Sunday, May 11, 2008
Please don't forget me...
Are any of you still reading this?
If you are, this is my very last evening in Paris. I've just returned from a quiet walk up to Sacre Coeur, where I had a look at the city and said goodbye to the Eiffel Tower. I'm trying very hard to keep my chin up right now.
This has been an incredible opportunity to run away from real life for a brief spell, and there are lots of things to deal with when I return to Canadian soil, and lots of decisions that are effected by this experience that I've just had.
I spent the entire day today with the incredibly gracious Lenni Jabour. She took me to the Marche Alesia in her neighbourhood, which was a lively open-air fruit, vegetable, and flower market. It was incredible, and the vendors were all hurling compliments at us. Besides the fact that the produce here is out of this world delicious and fresh, they also like to arrange beautiful samples of the food to entice you to buy. My favourite were the full pineapples will sliced rings resting prettily on the spiky tops, and a female flower vendor who was screeching "Come and see my pretty tulips" at the top of her lungs. Ladies, if you want a delicious treat, and a lovely little ego boost (not that I needed one after the last couple of days here...) head to the Parisian street market nearest you with une jolie amie.
After that we visited her boulangerie of choice and got a little arrangement of patisseries to enjoy at the cafe across the street where we each had un creme. A creme is the Parisian way of ordering a coffee with cream, rather than an espresso, which is what you get when you simply order a cafe. I tried macarons for the first time today. Macarons are delicate little morsels available in several different flavours and happy, lovely colours. They are a blend of almond flour and meringue, with a layer of gooey happiness in the middle. They only make them in Paris, and the boulangeries pride themselves on their good macarons.
After returning the groceries to Lenni's lovely apartment, we strolled through the streets to St. Germain, in the hopes of catching the jazz festival there. We grabbed some crepes and a couple of kir as we made our way through the streets. It was quite a hike, and it was 26 degrees here today. The lovely thing about Paris is that you never grow tired of walking because there is so much to see here. We did a lot of window shopping, which in Paris is aptly named "Window Licking".
The sampling of French Jazz turned out to be a bit of a let down, but the weather was lovely, and the company grand, so we grabbed another kir at the Cafe de Flore, which is legendary. After that we were pooped, so we headed back to Lenni's to relax and then she made an exquisite little supper. (Bless you Lenni for keeping me company all day!!)
After we ate and rested, we met with Lenni's lovely British viola player Caroline at The Canal. It's a lovely Canal, which is of course part of the Seine, and there were groups of young people all lined up along the banks enjoying picnics. The picnic is a phenomenon that we don't appreciate nearly enough back home, and with the summer right around the corner, I think I'm going to make it a new fun thing to enjoy with my darling posse. I crashed hard after my final Parisian Kir, and I think everyone else was tired too, so we called it early.
I had to climb the millions of steps to Montmartre one last time though. I wanted to see the city again by night, and see the Eiffel Tower in all its glory. I didn't wait to see it sparkle again, because the last one was really special, and I'd like to keep it at that until I return.
The photos today weren't taken by me. My camera battery died again, and with only one day left, I didn't want to spend too many Euros on new ones. You'll see pictures of me above with the Mountie who stands guard at Crazy Horse (who says he's grossly underpaid), and at the Cafe de Deux Moulins, which is the cafe in Montmartre where Amelie works in the movie. There is also a great photo of the Moulin de la Galette, which is the only original windmill left in Montmartre. Tomorrow I will get up early to pack and do laundry, and then hit a couple of choice shops here one last time.
What an incredible experience this has been. It's everything I dreamed of and more. I'm so grateful to have had this opportunity, and will always remember my first trip to Paris.
"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast."