Sunday, May 2, 2010

les fleuristes








In Paris, there are always flowers.  On a hot morning, there are extravagant,  fresh, and fragrant bouquets of lilacs, peonies, muguet--or lily of the valley--given for the May 1st holiday.  We have several favorite flower shops dotting the city, and every visit we plan our walks to delight in the explosion of blossoms behind plate glass windows.   Ever since we came here many years ago, the first time together and shortly after we were married, and bought a clutch of white and pink ranunculus for only a couple of sous for our narrow 4th story hotel room where the patroness would deliver hot coffee and hot milk with two croissants to your room every morning (that alone could make one fall in love...), one of the first things we do upon arriving in this city is to go buy flowers.

Here, they are so inexpensive in comparison to home, you can can go a little crazy, a coup de foudre almost, and arrive back at your vacation apartment or hotel room with arms full of flowers.  This visit, I buy a plump bouquet of fragrant lilacs from a gypsey standing out on the rue Cler with here offerings.  We buy a little muguet for our friends who we go to visit in Normandy at my favorite flower shop of all--Eric Chauvin .  Tucked in between a Greek restaurant and one of the great bakeries of Paris--Poujerain--is a small, brick-walled room stuffed full of what's currently blossoming.  Arrays of snow-white tulips, coral-colored peonies that defy explanation, chartreuse viburnum, white, lavender and dark purple lilac, more lily of the valley, and as always in this shop, in the center, is a towering bouquet of flowering tree in a vase as broad as a redwood.  I have seen quince, forsythia, or apple blossom in this arrangement, but this visit, we are embraced by flowering almond.  In the back, is an outdoor courtyard with boxwood and ivy.

Sometimes, I dream of moving to Paris and taking over this shop where I would still sell such beautiful flowers, along with natural wines made by hard-working vignernons a d vigneronnes we find out in the countryside.  I believe flowers and wine are inextricably bound together.  We'd bring back our spoils, these cases of wine from small, unknown vineyards, and share them in the city.  In my dream, on Friday and Saturday nights in good weather, we open the back courtyard which has been strung with lights, and cook simple dishes to be served at one long table.  We open new or old vintages of new or old favorite vineyards, and we sit down with guests for a proper degustation....

--Deirdre

3 comments:

itztru said...

There is a beautiful book in the works here...I can taste, feel and smell it!

Deirdre and Caleb said...

Hmmmm, I like it! Is it a novel? Or essays?

Lindsay said...

When you open the back courtyard I'll be there...