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The City of Light

November 2, 2014

Paris is always a good idea.  Audrey Hepburn

Friday was a long day, driving two hours to Avignon to surrender my faithful little Citroën, joining the mobs on the stifling TGV to Paris, waiting 45 minutes for the airport shuttle, then enduring Friday-evening-rush-hour-holiday-weekend-Paris traffic to the apartment. (The holiday is All-Saints’ Day.)

Jama had spent the day tentatively exploring the neighborhood and figuring out the locks to our apartment. When I arrived, she had polished her French vocabulary (bonjour and merci) and was ready for happy hour. Meanwhile, Elisabetta had arrived from Florence and thoughtfully made us a dinner reservation at a casual but chic little place called Terroir Parisienne. All their food is sourced locally, and was excellent.

After being up all night and all day, Jama was a real trouper but was ready to crash when we got home at midnight.

We call this apartment “Petit,” because it can’t be more than 300 square feet; but it has a surprising amount of storage space. You could fit at least two of it into my place on Rue du Théron, maybe three.

Today was about as perfect as Paris gets: 70 degrees, not a cloud anywhere, a light, fresh breeze — it felt like May, not November. After breakfast at Boulangerie Paul around the corner, we met Elisabetta for a Seine cruise. Even though all of us had done it before, being on the water with a bilingual narrator was a great way to see the city from a different perspective.

Cruising   Houseboats

We bid ciao to Elisabetta and strolled over to the Île St. Louis, one of my favorite parts of the city, so much quieter than the press of St. Germain, where our apartment is situated.

Fromage

We found a charming, tiny crèperie, Au Lys d’Argent, where we had a lovely light lunch and some crisp rosé, and were served by the friendliest waiter I’ve encountered in all my visits to France. After downing the obligatory Bérthillon ice cream, we wrapped up our survey of the island and ambled up to the Marais.

Another of my treasured spots is Place des Vosges. The elegant buildings surrounding the square were starting to reflect the lowering sun, turning a warm rosy peach. The weather had brought everyone out: people were lounging on the grass, tots were running madly about, and even the old folks were taking the sun from the park benches.

Place des Vosges

Having no particular destination in mind, we just wandered through the district, wending our way along the Seine, watching the sun sink behind the elegant towers of the Conciergerie, listening to the melodious chiming of the bells of Notre Dame, eventually making our circuitous way back home. This was not a day for taking in the sights, but rather one to show my friend parts of Paris that I love. I was thrilled that she came away with an altogether new picture of and feeling for this magical city.

Louvre at sunset

 

 

Ste Chappelle sunset

Our apartment building is right next door to Le Procope, described as either one of the oldest,or the oldest, restaurant in the city, serving traditional dishes continuously since 1689 — knowing how tough the restaurant business is, that’s pretty remarkable. We managed to bring our appetites for dinner, and I forced down some escargot drenched in garlic, butter and parsley…Heavenly.

Escargots

This day made me so grateful for my dear friends. Precious memories.

3 Comments
  1. Karen Dugan permalink

    The City of Light sure lived up to its name in your pictures!

    Like

  2. elisabettabodri permalink

    I loved my cruise with you and your pictures make me feel the glorious warm sun

    Like

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