I like to walk when I travel, both in the day and in the nighttime. That’s the best way to soak up the sights, sounds and smells and get immersed in the unique atmosphere and culture of a place. If you’ve been with Glover Gardens for a while, you might have taken a walk or two with me, and looked through my lens.
Spring is a just a few days away and I’m reminiscing about something I had started to take for granted before COVID-19 restricted our movements: traveling for work.
Join Me in Paris in April of 2017
Let’s step back in time, to a weekday in April of 2017, and together experience my lunch and subsequent walk to one of our offices in the outskirts of Paris.
I had morning meetings at an office in Paris proper, and then a break for lunch and a half-hour taxi ride to Rueil-Malmaison. I gave the taxi driver the address to our office there and asked him to drop me at a restaurant of his choice within a 10-15 minute walk from it, which he thought was strange at first (especially given a bit of a language barrier), but he warmed up to the idea and decided Le Crep should be my destination.
No Time for Pictures After the First Bite at Le Crep
Taxi drivers are actually geniuses. Mine was so right to choose Le Crep for me. The restaurant was small and welcoming, and smelled simply divine, the savory perfume of house-made crepes and their fillings overtaking me as I walked through the door. The food was super-inexpensive by Paris standards, and the server / hostess / cashier coached me through the menu to help me make the perfect choice. We decided together that the La Forestiére was the crepe I needed that day.
Oh. My. Goodness. It’s a good thing I took a few pictures before diving in, because I totally forgot about my camera once the consuming commenced. And friends, I’m not ashamed to tell you that I ate the whole thing. Yes, I sure did. I’m not sorry.
Why did I love it so much that my camera went dormant? Well, a perfect “sunny side up” egg was embraced by a healthy portion of emmental cheese and more than a drizzle of creme fraiche, which was balanced by the woodiness of champignons (mushrooms, but I wanted to say it the French way) and the salty bacon, both of which are hidden in the traditional Parisian triangle fold of the crepe, the La Forestiére was a big winner. I mean big like Tour de France winner. It had the yellow jersey, my friends! And my beverage of sparkling water was the perfect complement, the tingly, crisp bubbles doing a yeoman’s job of balancing the lush, rich creaminess of the crepe filling.
I. WILL. GO. BACK.
Let’s do one last photo, a closer look. You can see the champignons (mushrooms) and bacon inside their nest of the crepe. Oh boy, do I feel nostalgic.
Walking It Off
The one thing my taxi driver didn’t get quite right was the distance to the office. Looking at the map app, it was actually about a half hour, but that was OK, I had time to spare and I was meeting with a friendly audience of two who wouldn’t look askance if I was a wee bit late and shared my story. In my experience, French people have been super-forgiving of Americans who have a teensy bit of difficulty navigating their transit options, culture and food, as long as we are curious and appreciative, rather than judgmental and closed-minded.
A Beautiful Suburb
I knew nothing about the Rueil area except that we had an office there. I was so happy when I set out after lunch, slightly sleepy, to realize that it was a suburb with a few office buildings and an “R&D park”, rather than another large business district like La Defense. I remembered my camera, and didn’t mind looking like a slightly lost and completely captivated American tourist, albeit a tourist in a business suit with a laptop bag.
Walk with me on this beautiful spring day, and maybe hum a few bars of April in Paris, or I Love Paris in the Springtime. (I did.)
On Time and Happy
I wasn’t late, and my French colleagues were appreciative of my restaurant choice and my 30-minute walk – in heels, I forgot to mention, low heels, but heels nonetheless. Carrying a heavy laptop and an even heavier lunch, but with NO regrets! It was a great meeting and I was sad that I couldn’t get the same taxi driver and tell him what a great choice he had made for my lunch adventure.
Paris Always Knows
Per my usual habit, after I finished my work day and changed at my hotel into more comfortable shoes and a casual but Paris-appropriate walking-around outfit, I grabbed my camera and hit the streets to experience more travel serendipity.
Paris knew where to lead me. Check out this sign that I saw in a shop window.
Paris always knows.
Here’s wishing you a lovely, virus-free spring. And hey, maybe we can take a walk in Paris for real one day soon.
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