The most visited city on earth

Published June 13, 2021, 7:00 AM

by MB Lifestyle

THE WEEKEND READER: A grandmother of four recalls why she ❤️ Paris

By Sally Velarde
(Manila Bulletin/Unsplash)

At the break of dawn, I hopped on the bus, bleary-eyed. We travel mates were to get out of the city to see two tourist monuments, and where the Loire river runs—yes, Virginia, there is a long one aside from the Seine. Who knew the trip would be four hours to and four hours from?

For our lunch and dinner, our tour manager selected Michelin-starred restaurants. After all, this is France, where the word “chef” came from. The trouble is, they are always full of patrons. Lunch took an hour and a half, more than half of that time spent waiting for plates to come.

We arrived back in the city at past 8 p.m. famished and sleepy. Grumbling stomachs and thoughts of dinner at one emblematic ‘le diner’ in the Bastille area, reserved weeks in advance, kept us awake. It was an honored restaurant that “draws big crowds for its authentic art nouveau setting and its brasserie atmosphere.” How could my eyes appreciate the art laden ceilings and walls when from hunger they were already crossed?

After more than 30 minutes at the table, the first serving arrived: salad and bread. Next 45 minutes, the main dish of tender beef came and it tasted exactly like our mechado. Another 45 minutes and we got our desserts. We piled into the bus home at 11:15 p.m. If the food were ready when we arrived, 30 minutes would have been enough to partake of them. What an end to an otherwise amazing day of adventure!

People say Paris is a foodie’s dream come true with its haute cuisine and fine dining. Agree, because all that we ate were gustatory delights—at hotels, restaurants, cafes, even a hole-in-the-wall. Still, I could have had french fries most of the time. They really are French.

About the author: Sally Velarde is 70-year-old grandmother of four. A civil engineer by profession, she worked part-time in the construction industry while, at the same time, being hands-on and full-time raising a family. She loves the written word and appreciates the writer.

The Weekend Reader is a Sunday submission segment of Manila Bulletin Lifestyle Online. Those who wish to submit their essays for the Weekend Reader may do so via email: [email protected] As subject of the email, write WEEKEND READER followed by the title of your essay.

The opinions and views expressed in The Weekend Reader are of the respective authors and not of the Manila Bulletin.