My walk around Paris with the stranger, left me with a head cold. Waking Sunday, feeling miserable, wasn’t an option, I had to prepare for my friend’s visit from London.
Dashing off to the Bastille markets to buy up some supplies, fresh chanterelle mushrooms, farm fresh eggs, country yoghurt, creamy French butter and a quick breakfast at a nearby Brasserie left me just enough time to get to Gare du Nord, to meet the train.
Managing her heavy luggage up and down the stairs of the metro, was a challenge, as we dragged her bag down Rue de Rivoli, I was surprised to hear someone call out my name. There was my friend Bouba, looking absolutely Parisian and dapper, with coat, scarf and hat, as if he had just fallen straight out of the pages of Vogue. A quick ca va and a kiss for either cheek, it was as though I had orchestrated the perfect Parisian arrival for my friend – appearing to be a local, bumping into friends along the boulevards of Paris.
Once she settled in, we strolled around the corner to my favourite bar, Le Petit fer a Cheval, as luck would have it, two stools at the bar were available. There we sat, at the tiny horse shoe marble bar, sipping on a welcome drink of Kir Royale. If any location, can give the realisation that you in Paris, Petit fer a Cheval, is the perfect location.
Fortunately the rain had cleared and the weather was quite warm, for a winters day in Paris. We embarked on a swift welcome tour. Heading to the Notre Dame and walking along the seine, my friend was like a kid in a macaron shop, photographing everything along the way as I put on my tour guide hat, pointing out landmarks, Pont des Arts, Le Louvre, the Tuilieries Gardens, approaching Place de la Concorde, we couldn’t help but notice the giant Christmas tree that has been installed in the square. The biggest in Europe. By this time it was already dark, shuffling through the crowds of Christmas shoppers and tourists we headed back to the apartment, on the Rue de Rivoli.
Being Sunday night, with just a little time to spare, next on the agenda was dinner at Jim Haynes. Jim opens his artist studio apartment every Sunday to all and sundry, for a stand up dinner for around 70 guests. As we pushed our way through the guests, Jim, in his usual position, perched upon his stool, guest list in hand, apron on, greeted us with a big, warm, cheery hello.
Instead of my usual pit stop at the cafe near the metro, we headed back to Petit fer a Cheval for a night cap or four, with a lovely day and night under our belt, it was time for sleep, we had a big day ahead of us tomorrow.