Coffee Travel

The First Espresso in Paris

The first espresso-Tiny Global Kitchen


I was anxious when landing in Paris. Why? Curious isn’t it? My heart was pounding. Probably because I’d longed to be here for so long. In my mind I’d wandered the streets, sat in cafes, taken photos down narrow alleyways. But now, I felt nervous. Like it wouldn’t meet my expectations. Like I didn’t deserve to be here. Would I be able to communicate? Would they be rude? Did I pack the right clothes? Do we have enough time? We landed and breezed through customs. Not one question. We collected our bags and met the taxi station. All the women are so fluid. Words spill out of their mouths like a vinyasa flow. The cab driver greets us with a hearty bonjour. He struggles to communicate with us in English but he’s trying. A heartfelt kind of communication, using body language and warm smiles. He turns on the AC and I silently praise him. The 11-hour flight has left me drained and unemotional. We drive into the city in silence and I hold my breathe waiting for a stirring, a feeling of expected excitement. I see industrial buildings and wonder what’s around the next bend. The traffic flows, no honks, motorbikes, Audis, Peugots, and sleek Mercedes all around. I catch a glimpse of Sacre Couer. It’s smaller than I imagined but perched on a hill watching the city. The tip of the Eiffel tower shows itself and my mouth pops open. We exit the freeway into the Arc De Triomph. The driver tries to explain that we’re staying on a ‘very good street.’ We pull up at 33 Avenue Foch. A sleek apartment building surrounded by a long park and the widest avenue in France. He graciously thanks us and we arrive into our temporary home of the music promoter we haven’t even met yet. How trusting.

It’s warm. We open the windows to try to get a cross breeze. It’s quaint. A modern couch, a vintage couch, sueded walls. Wood floors and a beautiful view from the kitchen. We are so tired. We have a few drinks and collapse for a nap, guiltily. All I can think is, Sarah- you’re in your dream city for not even three full days and you want to sleep…yes. I awoke from a nap to the sun shining over the buildings. It’s 5pm. I wake J up and tell him the evening light is amazing. That’s enough to rouse him up.

We wander down and find a cafe called Cafe Victor Hugo and find a table outside. Our first meal. We order a filet of beef with béarnaise, fries, and a glass of rose. After dinner, we order an espresso. It arrives with a perfectly rich caramel crema. We people watch, the woman walking in her ballet flats, chewing the end of a baguette, the slim tailored suits of the French businessmen with their pointy shoes. We talk about the future and slowly savor our coffee. Afterwards we walk down the avenue, stop in for some Perrier to go. We take photos of the Arc De Triomph, and watch the insane circular traffic nightmare, then back up Avenue Foch, taking photos of old doors, Embassies, rich Parisians houses, and collapse on the couch back in our apartment. What is the feeling of the first day? A curiosity, an overall feeling hoping people will be nice. I feel a hesitation with not knowing enough French. It’s so easy to just speak english. But are they silently cursing me, a disdainful look or answering in French. It’s different than I expected, but very much the same as things I’ve read. I’m waiting for goosebumps, for those serendipitous moments of wandering down just the right street, a life changing meal, the magic that I’ve been told about. Until then, it is time for sleep. Or maybe one more espresso…

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