Friday, October 16, 2015

Paris Sera Toujours Paris

Second time around I can finally see a little of the indefinable magic that others see in the lovely city of Paris. Having that morning coffee along with the delicious croissant au beurre in a teeming corner café while watching the impossibly stylish Parisiennes rush off to work. Taking a slow stroll down sun-dappled boulevards full of chic boutiques showcasing the latest in haute couture, specialist stores full of eccentric oddities and ... oh the wonderful boulangeries filled to the brim with buttery breads.

And the ever tempting chouquettes.

Yes, all terribly stereotypical - just short of the typical black beret and the silky black mustache. Maybe even the oddly provoking French mime. But surely a quintessentially Parisian experience not to be missed.

All the terrible fears I had before seemed but a memory as I found this trip far more enchanting.

As the autumn days went by, all our endless worries about muggers and murderers faded away slowly but surely. Maybe a niggling disquiet at the back of our mind whenever we dashed down the admittedly dingy steps of the Metropolitain - cautiously keeping an eye out for the ubiquitous felons - but the ever present dangers didn't seem very different from any other large cosmopolitan city. Thankfully the snatch thieves remained at a safe distance from us. Then again it might have been near impossible to slip a hand into my bag when I'm practically sprinting to my destination.

Though my brother had warned of shabby treatment from the infamously haughty locals, we seemed to have nothing but the loveliest reception wherever we went. Utterly prepared to stare coldly down my nose at anyone who dared cross me but even the most uppity maître d'hôtel at their exclusive restaurants warmed up fast enough after a friendly bonjour or two. The chic young assistants at the ateliers were only far too ready to display their beautifully made ( and terribly pricey ) merchandise.

Sure the immaculately dressed girls at the neighbourhood boulangerie were a tad dismissive on our first day but on our second visit, they seemed so absolutely attentive and charming that I wondered if I'd feverishly imagined their pretentious impertinence the day before. Possibly the result of my drugged, dishevelled self when I initially arrived. Their chouquettes certainly brightened my day after.

Perhaps times have changed.

Ah the lovely cafes. 

Though of course my thoughts when it comes to fine French dining remain the same as always...comme ci comme ça! Don't get me wrong though, I find it all utterly exquisite! Magnifique! Almost parfait! But given a choice, I would still head for something heartier. Tastes differ I guess.

But when it comes to their boulangeries and pâtisseries, it's probably safe to say that the French have little reason to worry since they are simply without peer. From their deliciously lush St. Honoré to the creamy Religieuse, from the sweet Madeleines to the humble French baguette, oh yummy. Even the simplest croissant from the neighbourhood boulangerie tastes like a sheer bite of heaven.

I'm sure I mentioned the heavenly chouquettes, right?

No comments: