Le Lunch

A Friday. In September. In Paris.

The morning has been a bit cool, but by noon, the warmth of the sun beckons those winding down from a busy week to search for an inviting outdoor “resto” to partake in “le dejeuner”| lunch.

I am embarking the following week in some French courses (which I take from time to time) and after finding the location of the school, decide to treat myself to lunch in the same area.  So I stroll down the street to a restaurant called Café Le Brebant on 32 Rue Poissonnière.

 

The bar at Café Le Brebant

 

Eating Alone In Paris

At home I would not be tempted to linger over a meal by myself, especially elbow-to-elbow with so many others, but in Paris, I am comfortable doing so.  I also appreciate that as a woman and a party of one,  I am escorted to a table of my choosing on the terrace facing the sidewalk and the street.

If you can sit or stand still in Paris for a little while, all aspects of Parisian life unfold before you. So once the waitress takes my order, I do just that. People watch.

I appear to be the only observer of the scene as patrons are laser-focussed on each other, oblivious to those around them. This way they forget they are sitting so close together I guess.  It’s intense though as people engage, some listening intently.  Others discuss, gesticulate and even argue.

 

 

Across from me, are four French men, clearly good friends who every few minutes erupt into boisterous laughter. Their good mood is infectious. The wine is flowing and they have ordered pasta dishes to start along with a large plate of plump oysters as their appetizers. With many more courses to come.

 

Oysters. Yum!

 

Just as my “salade de crevettes”| shrimp salad arrives along with crispy French bread, there is a commotion on the street. Then the sound of screeching tires, an impact of some sort and a car speeding away.

 

Salade de crevettes with avocado slices

 

It appears that a cyclist has been clipped by a vehicle that did not stop to investigate.  The traffic comes to a dead stop as people from the sidewalks rush to help the man. Not just one or two but dozens of people.  Horns blare, the level of voices rise as traffic and pedestrians try to circumvent the area.

 

Ambulance on the scene!

 

In the restaurant however, nobody moves. They look over.  But only for a moment. No one appears the slightest bit fazed by the sudden activity or the ubiquitous two-toned sirens as the Parisian police cars add to the melee, along with the arrival of the ambulance. They are already back to their conversations and debates savouring a long lunch.

(The man, I learn, was apparently fine.  I HAD to know!)

 

 

An hour later, I am still there too, sipping a dark expresso with nothing much on my mind.  Well, I guess I am reflecting that moments that seem so ordinary in my every day life take on an elevated perspective here.

In Paris, my senses seem to be on overdrive even with the most commonplace activities, such as walking down the street, looking skyward at the roof tops and yes enjoying a leisurely lunch outdoors on a Friday afternoon.  There is just so much to take in!

Have you dined alone in Paris? Tell us about your experience!

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Thank you to those of you have already qualified for Fall Giveaway — a SURPRISE FRENCH BOX!

I met some new friends in Paris this week on a Loire Valley Tour! I will be writing about that soon.  But I want to give a shout out to those lovely ladies: Addie our tour guide from Paris, Margaret from Victoria, Australia,  and Nikki from Brooklyn, New York. Welcome to my blog, ladies.

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11 Comments

  1. ChristineCamm on September 29, 2019 at 10:40 am

    I really LOVE this story, Diana. I actually FEEL like I am sitting at the table – I FEEL I am observing those around me, like I am really there. MERCI!!! Love it! As always! So FRENCH!

    • Diana Bishop on September 29, 2019 at 11:12 am

      Wish you were here Christine to enjoy it with me! One of these days we will meet in person
      somewhere in France and have a nice long lunch together. I look forward to that day! Diana

  2. Twink on September 29, 2019 at 10:46 am

    I believe everyone enjoys watching the day linger by while sipping coffee on a terrace cafe on some corner in Paris.
    One feels invigorated by the image that somehow is permanently sketched into memory.
    Is there a table for two?

    • Diana Bishop on September 29, 2019 at 11:10 am

      Always! Come join me anytime Twink! Diana

  3. Peg on September 29, 2019 at 11:07 am

    Yes, Diana, in fact I am having lunch alone in Paris right now as I read your blog! Not as nice a day as it was for your lunch, so I am inside, where I struck up a conversation with a fellow Canadian sitting beside me. And you are right, this is a great city for taking the time to sit for awhile, enjoy a delicious lunch or perhaps a cafe creme, rest tired feet from all the walking we can do, watch the world go by, and be entertained by what’s going on around us! C’est magnifique!

    • Diana Bishop on September 29, 2019 at 11:10 am

      In Paris right now and having lunch solo — good for you Peg!

  4. Tamara Thompson on September 29, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    Diana, these pictures are amazing!!! I felt almost like I was there, people watching! Great Blog once again Diana!!!

    • Diana Bishop on October 1, 2019 at 11:06 am

      Thank you Tamara! You are the best! I do hope all is going well with you in your new position! Best, Diana

  5. Addie on October 9, 2019 at 1:07 am

    People watching has become one of my enjoyable activities though, I think the air in Paris does that to you…lol. Also, good to hear the cyclist was ok, I am looking forward to a post about Parisian drivers/driving,

    Thanks for the shout -out! Nice to have found the blog.

    • Diana Bishop on October 9, 2019 at 3:16 pm

      Hi Addie,
      I love hearing from you!
      Paris is the best place in the world to people watch! That is for sure. Diana

    • Diana Bishop on October 9, 2019 at 3:18 pm

      Hi again,
      Yes, you have to go to this market. I think most of the vendors speak some English. The ones offering
      a variety of international food certainly do — some of the sandwiches are to die for! You will see what
      I mean when you go. Best, Diana

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