We travelled to Paris on St. Patrick’s Day, set to spend a fast, full weekend of touring. Four hours from our doorstep in southwestern Germany, to the Gare de L’est metro station, via a highspeed train from Strasbourg. Remarkable, when I consider that’s the time it takes to drive to the mountains, within the same province in my country. When we arrived, students in the Latin Quarter area of the Sorbonne, next to our hotel, the St. Germaine, were decked out Dr. Seuss-like green pile fur hats, pouring out into the streets with their green beers and Guinness.
Be what it may, Denmark weather followed us…grey skies, flat light and showers that turned to a downpour by Saturday evening. My water-resistant coat, hood and boots, and umbrella were the communal god-send. Blue skies finally prevailed on Sunday, though the temperatures were far from spring-like and evidence of new foliage and flower was scarce. As I edited my photos I saw the extent to which I tried to capture colour…
K, who I mentioned a couple of posts ago is a tour guide, is also a former resident of Paris. She prepared our daily “programmes,” combining the best sights with the most efficient travel means and orientation. “BellaThea” brought her exquisite design, fashion and Michelin-guided culinary tastes to the mix. I was the blessed beneficiary, rested and ready for a three, fast-paced, intense days of sensory delight.
Just as three days could hardly do justice to a city steeped in history, culture, design and art, so too, my efforts to record it here. From what I understand, Paris, like Rome, is a museum held within a city… with nearly every street, every corner, every building holding a story, a memory, a history. We covered miles by metro, bus and footstep.
My requests were few…to see the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre; to walk the Avenue des Champs Elysees, and along the Seine and cross one of its bridges; to eat a French meal; and to sip a Kir cocktail (with cassis and Chablis or Sancerre wine) at an outdoor café. I would be the follower to those who knew more and better, and was thrilled with the results even though it meant foregoing seeing any art exhibitions. Instead I delighted in the exhibition of high fashion at the two Marithé + Francois Girbaud, the Agnes B, Hermés, Catherine Andre, and Crea Concept shops.
Our meals were as rich in diversity as Paris’ citizenry. From our morning petit dejeuner of café de crème with croissant, tartine and pastries at the Patisserie Viennoise, to the couscous dinner and Algerian pastries and mint tea at Café Oscar, my quintessential French fare of terrine with mustard and cornichons, preserved duck leg with pommes frites and vanilla ice cream with liqueur-marinated prunes at Aux Charpentiers, to our Michelin-recommended dinner of fresh oysters, fish soup, grilled cod and risotto with haricots verts, and chocolate mousse at the famous La Mediterranee. Oh yes, and the “de rigeur,” mid-afternoon pause for our fortifying cafés or kirs.
La belle Paris.
I can only imagine April in Paris and hum her song.