March 14, 2007

Little round tables

When I walk by the corner cafe in the morning, a man with a white apron is sweeping the sidewalk, calling "Bonjour" to anyone who passes. A man in a plaid dress shirt and striped orange tie sits by himself with a newspaper and coffee. A woman in a black skirt has taken a table in the sun: she turns her face towards the warmth, a cigarette dangling from her hand. A younger woman, a bright scarf wrapped around her neck, hunches over a paperback book. Two older men set briefcases on the sidewalk as they choose a table.

As the sun gets higher, the cafe begins buzzing with conversation. Every little round table holds two or three people, the dishes on the tables clinking as hungry customers jostle everything to make it all fit. The elbows and knees of strangers brush with a murmured, "Pardon." Waiters wearing black and white weave through the tables with china bowls of salad, baguette sandwiches that hang provocatively over the edge of the plate, and glasses of wine that glow red in the sunlight.

By late afternoon, sun warms the sidewalk where the tiny tables cluster sleepily. A young man with a backpack stares at the people walking by, just inches from his table. Two women with shopping bags at their feet chat. A man fiddles with his cell phone while he eats ham and cheese on baguette.

As the shadows get longer, customers inch their chairs into patches of sun. Evenings in early March are still cool. The round little tables tilt under heavy plates of warm food, the ends of cigarettes glow, and the smell of garlic and onion wafts through the crowd. The cold night air begins pushing people into the cosy tables inside, where they can drink wine, talk with their friends, and stare out the big windows.

Cafe

11 comments:

Silver Creek Mom said...

Looks like Montreal, BUT it's not.

Love your travel shots. I can feel like I'm almost there.

One day..my friend...one day.

jar said...

The essence of a city is not the large touristy things but the people themselves/or the little cafe down the street. Each city has it's own unique personality. Thanks for giving a glimpse of the true cities. I've enjoyed it.

nancy said...

OMG - I think I have actually been at that very café! Is that possible? Sure, I know they all look the same, but really - depending on where that one is, there is, I feel there is a very good chance I have been there. It is just way too familiar to me.

Where is it?

Yankee, Transferred said...

Lovely images, both visual and written.

Amy said...

Thank you for sharing this trip with the rest of us. I'm really enjoying "my" trip to Paris as I make my way through the last batch of papers before my actual spring break starts. You're making me hungry for food and travel!

chip said...

sounds like you are having a great time! Of course you are missing 60 degree weather back home...

Girl said...

Mmmmm...I LOVE when you make the words sing!!

BeachMama said...

You know just what to say to make us all want to be there too! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful trip.

Mona Buonanotte said...

There's a physical closeness and trust in settings like that...hard to replicate in the selfishness of American 'patio dining'. Enjoy an espresso for me, okay?

jo(e) said...

Nancy: It's just outside the Voltaire metro stop.

Mona: Oh, I am enjoying all kinds of stuff you would love ....

nancy said...

thanx jo(e)!! but sadly, not the same one...even though it looks identical, but i guess they all look the same?