Barbara Redmond

By Bénédicte Mahé

(French) After the long winter we had to face (I’m not complaining, I love winter), what is more enjoyable than to be back in the sun? I need to confess that I often feel conflicted about Paris. I love the architecture, the food, the culture, but sometimes it is just too crowded, and there are too many pigeons… However, last Thursday, the forecast temperatures reflected a bit of summer that we had been missing. And so, a friend offered to host a picnic near the Seine for her birthday. We were not the only ones who had thought about this, considering the beautiful day, and after much difficulty I met my friends, finding them among the numerous groups of people gathered along the Seine.

How to describe this evening? On one side, I think the length would almost be sufficient to give you an idea: we stayed from 7 p.m. to half past midnight! We were at ease, it was warm, we were chatting, and we were laughing—nobody wanted to go home. On the other side, when picnicking we obviously had to have delicious food to enjoy: radishes, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, Tzatziki, hummus, French baguette, a few crackers and also cider, rosé wine, beer… In addition, I baked a chocolate cake since we were celebrating a birthday. Nothing too complicated, but very fresh to nibble heartily. All around us, the mood was joyful, the people were friendly (boy, do we know that that is rare in Paris!), and it seemed that all of Paris had met to enjoy the return to nicer days.

Around 10 p.m., some musicians settled next to us and started playing the saxophone and the guitar—it was as if we were suddenly in a Woody Allen movie: on the docks with Notre Dame and the Hôtel de Ville in the background, waving at tourists in bateaux-mouches. It was exactly at that moment that I had the impression of getting closer to the feeling foreigners must have when they discover Paris for the first time; as if I was finally able to see the city through their eyes. I know now that my summer will not be very difficult to survive!

So if you are in Paris and the weather is sunny and warm, do not hesitate and plan a picnic!

Bénédicte Mahé photo - cropped DuplicateBénédicte Mahé has studied abroad many times, speaks four languages and earned a Master of Management of cultural goods and activities, as well as a Master’s degree in intercultural communications and cooperation. She works in communication and international projects management. Among her interests are drinking tea, cooking (with or without success), reading, traveling, and—of course—shopping. She started her blog Tribulations Bretonnes in 2010 and has been updating it (more or less regularly) since then.

You may also enjoy A Woman’s Paris® post, Parisian Springtime: the city in bloom, by Parisienne Abby Rodgers who is ready to leave her umbrella behind and dreams of the perfect Parisian picnic at the Champ de Mars near the Eiffel Tower. Included is a list of Abby’s favorite public parks and gardens in Paris.

Paris in the Rain, by Parisian Abby Rodgers who writes about how Paris becomes a different place when it rains.  As Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” comments, walking through Paris in the rain can be a magical experience because you have the ability to discover the city from a whole new point of view. Including Abby’s suggestions of favorite boutiques, museums, and shops to explore while walking around Paris.

A walk in a French garden, by Canadian writer Philippa Campsie who writes about her experiences in the famous Jardin des Tuileries. Philippa also delves into the history and importance of garden design in France.  Including French to English vocabulary translations of gardening terms.

The Mays of Wine and Roses, by Mary Evans who spends May and September in Mollans-sur-Ouvèze, France. But it is the Mays that seem the sweetest for Mary where she can settle into an indulgent pattern of indolence, studded by the appearance and events surrounding the month’s two rock stars—wine and roses.

I dream of Paris. Writer and educator Natalie Ehalt shares the quote from Napoléon, who wrote in 1795, “A woman, in order to know what is due her and what her power is, must live in Paris for six months.” To Natalie, Paris is the ultimate in elegance and style. It is old-fashioned, it is cobblestone, it is aprons, it is a chauffeur helping you step off the curb…

L’heure bleue: the moment I fell in love with Paris, by Barbara Redmond who shares her unexpected first experiences with Paris. She was met with noise and hot and humid air; it was not the beautiful Paris she had imagined. Barbara discusses how there was moment when she found the true Paris and fell in love.

Text copyright ©2013 Bénédicte Mahé. All rights reserved.
Illustrations copyright ©Barbara Redmond. All rights reserved.