Jardin Luxembourg and the cautionary tale of the Quiche Lorraine

This morning, day two of my Paris adventure, I went for a jog in Jardin Luxembourg.
I jogged for 20mins, once round the park, before the lure of pastries got the better of me. I set off on foot in the direction of a pastry shop I have frequented numerous times- Gerard Moulet. Seriously over priced but seriously good.

I brought 3 items, a quiche Lorraine, plum tart and a mini brioche.

I then walked as fast as I could back to Jardin Luxembourg where I would devour this feast.

The quiche had been warmed, so it was first on the eating agenda. On first mouth full, it was love at first bite.Salty bacon, an egg and cream mixture which was light and fluffy and pastry that oozed buttery,flaky goodness.

I could not get enough if it!! In a matter of seconds it was consumed….I almost cried as I swallowed the last mouth full.

Then without thinking….I moved onto the brioche…

And that is when disappointment set I and a life lesson was learnt.

Savour each moment, each and every moment…..for although the brioche was good, as was the plum tart that followed it was not the quiche….it was never going to be…that moment was over, I had been propelled forward to the land of sweet not savoury.

And so the cautionary tale of the Quiche Lorraine was leant in the Jardin Luxembourg….a lesson know no doubt I will come across time and time again in my life, savour the moment, be present to experience the here and now.

As the tried and true saying goes, often we don’t realise how good we have got it till its gone.

A quiche Lorraine taught me so much today….you just never know!!! Ah Paris!!

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CUWAM- Looking back in order to look forward

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Paris, you are a distant memory now….I have left the city behind and am now on a train to Odense in Denmark, a 1 ½ hours train ride from Copenhagen city.

In order to not have any hang ups about leaving the French capital I feel it is necessary to complete my ode to the city today, here and now, so that I can move on….

But first, a love song to the city:

Cole Porter’s ‘ Lets do it’ …an ode to Paris

Paris on day 5 was wet, it rained and rained…I wondered the streets, ate a breakfast of plum tarte and coconut and burnt caramel macrons…simply the best way to start any day. I then proceeded to walk…Sites that took my fancy were a couple dining in an alacarte restaurant, their dog joining them a at the table for lunch and the stained glass windows of the Notre Dame Cathedral.

And then for the first time in 5 days, I was catching up with a mate, or the mate of a mate…..Jane Parry. Thank you Jane for meeting a stranger with a red flower in her hair, waiting on Rue De Rivoli for the chance to converse it English and have a few drinks.

Thank you Jane, for putting up with my auto pilot English and tendency to speak so quickly that sometimes it was hard to determine if it was indeed English I was speaking. By day 5 the only conversation I had had in English was with Meme the cat at Café Industrie…and that was a one sided affair…so yes, sincere apologies….

And here I am, on a fast train, heading in the direction of a long lost friend….Liz Mackay Pederson. This journey has alerted me to the fact I do go to great lengths to catch up with people….Whether Liz likes it or not, I am on my way…who would have thought that 10 years after meeting as newly arrived Aussies on ‘right of passage’ UK working holiday visa….we would one day meet up…in Odense, Denmark….but then again, stranger this have happened……

On reflection of my time in Paris, it really was a catch up time for me…To do the things I wanted, when I wanted…If I wanted to eat biscuits for dinner…then I did it…If I wanted to spend 7 euros on a plum tarte then the money was handed over….Paris and the good old catch up with me….priceless

Paris Recommendations

1. Watch Woody Allen’s new movie ‘ Midnight in Paris’ when it comes to a cinema near you

2. Walk and walk and walk when are in Paris…only then will you discover the beauty of the city

3.Eat as many pastries as you can stomach when in the city of love….As they say ‘ French women never get fat’…I believe this also applies to passing tourist!!

4.See the attractions if you must…the Eiffel tower, the art at the Louvre…but for me the real Paris is found in its parks, it back streets, it markets, its cafes….

5. Be kind to yourself, remember you are holidays, and NOT competing in the Amazing Race tv program…A sense for this wondrous city does not come from ticking off the tourist attractions and rushing around from place to place….Paris will reveal its true self to you only when you have stepped of treadmill and embrace the cities tailor made time zone.

CUWAM-Paris I Love You

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CUWAM- Destination Paris

Warning: You are entering long blogging territory

I left Sydney with a stomach full of dumplings, a suitcase packed only hours before and a coffee buzz from the extra shot cappuccino I had ordered that morning. The silent barista at Parc café had wished my bon voyage…I was on cloud nine!!

