeopath, quick!

  • February 11, 2007 10:36am

    Boy does this hit home!
    At work they’ve force-switched us from our ole friendly PCs (where we used a DOS software program in GERMAN no less!) to brand new MACS with new software of course.
    Now the one MAC person wants to switch us from Safari to tab-crazy Foxfire and I am using your post as ammunition to stop the switch!
    Big Merci.

    If you want grainy bread, go to Belgium.
    The grains there are the size of croissants.
    You can hardly see the bread for all the grains floating around in that stuff!
    It’s amazing.
    Bonne chance with your intervention.