To be in Paris in April is a sublime experience. The cherry blossoms are out on every corner and this time around we were blessed and privileged to be able to revisit the beautiful cathedral of Notre Dame barely two weeks before the tragic fire in which it was nearly destroyed. But apart from the churches which are repositories of great art, we always make another pilgrimage each time we are in this beautiful city.
We have to visit the famous literary café, Les Deux Magots at least twice, if not more times, because it was frequented by Jean-Paul Sartre, who is my husband’s all-time hero! The great man used to come here virtually on a daily basis with his consort, Simone de Beauvoir, author of “The Second Sex” and quite a notable personality in her own right, and the pair of them used to hold court over coffees and wines, surrounded by their acolytes.
It is very pleasant to sit in front of the plate glass window across the road from the famous Brasserie Lipp, people watching while sipping a lovely, crisp Petit Chablis, one of the most lovable expressions of Chardonnay, and very fairly priced at €38, considering the loveliness of the wine and the iconic status of the café, its walls lined with bookshelves. The courteous, rather portly waiter, in his dress shirt and bow tie, bowed as he offered us pretzels, olives and peanuts as if they were pheasants’ breast and peacocks’ tongues. We exchanged courtesies while he set up our bottle of wine in a chiller bucket, a spotless white napkin draped around its neck. Class.
My husband, Jug, was very excited to see the brass plaque on the door with “Huis Clos” on it, the title in French for Sartre’s famous existentialist play, “No Exit”, which he has read umpteen times and can quote from extensively.
Fine literature and fine wines go exceedingly well together and if you are lucky enough to be
at their confluence, nothing can be more satisfying.