“Summer in the City of Light: Strolling, Biking, Swimming, Kissing and”
Last Thursday night was balmy, breezy and warm. It was perfect for a stroll down to the “Plage” — Paris Plage — scheduled to open to the public the next morning. I was expecting the crews to be there working all night to get it ready for the onslaught of visitors, but it was quiet, peaceful and deadly ready. The blue banners were flying, the “boules” courts (a.k.a. “pétanque,” a game played with metal balls) were smooth awaiting their first challenges, and the Seine was calm.
Along the banks and the upper quays, lovers were everywhere. At every turn, couples were embraced in deep kisses. The streets were glisteningly clean, the lighting on the monuments subtle and Paris was gleaming. It felt so glorious to be in the world’s most beautiful and romantic city and to realize fully that it’s not just a place to visit, but a place to call “home.”
Along the route, the new “Vélib” bikes were sitting upright in their stations awaiting riders. From the first moment the bikes hit the streets, they became as popular as hotcakes. One out of every three bikes (or so it seems), is a Vélib. The unfortunate part, or so I’ve been told by a taxi driver (second hand), is that most of the riders are inexperienced and dangerous on the Paris streets. Friends who have a station newly installed just under the windows of their second floor apartment in the 12th arrondissement, say that because the Métro shuts down about 1 a.m., the riders come out and don’t bother to lower their voices while deciphering the system and riding away with one. That could never have been predicted when they purchased the apartment just one year ago. Let’s hope the newness will wear off and the riders will settle in to a more normal routine.
Over the weekend, we took a stroll along the Plage after a shopping spree in the stores on rue de Rivoli taking advantage of the Summer Sales. The bargains are bad in the best sense! We took home big bags and small bills.
The swimming pool at Paris Plage was filling up with eager bathers. There are lots of great swimming pools in Paris, if you are so inclined, including the new “Piscine j2999ephine Baker,” which I am told gives the illusion of swimming in the Seine, as it floats on the water and moves with the tides. Put on your swim suit and take a read of this month’s Paris Times where there is an informative article about the best “piscines” in Paris, or you can find complete information at the City Hall Web site.
Besides kissing on the quays, biking on the streets, strolling on the Plage and swimming in the pools, this Summer you will, no doubt, also see ”
ckers” on the sidewalks…Italian style ice cream (gelati) has taken over like sushi restaurants did two years ago and Chinese take-out five years ago. At every turn, the creamy, frothy, cloud-like delectables are screaming at you from their cool cases to taste each and every one.
American chef in Paris, David Liebovitz, says on his Web site the difference between Italian gelato and ice cream is that “…for the most part, the machines used to make gelato move very slowly as they churn, introducing little air into the mixture so the finished gelato is dense and thick. Also the storage freezers used for holding gelato tend to be kept a few degrees warmer (up to 10 degrees F) than a normal ice cream dipping cabinet, so the gelati keeps its silky, creamier texture.”
I happily tried “Pozzetto,” at 39, rue du Roi de Sicile in the 4th, which one Web site claims is Liebovitz’s favorite (“The pistachio gelato is made with real pistachios from Italy, and the nutty concoction has a real roasted nutty flavor. They only carry about a dozen flavors, and we hear the cioccolato fondente is the most addictive.”), but another to taste test is on rue Montorgueil (number 7) named “Deliziefollie.” It has lots of the usual suspected flavors, but many never seen before, such as “Romeo and Juliet,” “After Eight” and “Tarte Tatin.” Delizie is “delish!”
All I can say is that it’s a good thing there are bikes, pools and lovers in Paris this Summer, to work off all the extra calories of the Italian gelati!
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. Thanks to all of you who wrote in to comment about the House Hunters episode featuring our clients and friends, Ben and Angela Harris! For those of you seeking information on purchasing property in Paris or anywhere in France, keep your eyes out for our upcoming Living and Investing in France Real Estate Conference here in Paris October 13th followed by presence and presentation at the Expatica Welcome to France Fair October 14th. For more information, visit /frenchproperty/conference