Wine af­ter time on the left bank

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - SU­SAN BROS­NAN

NORTH ADE­LAIDE, SA I TAKE one care­fully small sip of my white wine, put the glass back on the mar­ble-topped ta­ble and set­tle in to con­tem­plate my sur­round­ings. I have nabbed a prime spot on the pave­ment ter­race of Les Deux Magots cafe in the very heart of left-bank Paris and I am de­ter­mined to hold it for as long as pos­si­ble.

I must ex­er­cise re­straint with the wine, how­ever, as my bud­get has not been de­signed for such el­e­gance.

It is early evening in late win­ter. Paris is at its most beau­ti­ful, and my ring­side seat is ideal to ob­serve the pass­ing pa­rade.

The old-fash­ioned street lamps have been turned on and are glow­ing through the bare branches of trees.

Di­rectly in front of my ta­ble, across a tiny square, is the mel­low-stoned Church of St-Ger­main-des-Pres and to its right is the long stretch of Boule­vard St-Ger­main; to my left is the nar­row and cob­bled Rue Bon­a­parte. I take a sec­ond, mon­i­tored sip of wine. A well-dressed early-evening crowd streams along the boule­vard, pro­vid­ing de­lec­ta­ble peo­ple-watch­ing. There are busi­ness peo­ple in beau­ti­fully cut suits, cut­ting-edge ties and some­times even hats. Stu­dents from the Na­tional School of Fine Arts are clad in slim jeans, leather boots and art­fully tied scarves; tall women with im­pos­si­bly long legs glide like cat­walk mod­els.

Ev­ery one of th­ese Parisians looks so ut­terly Parisian. I look down un­easily at my sneak­ers and my roomy, allpur­pose travel skirt. I take another, larger sip of wine and re­solve to make more ef­fort tomorrow.

A cloud of per­fume with a woman within ar­rives at the ta­ble next to mine, in­stantly at­tract­ing the gaze of ev­ery male in the cafe and that of half the men pass­ing by. I, too, turn to look, and see a woman who is not beau­ti­ful and cer­tainly not young, but who is the ul­ti­mate in art­less bo­hemian chic — jeans, long leather boots, enor­mous ear­rings, red scarf and match­ing beret atop her dark and glossy bob.

Two wait­ers rush to her ta­ble. I had waited an eter­nity to be served by just one and then he was rather sul­len­faced about it.

I de­cide not to waste this ready sup­ply of wait­ers. I fin­ish my wine in two gulps and quickly sig­nal for another. Send your 400-word con­tri­bu­tion to Fol­low the Reader: travel@ theaus­tralian.com.au. Colum­nists re­ceive an OSABrands Uni­ver­sal Travel Adap­tor kit (to­tal value $107.85) with two USB ports ($44.95), OSABrands Dig­i­tal Lug­gage Scales ($32.95) and Ta­tonka RFID Pro­tected Pass­port Pouch ($29.95). More: osabrands.com.

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