One of my treasured old books, a well-worn edition of The Favorite Restaurants of an American in Paris, published in 1966, states:
“Next to the Eiffel Tower, the sidewalk cafe symbolizes Paris more than any other feature of the city. On a warm afternoon or evening, what is more interesting and stimulating than to watch the crowds go by from the terrace if a cafe on the Champs-Elysees or at Saint-Germain-des-Pres. This is one of the few luxuries in Paris that is inexpensive for all it will cost you is the price of a beer or a coffee to sit as long as you wish.”
My favorite neighborhoods for people watching may have changed, but the sentiment (and practice) has stayed the same. Paris, unlike New York, forces you to rush less and enjoy more.
My time there for the past few weeks has felt much too short. But stay tuned for a report on my quest for the best croissant in Paris coming up in the July travel issue of VRAI Magazine!