Trumpets of Spring
Spring is springing! Daffodil season is finally here! I’ve always loved daffodils—or jonquilles, en français—for the irrepressible joy they bring with them.I can’t help but smile when I see daffodils blooming in Parisian gardens, window boxes, and in planters alongside the road. The leaves are just starting to return to the empty branches around town, but the friendly sight of spring flowers is already doing the heavy lifting of breathing color and joy back into gray Paris. The blue skies certainly don’t hurt either…
Jardin du Palais Royal is one of my favorite parks in Paris—especially when the spring flowers begin blooming. During my semester abroad, I’d missed it entirely! It wasn’t until I saw a photo of the manicured, tree-lined promenades during my six-month exile in California in early 2014 that I felt like I’d found my new favorite nook. I have fond memories of sitting on the pale green benches with a book on a sunny day, and meetings with a dear friend for a heart to heart in the long summer evenings. The sound of the central fountain and overwhelming sense of blooming, vitality, possibility always reinvigorates my urge to create.
Perhaps it’s because this place feels so ridiculously steeped in Parisian culture, but Jardin du Palais Royal always centers me. Spend an hour here, and you’ll see it too: clusters of old men playing pétanques, elegant couples in crisp, expensive clothes lounging in the iron chairs alongside the fountain, au pairs watching their mischievous charges play in the Colonnes de Buren after school.
One of my favorite French writers, Colette, lived in one of the apartments overlooking the garden. I initially knew her name from the credits of the 1958 Hollywood musical Gigi, which I watched on repeat as a child. For better or for worse, Paris has always been on the brain! On my first trip to Paris in 2008, I bought Colette’s novella at Shakespeare & Company and was immediately hooked. Further research revealed Colette’s wild antics and a number of novels to consume. Walking through Palais Royal, I love imagining her life here, writing at her desk, eavesdropping on the lives playing out just below her window.
There’s even a takeaway coffee shop in the park! Cafe Kitsuné is ridiculously over hyped, and I’ll be the first to chime in that the flavor of their coffee can be disappointing. However, their Dirty Chai is unparalleled. Chai lattes in Paris tend to be syrupy sweet (Starbucks) or gross and watery (KB Caféshop—sorry KB…). I miss the Gypsy Den’s perfect hug-in-a-cup chai. Uncertain of what I’d be getting in my tiny, overpriced takeaway cup, I went for a Dirty Chai. If it was going to be disappointing, I might as well be caffeinated. I was amazed by the surprisingly tasty flavor—striking a balance between sweet American chai and the spicy taste of tea. I’m a believer!
Even with a jolt of caffeine boosting my mood, I’ve been craving a musical pick-me-up. Looking to shake up your Spotify? Here’s what I’ve been rocking out to lately:
What about you? Has spring put a skip in your step? Vive le printemps!