September 7th, 2005
Decked out in my fabulous red-themed birthday outfit, I meet up with Felice in front of Notre Dame. We explore the inside a bit, even though I prefer small churches over cathedrals (at least in Europe). Notre Dame was built around the 12th century and is gorgeously gothic. We spot a cafe that’s on a boat on the river, and we choose that for my birthday lunch. The chicken that Felice orders is fantastic and I almost wish I’d gotten that instead of my salade nicoise (lovely just the same). We chat for a while with some ladies from Vancouver Washington and take all kinds of fun pictures with the river and cathedral in the background.
Felice hasn’t seen the Latin Quarter (where I’m staying) yet, so we make our way up Rue du Cardinal Limoine until we get to Rue Mouffetard. It’s not nearly as alive as it was on Sunday but it’s definitely a sight to see and Felice manages a particularly fine shot of a side street using her digital camera. After Rue Mouffetard we head up to the Pantheon which is beautiful yet not as moving as the one in Rome (call me biased…) and stop in a cafe for water and a cookie, where the friendly owner fancies us and gives us an impromptu French lesson (and warms Felice’s cookie up for her). We move on to discover the Jardin de Luxembourg, an amazingly colorful park with nice paths for walking and benches placed in just the right spots to admire all of the scenery. We could sit here forever, except that we’ve made plans to meet my colleague Laura and her neice for dinner.
Felice is lucky (?) in that she gets to climb up 7 flights of stairs with me to my apartment so I can change my clothes. I choose a beige skirt (purchased 3 years ago in Italy for 3 euros) and a baby-blue satin top. Complete with the same shawl I had on throught out the day. There’s something about Paris that makes me want to glam it up (though I notice that Parisian women don’t really wear much make-up…perhaps that explains why they have such fantastic skin). The restaurant I have chosen is Chez Julien, where I ate the other night before dancing. We walk through Isle St. Louis and Felice is amazed by the fact that we’re walking through an island in the middle of the river.
Birthday dinner is wonderful – I begin with mushrooms cooked in wine sauce (incredibly rich yet so light), followed by rascasse (scorpion fish I guess) topped with a tomatoe sauce and probably the freshest fish I’ve had in a long time. Dessert is the chocolate cake I had before and for some reason it’s even richer and smoother than the last time…The restaurant is unexpectedly crowded and the staff is obviously overwhelmed so our courses are spaced a little farther apart than they normally would be. I don’t even notice, as I’m too captivated by the view of the Seine from our outdoor table, a cool Parisian breeze carrying the smell of foos, perfume, cigarettes and whatever else to where we are. I could sit here all night. Fabulous!
Laura and her neice leave and I go with Felice to the bar across the street where we sip Limoncello and make our plans for Tuesday (a day in Montmartre, 18th arrondissement). Stephane, a waiter there, realizes we are American and tells us that he lived in San Diego, San Francisco and New York – He loves New York the best and loves Americans – he tells us that if we run into any trouble in Paris or need anything, to let him know. He also tells us which currency exchange kiosk will offer the best rate.
Tummies warm from our fulfilling meal, Felice and I part ways so we can get to bed at a decent hour – We will meet at Place des Abbesse in the morning at 10:00 and want to give ourselves a head start just to make sure we use the metro correctly.
My birthday feels good but I do miss having friends singing Happy Birthday to me as I blow out candles – BUT I guess you can’t have everything, and after all, it’s Paris!!!
Entry Filed under: Paris