Fit for a Queen

The canopy at Vosges Haut-Chocolat is one of the most beautiful on Madison Avenue. Each time I walk by, the elegant floral design and the striking purple and white color combination grab my attention. And then, all the lovely associations come to mind...

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Given the French connection, what better color than purple, long associated with royalty? And white, the color of the standard that Joan of Arc carried into battle against the British in the fifteenth century. It was not until the revolution of 1789 that the French chose to go with the red, white and blue-- the tricoleur.

What's more, the name triggers wonderful associations with the Place des Vosges in Paris, a lovely square lined with trees and red-brick houses with mansard roofs -- all designed by Charles IV. Then, too, there the memories of a matchless stay, a few years ago, at the delightful hotel Le Pavillion de la Reine situated on the square.

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A notice in the window at Vosges Haut-Chocolat catches my eye: Now serving coffee. Can that be? Coffee, in such a charming setting? I venture in to find that on this hot sultry summer day, they even have iced coffee. Specifically, a New Orleans style coffee laced with chicory.

While waiting for the coffee, I browse the shop, check out a few samples -- a peanut butter and chocolate combo, a caramel beauty, and a fiery red-hot number.

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And then, with  coffee-to-go, I go no further than this delightful niche where I sit late afternoon and watch a parade of museum-goers coming from the Met. Il est parfait. Well, it would be perfect if my friend, Ximena, who lives at the end of the world, in Ushuaia, Argentina, and who loves to read about New York, were here to enjoy it with me, under lighting fit for a queen.

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