Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I Love Paris in the Summertime
So I don’t know if you know this but Paris is très chaud in the summertime (actually thanks to global warming it seems to be très chaud everywhere). The heat in Paris is that sticky hot heat that causes your typical America to run for the air conditioning dial. But since AC is very limited the City of Lights I decided to make the best of a mal situation and find a sanctuary of lunch on one of the loveliest islands in Paris (and not the one that houses Notre-Dame).
Considered on the most romantic parts of Paris the two islands that lie in the middle of the Seine River (Ile de la Cite and Ile St-Louis) are some of the city’s most enigmatic attractions. Ile St-Louis is (in my opinion) the most charming place in Paris. The 17th century stone house, boutiques, and specialty shop make it the perfect place to amble about. Strolling along these cobblestoned streets I decided to partake in the wonderful Parisian experience: the outdoor picnic.
I slid into a Fruit and Vegetable store to purchase two beautifully fragrant peaches, I could write pages on the soft fuzziness alone (2.69 € for two). Next I discovered the perfect From Eger, the cheese shop (but calling it just that cheapens it). As I entered the shop of Christian Le Lann, Fromeger-Affineur I was slammed with a bouquet of stinky cheese smells. It was easy to read that the man watching football behind the counter was not into embracing the English language. Terrified at my mediocre French I desperately searched around for something self contained, something that I wouldn’t have to request in grams (Yes, all I could think about was David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day). Joyfully eyes fell upon the smallest wrapped round cheese Tentation de Saint Felicien Double Crème L’Etoile du Vercors. Quite a mouthful, Tentation is the the cheese, L’Etoile du Vercors is the cheese group that makes it (6.8 €).
I walked the Quai de Bourbon, to the tip of the East side of the island, to the little park housed there. Up until this point my sister and I had noted every place in Paris we went so many people were speaking English (it should be noted we were seeing a good amount of tourist sites), so I was happy to discover this was not that case; Here, I was surrounded by natives, speaking their native French tongue. I sat down arranging my spoils when I felt a wonderful puff of air skip across my shoulders.
That breeze alone made it the best seat in the City.
I dug in. No Silverware, no napkins, lots of finger licking. The Etoile was so creamy it tasted like butter (truthfully for a moment I thought I had accidently bought butter). The peach was full of juicy sweetness that spurted with every bite. It had been awhile since I’ve eaten a peach whole. There’s something so inherently sexy about it. How French, I thought.
I paused for a moment to drink from my SIGG bottle (every good Green girl doesn’t go anywhere without it…) and I noted how the water tasted sweeter. I have always felt that real quality food can enhance your palate (just in the same way cardboard fast food can deaden it). And while Frenchman fished the Seine and boats full of tourists drifted up and down I thought that is exactly what this meal had done. Through my taste buds I had discovered the most quintessential f French philosophies: Joie de Vivre.