In a giant leap forward toward a return to normal, Georges and I went out for a little walk today, to go to a café for a coffee and an afternoon goûter (the French word for the "meal" that is the afternoon snack). He only got back from his biz trip to Burkina Faso early this morning, so it was also a chance for us to spend some time together -- and for a welcome change, I am strong enough now to finally go outside the apartment!
We ended up in the café of The Wepler at Place de Clichy, a wonderful classic Parisian brasserie where I once had the best lobster I've ever eaten in my life, and with some of the best table service, too. You can also get fruits de mer and oysters "to go". But they have a more casual café section as well as the fancier full restaurant (making note to self to start doing café-writing here regularly because much better writing ambiance than the Starbucks across the place). The Wepler has been around for more than 110 years.
Two café gourmands* later, Georges and I were comfortably installed in a round corner "banquette" table inside, watching the comings and goings of the patrons and staff. It's the first time since I got sick in November that we've been able to go out to a restaurant, and it felt wonderful to be so completely normal again.
I didn't bring my laptop today, but I did bring along one of the lovely little notebooks that Georges had given me for Christmas, along with the pen he chose because it matches the green in my wedding dress. Henry Miller used to come here to write, by the way, and many of Montmartre's famous artists - Utrillo, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec to name just a few - were also regular customers.
I love the Art Deco lighting and the classic wood fixtures. The café's waiters are also "fixtures" of the Wepler - they've been here forever!
One of the "regulars" who came in with his human, a tiny old lady (not pictured) who knew the waiters by name, and who even rearrangd a couple of tables to suit herself (she was waiting for a friend). We decided we were probably seated at "her" usual table, and we were right - the moment we got up to leave, she, her friend, and the dog began immediately shifting to the right to take our spot!
My handsome and very happy husband, who couldn't stop beaming at how well I am and how good it felt to be out in the world together, doing something so simple and yet so pleasurable.
Sometimes in life, "normal" can be pretty damn boring. But then there are times when it's the best feeling EVER.
Especially when you get to sit in a corner table in a famous café in Paris, cuddling with the one you love.
*A café (or thé) "gourmand" is when a restaurant offers a sampler of between 3 and 5 miniature desserts along with an espresso or a pot of tea. What's included will vary, but typically you might have something chocolate, something cake-like, and something creamy like a small scoop of ice cream. Many cafés have them on their dessert menus and they're perfect for late afternoon to bridge that huge gap between lunch and dinner, especially in Paris where no one eats dinner before 8pm.