Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Friendly Corner in Paris

Some of you may already read Put Your Flare On and you might know about this young Korean-American mom, married to a Parisien and living there with their son. Aimee delighted her readers a few months back with the announcement that she had realized a dream and bought a teashop in the Butte aux Cailles area of Paris (in the 13th). We had corresponded a bit, so visiting her shop and meeting her was one of the top items on my list for this Paris trip. I'd got an idea of L'Oisive Thé's vibe from checking out its website/blog, but it surpassed my expectations and provided us a welcome hideout from the rain on a day when we just wanted to slow down a bit.

We arrived a bit too early (she opens, I think, at 11), but good smells were already wafting out and we could see Aimee inside baking. We went for a walk on the wet, but colourful surrounding streets (where I collected some more brilliant graffiti) and came back a bit later for lunch. I introduced myself and Paul to Aimee and she gave me a big warm hug -- and being hugged by a Parisien goes a long way to turning one from tourist to traveller, in my opinion. Here she is:

We'd considered going to check off some other items on our Paris list and coming back later for lunch, but, honestly, we were a bit weary of the walking and looking, I had knitting (my sock) in my bag, and Aimee had stacks of up-to-date magazines and papers, so we ordered tea and settled in. The shop has a wonderful choice of teas (which it sells as well), and the tea gets made properly -- boiling water, china teapots, loose tea in clever little paper bags -- and hot water refills appeared when we needed them. So we just sat and read and knitted and looked around at the charming décorA lovely collection of books that let me think I could move right in -- and if you have small children, there are books for them as well, and toys. Aimee's a knitter (her vision was originally for a knitting café, now modified to knitting teashop) as you can tell . . . So we sat, read, knit, relaxed, looked outside at the rain coming down and felt very comfortable and content. While we were there, most of the other patrons were French-speaking, and Aimee chatted with them in her impressively fluent French, obviously well integrated already into the community, even as a new shopowner. While Paul and I can both get along quite decently in French, I have to admit it was pleasant to be able to chat with Aimee in English, though I reserved the right to do some eavesdropping in French.

Eventually, of course, with all those good baking smells circulating around us, we ordered lunch, a savoury pastry with a brilliant mixed salad (see the pretty china and the charming tablecloth)

Another friendly Parisien (as Eric says, over at ParisDailyPhoto, yes, they exist!) saw me taking photos and offered to take one of Paul and I.Don't we look content? And that was before we had Aimee's wonderful carrot cake!

So if you're going to Paris, keep this in mind. The Butte aux Cailles is a lively and colourful area with an interesting history, and you should allow some time to stroll its streets which give you a feel for a more residential Paris.

and you can tell that it's an area favoured by artists, artisans, and young people
You need a closer look, right?

If you like murals and graffiti, there's more, much more . . .
And stay alert, 'cause it's not just on the walls. Check out what's beneath your feet, a subversive take on the bleu, blanc, et rouge, non?If you're interested in reading about this visit from another perspective, read Aimee's blogpost for May 27th -- I can't seem to isolate the post so you'll have to scroll down.


  1. This is so lovely.

    My god I need to get there.

  2. Jillian, Thom: It's all pretty wonderful -- really, you should go!

  3. Oooohh! Aaaaahh! Such a delightful place. Great photos.

  4. You'd love it, Gina, and if you brought your knitting along, Aimee's place might rekindle your lost knitting mojo!

  5. I have finally found a quiet moment to catch up on my blogs. This post made me smile. Thank you for such kind words! It was really surreal to meet you in person. I still remember your voice, so reading this post felt ever more real. Thank you for coming to see me! I look forward to our next encounter.

    Gros bises,


    PS. Here's a link to that blog entry you were talking about:

  6. Aimee: I'm glad I made you smile. You and your little shop gave us a lovely respite from our busy exploration of Paris, and it was lovely to meet you. I hope to see you again next year!
    And thanks for the URL -- it's a mouthful, isn't it!


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...