Of Sunday Afternoon by the Seine
It's Sunday in Paris and the city is moving slowly to the cadence of tomatoes and wine, beautiful dresses and lovers. They sit there, along the Seine and in the million cafes that dot the city streets, taking refreshment and talking with animation in a language that flows almost indistinguishably to my untrained ear.
We are there too, at Le Tambour with our American nerves over how to order a late lunch. We don't know: do we sit down and wait for a server to come? Do we go inside and tell someone we are here? A small eternity later we catch the waiter's eye and he motions us to a seat, where we take up a new challenge: the menu.
It's salmon and green beans for one, and a creamy pasta for the other. Bon appetit! Both come accompanied with what seems to be fluffy clouds of lemon and dill, which we decipher must be the elegant cousin of our American mayonnaise. It's dreamy. The setting is dreamy, and the waiter with typical European ease that comes of not worrying about tip, is just attentive enough to serve everyone without wearying them with questions of how the food tastes.
Warm spring afternoons bring out an abundance of beautiful clothing and we watch in appreciation as so many well-clad people pass by. Men in comfortable button-down shirts and slacks, and ladies in comfortable dresses and jumpsuits.
We finish with espresso, because we were on a plane all night and need sleep, but it's better to wait until bedtime. We would hate to waste this weather; it's breezy, with fresh green leaves everywhere.
We visit the courtyard of the Louvre, and walk by Notre Dame. The Seine banks are liberally filled with young people and friends everywhere, and even middle-aged couples who walk hand in hand like so many stars. Paris, if you feel lonely, would be insufferable.
Metal bins line the roads up top by the river and in them vendors are selling every kind of vintage Vogue poster, Polaroid shots, old books, comics, and pieces of art. I find a print of the watercolor I bought last time and wrinkle my nose suspiciously: it does not seem that the one from 3 years ago was as original as I thought. Never mind, the artist will live with her conscience, if she has one, and it is still a pretty piece of the Eiffel above the river.
One of the corner shops is selling gelato and as the weather is not likely to be this warm again we get cones. The price makes us choke a little, because 3€ is ridiculous for one "boule." But it is a Sunday afternoon in Paris so one makes exceptions to frugality.
It is time for us to take our place by the river, and we dangle our feet over the edge with everyone else. The late afternoon sunshine is warm and sleepy but the cone is refreshing.
This is Paris, we reflect, and we can't wait for the week to begin.