Fifteen years ago, I eagerly anticipated my first trip to Paris. A well-traveled friend recommended I find a café “that called my name”, and that is exactly what happened to me.
I was wandering the city alone one day, when I spotted a charming little crêperie on Île Saint-Louis. I slipped inside and chose a table by the window, where I could watch people amble past to shop or pick up a famous Berthillon ice cream cone next door. The pleasant owner waits on each little table that is outfitted with tiny baskets of sugar chunks.
One memorable meal included a savory cup of carrot soup and quiche. Another time, I chose a delicious buckwheat crepe with ham and cheese. And did I mention the sweet chocolate crepe with fresh cream – a very pleasant memory, as I enjoyed my crepe and took out my sketch book to ‘record’ the scene.
Whether we stop in for a light meal with wine or a simple mid-afternoon dessert, we always find the same comfortable atmosphere. Once a couple flirted discreetly at their table in the back room. A mother and daughter from the states shared a corner booth and toasted one another and their trip. We frequently saw tourists practicing their French on the very accepting owner.
During our last trip to Paris, we had the good fortune to find a charming vacation rental right on the same street. Naturally, our first destination was our crêperie, Au Lys D’Argent. I can’t begin to describe our disappointment in seeing the place locked up, seemingly undergoing renovations. It was as if someone had encased the Eiffel Tower in canvas, hiding the stunning icon from the visitors’ eye.
We were not to be denied, though. On our third pass, we found the crêperie had re-opened. I ordered my favorite quiche and salad and couldn’t help but think of my friend’s long ago advice. Au Lys D’Argent has steadily called my name since that first trip. I suggest the same for all travelers to France. Find that special place that you can return to again and again, as if you are re-visiting an old friend.
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