So last night I asked friend and fellow-blogger, Beth from Toronto, what it is exactly that she loves about Paris. We were tucking into our meals at the Bon Coin bistro in the 5th arrondissement. She had ordered the pork, I started off with seared foie gras and artichoke followed by a generous portion of chicken served atop a mound of mashed potato. The wine, a Bergerec for Beth and a Brouilly for me, flowed copiously. As did the conversation, not only between ourselves but with the two ladies sitting at the table next to us. Two Bostonian ladies, as it turned out – one who has written a book on lobsters and the other who, like me, has a blog on Paris and who, unlike me, divides her time between here and the USA. We all exchanged our respective blog URL’s. Which reminds me that I must get some calling cards made up because I’m tired of scribbling my URL onto a ripped-off corner of paper tablecloth (usually wine-stained) and handing it to nice people I come across.
Anyway, back to Beth. Every year at the same time she comes to Paris (from Toronto) and rents an apartment so that she can live like a Parisian. She speaks fluent French, so that helps. Then she takes the Eurostar to London for many days and then she meets up with a friend in Italy. Every year they explore a different region. This year they will be exploring the region of Cinque Terre which is a rugged portion of coast on the Ligurian Italian Rivieria.
“So Beth, what is it exactly that you love about Paris?” I said through a mouthful of artichoke. I reminded her that I’ve been living in Paris for two decades and, unsurprisingly, view the city through an entirely different prism.
First and foremost, Beth replied, Paris is an architecturally beautiful city full of old and modern buildings of different architectural styles that are truly interesting to look at. So in that respect, Toronto is quite an ugly city in comparison. “I love just strolling and admiring the window boxes and the bridges over the Seine and just gazing in general. There’s so much to look at.”
“Secondly, it’s a stylish city filled with people who dress stylishly but simply, not overdone; many Parisians (not all, of course) seem to have an innate sense of how to dress and put things together, and it’s a pleasure to look at them.”
“The quality and variety of shops is a delight and the smells that waft from the bakeries on every corner is divine.”
“Would you say that Paris is a multi-sensory experience?” I suggested.
“Yes, I would,” said Beth, “One is overwhelmed here by all of the five physical senses.”
The meal we had at the Bon Coin most definitely appealed to our senses. The portions were generous without being overly copious (however Beth’s pork chop was massive); everything was extremely tasty and gave one the sense of “home cooking”. What I particularly liked was the unpretentious air of the place. Down to earth, homestyle cooking is how I would characterize this bistro…. with simple wooden furniture. Friendly service, reasonably priced and nice neighbourhood vibe. What more could one ask for? To accompany my double espresso at meal’s end, I ordered a Paris Brest for dessert because, well…just because. http://www.auboncoin-bistrot.com/fr