On Saturday morning around 8 am, I woke to the sound of rain drumming on the windows. So I did what anyone might do in such a situation … rolled over and went back to sleep. When I woke up at half past nine, the sun was out again! Quel miracle!
We started the day with our new morning ritual: Alex procured croissants, pan au chocolat and a fresh baguette at the local bakery, and we shared them around the kitchen table.
Another morning run, this time to Jardin des Plantes, where we caught l’aroma of — but did not enter — the zoo.
Mike and I took the morning to run some errands and meander along the Boulevard Saint-Germain, where we found a lively street market and a fromagerie where we tasted some samples so good they made my eyes cross. We also met up with another friend and fellow expat, with his enfant in tow! Mrs. Expat was attending a pastry-making class at Le Cordon Bleu (as one does!), and texted her husband to say that it was no less than the best day of her life … after her wedding and the birth of their son, bien sûr.
We found a spot to sit and catch up in the Luxembourg Gardens. It’s a stunning place, particularly now with the changing leaves. My favorite part was the movable public seating! There were literally thousands of chairs, some upright and some lounging; some with arms and some without. The French know how to facilitate a leisurely afternoon in the park.
Alex and Rachel joined us for a picnic … plenty of wine, cheese, some fresh grapes, a baguette, and this unbelievable dark chocolate bar studded with toasted sesame seeds:
After lunch we bid adieu to papa and l’enfant, who needed his afternoon nap. We wandered through more of the neighborhood of St. Germain, which I loved for its narrow streets lined with boutiques, cafes and galleries.
Then, to La Palette, recommended by my friend Juliette as a wonderful place to stop for coffee. Indeed it was.
Mike and I found our way to the 8th Arondissement, for another visit with our expat friends (who promised to share the Cordon Bleu pastry spoils!). They live in a very pretty two-story flat on the fifth floor of a charming old building with an ancient elevator:
At 8:30, we re-joined Alex and Rachel in the Ile St. Louis for a very, very delicious dinner at a tiny Italian restaurant called Sorza, where we had some of the best risotto I have ever tasted, a very nice bottle of Chianti and a fantastic creme brulee shared among four spoons (While we were eating, the hostess had to run out into the street to stop a minivan from backing into her motorbike). We did, however, manage to save just enough room post-brulee for some glaces et sorbets at the shop down the street.
The next morning, while Alex and Rachel visited the Musee d’Orsay, we spent our last two hours in Paris enjoying the city the way I think I like it best … by wandering on foot.
We’re now back in London, with the laundry almost done and our bellies full of (low-carb, zero-butter) homemade pho. It was a lovely long weekend, made so much better because we got to share it with friends. We’ve decided that’s the magic ingredient for these European city vacations … as each cappuccino, each croissant, and each carafe de vin becomes that much more delicious when enjoyed in good company.