• Facebook Clean Grey
  • Instagram Clean Grey
  • Tumblr Clean Grey
Have tea with me

Aristotle at Afternoon Tea participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn commissions by linking to Amazon. This means that whenever you buy a book on Amazon from a link on here, I get a small percentage of its price. That helps support my writing in a small way, so thank you. Happy reading!

© 2014-2018 Yara Zgheib All Rights Reserved

 

These essays are a work of love; they are and will always be free.

However, if you would like to like to show your appreciation and support, you can do so with a monthly donation of the amount of your choice:

  • $3     A cup of tea

  • $5     Tea and a scone

  • $10   A good book

  • $25   A charming little                   dinner

  • $40   White roses and                     red wine

You may also make a one time donation of the amount of your choice:

Your donation will help me keep doing what I love. Thank you very much.

To cancel a recurring payment, simply

On a Moveable Feast

April 16, 2015

‘Exister est un fait mais vivre est un art. […] On apprend à vivre, comme on apprend à philosopher ou à faire la cuisine. Et le meilleur éducateur de la vie, c’est la vie elle-même et l’expérience qu’on peut en tirer.’

Frederic Lenoir

 

‘To exist is a fact, but to live is an art. […] We learn to live, as we learn to philosophize or cook. And the best instructor of life, is life itself and the experience we draw from it.’

– Frederic Lenoir

 

It is drizzling. Of course it is. The damp air smells of metro fumes and a hint of Terre d’Hermès as I painfully drag my suitcase up the stairs and onto le boulevard Saint Michel. I look around. Red lipstick stands out against the gray sky. Brown leathered footsteps resonate on the shiny pavement. I pull my collar up… and smile. Only in Paris can a cold and rainy April day be romantic.

 

© 2014-2015 Yara Zgheib All Rights Reserved

 

‘If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man…’

 

To live in Paris as a young man is to be poor, cold, and in love. To climb six flights of stairs to a chambre de bonne with squeaky floorboards and lavender sheets. To read poetry over a stranger’s shoulder during rush hour on la ligne six. To walk past three boulangeries to the one at the far end of the quartier with the better croissants. To forego dinner for a hot baguette and a good bottle of wine, and heating for an evening view of the Seine from inside mon chéri’s coat.

 

Up la rue Saint-Julien le pauvre, to the right, then another right. There are two faces I love huddled over a table by the window of a tiny café. I tap at the glass. Smiles, hugs, and tears. I am no longer cold. An extra glass for me, fresh bread, and some chèvre chaud sprinkled with rosemary and thyme. Et pour finir, un espresso with a chocolate coated almond. Our weekend in Paris has begun.

 

We walk. Up cobblestone streets and narrow steps. Across bridges and through gilded archways. Into smelly cheese shops and out of crowded Thursday markets. Past the queue of ignorant tourists outside Ladurée and toward the infinitely better Pierre Hermé. Our flânerie includes the traditional stops: Boulinier for a pile of secondhand books, twenty cents each. Georges Larnicol for a bag of artisanal chocolates, half of which ‘tasted’ before leaving the store. Angelina for brunch. Léon for mussels and fries. Notre Dame for solace. The rooftop of the Centre George Pompidou for the view. La place des Vosges and la place Vendôme, for the reverie.

 

Then come the discoveries. La librairie Jousseaume, tucked away in the Passage Vivienne. Colette bought books and writing paper here. I buy a postcard. Le musée de la vie romantique, with its satin green shutters overlooking a secret daffodil garden. Chopin plays in the rooms where artist Ary Scheffer once hosted the great romantics of the nineteenth century: Delacroix, Rossini, Sand, Gounod, Tourgueniev, Dickens. Right across on la rue Chaptal, the most exquisite assiette des embruns at the restaurant la Clairière. Monsieur Hermet cooks, Madame Hermet brings out the plates and the hot bread.

 

© 2014-2015 Yara Zgheib All Rights Reserved

 

After lunch, an afternoon at l’hôtel particulier Jacquemart-André. He, a wealthy Bonapartist Protestant. She, a Catholic royalist he commissioned to paint his portrait. They married, traveled the world, and turned their house into a museum. I shamelessly eavesdrop on a tour guide explaining Caravaggio’s ‘Boy Bitten by a Lizard.' Then, un thé courtisane in the elegant café downstairs.

 

Before we know it, we have walked the weekend away.

 

If a trip to Paris should end, let it be with an evening at Le Quinze Vins on la rue Dante. It is cold enough for a glass of cabernet franc; the conversation turns to philosophy.

 

‘To exist is a fact, to live is an art.’  And Paris is where you learn it. In 1948, surrealist painter René Magritte produced a peculiar little painting of a man’s body with a floating balloon for a head. I am reminded of it every time I visit this city. Perhaps because it is, appropriately, called ‘l’art de vivre.' The art of living.  There is no single definition of that term, but my favorite is ‘a true Renaissance appetite for life.’  For food, wine, art, culture, history, music, philosophy. It is to walk around a city with your head afloat. To experience a moveable feast.

 

 

A weekend in Paris is not enough. Nor is a year, or a lifetime. But I was lucky enough to have lived here for a while, and I agree with Hemingway: it does stay with you for the rest of your life. Besides, I’ll be back.

 

One more café-croissant express, then I head for the plane.

 

Please reload

By theme
More tea?
Newsletter
Follow me
  • Facebook - Grey Circle
  • Tumblr - Grey Circle
  • Instagram - Grey Circle
Please reload

May 9, 2019

May 2, 2019

April 18, 2019

April 11, 2019

April 4, 2019

March 28, 2019

Please reload