I’m sitting in a cute little cafe on a cobblestone hill – rue Clavel, I think it’s called. It’s near my friend Geraldine’s apartment and far from the beaten tourist track. I’m getting some odd looks from the clusters of men finishing up their “dejeuneurs” and lingering over coffees. I’ve asked for a small table by the window and am sipping my cafe au lait while pinching myself. “I’m actually in a cafe in Paris… Writing… In a cafe… In PARIS!!!”
It’s not my typical Thursday by any means. Jason and I wandered along the Champs-Élysées, all the way from Place de la Concorde with its golden-tipped obelisk to the Arc de la Triomphe.
After walking beneath the Arc, which sits at the centre of the world’s biggest traffic circle and the meeting point of 12 streets and 3 arrondissements, Jason and I found a delectable patisserie where I tried my first French “macaron”. It was divine, much chewier than I expected.
Now fast forward to this cafe, which is now empty except for another guy who’s studying, the grumpy barista who finally cracked a smile after I tried to burn through her wall with my extra-warm smile, and the full sound of jazz radio. Poor Jason is at home in bed, feeling sick, but I’m loving this.
Tonight we have a dinner invitation with friends of my parents. “Aperitifs” will be served at 7h30, I’ve been told, so Jason has a few more hours to get better! I ate dinner with this family 15 years ago, on my first trip to Paris. My aunt must have been concerned about my behaviour because she made me read an entire book on French etiquette called “French or Foe” before we went. All I remember from that party was the white asparagus and lamb that was naturally salted from the sea-fed grass around Mont Saint Michel. I feel confident about my dinner etiquette for tonight, even if I haven’t read that book recently.
Sometimes it would be really fun to slow down time, to pause, or be able to live in multiple worlds at once.