Wine after time on the left bank
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.