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
Mmmmmm … I love Paris. Sigh.
So why don’t you come on over sometime? I’d love to meet you!
That’s so great – I would love to meet you, too! 🙂 Unfortunately, it’s going to be a couple of years before I can. 😦 Until then, delayed gratification. Ugh.
You’ve done it again, Juliet in Paris. I love reading your humorous informative blog posts, especially about restaurants. Thanks for this and have a great Easter!
Thanks, Rob. Happy Easter to you too.
I think Paris — as she said — ticks all the boxes, UK-style.
The city is lovely to look at (Toronto has some gorgeous bits, but sooooo much ugly!); people have tremendous (and inspiring style). The scale is also essential — no enormous towers throwing shade and making you feel puny (as NY and London do.) It’s so easy to navigate by Metro/bus/foot (unlike NYC these days, whose subway is appallingly bad and London which is so $$$$ to use.)
Every time I return, I savor familiar sights and discover new ones. But even the smallest detail — glossy doors, polished dooknockers — can be a delight.
I need to hear this, Caitlin, because I sometimes forget. I’ve been living here for so long and, to be honest, would like to move. But I’ve got a really good job, so I stay. The day I retire though, I’ll be gone. To where, I have no idea.
I am having some real pangs about living in the States now, with the piece of filth in the White House — and God forbid he is re-elected. I really like our apartment, town and NY, though — and Toronto has become much too difficult and expensive, even though all my closest friends live there. Not easy to make decisions.
Sooo many nice places to live in Canada, Caitlin. Forget Toronto. Vancouver? Eastern Canada? I hear Halifax is hopping. Or New Brunswick? Super friendly people and fresh sea air (and lobsters.) Or just some nice town in Ontario where you could easily get into Toronto. You could buy a really nice house in a lovely small city in Ontario. Just think, your high healthcare costs would just fade away …