Last afternoon, as I greedily grabbed a bit of hazy sunlight and found a table at a Brasserie in the bustling Rue de Commerce, I felt how lucky we are in India - we take our glorious sunlight entirely for granted! Here in Paris, one craves for a bit of warmth - literally and metaphorically!It gets dark by 4p.m. and people's unsmiling faces in overcrowded metros only add to the depression. I have been getting by with my toota phoota french, and find people are generally helpful. The cheerful touches come from musicians who get onto the rain in Santa gear and play classical pieces. Sometimes, I notice the drivers in the cabin wearing Santa caps, and wonder about their lives. The metros are spilling over with tourists, foreigners from distant lands, braving the cold and making the most of this magical destination. The essential French person is hard to find. Right across the street from the magnificently lit Galleries Lafayette, an edgy Japanese clothing store has opened to much applause. UNI QLO is a brash concept - very cheeky and fresh. There are lines of shoppers waiting to get inside. In comparison, the legendary GL looks like a slightly dowdy dowager.
Ditto for a lot of traditional French bistros that have been forced to change their predictable cuisine in keeping with new foodie trends. Last night we went to Le Loup Blanc (The White Fox) to find a swift menu change. I had mustard ice cream as a part of my salad ( imaginative and delicious), and noticed there are many more vegetarian options featured on menus these days. That is great news and means veg guys can order more than just steamed haricort vert ( beans). Tonight we are going to the Grand Palais and then to my daughter's favourite hang out. The night before , we went back to one of my old favourites - La Coupole at Montparnasse. It is like a gigantic French Udipi joint - a huge food hall serving the most wonderful, sensibly priced cuisine. But one of the signature dishes here since 1927 has been the Indian lamb curry!! It was served to us by a Tamilian waiter dressed like a maharajah, who spoke perfect French and gave us an extra dollop of curry!!
Shashi Tharoor, the tweet junkie, is at it again! Good for him. Perhaps Ameesha Patel is helping him??