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.
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.