Toujours > Always

Toujours > Always

On my final full day in Paris, I went on a shopping spree madder than the Hatter and went on a second visit to Angelina, this time Shanghai-ing Erin for some sinfully decadent hot chocolate — luxurious hot chocolate! 

Angelina
226 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
We shared a pot of L’Africain, the creamy, silky hot chocolate and the trademark dessert, a Mont Blanc. Think, a wafer of meringue, topped with chantilly creme, topped off with chestnut creme/mousse…. 

According to the book, “1,000 Place to see Before You Die”

“The decadent Mont Blanc dessert takes a backseat only to the richest hot chocolate imaginable…”

Between the two of us we could neither (A) finish the hot chocolate or (B) finish the Mont Blanc. Don’t get me wrong, we WANTED to, but these slices of edible heaven were too… RICH… for us to finish without feeling sick. 

And for the record, if I were still in Paris I would have made a third trip to Angelina to do it all again within another 48 hours.

And for the record, during my first visit to Angelina, where I had a beautiful and perfect croque madame with my hot chocolate AKA l’Africain, I decided that if I ever have a belle jeune fille of my own, I’m taking her directly to Angelina on her eighth birthday! While Erin and I sipped our hot chocolate and nibbled on this meringue/creme masterpiece with our teensy forks my sweet friend asked me what my favorite experience during this past week was while in Paris. 

I paused, because I anticipated being asked this question numerous times upon my return stateside, and I reflected on my answer, then decided to respond with the truth — as honesty IS ALWAYS the BEST policy. I couldn’t then, and I still cannot, isolate a single defining moment, visual, or experience that might sum up the totality of my days in Paris. 

Rather, the entire collection of days, sights, tastes, sounds, and emotions I witnessed and directly experienced come together… flower stalls in St. Germaine, the pungence of open air cheese shops in Marais, the feeling of the rain sprinkling on my face as I walked home one night from dinner at Le Hangar….

My first bite into a macaron from Fauchon, a slice of Tomme, the wheel of camembert waiting for me in her refrigerator, the incense assaulting my sinuses in Notre Dame Cathedral during Lenten Mass, the mostly fractured conversations overheard in a language I once but now no longer know…

…sitting on a wall for two hours watching boats float by on the Seine, staring at the sprawling sea of rooftops and chimney pots from the steps of Sacre Couer in Montmarte.

 The sky! The sky in Paris… looks like I  dreamed it would! Not grey! But, dusty blue, cream, apricot, rose, pewter, all striated and wisping together in bands and streams of color together… and on a couple of days, that positively perfect wide open sky blue, sprinkled with just the right shade of white clouds.

 
These and at least a thousand other stimuli and moments of both a traditional Paris, and old city, and a modern metropolis (A perfect dichotomy!) combine together.

From sassing back at a pushy bathroom attendant in the over-exploited Les Deux Magots, dodging motorists who aimed for my jaywalking as if they would earn points to the bonus round if they made contact,

or emphatically trying to tell my friend’s kooky neighborhood lady “je ne parles francais!!!!” as she followed Majerle and me down the street, chattering away at us in French…. 

In fact, I think I disappointed my friends when they asked me how my travel was for I’m at a loss for accurate words to convey how overwhelmed I was with the city –

  

all expectations were superseded and the best of my imagination didn’t come even close to preparing me for the experience that is Paris!

 Paris, je t’aime!
Toujours!

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1 Comment

  1. March 24, 2010 / 11:49 am

    Beautifully said!! I would have been right there with you on your 3rd visit to Angelina! I have been tempted by it everytime I am near Rue Rivoli. I may have to take Brock before we head to a less dessert-filled country. Your pictures are amazing & complement your descriptions so well! I'm happy I got to be part of your premiere voyage a Paris!

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