Peace & Quiet
Bistros and Cafés
You may think that bistro is just another name for café but there is a subtle difference. Cafés were traditionally the haunt of fashionable society and artists. Bistros are cafés of modest appearance where locals meet regularly for a drink, a game of dice and sometimes a snack. The number of cafés and bistros has decreased considerably in recent years.
Paris never leaves me indifferent. It has the power to rouse strong feelings in me, whatever mood I am in: admiration, exhilaration, irritation and even frustration, but above all fascination as time and again I am bewitched by its charm and diversity.
Paris may seem straightforward and orderly to the first-time visitor as it unfolds its wealth of stately monuments, but it is in fact a complex city and its beauty has many facets; besides the vast open vistas there are picturesque villages like Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Le Marais or Montmartre where you may suddenly come across a tiny square steeped in a romantic old-world atmosphere or be confronted with a bold modern sculpture defiantly competing with a medieval masterpiece. What never ceases to amaze me, however, is the overall sense of harmony which pervades these contrasting features and confers on the city a unique homogeneity.
Paris is a melting-pot of new, daring, even outrageous ideas in the fields of art, fashion, architecture, cuisine, lifestyle, politics, sociology. Living in the midst of this continuous creative outburst is tremendously stimulating, but I also enjoy standing back and relaxing at lunchtime in the peaceful Jardins du Palais-Royal, at the heart of the city, or taking a stroll along the river at sunset when Parisians set aside their hurried daily pursuit of an elusive happiness and unashamedly give in to their inclination for enjoyment. Paris then seems more alive and exciting than ever.