There is nothing that disappoints me more than a city with no life. No locals in bars, no bustle, no atmosphere. It depends on the time of the year for most places, and it's true that summer tends to shove people outdoors and into the parks and squares of the city. But Paris, no matter the season, always manages to pull a crowd.
We were having lunch at Rose Bakery (more on this later) in the Marais on the Saturday afternoon after hopping off our train from the Loire, and we got talking to a Canadian ex-pat couple who were eating eggs benedict and a slice of tea cake next to us. We asked their advice on where to eat for dinner, and they suggested, with a few moans and sighs, a couple of places in the area. They said that "it's frustrating, because on one hand, Paris hasn't changed for 100 years, which is charming. But on the other, Paris hasn't changed for 100 years! It's stuck in the past! Everywhere is doing the same thing, serving the same dishes. They're not innovating, experimenting, or doing anything that they haven't already been doing for the past century, and so the quality has just plateaued. There are thousands of so-so, average bistros in this city, and it's hard to find something that will really blow your mind."
In some ways we agreed, but Paris is Paris, and it was mardi gras the night we were there. Strings of balloons floated through the streets, and there was gold glitter all over the roads, we knew better than to spend the whole time complaining about the city-wide wash of average steak frites and crème brûlée. We ate terrine de canard with a little pot of cornichons, steak tartare and little cauliflower fritters with a carafe of house wine, and it was just what we wanted.
I just picked up my film from the developers! So happy with them this time around. I'm pretty glad that I carted three cameras around for two weeks. Worth it.