Ernest Hemingway called Paris a
"movable feast," and I have always agreed with him. On my last night
in Paris, I decided to have my own
movable feast—a progressive supper, with each course in a different restaurant.
I wanted the restaurants to be within walking distance from one another, the
last one near my hotel in the 6th arrondissement. I was feeling a bit lonely
and disappointed that I hadn't fallen in love with anyone this trip. I had
already told my friends back home that this time I would meet that "special
someone" while in Paris. Now,
here I was, my last night in town, and still alone.
It was a perfect late summer evening. The sun set with an explosion of orange,
pink and violet as I sat sipping my Kir Royale at the Café d'Flore. I took a
leisurely stroll through the old neighborhood, pausing now and then to
window-shop. I wandered across the Pont des Beaux-Arts and over to Les Halles
and the restaurant Au Pied de Cochon.
As the maitre d' escorted me to a choice table on the terrace, I stole furtive
glances around the room, hoping there would be a single man within easy
flirting range. Alas, there seemed to be only couples or groups of women nearby.
My waiter, though cute, was far too young. I sighed and decided a little Champagne
and oysters would cheer me up considerably. Nor could I resist a bowl of
delicious onion soup, washed down with a cool glass of Provençal Rosé.
Yes, I thought, I'm feeling much better.
I meandered a few blocks to L'Escargot Montorgueil for a few escargots. They
were plump little darlings, swimming in garlic and butter and dusted all over
with chopped parsley. I chose a wonderful Provençal Rosé to accessorize the
dish. Yummmmm, I thought, what a splendid idea. Suddenly, over the rim of my
wine glass, I noticed an attractive Frenchman looking my way. Oh la la, I
thought. Things are looking up. Then he smiled at me and I felt I would faint.
When he got up from his table, I was certain he was coming over to meet me but
he walked right by. With a sinking heart, I watched as he embraced a glamorous
blonde. My beautiful escargots, so delicious a moment ago, seemed to coagulate
on the plate. I paid my bill and left the restaurant without even looking at
the handsome Frenchman and his friend chatting cozily in a corner of the bar.
My mood was somewhat dejected as I crossed the Pont Marie to the Ile St. Louis.
Gliding along the Seine below was a grand sightseeing
boat, a Bateaux Mouche, its lights blazing against the old buildings. The decks
were filled with happy couples laughing and pointing out the sights to each
other. Romantic music came floating up to me and I could see couples dancing on
the upper deck. Looking down along the quai I saw pairs and pairs of lovers
strolling hand in hand. Others were sitting close together along the water's
edge, locked in tight and feverish embraces.
Somehow I didn't feel hungry anymore. My plans to go to L'Orangerie for a leg
of lamb and a rich Bordeaux no
longer seemed interesting. By now I was feeling absolutely wretched and sorry
for myself, so I decided to wander back toward the hotel.
The Pont Neuf had been wrapped in creme colored canvas by Christo, the
environmental artist known for wrapping things. It was a monumental work and
quite interesting and looked beautiful with lights reflecting off the wrapped
stone facade. I had photographed the bridge earlier in the day and decided to
capture a few night images. Working took my mind off my loneliness and the
lighting was perfect. I photographed the bridge from one side to the other and
then from the top and from the bottom. Wanting to get some long shots, I walked
over to the Pont des Beaux-Arts. Looking through the view finder I caught my
breath. The wide-angle lens had captured the entire bridge shining golden in
the night light, with the sparkling Seine below.
Ah Paris, I sighed, how could any
city be more lovely than you? I stood there, body tingling and heart swelling.
Tears came to my eyes and I forgot all about my loneliness and depression.
Then, as if on cue, a deep, sensuous voice said, "Bon soir,
Mademoiselle." I turned around to gaze into a gorgeous pair of laughing,