Café Magic

She wasn’t kidding.

She wanted a relaxed visit to Paris.  Her first visit.  A relaxed visit.  But what that meant, I could not venture to guess.

She wanted to visit a sight each day.  A relaxed pace.  Sounds nice.  Me too.  Nearly halfway around the world, but a relaxed pace.  Well, with the gray skies museums actually made sense.  So OK.

We found a special exhibit of Pablo Picasso at the Grand Palais.   What luck!  Her favorite artist. And I’d never been inside the Grand Palais.   I got reservations on-line and off we went.

It was great.

Wait, I know I should say more. It was a fascinating exhibit – complemented by multimedia features of peer interviews and collages of film and news articles – that juxtaposed Picasso’s later works with pieces by other artists whose paths were heavily influenced by Picasso’s.  Sadly bereft of earlier pieces from his blue and rose periods (I know, I know….go to the Musée Picasso for that), and a touch heavy on the erotic work he did near the end of his life (I had my kid with me, after all), it was nonetheless enjoyable and uniquely-conceived.  Picasso-worthy and approachable.  As a bonus, I saw my first Yan Pei-Ming piece (I don’t get out much) and now I’m a fan.

Like I said: it was great.

As Liza and I left the Grand Palais, we passed the long lines of people waiting in the drizzle to get in. Whew.  “What next?” I asked her, pleased we’d planned so well as to avoid these crowds.

“Would it be bad to say I want to go back to the flat and put on my sweats and sketch?”

I’m conflicted.  I have a conversation with myself in my crazy mother-head:

Liza is a talented artist.   I am her mother.  I must nurture her dreams, right? She wants to draw, I should let her draw. She could be the next Picasso.  I promised her this was her trip.

But…. we’re in Paris…France.  Good grief, she can draw at home.  

Then again, I’d promised her a relaxed pace.  A sight each day….

This is nuts.   I can’t let this happen.   It’ll be dark in 3 hours. 

So I decided to have faith.   I’ll keep my promise and let Paris do her magic.

“OK, let’s head back.” I said.  We crossed the Champs-Élysées, and I told her to look left.  The Arc de Triomphe.  Cool.  Such a famous view. She should be inspired. I could imagine the gloomy sight of German soldiers goose-stepping during the German occupation, and the glorious Allied troops marching down the same boulevard later.  

We took a picture.

And kept walking. 

She was still homeward bound.

I’ll try again.  “Shopping along the way?” I suggested.


Now we’re getting somewhere. I knew a great little shop near the rue de Rivoli with unique and reasonably-priced handbags.  Excellent.

Found it.   Closed.    Dang.  

Keep trying.

“How about a bite to eat?”

“OK.  Someplace warm.”

Ahhh.  Here it is.

I spotted a cozy cafe and in we went.   Red velvet chairs and big windows for people-watching.   Perfect.

And just as I’d hoped,  Paris took care of the day.  

Hot, delicious food. Relaxed pace.  Lovely wine.  Nice conversation.   Then espresso. More conversation.  Maybe some dessert.  And another coffee.

“I love this.” Lisa sighed.

So very French.  Four hours of unhurried conversation later, we’d had ourselves an experience. Delightful.

imageNow Liza can get home and do her sketching. Or Snapchat.  Or Twitter.

And I, too, am ready for a little reading, a little writing, and a warm bed.

A simple day.  A relaxed day.  A French day.

Well done, Paris.




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