I've intentionally made this last day in Paris a completely do-nothing day. After a luscious breakfast of sliced fresh fruit, toasted nearly-gluten-free spelt bread, yoghurt and Twinning's Green Tea, I finish packing my luggage, and you know what? Everything fits perfectly!
This is a first.
Normally, I struggle with finding room for all of my treasures, and have often resorted to buying a cheap second bag. This trip, however, I have been cautious with my shopping, I've cut down the number of people that I bring treats for AND purchased only souvenirs that are small and light. I get too soon old and too late smart!
Touria, the apartment owners' contact person, comes by with my damage deposit of 500E and we chat for a few minutes. She is a very kind woman, I think...I've not spoken with her very often, but when I have she has been the picture of kindness. The good thing about this is that I now have mad money for last minute shopping!
I grab my keys, camera, some spare rechargeable batteries for the camera and my small purse and and take the tiny elevator down to rue Madame. Walking across the street to Bread and Roses, I check to make sure they have a slice of my beloved mushroom quiche left for later, and they do! Then, for a delicious treat for myself, I walk to the entrance gate on rue Guynemer, taking photos along the way. This entrance has become so familiar to me over the last two weeks, with the immediate welcome shade of the huge masses of trees overhanging the graveled pathway and sidewalk inside the gate.
Sitting on the bench along the landscaped area beside a statue that I really like, I'm doing my best to soak this up, to find some way to retain the joy I feel when coming here every morning. I would love to bottle the essence of this amazing garden, take it home with me and save it for the next time some cranky-pants clouds up and rains on my parade. If I could immediately transport myself right back to this very spot, I know that it would soothe my soul and show me so clearly the complete lack of importance of someone else's black mood in my life.
Walking along the sidewalk and grassed area towards the rue Vaugirard gate beside the Orangerie and Cafe des Medicis, I take a number of photos, sit and watch the people in the garden today and promise myself that I will be back here as soon as I can. This truly is a slice of heaven on earth. No wonder hundreds of Parisiens come here during the day and after they finish work, to sit and visit, have a smoke, drink a cool beverage and air out their minds before heading home. I understand completely.
I'm hungry, and Bread and Roses is only a couple of blocks away, so I walk along the side street until it takes me right to the front door of the bakery. Sitting at a small sidewalk table, I browse the menu, and decide to go with a tried and true favorite...Mushroom Quiche with a side salad and green tea.
My favorite server brings me a huge cast iron pot of tea, fragrant and steaming. The quiche follows in a few minutes and it is perfection! Thick, egg-y, with a scattering of pan-fried fresh mushrooms sprinkled over top...the first forkful is tender, crisp-crusted and very luscious!
Good choice, Brenda!
Stuffed to the gills, I pay my bill, leaving a generous and well-received tip for my server. She's been amazing. She saves the last piece of quiche for me if I stop by and tell her that I'll be back later for lunch. My tea is always steaming hot and my dessert is always perfect and waiting for me, when I stop by for a mid-afternoon break. Buying six Corinthe Currant Cereal Sticks and a loaf of cornbread to take home with me, I say goodbye to the staff and tell them I'm leaving for home tomorrow. I'll miss this lovely place where I've had lunch many times, taken their amazing bread and croissants back to my apartment many times and treated myself to far too many lemon tarts...
After my very late lunch, it's back to my apartment to finish packing, making sure the bread that I just bought will fit in my checked luggage. The apartment is clean, all of the trash has been taken out and my luggage is packed, except for my toiletries.
Curling up on the sofa, wrapped in a wool blanket, I spend a few hours reading 'Here Be Dragons' by Sharon Kay Penman, then take a break for a late light dinner of fruit and yoghurt. As I finally slide into my bed, turn out the lights and pull up the covers, the darkness tumbles in through the bedroom window on my last night in Paris.
Falling asleep, my last thoughts are of the memories of my time here with my granddarling. I have a very vivid image in my mind of my son and my granddaughter walking ahead of me through Luxembourg Jardin, just hanging out together...
"Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future."
~ Gail Lumet Buckley