Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

Weekend of brunches

Monday, September 24, 2012

Saturday morning I woke up and saw the light blue sky outside. I was suddenly filled with high hopes about what I could do. On the one hand, I wanted to stay at home and write, but on the other hand, I wanted to scour the city for more things to experience. After writing a little bit, I decided to go out and enjoy the day. I began to imagine my possibilities: I initially thought about taking the metro to the Opéra, then I thought maybe I could go to Jardin de Luxembourg or even some other area of Paris that I could discover. By 10am, I decided instead to get breakfast before making a final decision.

When I walked outside, I turned down rue de l’Université to go to a salon de thé (tearoom) that I had seen on my way to the metro for the past two weeks. Every morning, I peeked in the large windows that opened up to a quaint dining room. At times, I saw a person setting up the gateaux (cakes) and tartes (tarts) on white porcelain plates. For days, I dreamed about stopping on my way to work, but they didn’t open until 9am.

When I entered the salon de thé, I was escorted to a table in the back corner in the room with the glass ceiling. It was a treat to enjoy the sunlight without having to be outside on the sidewalk. While I enjoyed my brunch, I would look at the people around me, eavesdrop on bits and pieces of their conversations, and write in my notebook. It was such a treat to be in the salon de thé alone that I almost didn’t want to leave. I finished my pot of tea and walked outside to take advantage of the beautiful day. Because it had been a bit grey and rainy, I couldn’t allow myself to stay indoors too long.

I ended up not going far from my apartment in the 7th and only went to the next arrondissement over, the 14th, to meet my girlfriend for a drink near Montparnasse.

Sunday morning I felt energized enough to finally do one of my long runs that consists of going from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame and back, which is about 10 kilometers. After spraining my ankle in June, I hadn’t run any long runs, but I finally felt ready.

I headed out and enjoyed the view of the city along the Seine: the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais, Place de la Concorde, Jardin des Tuileries, the Louvre, Hôtel de Ville, Ile de la Cité, and Notre Dame. On my way back, I was able to see some of the same sites but from the other side of the Seine. The minute I see the Musée d’Orsay, I head down to the voie express (expressway), which is closed to cars and open to pedestrians, runners, and cyclists. I only exit the voie express when I am close to the Eiffel Tower. By the time I returned to the Eiffel Tower, tourists and runners were spread across the allée en gravier (gravel path) to one side of the Eiffel Tower.

Afterwards, I decided to treat myself to another brunch. This time, I headed to Mariage Frères in the Quartier Latin. Again I was seated at a corner table. This time, the room, which was initially probably just a wide hallway, was empty. All the other customers were sitting in the other two rooms. I didn’t mind because I got to watch people walk by, enjoy their meals, and take in the ambiance.

By the end of my weekend, I was happy to have enjoyed the warm and sunny days and my two brunches. It was a perfect way to relax and enjoy my Parisian life before heading back to work on Monday.

Share your comments for this blog post on the Me, My Heart, and I's Facebook page. Thanks!