The sky is blue (finally).
After spending much of the last few days in a nature induced cafe lockdown, it was a pleasure to leave class this afternoon under a clear blue sky and absolutely no sign of rain.
Paris is complete when flanked by a blue sky, and as I skipped off to lunch today – out of the passage Dauphine and onto Rue Jacob I had one thing on my mind- chicken stir fry. You see, I’ve found the most amazing cafe not far from home and just off the Rue Jacob that serves vegetables dressed in sesame seeds with the tenderest chicken pieces I ever did taste and do you think I could find it today? No.
After a meander down Rue Jacob looking in the windows of each and every gallery, pining for almost everything I clapped eyes on – a delicious salad was eventually had at Cafe Le Dauphine on the Boulevard Saint Germain. A man so similar to Mick Gatto sat beside me on the neighbouring table and I can’t deny that I may have found myself looking up to see if the sky was indeed still blue and if there were any rogue cranes overhead.
Last night I ate dinner at Cepe Figue a very French restaurant in a cobblestoned passage just of the Rue St Andre des Arts, which is situated around the corner from my apartment. I have grown to really love this place- many dinners have been enjoyed there en seul and the staff never fail to make me feel so very much at home (and they let me speak only in French). The escargot are a favourite (six little snails doused in butter and garlic), followed by tender pork pieces with poached apple and, at the end of this extravagance I can never, ever go past the apple crumble – baking dishes of this old fashioned sugary masterpiece adorn the shelves in the front window- its heaven and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Sometimes in Paris I eat meals with the sort of confidence I might be able to justify if I’d (just say) been blessed with a really fantastic metabolism at birth – a gift that sadly, the stork forgot to drop in my nursery in 1979.
In the absence of any such gift, I love walking and always have – and with time on my side I walk a lot in Paris.
On Sunday, as I shuffled home from a day in the mosque – teeth grilled (looking like an emoji) and with hands freezing cold, I suddenly felt perplexed as to why my umbrella felt ready to snap and my feet like wet cement trapped in a pair of Nikes. Looking up I saw beautifully formed snowflakes falling from the sky before melting as they hit the ground.
I continued like a penguin down the Boulevard St Michel (saluting Sherazade and Dr Heisse as I passed number 22), before making my way around the corner past the Musée national du Moyen Age (the Museum of the Middle Age) in Place Painlevé. Alternating my hands from pocket to pocket (fearing they may fall off) and not daring let go of my umbrella, I suddenly felt giddy with cold and something quite extraordinary.
There is something to be said for the changing of elements and the feelings we experience from walking under a perfect blue sky or a sky filled with threatening clouds, but walking under a pitch black night sky producing perfectly formed snowflakes makes justifying every plat du jour and every apple crumble consumed in this city, just that little bit easier.