Paris in Summer
We'll always have Paris
Traveling is adventure—it is exciting and puts you in a different frame of mind. It is exhilarating, and at times scary, and you hope everything will work out well in the end.
I remember the moment I fell in love with Paris. It was decades ago. I was a young woman, barely 21, when I went to Paris on a four-day weekend. I was living in Germany at the time. The two women I was with disappeared and I didn't see them until it was time to return home. I remember wandering the streets by myself and sitting in a sidewalk cafe. I don't remember where exactly, but I do remember the feeling of falling in love with the people, the charm and the ambiance of this beautiful city. To this day, my love affair with Paris continues even when a heat wave hits the city in summer—and with more and more tourists.
Paris is a city for walkers and that's what we do when we visit Paris. For years we have copied walks from a book called Walking Paris. The author takes you from place to place showing you everything you wanted to know about Paris: the oldest tree, a beautiful door, gypsy legends, medieval history, Hugo Victor’s house—you name it. These walks expose the soul of this charming city.
One day during our visit, we walked all the way from Bon Marché to our apartment, passing through the Latin Quarter's crooked cobblestone streets and the boulevards of Saint-Germain-des-Prés with all the outside cafes, the most interesting little stores you have ever come upon, churches, small museums and lots of tourists.
The Cafe Les Deux Magots in St.-Germaine-des Prés has the a drink called anis , a cousin of the pastis without the alcohol that comes with a huge bucket of ice. A dream when the temperature hits 100 degrees. This cafe is on a square that has the oldest church in Paris. I always love to return to St. Germaine and visit old places and find new ones. This is a great place to get lost.
During the last two visits, we rented a lovely apartment with a view of Notre Dame. Even though we could see the hustle and bustle of that area, we felt separated from it. Our apartment was in the 5th arrondissement, bordering on the 6th. The river Seine was within spitting distance, as we could see Notre Dame from our living room window. There was a great bakery around the corner where I got croissants, a baguette and something sweet for my sweetie every morning. They also had fresh-pressed orange juice, and one day I bought a tomato zucchini tart for dinner that I hope to make soon. We could stroll by the river or go to Île St.- Louis to have an ice cream at Berthillon or a drink in one of the cafés. I love that location because I'm within walking distance of all of my favorite places.
My absolute favorite book store in Paris is Shakespeare and Company. It is around the corner from Notre Dame next to a tiny park with the oldest tree.
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in French culture is with food. I always try to find new places. Because of the heat wave, we were not able to walk for miles, so we often took the metro. We planned something for the morning and then had a leisurely lunch that lasted a couple of hours. We preferred outside cafes. I found a couple of new places. My favorite one was restaurant “Josehine Chez Dumonet”. This was also a favorite of Napoleon’s first wife, Josephine, hence the name. I had read that they had the best Beef Bourguignon and it was the best I ever tasted, even on a hot day. My sweetie had an outstanding piece of duck paté and my duck confit was superb. This was a memorable lunch, enjoying perfect french cuisine at an outside table watching life unfold.
Another superb lunch was at Bon Marché, a wonderful large department store that had the best air conditioning on the day it was 104 degrees. The lunch in the food section (not in the restaurant) was fantastic. I had raviolis in a cream sauce with shaved truffles. I loved the entire food section of that store and was in no rush to return to the steaming heat outside. When we finally got the courage to go out, I found a great ice cream store, La Maison Du Chocolat.
Another day, we took a walk to explore an unknown passage. The passage was OK but we stumbled on a nice place to eat lunch. It was called Willi's Wine Bar and since my Willie loves wine, we had to go inside and talk to the proprietor, a nice English fellow with some great posters and a very good lunch menu. I had a half of a Cornish hen with nicely braised vegetables and Willie had to do another duck paté tasting with the appropriate wine, of course.
So you see, even when there is a heat wave in one of your favorite city, you can still have a good time.
The Louvre had a special exhibit I was interested in, so I went early one morning and it was good. I enjoyed the art, except I was disappointed with the Mona Lisa, because you can barely see it—and the crowds are unbearable. I went to a couple of tiny museums and decided to go to my other favorite ones another time, so I can enjoy them. If you only have one time in Paris, don’t miss the D’Orsay and don’t worry about anything but the stunning art that this place offers.
I have a folder titled Paris and I have some wonderful books. My favorite is Walks in Paris by Giles Desmons. Like I said, this is one to take along on my favorite walks. My girlfriend gave me Paris, An Inspiring Tour of the City’s Creative Heart by Janelle McCulloch. This is a beautiful book to read before you go, so copy the pages of the things you want to see. I have the Food Lover’s Guide to Paris by Patricia Wells. These days, I use different websites like David Lebovitz's site. I have more books, but I would like to find some new ones from my blog buddies. So please let me know if you have some.
Even though I don't have small children, it would be fun to experience Paris from different children's books with Paris at the core. I'm thinking of Ludwig Bemelmann's 12 Little Girls in Two Straight Lines and Madeline. To introduce kids to Picasso and other artists, there is Paris in the Spring with Picasso by Joan Yolleck and Marjorie Priceman. When I was still teaching I had a whole series of books introducing painters and composers to the children. Maybe I will have to borrow one of my nephew's children to go to Paris.
A great way to see Paris, if you don't want to tackle the metro, is the double-decker L'Open Tour buses, which offer hop-on/hop-off service. I did this when my niece was 14 and I think she enjoyed it.
With that, my dear blogger friends, forgive my photographs and I will blog about my second week in France soon. Please let me know what is your favorite place in Paris if you have on.
WELCOME TO SUNNY COVE CHEF
Thank you for visiting my blog. My two passions are cooking and traveling. Traveling exposes me to a wide variety of food and experiences. I walk around cities looking for markets, restaurants, bakeries, shops, you name it, and if it is related to food you will find me there, tasting, smelling, talking to vendors, and having a great time.