Monday, June 24, 2013

The Regulars

After over a month in Paris, I am a regular at Le Petit Cler and I love starting my days at this tiny restaurant that spills onto the cobbles of rue Cler.  There are several of us regulars that treat Le Petit Cler like an extension of our living rooms.

As a regular at Le Petit Cler my delicious café crème, with two dark chocolates, is brought to my table within moments of sitting down.  My waitress removes the menu and I unpack my notebook and pencils from my now completely battered Longchamp tote to start scribbling.  Nearby other regulars are spreading out their copies of Figaro and Le Parisien, lighting their morning cigarettes and rearranging chairs and stools for comfort and storage.  The regulars talk unselfconsciously on their cell phones only pausing to light another cigarette or call across the narrow street to someone they know.

I never get tired of looking up at these buildings.
Ordering breakfast during the weekdays is not acceptable regulars' behavior.  My waitress scowled the first few days when I ordered a 2 euros croissant to go with my café crème.  I now purchase a croissant from a bakery on the corner, outside of her line of vision, and eat it while drooling over the property listings in a real estate agency's window.  There is no better combination than a warm, buttery croissant and a fresh window full of Paris apartment listings.  I shake my scarf out to remove any telltale crumbs before continuing to Le Petit Cler.

The regulars get tables moved for them when they want to squeeze into the tiniest, coziest corners of the Le Petit Cler.  The regulars don't have to ask for l'addition and they can just leave their pièces on the table.  Formalities and the feeling of being held hostage by a French server and their moods don't exist for the regulars.  Each day I greet and goodbye the other regulars with a nod of my head, a smile or a "Bonne journée!"


This morning I decided to check out Tour Montparnasse.  Not sure why as I am not a fan of heights or modern buildings, especially modern buildings in Paris.  It looked like any other ugly skyscraper in Toronto or Calgary and it even had a similar smelly, depressed looking mall attached.  There was an excellent Monoprix (Is there such a thing as a bad Monoprix?) nearby and a carousel so I knew I was still in Paris.  Sort of. 

Things tourists say...

At the base of the Eiffel Tower, a pre-teen boy to his family, "Just because I am a kid, you think that I want to spend like a 100 euros to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower?!  Much less wait in that line for hours?!"


CarolynB said...

Lovely post (and sounds like a lovely morning routine!).

No, never a bad Monoprix :)


Sylvia said...

If you love your croissant with your café, do like the Parisiennes, and give the waitress more 'tude than she's giving you! It really is the done thing. After insisting, just as the waitress walks away, she'd murmer something like like, "Non, mais je rêve, ou quoi ? Je ne suis pas si grosse que ça ! Putain !"

materfamilias said...

Right around the corner, just below Tour Montparnasse, is the wonderful Musée Bourdelle (he wa a pupil of Rodin) and not far away is a sweet little alley/street of artist ateliers whose buildings date back to the time when Montparnasse hosted the young gods of Paris' art world (rebels though they might have been) . . . Worth checking out. And while I agree with you that the Tour is not attractive, we've come to appreciate it, over the years, for orientation our poses, as we've often stayed in the 13th . . .