The most fantastic breakfast in the Hotel, with my own elegant, large teapot for a nice cup or two, or three of earl grey tea plus charcuterie, pastries, delicious tarts – a Sunday ‘petit dejeunner’ that would set you up ‘til tea-time and possibly beyond.
We trekked through the Forum past St Eustache, along the Rue Montmartre, across Poisonierre past old men in doorways, police men and women sheltering from the rain or busy sorting out Sunday traffic, past delicatessans and cafes redolent with baking yeast and heaving with patissiere, transporting me to some kind of food heaven .
Montmatre is worth a section in its own right but I’m keeping it to myself, except to say providing your legs will take it, walk that hill, climb those steps. It’s worth it. There’s a reason so many fine artists were drawn to it and fair weather or foul there is a vibrancy to this hill that makes it worth the effort. We were trapped in Sacre Coeur for a while, feeling a very real sense of English shock as such a beautiful service, with a choir and a padre who sang like angels was overshadowed by tourists yet again taking pictures, talking and being herded around the outside of the body of the congregation, under giant video screens like some weird art-house film written by Ionesco.
At one point there was a bit of a lock-in whilst the ‘clergy’ exited the service into the vestry, although everyone was pointedly invited to join them for coffee which was a generous gesture considering how outrageous and disrespectful the plebian tourists had behaved – that was some hardcore outreach by the Catholic Church and I’m not sure I could have borne it. Suffice to say we slipped out to nose around the food and wine stalls lining the streets outside, bought some donkey sausage (that’s how traumatised we were) before seek ing solace in La Maison Rose1 just downhill from Le Chat Noir. Apparently La Maison Rose has some terrible reports but all I can say was, again we were welcomed and served the best omelette I’ve had in many years and the lightest, most delightful crepes since I used to hang out near Hampstead Hill – and the fact Mr B. went for crepe a Nutella will make me smile for years to come.
Paris I love you, your streets, your food, your charm – when I return I couldn’t expect better but I will return.
©JBrain, Artsmonkey 2012
1. La Maison Rose https://plus.google.com/111851528069638799705/about?gl=uk&hl=en