Home is where the heart is, home is where you long to be. So goes that old-time saying in which we find a good deal of truth. For many of us, ‘home’ is our parents’ home, the place where we’ve spent our formative years, a place hopefully filled with endearing memories. For others, ‘home’ is the place they’ve created for themselves, possibly the very opposite of what they experienced growing up.
As readers of this blog well know, this heart of mine periodically finds itself longing to be in Paris, my spiritual home. Why Paris? Well, there are reasons for that, to be sure, but they are too complicated to explain in a blog post. To understand the undying lure of Paris—how it all began so many years ago—I highly recommend you read Veronica’s Grave: A Daughter’s Memoir, to be published in May. (Click here. )
A Moment in Time
In fact, this week brought evidence that the book which has been in the works for years is really happening –the arrival of an advance reader’s copy, which I quickly placed on a bookshelf. Can you read that blurb on the cover? It’s from none other than Mary Higgins Clark, America’s Queen of Suspense!
As for my home turf, I adore the hustle-bustle and energy of New York, but likewise adore the sublime architecture of Paris, its streetscape dotted with handsome shops and open-air cafes providing the most seductive settings for all manner of assignations.
Quite naturally, there are times when I’m wishing I could drop everything and bop over to Paris for a few days, if still enjoying life here in New York. Which, as you know, is what “Desperately Seeking Paris” is all about—searching for a touch of French style in the Big Apple.
At Quatorze Bis
When a case of homesickness hits me hard, I like to head for a down-home French bistro, any down-home French bistro will do. But one I’ve returned to, time and again, is Quatorze Bis, a longtime Upper East Sider with a traditional French menu, starting with the oysters or a country pâté. Simply sitting there, sipping a well-made martini and watching the locals pouring through the door, is a strangely soothing activity.
And then there are the specials of the day, which I normally skip right over. Not because they’re not tempting, which they are, but because I rarely vary what I order at my local “hangout.” It’s that my friends and I all agree, Quatorze Bis has the absolutely best Grilled Chicken with herbs in town. Cooked to order, not lying on a steam table! Invariably the waiter cautions that it takes a full 25 minutes to prepare the dish properly, and invariably I tell him I’m in no hurry, to take his time.
And then I take a deep breath, exhaling softly, to sit back imbibing a martini or a soft red from the Rhone, while drinking in the atmosphere. Which brings me to Zagat which reads: “It’s not cheap and it could use a face lift, but it’s ‘prosperous clientele’ still deems it a pleasant experience.”
Another Moment in Time
Pleasant experience? Well, that it is, but it’s so much more. It’s a moment in time when I’m charmed by the crowd, charmed by the French-speaking waiter (they’re becoming something of a rarity in New York), and charmed by the print of Le Roi, the king, hanging nearby. Why, I could almost believe I’m in Paris.
Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you next week. I’ll have the coffee waiting. Now, will you take a second to share this post on social media. Remember: Sharing is caring. Merci fois mille…