Three lovely ladies arrived from Australia last night. One of them, Scotty, was my inspiration and reason for my ongoing addiction to Paris.
A few years back, Scotty told me to pack up my bags, grab some Moleskins and escape to Paris, to nurse a broken heart.
All very romantic but that is what I did.
Today, I was giving back, sharing some of the things I have learned about Paris, from the past visits. Scotty probably never realised how grateful I was back then, and how the suggestion, not only sent me on a healing journey but also fuelled my love for and addiction to Paris.
Meeting at my favourite bar, after a little confusion about how many ‘du temple’ streets there are in the Marais, They finally arrived and the four of us sat up at the bar, sipping on hot chocolate.
It was chilly today, the breeze was cool and snow was predicted, I hoped that the weather bureau would be accurate in their predictions.
Leading them past one of the oldest houses in Paris down Rue Francois Miron, into the winding, courtyards of Saint Paul, through Hotel Sully, leading through to Places des Vosges, the beautiful arcaded square. The four of us walked the streets of Paris chatting along the way, ducking in and out of shops for warmth and visiting the fabulous concept store Merci. Today the cute car in the courtyard, looked like Carmen Miranda, with a basket of fruit and vegetables on it’s roof!
By this stage we had reached Republique and I wanted to take them for lunch at a little place I had discovered last year l’Hotel du Nord.
Getting a little lost, walking along the banks of Canal Saint Martin was starting to wear thin, cold and hungry, I hadn’t had breakfast, my tummy grumbling, but I wanted to share this great little find, asking people along the way for directions, finally, we found it.
After a pleasant lunch and a little window shopping, both Scotty and me trying to find sensible boots in vain, it was time to go our separate ways.
Walking with them to the left bank, we popped into The New Yorker’s favourite cafe, Cafe Panis, which is slowly becoming a favourite haunt of mine too.
Entering through the red velvet drapes, keeping the cold at bay, snuggled up next to the heater, we sipped on drinks and nibbled freshly made crisps, when just like magic, the snow started to fall.
We said our goodbyes and I watched as they walked along the left bank, with the snow falling upon them, until they disappeared into the mist.
The flirty, friendly waiters encouraged me to have another drink, I had no agenda, no where to be, no reason to leave, so I stayed in the warmth of the cafe, watching the snow fall on the Notre Dame and Paris pass by me.
Unlike the other day, today there was enough snow to settle on the ground and anything it landed on. Although I had my new, sexy lime green umbrella, I left it, tucked away in my bag. I didn’t want to use it, instead, I wanted the snow to fall upon me.
Within perhaps, two hours, the courtyard in front of the Notre Dame, was covered in a blanket of crisp, fresh white snow. Stopping briefly to stand on Point Zero, to perform my ritual, I brushed away the snow and placed my feet upon it, just for good measure, to ensure I return to Paris.
Continuing along, watching the snow build on the monuments, bridges and roof tops of Paris, I strolled through the snow covered rues, back to the Marais.
Deciding on an early night and an early dinner, I arrived at Petit fer a Cheval, resembling a snow man, covered in, what was now ice, clinging to my coat. As luck would have it, my favourite place at the bar was available.
Watching the snow fall outside, as I dined on duck, chatting to the regulars and my mates behind the bar, warm and cosy, I felt content.
This was not someone else’s Paris, a Paris from a guide book, this is my Paris, the Paris I have grown to love.