Friday, April 6, 2012

Nothing Better Than Being in Paris - We're Home

*Apologies for spelling/grammatical errors. Edits, including links, to be made when back in Canada.
There is nothing better than being in Paris.
Paris Food Diary - Day 1: 2 cafe cremes (full cream and with sugar), 1 croissant, rose Laduree macaron, saucisson et beurre baguette sandwich, 1 bottle of badoit, biere blanche, paella, and half an Easter homard (another thing to love about France... lobster is traditional Easter food!).
Paris Walking Diary - Day 1: 8 hours, no blisters.
What I Wore in Paris - Day 1: Rich & Skinny jeggings, black flats, black cashmere v-neck, light grey pin-striped blazer, black and white floral printed Printemp scarf from 2009, black Longchamp tote, bright pink Swatch.
What I Bought in Paris - Day 1: 2 Hermès scarves, 1 was a gift from Chris!

Every day in Paris must start with cafe cremes and croissants at a neighbourhood Tabac or Brasserie. This morning, a few short steps from our apartment we shared the counter with a Monsieur who opted for biere instead cafe. It was 8 am. Our oh-so-French morning scene was briefly interupted by some Tilley hat wearing tourists who were told, not kindly, that the Tabac was sold out of pain aux chocolats. Hmmm. I suspect this may not have been the case but that is the price one pays for wearing a Tilley hat to a Parisian Tabac.
There is no place in Paris where it is appropriate to wear a Tilley hat.
Full of cream and butter, Chris and I crossed la Seine, rive gauche a rive droit, to Place de la Concorde, the view of "my Paris". The view of my dreams, standing in the centre, spinning slowly in a circle and taking Paris in. It is the view I imagine in my mind when I am missing Paris the most.
We continued along rue Royale to research Paris Easter sweets at Laduree and Fauchon and bought our first box of macarons.
Predictably, we arrived at Les Grands Magasins in time for opening. Actually early so we had time to browse the food hall at Galeries Lafayette. One of my favourite smells in Paris, after butter and bread, is cheese. French cheese is just as intoxicating and seductive as French perfume.
Neither of us bought anything at GL. I hate to admit it but with the exception of the "shoe basement" at GL, I don't love shopping there the way I used to. It's great to get an overview of designers, colours and trends but the experience of shopping there feels a bit souless, not very French. Also love the accessories floor and shoes at Printemps.
For lunch we returned to one our favourite Paris spots, Aux Delices de Manon, 400 rue St. Honore. It's not fancy but with the rare exception, Chris and I are not big restaurant people. We prefer boulangeries, picnic style if we can, and always seem to find the perfect spot to eat. There are so many outstanding views, parks, bridges and squares in Paris that the simplest, most inexpensive meal is taken to another level when eaten outside with your chosen view spread out before you. As I have written before, if we decide to splurge on food or drink, it's usually a cocktail at 5 star hotel or a decadent dessert from LeNotre.
Our day ended back on the Left Bank at the stunning Hermès store on rue Sevres. French service at its absolute best with nothing but time, courtesy and care. I managed to purchase the scarves entirely in French and even convey my enthusiasm for les chevaux. The only time I lost my cool was when the saleswoman offered to let me try them on before buying them. Me. Fresh off the plane from Canada and post lunch of saucisson baguette. Not fair to the scarves so instead I turned bright-red and insisted that I was happy with the colours classiques.
On our way home, post Monoprix stock-up, we stopped at a boulangerie where Chris splurged on traditional Easter homards in white wine sauce and a bucket of paella. One of the best meals I have ever eaten in France, complete with an education about French food, Easter dinner, and the origin of our dinner ingredients. I can hardly wait to go back there.
Later, a bit restless and not tired, I walked "around the block", crossing la Seine into Jardins Tulieres, walking up to Place de la Concorde and crossing back over at Pont des Arts. The sun was setting and the buildings were a beautiful shade of pink. The Eiffel Tower was hazy in the distance and the doves were cooing in the trees in the park. And for not what will be the first time on this trip, I was overcome by Paris' beauty and my love for the city.
Sometimes, I wish I didn't love Paris so much. Honestly. Sometimes I wish Paris was nothing more than a once-in-a-lifetime holiday, like a honeymoon or a 40th birthday. Sometimes I wish I jcould be satisfied with crossing off the top ten in a badly written guidebook. But it's not that way and I am so far gone, so inexplicably attached and captivated, that I know until Chris and I realize our dream of living here in some way or another, that we will spend the rest of our lives chasing this dream. It doesn't make sense and I understand it is hard to appreciate but for us there is nothing better than being in Paris.
Every trip to Paris I worry that we will be disappointed and I wait for a particular moment to know that everything is ok. It's the moment when Chris looks at me, his eyes shining, squeezes my hand and without words says, "We're home." Sometimes I wait days for this moment but this trip, it came early, in the back of our airport van stuck in traffic, heading for rue de Lille. This is the moment the means everything.
We're home.

No comments: