On my last Friday in Paris, I fêted Cara’s 21st birthday at a traditional French restaurant, Au Vieux Paris D’Arcole, located on the Île Saint-Louis. Sunshine and crowds were plentiful as I passed the Notre Dame on my way to the restaurant around midday. Anna, Cara, and I sat at an ancient wooden table and admired the walls adorned with lavender flowers and long red curtains. The restaurant was almost cave-like, with only about five tables downstairs. Our amicable waiter brought us a feast fit for our birthday queen! Champagne (santé!), escargots, les coquilles saint jacques, chicken, haricots verts (string beans), and desserts. We sang in English and French when Cara’s decadent chocolate cake arrived with a candle flickering. The couple next to our table was from Germany, so they also chimed in with a “Happy Birthday” rendition in German!
The meal felt like a fitting denouement for our semester. Cara is an old friend, and I felt so lucky to have her around as a partner in crime in Paris. Anna’s a new friend whom Cara and I loved getting to know as we explored the city, improved our French, and shared daily victories and struggles of abroad life.
It’s hard not to feel like you are breathing in history when walking down the rues and boulevards of Paris, and this quaint restaurant really felt like an old château where one might eat after praying in the Nôtre Dame back in the 18th century.
Un grand merci to Cara’s mom for the special meal! 🙂