Firstly, sorry for my lack of appearance the last month. I will now do my best to make it up to you showing why I have been distant for so long. One word Paris.
As Hemingway puts it Il n’y a que deux endroits au monde où l’on puisse vivre heureux: chez soi et à Paris.(There are only two places in the world where we can live happy: at home and in Paris.) and to me this is entirely true. The city of Paris took my breath away-the moment-I-landed. I have not understood truly or appreciated fully, the subtlety of beauty within a city, until I met Paris.
Paris was a non-stop dazzling adventure. After finally being reunited with my best friends (who have been europe indulging) for the last five months and having a lack of sleep we ventured out into the fifth arrondisement. I was at once taken-a-back by how the narrow lane ways and classical architecture create this timeless city. Each street telling a story, a story that is always changing with its occupants and trades but remaining the same within its walls.
As we walked through the crisp morning my friends took me to a ‘slice’ of home. “Kooka Burra” in Pigalle. After being flown through the city to their morning cafe I was greeted by what I thought was a little Sydney cafe in Surry Hills. Ironic… that I’d just stepped off a flight from Sydney. This cute chic cafe in Paris’s south was anything but Sydney. Its untreated pine furniture and soft cushioning was surrounded by a melting pot of French and English, and unlimited free wifi (bonus).
The barista however was Australian and we were told that the Australian coffee culture in Paris is slowly gathering a market. This coffee was what an Australian would expect at any top notch cafe, perfectly silky milk with the right amount of coffee. I had a chai ( something I thought I wouldn’t dream of finding on my first day in Paris) but nonetheless it was spicy and vanilla-ery…the only thing I could have wanted was some honey, but alas sugar was going to do.
The food was all made on the premises and we shared a smoked salmon baguette and a beautiful raspberry and pistachio bread ( which I will attempt to make a recipe for you when I reach Sydney town once again). The bread was soft, had a beautiful crumb and lashings of raspberries. The pistachio was brilliantly matched and if this bread were served in Sydney Id be coming back every morning.
Prices were reasonable and the staff were welcoming and accommodating ( none of that prejudice about the French being rude). I’d like to shout out to Kooka Burra in this blog because they really did make fitting into Paris that much easier. The girls were right when they said it was a little slice of home.
Following Kooka Burra the girls next immediate thought-lunch!. I was rather confused as breakfast was still hounding at my heels, but guiltily I gave into temptation…I was in Paris. Walking down the streets I was surrounded by beautiful fruit market stores, with luscious red strawberries served in recycled wooden containers, tomatoes overflowing and fresh vegetables pouring down the stands on the street. It was like every dream and movie I had ever seen and more. The small boutiques and fresh food all dazzling me to spend my breaking bank balance. We settled on one box of strawberries and different quiches from the Rose Bakery and made our way down to the Louvre gardens.
Note to self: finding chairs at lunch peak hour is a competitive sport and its not odd to run to save that chair overlooking the pond. However, we finally grabbed some chairs and I felt like a true Parisian sitting in the park, enjoying the new Spring rays of sunshine while devouring quiche and strawberries. I felt perfectly content.
The French culture is one that I find is viewed by the western world as prude and unaccommodating. Note to self: trying to speak French even if failing and being corrected gets you a-long-way.
Eggs and Co in the Saint Germain area on a back lane is another cafe I want all you foodies to hear about, the best brunch in Paris ( and large servings too). The waiter who had fun helping us learn french ( well me as the girls had had a tutor for a week) ushered us up a winding staircase to the front, most upper bay window. The table was surrounded by exposed beams and rustic decor. It was a space you could feel you could become a ‘regular’ in. The French waiter being incredibly polite and charming, living up to the French stereotype gave us our menus and we began decoding.
I, being behind on my French ordered between broken French and English to the amusement of the waiter. We ordered beautiful (Aussie coffee) cappucinos and I a tea. The girls required a hearty Aussie breakfast and settled on the eggs benedict while I ordered the mushroom omelette.
The food and drinks are out at an exceptional pace and I ate with my eyes rather than my stomach. This beautiful omelette had the perfect texture, crunchy-yet-oh-so-soft on your palette.( I will attempt to bring you this recipe n a few months so stay tuned.)
After our food babies were resting we set out to see the Louvre. Note to self: there is little or no impressionism in the louvre, we misunderstood. Dont wait in the line if you want to see that. The impressionism is at Museo D’orsay!!!. Also be weary of the hoards of tourists…they will put you off the Mona Lisa.
Saturday Morning provided us with what I had been dreaming about…Food Markets. Now I know this may seem a little odd that I get so…excited about this but it is so universal. Its the freshness of food and goods that bring people together all united for the one purpose-to eat and source fresh food.
After purchasing the most beautiful fromage (cheese) which stupidly I can’t remember the name of, French Salumi, Semi dried tomatoes, baguettes, croissant, strawberries, rocquette and a date. Yes it was a feast, oh and I forgot the wines. Everything was bon marche (cheap) and tasty. We moved through the hoards of people, gathered our purchases and headed to the Seine where we made a picnic of our market food.
I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a perfect morning because it really truly was. Nothing could compare with the sun, the wine and the food that day. I will leave you with this image as this is what I remember Paris as being and I hope that you will also one day be left marked and changed by this gem of a city.
I j’adore Paris.