One of the things about Paris that I’ve always found so charming are the street markets. I’ve dreamed of roaming through the aisles of flowers and produce and meats, and watching the street artists painting au plein aire. While yesterday was still a bit brisk, it was clear and beautiful. The perfect day for just such an activity.
We had heard of a market near Jardins de Luxembourg, the largest city park in Paris. This is actually the grounds surrounding the Palais de Luxembourg, of which we have a painting at home, so we were excited to see it in person. We entered the park through a gate, and found ourselves in a lush, heavily treed area with flowers and walking paths, the leaves just beginning to turn. There was music, and when we turned the corner, we saw it was from a parade with colorful balloons and a uniformed band carrying banners. Leading the parade were a group of physically and mentally challenged children, and their parents; a soft spot for us that made us smile.
After the parade passed, we followed the trail that opened up to the palace, and the large pond in front, surrounded by beautiful flowers and people sailing those tiny toy sail boats that you see in the movies. The scene of the palace there was exactly like our painting, and we felt as if we had climbed right in it.
We decided to have brunch before we tried to find the market, and found a small cafe across the street where we could people watch. I had the best eggs of my life, scrambled with bacon and cream, and a cafe au lait that was near perfection. Plotting our course, we headed to the market and couldn’t find it. We ducked into a Starbucks (free wifi!) and tried to consult Google for a tip, but instead, found ourselves seated by an American who worked for Paris tourism.
Why, thank you Jesus!
At her recommendation, we went to Marché Bastille, and found ourselves among the aisles of deliciousness I’d dreamed of. I watched as people chose fresh fish, selecting from whole fish on ice, to shrimp and crawfish. There were homemade sausages hanging from the awnings, and bacon and cuts of beef. The cheeses (OH the CHEESES) were being offered in small tastes, with aged rounds and rosemary-covered half-rounds. The beautiful greens and reds and yellows of fresh produce were almost as beautiful as the flowers in great array.
After enjoying the painters and looking through antique French books, we headed up to Montmartré and Sacré Couer, where we climbed the one million steps and were rewarded by a view of this gorgeous city like no other. We were surprised to find a wine festival going on, and more galleries and shops that we enjoyed with a glass of local champagne. After we climbed back down and road back on the Metro, I started thinking about life here.
There are no giant supermarkets, or (save for two McDonald’s) any fast food. The local Parisians visit markets like the one we saw every day. They eat fresh food that they buy that day, and they linger over their tables and enjoy. They don’t build up a freezer full of food to prepare for months ahead; they plan for now, for today. And if they wake up tomorrow, they do it again.
These people are in the moment all the time, and I’m reminded that it’s exactly the way we’re supposed to live. We live at such a fast pace, and are such forward-thinkers, that we miss so much. Too much. If we take care of just what we need for right now, we can begin to grasp the gift of today and not worry so much about tomorrow which is, itself, a gift that isn’t guaranteed.
There is power in fresh. Just ask the French.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 NIV
I feel like I’ve just had another wonderful day in Paris! Your “special blessing bonus” from God was the American travel agent! 🙂
Wonderful wisdom on celebrating each moment and supporting local produce and people.