Friday, November 27, 2009
I have lots of stories about how fabulous Paris is including the one about the time we decided to go to a recommended restaurant for dinner later in the week. I phoned up "allo?" "Allo madam." "Parlez vous Anglais?" "Non madam, seulement Fransais" (or something similar). Oh dear. Now I realised I didn't know the first word I needed! Reservation! Luckily the French word for 'reservation' is 'reservation'! I went on to specify the day of the week, the date (to make sure I said the day correctly!), the number of people and the time (with a little help from my now very friendly French friend on the other end of the phone).
Finally we got stumped. I could not understand what he was saying at all. "Oui or Non!?" I said at last. "Oui, Oui!" he said, so we went on. I spelled my name in French as my final triumph and we said "au revoir." Later that week we turned up to the restaurant and they were expecting us!!! Yay!
The real reason I wanted to mention this restaurant is that our walk to it demonstrates why I love Paris so much. It turned out the restaurant was only a block and a half from our apartment. We went down the stairs (at this stage of our trip the elevator was still broken - but that's another whole and long story!), through the courtyard, out the front gates of the building and onto our street. We turned right. Turning right wasn't something we hadn't done before. Far from it really, but we usually went left as left was the direction of the metro, the Seine, I could go on. We turned right, walked to the end of our block and turned left. I don't think we had ever turned left there before. It is quite an unremarkable street. We walked the block and a bit to the restaurant and we were in an area we had never seen before! We loved it. We were early (well, you never know how long a walk it might be!) so we explored, finding a whole street of art galleries, artists cafes and cafes in courtyards filled with interesting types.
I live in regional Australia. We have a lot of space. I found it mind blowing that we had never seen something so close to us. Paris is dense. The buildings, especially in the ancient part we were in, are so close together they do not afford a view to what lies beyond. It is only through exploring that Paris reveals herself to you. I love that about Paris!
Posted by Jan Allsopp at 12:19 pm