It was going to be a long flight, departing Sydney at 5pm, first stop Bangkok, then London and finally Paris….the city of love and much expectation.

The time was passed on the plane by watching many movie’s…who knew how captivating the documentary about Brazilian formula one race drive Aryton Senna could be…I was taken back to the year 1994, when at 16 years of age I heard about his untimely death on the race track of Bologna, Italy….

From there I moved onto the romcom Something Borrowed, backing it up with the comedy Win Win Failing to keep my eyes open, I passed out mid movie and awoke with 2 hours to go till touch down in London…I decided to sneak  in one more film, Midnight in Paris, a perfect lead up to my impending rendezvous with the city….A superb cast, headed by Owen Wilson, a whimsical look at the Paris of yesteryear…Owen Wilson, I love you…will I meet someone like you on the streets of the Latin Quarter?? Fingers crossed….

And here I am….lying in bed, typing on my computer in the Latin Quarter of Paris ( Owen Wilson or someone like him in not yet beside me) It is morning three and I have taken to writing down the events of the past 2 days…

Paris I love you, but I have realised that in my wonderings so far I am searching for the Paris of 2009, a Paris that does not exist anymore….The Paris that does is the Paris of September, 2011…and no amount of walking the streets, searching for the characters that filled my adventure two years ago, will make them reappear….That is something I am struggling with….

I left Sydney with no clear idea in my head of how the journey would pan out….Some might say that was careless of me, that in order to have a good time, certain practicalities have to be taken care off…With the theme of my blog being catch up with a mate, the first requirement might have been a travel companion??!!

But travel catch ups have been put in place…in Copenhagen, New York and the United Kingdom…Hell, I might look back on this part of the trip as the glory days of my freedom, freedom to eat a pastry with 512 calories for breakfast ( can you guess where I am heading next!!)

Reviewing the highlights of day one….it would be fair to say that eating a Banana at Heathrow airport was a real treat. Priced at 50p, I could not resist…having no eaten this fruit for close to 6 months….the humble banana, the unlikely first highlight of my European adventure.

The conversation with the two Aussie travels from Bendigo, Victoria, heading to Paris for the first time…Though both tired, the girls were excited and that excited me…The quick chat with the honeymooners heading to the city of love…David, the husband look generally surprised when I guessed they were newlyweds, but the healthy sized rock on his new wife’s hand was a dead give away!!

And some 27 hours after I left Sydney, I arrived at Hotel Des Mines, St Michel Boulevard, Latin Quarter, Paris….Home for the next 5 nights….Dumping my bag, I then took to the streets…First stop, Luxembourg Gardens…Planting myself on a chair in the park it was hard to believe I was back…Back to the city that had stolen my heart two years earlier…..

A coffee in Bastille followed, at Café Industrie, and from there I proceeds to walk back to my hotel detouring passed the Notre Dame Cathedral….It was on my way back to my hotel that I felt a fleeting sense of loneliness, mixed with happiness and joy…feelings so overwhelming that I felt the urge to cry…My rational brain then kicked in and blamed jet lag…but to this day ( yes only two days later) I am not so convinced…For I like to think it was way of opening myself to the adventure that lay ahead, in whatever form it takes, the unknown and its capacity to evoke both fear and excitement…

Paris : Day Two

Warning: Read on only if you can handle more love notes on Paris

Believing that I knew Paris I set off in the direction of Rue Mouffetard Markets for breakfast…despite being located a mere 10 minute walk from my hotel I arrived at my destination an hour later….And for some reason I thought that I would once more be serenaded over breakfast by a Moroccan Opera singer ( it happened in 09) but alas, breakfast for one, was indeed breakfast for one…

I then had ideas of shopping…H&M, Zara, Parisian shoes…so I headed off in the direction I was sure the underground mall, Les Halles was in…Again, my sense of direction was TOTALLY off…So much so that I struggled to get out of the mall once I actually got inside…Now don’t get me wrong, it is every girls dream in get stuck in a fashion mall once in a while….But it is getting tragic when you can see the blue sky out a window, but just can’t find a way to stand under it!!

A good hour  later, and free at last, I needed an espresso coffee, a quick heart starter, and from there I set off for the Georges Pompidou Centre, a modern art gallery…to ponder the meaning of life, modern art and the Parisian skyline.

