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Paris: Day 2 - A Four Legged Betty Boop at Les Deux Magots and Pere Lachaise (4 May)

Starting the day early after a restful night’s sleep, Peter and I headed off to the iconic cafe, Les Deux Magots at St Germain de Pres for breakfast. Situated on 6 place Saint Germain de Pres, Les Deaux Magots is one of Paris’ most famous literary cafes. Sartre and Hemingway were regular patrons here. Right next door to Les Deux Magots is its great rival, Cafe de Flore, which was a smoking venue for the Surrealists during the 1920’s and 30’s and the Existentialists in the 409’s and 50’s. 

A more Parisian experience we could not have had at Les Deux Magots. With waiters in pristine white shirts, black pressed trousers and jacket, ankle length crisp white aprons, and topped off with a black bow tie, they looked as polished as they were gracious. Breakfast was a simple baguette with ham and cheese for me, while Peter had an omelette with herbs; both were simple and sensational. No need for anything complicated when you have the best ingredients. Topped off with freshly squeezed orange juice and superb coffee, we were in seventh heaven. 

Towards the end of breakfast, a typically Parisian scene unfolded. In walked in a lady who, in the twilight of her life, embodied the epitome of chic. In her late seventies, she was poised, with an up-to-the-minute haircut, fabulous outfit and Louis Vuitton handbag. But most amusing of all was the quintessential Parisian accessory, a Shih Tzu cross that was the canine version of Betty Boop, complete with silky hair and soaring eyelashes that framed liquid eyes. Walking confidently into the cafe, the lady sat at the table next to us, plonked her dog on her lap and gave us a warm smile. Fascinated, I struck up an easy conversation with her. As it turned out, she too had been in the fashion industry and still knew what was happening trend wise. Her mind and wit were razor sharp; she treated our conversation like an intellectual exercise, turning our topic on its head to explore another point of view. How refreshing! I found myself wishing that I could spend more time with her but alas, the morning was getting away and we had much ground to cover. We reluctantly said our goodbyes. 

Pere Lachaise:

Our first visit of the morning, via the Metro, was to the who’s who of the deceased world at Pere Lachaise. There, we paid homage to the likes of Frederic Chopin, Marcel Proust, Edith Piaf, Van Morrisson, and Oscar Wilde. Pere Lachaise would have to be the most star-studded cemetery on the planet, the ultimate status symbol. After a couple of hours of looking at gravestones, albeit spectacular ones, it was time for a change of scenery.

Catching the Metro back to St Germain des Pres, we stumbled upon a short and narrow road called rue Montfaucon. There, we found a gem of a restaurant called Cafe Bergamote that served traditional cuisine with innovative twists. For lunch, I enjoyed a warm goats cheese, tomato and basil ‘brick’ wrapped in filo pastry that was served with a mixed salad, followed by a shrimp linguini with stir fried vegetables.

Hop On Hop Off Tour:

Nearly every square inch of this city seeps with history and beauty. However, the hours of walking at Pere Lachaise in the morning exhausted us both. With still much of Paris to discover, Peter and I opted for the practicality and comfort of a hop on-hop off bus to give us a sweeping view of the iconic sites in one afternoon, with the plan to revisit particular sites in greater detail on our last day.

On the 2 hour bus tour, we were able to view following sites from the outside:
  • Colonne Vendome
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Concorde
  • Champs Elysees 
  • Opera 
  • Notre Dame Cathedral 
  • St Germain des Pres 
  • Pantheon
  • Invalides
  • The Louvre
  • Musee d’Orsay
  • Ile de la Cite
  • Centre Georges Pompidou
Dinner later that evening was at Peter’s favorite restaurant in Paris, Chez Bebert in Montparnasse. Decked out in the decor and colors of a Morroccan souk, this popular restaurant specializes in sensational couscous dishes and tagines. Highly recommended! 

Magnificently fed, watered and wined, we ambled our way back to our hotel, bumping into Roman Polanski just outside Les Deux Magots en route - as you do. While I attempted a look of nonchalance, Peter had a starstruck meltdown, blowing my cool to smithereens with a whisper loud enough to wake the dead: “Vic, did you see who that was??!!”. Oh well. So much for nonchalance.

Bergamote: 8 rue Montfaucon, 75006. Ph: 01 43 26 50 56.
Chez Bebert: 71 Bvd du Montparnasse, Montparnasse, 75006.

Posted by Victoria Ugarte on 4th May, 2012 | Trackbacks
Categories: France

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