I felt it coming. Sure, my first days in Paris were tumultuous, what with the hospital visits and all, but then there was this day with its flowers heralding Spring and a friend heralding happiness. So, as I said, I felt the affection coming.
March 16 was the first day I did not have to make an early-morning trek to the hospital. Instead, I left my beanie and my scarf behind (a novelty in and of itself) and headed to the Île de la Cité via the Île Saint-Louis.
Wandering around the Île Saint-Louis, I suddenly felt my breath catch in my throat. Staring me in the face was a sign for Berthillon, the fabled deity of ice cream. For a split second the devil on my shoulder told me to keep walking, reminding me that I’d just had breakfast. Luckily, the angel on my clavicle popped up to inform me that it would be pure stupidity to bypass a taste experience that famous bloggers and local friends alike have raved about.
I almost went for the chestnut flavour… almost. I knew in my heart of hearts, though, that I had to get the Caramel Beurre Sale, for it’s been called Berthillon’s best flavour.
Oh. My. Heavens. I’ve mentioned a few experiences with salted butter caramel on this blog, but this ice cream blew everything else out of the water. The intensity, the depth, the buttery-roastedness of the flavour was exquisite. Super smooth, rich, and creamy, I savoured (I feel like the word should be “sweeted”) this in little bites, standing on a bridge overlooking the water with the warmth of the sun beating down on my neck. The warmth was almost as wonderful as the ice cream.
You know that feeling when you’re blissfully content, when happiness seems to be filling you up inside, and when you want to hug everyone around you and have the moment last forever, or at least a week? That’s what I felt like at this moment, with cute dogs being walked past me and the Notre Dame in the distance. At this moment, I realised that I loved Paris, deeply.
Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe, a wonderful Australian blog, had graciously taken the time to email me her suggestions for Paris. Having already visited Père Lachaise, I followed more of her advice and made my way to the Notre Dame Cathedral. After climbing its 387 steps, I took the requisite forty-seven hundred photos of Paris-from-above, complete with gargoyles.
But for all the panoramic shots, this was and is my favourite photo from the top of Notre Dame:
After climbing back down the 387 steps, I looked inside the Cathedral then made my way to another of Johanna’s suggested spots (which, being a book lover, I’d already decided was a must-visit): Shakespeare and Co.
This is Paris’ best English-language bookstore, and turned out to be utterly in tune with my state of mind. For not only did I find, immediately upon entering, a book of Pablo Neruda poetry, but flicking through it I came to a poem called “First Travellings” and then, on the very next page, I kid you not:
And then upstairs, where you can (and I did) sit and read to your heart’s content, there was a gorgeous old piano. This paved the way for some lovely chatting with two American girls over the music of Amélie and Clair de Lune… and for Le Orteil Mauvais to make a blog appearance.
Of course, no day of happiness could exist without including more delicious eats than just ice cream, but we’ll save those for another time. For now, I’ll simply say Paris – I can’t wait to see you again.