Saturday, 29 June 2013

Square Sparrow Flies to the Land of Piaf

Following in the footsteps of the daughterly duo
What a difference a week makes... Last Saturday evening, DD1, DD2 and I were dining in style on cheese fondue and fondue bourguignon in a bijou Parisian restaurant called “La Grange”. Tonight I dined chez Sparrow with HunterGatherer on pasta tubes served with leftover spinach (albeit homegrown spinach from our polytunnel!). Back to reality with a bump.

Fondue feast fit for a king at La Grange restaurant
My long weekend with les deux filles was a welcome treat from SuperGran, and we three "girls" certainly made the most of every moment. We strolled around Montmartre and Le Marais (Yours Truly walking the mandatory two paces behind the demoiselles, bien sûr); we stared out over the magnificent Seine from the Pont des Arts; we squished like a trio of sardines into one bed and nattered into the wee sma’ hours.

Hot chocolate and key lime pie at Soul Kitchen, Montmartre

After completing her ERASMUS year of study at the Sorbonne, DD1 is now psyching herself for her final year back at St Something’s in Oxford. Before October, however, she has a mountainous reading list of around 100 literary titles to climb, one of those works being Molière’s “L’école des femmes”. And by sheer chance, the said play just so happened to be on at the Salle Richelieu theatre on the Sunday night of my visit, so she felt it was too good an opportunity to miss...

Having recently been immaculately refurbished, the interior of the renowned Salle Richelieu was utterly breathtaking. Better still, the resident  cast featured several well-known French thespians among their number – a fact imparted to us by an excited French lady aux toilettes before the curtain went up.

Unsurprisingly, for DD1, fresh from her year in France, the ensuing two hours of French (or to be more accurate, the Gallic equivalent of Shakespearean language...) were a cinch. DD2, on the other hand, has not done any French for the past year. That’s why she had elected to work in Paris for the month of June in an attempt to “se perfectionner” in the local lingo before spending the 3rd year of her music degree as an ERASMUS student in the South of France.

And as for Yours Truly, suffice to say, it’s precisely three decades (yep, that’s 30 long years) since I spent any meaningful time in a French-speaking country...  Consequently, I have to confess that DD2 and I were rather grateful that DD1 had briefed us on the plot prior to the play. I am now resolved to practise what I preach to my Higher English tutees and discipline myself to learn a selection of new vocabulary every day (French vocabulary, in this case!).

The Italianiate auditorium of the Salle Richelieu 
During the weekend, we devoured as many French goodies as decency would allow. Actually that’s a lie...  Without even a semblance of shame, I freely admit that there was nothing remotely decent about our raids on the boulangeries of Paris.  Pains au chocolat and apple pastries for breakfast, the ubiquitous baguettes for lunch and the most exquisite pâtisseries for dessert. Aaah, sweet memories...

Paris is no place to even contemplate a diet

A trio of treats for a trio of gourmandes...

N-ice one! The local ice cream parlour...

French "slow" ravioli - you have to break up into squares by hand!

Maison du chocolat: sailing away to a chocolate paradise

For cocoa bean worshipers - Notre Dame in chocolate

As the above photos will testify, it’s nothing short of a miracle that the plane back to Edinburgh from Beauvais airport on the Monday afternoon actually managed to get off the ground, given my gastronomic excesses of the weekend.  Never mind, I still have a whole five weeks to lose weight before my 50th birthday. On second thoughts, who am I kidding?!

A quick photomontage of other French "stuff" we saw and did...

DD1's Parisian apartment (bottom 2 windows)

The view from DD1's bedroom

The flat's postage stamp garden
The club frequented by Picasso
"When you ring, I shall sing" - this stone caught my eye
As did this pretty "Pink House" restaurant

Vines and flowers growing in Montmartre

Street sweeper "human" statue

Le Pont des Arts - where couples attach initialled padlocks to the railings
The iconic Arc de Triomphe by night
En route back from the theatre, we espied l'Opéra


  1. What a wonderful weekend with your girls! We lived in France for 7 years & I still miss my morning pain au Chocolat!

    Sarah |

  2. I can well believe it, Sarah. The ones over here (and I've tried loads of different "breeds") just can't compare. It's probably just as well I don't live there, or I'd be the size of Notre Dame!

  3. Our birthday must fall around the same day, I too have totally managed to not do any dieting whatsoever to be in some sort of nicer shape for my 40th and I haven't even been to France recently.

    It sounds like you had a fantastic time :)

    1. Mine's the 7th Aug - what about you? Take comfort... At least you've got 10 years before you hit frumpy fifty!!

    2. Haha, I'm frumpy now as I've no idea how to dress for this size and I keep hoping I will magically go back to a size "11". Mine is the 9th!

  4. Lots of nice baggy rugby shirts is my solution ;-) So we're nearly birthday "twins"!