Day two passed without a hitch, but I was left with the feeling that I was trying to relieve the Paris of 2009.…when the sun had shone and I had spent my time with the best of friends, Steph Lee….Well, this is 2011 and Steph ain’t here….I am alone,  the sun ain’t shining and two years have passed…I knew something was drastically wrong when I dined at Moaz felafel house in the St Germaine precinct for dinner…This was a felafel house I had stumbled upon in 2001 with my then travel buddy, now life long friend, Lauren Gray….Was I indeed pining for travel experience of a decade ago??!!

As I finished my salad infused felafel ( yep, you can still self serve your felafel roll with as much gorgeous salad as your desire) I decided that tomorrow, I would no longer go in search of the Parisian experience, I would let it find me….I would not have expectations of how a pastry would taste, how spectacular a coffee would be, how divine ‘anything’ French was….rather I would just immerse myself in the moment, no expectations, no whimsical notions of how something should or should not be…I would take it on the chin. Bring it on Paris 2011

Paris : Day Three

Warning: The love story continues…feel free to get off this train at any time!!

Nothing like walking to a boulongerie ( pastry shop), feeling totally overwhelmed and leaving the store with possibility the most boring items on offer…Well that happened to me…A pastry snail and a mini brioche….Both absolutely divine, but boring when compared to delights that decorated to shops shelves…Tomorrow I promise to do better…custard, cream and more buttery pastry goodness is in order….

I ate my pastry at the delightful Luxembourg Gardens…a favourite park of mine…so beautiful, so manicured, so very French….And from there I took to the metro for I had decided to relocate parks for the afternoon…Armed with a the obligatory picnic items of a baguette and cheese I was heading to Parc de Monceau…

I was inspired to visit Parc de Monceau as it featured in one of my favourite scenes from the movie ‘ Paris Je Tiame’ ( Paris I love you)…And true to the film, though I picnicked alone, feelings of loneliness evaporated as the familiarity of Parc De Monceau’s beauty won me over…..

On a whim some hours later, I took the metro to Bastille and returned to Café Industrie…and to my surprise was greeted by an old friend….Meme, the Parisian cat that featured in photos at my 31st birthday, was sunbaking in the café window….It was a wonderful reunion, as I sipped my café latte Meme baked herself on the window sill….My how she had grown, for I had met her as a kitten….’ She is a princess’ remarked the café waitress ‘ She loves it when people stroke her’…and that is what I did…Meme, it was great to see you again….

Inspired by my rekindled friendship with a Parisian cat, I headed in the direction of the Louvre, to stand on the bridge ‘ Pont des Arts’ , a spot renowned for its view of the city…To my surprise the  bridge was covered in lockets and love messages, a welcome new addition….And  from there  I continued to walk….I passed a bride in all her finery, children eating ice cream and buskers adding their own unique soundtrack to the early evening….I walked and walked and walked.

And I am hack in the hotel now…My feet are sore, blistered and aching….I am tired, cranky and, I think, slightly sunburnt….But I am excited and anxious for tomorrow…Who knows what is in store?

Paris 2011 I love you.

Paris : Day Four

Warning: Frequent references to love contained below….Bucket may be required  as writing may induce nausea!!

I am in Paris groove now….

A compulsion to walk…..The sun shone and Paris put on a good show…everyone was out for the day and I joined in the parade at around 10am….I spent 1 hour at an internet café before strolling to Rue Muffetard Saturday markets for a coffee and some breakfast….A punnet of strawberries, café latte and croissant later I was satisfied, and could then focus my attention on my other great love…second hand clothes…I purchased a beautiful green skirt, home-made with a sewing machine…what a find…and then came across a vintage clothes store like no other I had ever seen….Very few items were on coat hangers, most were in huge piles on the floor….It was a rummages paradise…and I walked away with a pair of shoes made in Spain and a dress designed and made in Paris…..

I decided to take my loot back to the hotel, for my feet wanted to keep a healthy rhythm on the Parisian pavements, and my shopping was weighing me down…I then proceeded gather the essential ingredients for an afternoon picnic at Jardin Des Tuileries, a baguette, cold meat and some fresh fruit and bottled water…

Lunch was a hit, I read my book and basked in the afternoon sun…Willing myself on, I followed the crowds along the Champs Elysees to gaze in wonder at the Arc De Triomphe….Feeling the need to tick all the tourist sites in one afternoon, with aching feet, I headed in the direction of the Eiffel Tower….My mission was complete…All tourist sites viewed in one day….and I did a pirouette and turned in direction of my hotel…a good 1 ½ hours away…..

