Monday, May 27, 2013

May 26 Paris Le Pain Quotidian for lunch, visiting friends, Jardin du Luxembourg, and Moroccan for supper

We were so impressed with the Le Pain Quotidian where we had had coffee the other day that we wanted to try it for lunch and found one near our apartment at rue des Archives. Their business model appears to combine the friendliest of service with the tastiest of French food, all at a reasonable cost and in a uniquely cozy yet by no means intimate environment.

Fascinating. I had thin slices of French ham matched with a potato cheese dish; Susie had the quiche of the day.

After lunch we returned to Pain de Sucre to pick up a few sweet goodies to take to Val and Hubert's later for le gouter, afternoon tea some might call it I suppose. We took our time strolling back to the apartment and crashed for the afternoon. A nap was long overdue. . .

From home we headed for the Metro and Val and Hubert's home in the southwestern side of the city. We spent a lovely afternoon catching up with friends and, most importantly seeing their two little ones -- two new additions to their family since we saw them last, their precocious little girl and her incredibly relaxed younger brother.

Giggles, laughter, chatter and banter about everything and nothing  allowed the afternoon to slip quietly away, the only intrusion being the noise of the protestors a couple of blocks away rampaging in opposition to the recently passed same-sex law in France.

We bid adieu to Val, Hubert and their two children at just about the same time that the protest rally broke up. As we walked up Vaugirard in the direction of the Seine we found ourselves mingling with small groups of protestors carrying their flags depicting their idea of family  in tastefully understated colors.

The protestors we saw were nothing more than clutches of families acting as if they had just come from the Bois de Boulogne after an afternoon of picnicking or bicycling. Odd that just a half hour before they were all ranting at the top of their lungs, shrieking their anger over the fact that love is often found in the strangest of places.

Leaving the flag-bearers behind we soon passed through a small gate that still holds fond memories for us. It was through that portal that we first discovered the Jardin du Luxembourg in May of 2006 and have come to recognize it as one of the true safe havens in the city. We quickly found a couple of chairs and sat with the one idea only being to watch the world go by. That we did.

the gendarmes were out in force today: between the protest rally and the suicide protestor in Notre Dame
We left our perch and made our way across boulevard Saint-Michel and up rue Soufflot, skirting the Pantheon and stopped at one of the outdoor cafes ringing the Place Contrescarpe, just at the top end of the rue Mouffetard. Now we were people watching but with a glass of wine in hand.

We picked ourselves up out of our seats and casually strolled down rue Mouffetard, past familiar shops where we used to buy wine, cheese and produce. Reaching the bottom of the street we walked around the church of Saint-Medard and on to rue Monge, and down to boulevard Saint-Marcel. From there we walked toward our old apartment on rue Poliveau, remembering those summer days in 2006 when we first moved in to the neighborhood.

We had cast ourselves adrift then and in some ways we were adrift still after all this time. Certainly we were adrift that evening as we started a search for someplace to eat dinner. The sun was setting, the hour was getting late and it being Sunday many places were closed.

As we strolled back to Saint-Marcel Susie spied an awning on the other side of the street -- a giveaway for a restaurant or cafe. We walked over and although at first it looked dark sure enough we could see lights on so in we went.

And into a different world entirely.

Au P'tit Cahoua was Moroccan, the music North African, the servers smiling and friendly, and the food, as it turned out, was simply delicious (a tired, worn out word by now, I suppose). I had the couscous mixed grill (chicken, beef and Merguez sausage)all washed down with a Moroccan rose (Nawas). Huge portions -- I had no idea the couscous also came with a large bowl of broth packed with chunks of carrot and potato. The meal was tasty and nicely priced making this a true value indeed.

After dinner we made our way to the number 5 at Saint-Marcel and got off at Place Bastille, preferring to walk home from there.

Whew! How much longer can the good times last, we wondered?

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