A warm welcome by a Parisian bistro

Monday, July 16, 2012

For some reason, every time I arrive in Paris I feel a little melancholy. Once I get in to Paris and arrive at the apartment where I'll be for two weeks, I first unpack everything and then go for a walk. I like to breathe in the cool Parisian air, smell the city,and study my neighborhood. I do all this just so I can feel comfortable in Paris again. I was in Florence for three weeks to get my life back in order and to get used to living alone again. It was the perfect amount of time for me to get settled in before taking off again. It was almost as if I wasn't supposed to get too comfortable or get stuck into any routine before returning to Paris.

As a treat for myself, I decided to get dinner at a typical French bistro, Le Grand Colbert. It is right around the corner from my apartment for this trip. I went once last year and loved it. I tried to return last month, but it was packed. The gentleman who greeted me the last time told me that it was necessary to make reservations. I thought I would take my chances and see if they had a table for one.

After I walked in and pushed aside the thick red curtain to enter into the large room where people were seated at tables and booths, a gentleman rushed to greet me. I leaned in close to him, probably closer than normal, to tell him that I wanted a table for one. He turned around and scanned the room. Keeping the distance between us to a minimul, he described a particular table nearby that was about to leave in a few minutes. I glanced over his shoulder and saw that the one he talked about had just been served desserts.

He invited me to wait at the bar and escorted me to a seat that he pulled out for me. He seemed to glide on the mosaic marble floor as he placed olives and potato chips in front of me. Every staff person who saw me sitting alone greeted me with a smile.

I was happy to have this time to wait for my table; it was a pleasant experience for all my senses. I listened to the murmur of voices swirling in the air without hearing making out a word, the clanking of plates and silverware being picked up and carried to the back, and the chiming of glasses being picked up to deliver to tables. I enjoyed watching the food as it passed behind me on large silver platters and inhaled each time to whet my appetite. Waiters conversed with the customers, switching from French to English depending on the person even at the same table. For me, just sitting at the bar of the bistro was a delightful initiation to Paris. Everything pleasurable is represented: food, wine, language, beauty, elegance, cordiality, and class.

I was almost disappointed when the waiter told me that my table was ready. When I sat down to look around me, it wasn't the same. I ordered my dinner and was very well tended to by two different waiters and the man who initially greeted me.

When I left the bistro, the melancholy I felt earlier had completely disappeared. I walked around a little to enjoy the evening before the sun set. By the time I arrived home, I felt happy to be in Paris. Florence was far from me, but it was still nesteled in my heart.

If you have any comments, please share them on the Living in Florence's FaceBook page. Grazie!

July 2012


December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010

August 2010

July 2010

June 2010

May 2010

April 2010

March 2010

February 2010

January 2010

December 2009

November 2009

October 2009

September 2009

August 2009

July 2009

June 2009

May 2009

April 2009

March 2009

February 2009

January 2009

December 2008

November 2008

October 2008

September 2008

August 2008

July 2008

June 2008

May 2008

April 2008

March 2008

February 2008

January 2008

December 2007

November 2007

October 2007

September 2007

August 2007

July 2007

June 2007

May 2007

April 2007

March 2007

February 2007

January 2007

December 2006

November 2006

October 2006

September 2006

August 2006

July 2006

June 2006

May 2006

April 2006

March 2006

February 2006

January 2006

December 2005

November 2005

October 2005

September 2005

August 2005

July 2005

June 2005

May 2005

April 2005

March 2005

February 2005

January 2005

December 2004

November 2004

Travel Blogs