I actually think I over did it today…Just to much walking, but the site I saw made it worth it…The city and its people where on heat…..the young teenagers making out on a park bench,  the middle age couple passionately kissing on Quai D’Orsay, an elderly couples, walking hand in hand down the Champs Elysees, oblivious to the crowds around them….The city of love was in full swing today, and I was a happy observer.

Night has fallen, I have soaked my feet, drunk a litre of water and grazed through half a packet of French cookies….I will sleep well tonight…Tomorrow is my last full day in this magical city …what does Paris have in store for me tomorrow??

Paris Day 5

If if are still with me…well done!!

It is raining today…it is 10am and I have not yet left my hotel room….I guess after a day of such intense heat, every city needs a rest…and the people in love need to cool off ( just for a bit!!)

This morning I will attempt to upload my blog diary to CUWAM…for I have a confession to make…my ever so cool attempt of ‘ going mobile’ failed….I did not bring my internet modem with me, I just thought it would not be compatible with Europe / UK/ USA…I just assumed Wi-Fi would find me…alas I was wrong….

So I will be writing entries daily, uploading them weekly ( or there abouts)….I saved this confession till the end…I was initially heartbroken that my attempts to be oh so modern, so Wi-Fi friendly had failed…mission aborted…or so I thought…

Then I just jumped back on the old fashion highway…to type then upload online…At least I did not reach for a quill and ink and line up a Parisian pigeon to do a CUWAM mail drop to my ‘fans’!!

And when the next CUWAM entry hit’s the internet highway, I will be better able to inform you how the last 24 hours in Paris went, how my reunion with my own Princess Mary of Denmark went, when I am united with my Aussie mate Liz, a lady who left behind Melbourne, married a Dane and is now Mum to two beautiful children and how it felt to touch down in NYC after a 6 year absence….

Paris I love you, I have always loved you..…Copenhagen…..I want to love you….and as for NYC….the love affair is bound to continue….

CUWAM….Not happy with your current prospects ? Book an international holiday!!

Not happy with your current prospects? Book one of theses!!

Yep, I am back for more..

Fingers to the keyboard, recalling the day that was Tuesday…another day spent with the company of an excel spreadsheet and student applicaitons….this time though, without a lunch break….Don’t know what I was thinking….Not taking a lunch break is not conducive to life OR blog writing as you can’t say that you spend 8 hours of your day in front of a computer screen….How does one make that a readable entry?

Spend $3300 on an international airfare might we one way to add a bit of spice to the entry….I had had a flight on hold for some time, though I have not doubt the seats had long since faded into the airfare Bermuda triangle, I contacted my wonderful friend Kate Scott, who quickly constructed an airfare to suit my taste and budget….First stop Paris, followed by Copenhagen, NYC, London and home via Singapore…what a way to spend a day…Constructing a dream itinerary which a travel agent, who kept asking me….’ Can I do anything else for you?’

Seriously, if you need a travel agent,Ms Kate Scott is the agent for you…

Kate Scott…the wonder Travel Agent

So yes, that was how I got through Nine- Five, whilst simultaneously keeping on top of my day job ( I guess Lunch was sacrificed in order to get the job done!!)

I also managed to book tickets to a play coming up in July, which stars my friend, Ms Melle Stewart ( who featured earlier in blog) If you want to see a true craftmanship, you must see Melle on stage…The show is on in July at the NIDA playhouse…get in quick to get tix…

Melle’s new play…Tick, Tick, Boom

So much day time fun, surely something had to go wrong in the evening…well a dinner planned at the Norfolk Hotel, Surry Hills with a Lee, of the Brendan Lee variery, was…cancelled….But back on the wagon and homeward bound on the 339 bus to Clovelly….And back home to Florence and a glass of red that has been poured on Sunday night and was due to be finished.

A quick chat to Ms Jenny Kline about upcoming Melbourne adventure, with the click of a few buttons and the swipe of a credit card, accommodation booked….Followed by another , with the glorious Suzanne Alders, a coffee date arranged for tomorrow evening….

A quick meal whipped up and a bit of tv watching…Winners and Losers ( in black and white as the tv reception was poorly)….It must be bed time….I was starting to feel more like a loser straining to see the screen!!

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