Fit for a Queen

 Madison at East 83rd

Madison at East 83rd

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.

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 15th 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. At that time, it became a favorite address of French nobility, and in the nineteenth century the writer, Victor Hugo,  lived at No. 6.  More recently, the Marais has seen rising prices, the homes lining the square elading the way. For me there are the memories of a matchless stay a few years ago at the delightful hotel Le Pavillion de la Reine situated on that beautiful square, which is lined with elegant shops and art galleries, glimpses of which you can see below.

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

 Madison at East 83rd Strret...

Madison at East 83rd Strret...

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.

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. C'est parfait. Or it would be perfect if my friend, Ximena, who lives surrounded by high mountains at the end of the world in Ushuaia, Argentina, she who loves to read about New York, were here to enjoy it with me. Under lighting fit for a queen.

And that's all for today, my friends. Be assured, I did not leave this lovely little shop empty-handed. Hope to see you back next weekend when I'll have the coffee at the ready and perhaps a chocolate or two. Jusqu'à ce qu'on se revoie ...be well. 

 Unfortunately, this charming shop closed last year, due to rising rents along tony Madiosn Avenue.

Unfortunately, this charming shop closed last year, due to rising rents along tony Madiosn Avenue.