After my 'jammies day, I'm ready to roll! After breakfast of fruit, cheese, yoghurt and green tea, I load myself up with everything I need for a day away from my apartment...
~ snacks, gum, kleenex, antiseptic hand wipes, camera, freshly charged batteries
~ photocopy of my passport
~ map book of Paris, with stickies marking all of the necessary bus routes, metro stops and shopping places along the way.
And the biggie...
Any less and I need a pit stop at the ATM.
I have an irrational fear of being in a strange location where no one knows me and I have no money to eat or take the metro, the bus or a taxi home. So, to calm that part of my little Miss Inside Scaredy-pants, I make sure to leave home for the day with enough cash to eat two meals out and take a taxi home if I need to.
Weird, I know.
But, that's one of my little idiosyncracies and I take good care of it, because that gives me a safe feeling inside.
Walking along the side streets of this area of Paris is always a simple joy for me. I can window-shop for hours, stopping for a caffe creme and a tarte tatin or a lemon tarte. Today, I've decided to go back to the shops in the Carrousel du Louvre, because there are some great gift items there that will be perfect for the people on my gotta-get-a-gift list. I saw earrings in a cool little jewelry shop in the under-the-Louvre shopping area that would be perfect for my house sitter, some lush bath goodies for my front office person, and in the BHV I
found the perfect bronze Made in Paris day bag for my realtor locum.
By the way, I just found out that BHV is actually Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville! I had no idea. That place rocks!
BHV is a department store with the most amazing basement level ever. I could hang out there for ages...housewares galore, just for starters. I love that place! It's just a short walk back from the Seine and Notre Dame Cathedral. If you've never been, then make some time and go! I promise, you'll love it a lot!
Speaking of the Seine, as I walk along beside it, the Bateaux Mouches are flying in both directions...people on one boat waving frantically and calling out to the people in the other boat, who are doing the same!
It's so funny!
" Oui, 'allo!"
Back and forth, across the water between the two boats loaded with people, and the occasional English "Hi, y'all!" tossed in for variety.
I've worked up quite a sweat by now, and I think it just might be the right time to try out Cafe Marly, located in the Louvre, overlooking the pyramid entrance. It's located outdoors, sheltered by the ancient corridor of the museum, and the breeze and shade will be a welcome treat for me. As I enter the corridor leading to the cafe, I see a server, who looks all of fourteen years old and I ask him if I may sit down at one of the empty tables in the shady side of the cafe.
"Oh, non, Madame!" he replies in abject horror.
Pointing at another server who looks about a year older than this guy standing in front of me..."You MUST ask his permission, Madame!" he whispers to me, shakily.
So, I walk over to the other server, ask him if I could please sit down and order something to eat and a beverage to go with it, as well.
"Sun or shade," he says to me.
"Shade," I reply.
"Here," he says imperiously, pointing to a scrumbly-looking table sitting right smack-dab in full sun, right beside his cashier's stand.
"Non, M'sieur," I reply, "In the shade, please."
A long silence follows.
He looks at me and then at the table he has chosen for me. Then he looks back at me, as if to say, "Take it! That's all there is!"
I shake my head, wave him away and turning, walk towards the entrance to the cafe, where there are many, many empty tables and chairs sitting in the shade, with a cool breeze blowing over the entire area. I am tempted to sit there and wait for service, but instead, I leave the cafe and walk across the street and down the block to Angelina, once again!
A glass of chilled champagne and a lemon tarte fills my tummy and gives me a sit-me-down-and-pick-me-up, and I feel human! The servers in this beautiful cafe are kind and generous, and every single one of them is all about making us feel welcome, not like we are too much of a bother. I'll be back here again. As for Cafe Marly, I might try it again another day, but I'm not sure...
The rest of my day is taken up with a long and slow meander through the streets of this city as I make my way back to my apartment. A very B-grade movie kind of day...nothing too much and nothing too little. Just an ordinary day, the kind I like best!
"I only drink champagne when I'm happy, and when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone.
When I have company, I consider it obligatory.
I trifle with it if I am not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it - unless I'm thirsty."
~ Lily Bollinger, when asked when she drinks champagne