The sun was shining, the sky was azure blue and it was market day in the Bastille neighborhood. What a whimsical day for a picnic! Dave and I meandered our way through the stalls, marveling at the abundance of vendors displaying cheeses, breads, meat, fish, fresh eggs, pastries and more. Pate, proscuitto, fruit, cheese and wine filled our basket as we headed off to toast the day and savor our lunch in Places des Vosges.
“Salut and bon appetit,” raising my plastic cup to Dave’s, “cheers and happy anniversary back at ya, hon,” as he kissed me tenderly in return.
Heading our way was a very official looking man, sporting a dark navy uniform. Uh-oh, were we going to get busted for drinking wine in the park? As he approached we slyly slid our glasses off behind our pate and cheese. He began chatting away pointing upward at the leaves on the tree above us. The gist of his conversation wasn’t about our open wine bottle, although he did remind us that drinking was not allowed in the park, but that pollen was falling from the leaves on the trees and could potentially stain our clothes; thereby resulting in plus d’argent (a lot of money)to get them cleaned. Only in Paris, I thought. With a, “Merci, Monsieur and bonne journee,” off he went to inform the next picnic revelers of their possible misadventures with spring pollen.
I first fell in love with the idea of visiting Paris while studying French in high school. My teacher was an enthusiastic French Canadian who loved the language and thought Paris was one of the most magical cities in the world. At 21 my desire to visit came true. I stood atop the Eiffel Tower and pronounced loudly to the wind, “I am coming back here someday!” That wish has turned into more than 15 return visits. Friends have asked me why I return. Haven’t you seen enough already? How many times can you visit? After all, there are other cities to explore! What can I say? My taste buds have been tempted, lured and enticed into Parisian cuisine. My goal for this May visit was to return to some favorite restaurant spots and explore some new ones. This journey was about food: wining, dining, sampling, tasting and savoring. Pain au chocolat, tartes aux frambroises, salade de printemps, cabillaud, moilleaux au chocolat; here I come.