This is a reposting of my blog written in 2008: When I told my friend Henry about my new blog, Caffeine Chronicles, and how bad the coffee was in Spain….he immediately responded that’s why I loved Paris so much. You guessed it, the best coffee I’ve ever had was in Paris…everywhere in Paris.
They have something very similar to cafe con leche…they call it Cafe Creme…but to the tenth power. My first introduction to Cafe Creme’s taste and kick came very shortly after arriving in Paris on the morning of April 20th, 2007. Yes, I remember the date.
I was on a business trip to Paris – participating in an incredible real estate expo. Lynda and I were on the same flight from Miami (this is same Lynda that referred me to the Preciosos Hotel in Madrid with the Starbucks down the street) and she agreed to go with me to the Eiffel Tower before we started to work at the expo the next day. It was great to have Lynda go with me because she speaks French…I do not…and she’s been to Paris before.You see, going to the top of the Eiffel Tower is one of the things on my list of 50 things I have to see or do before I die. I composed my list of 50 when I turned 50. In fact, three things on my list were accomplished during my trip to Paris (more on that later).
It was cold…very, very cold standing in line with all the other tourists waiting to buy a ticket. My decision was to buy a ticket to go to all three levels, culminating at the top. This was huge, considering I have a fear of heights. My heart raced all the way to the first level, but I stayed on the lift. My heart never beat harder going to the second level platform. There we had to get off, walk up two flights of stairs (metal grating) and get into a small elevator that would take us to the top….a glass elevator. I did not know that a person could survive when their heart and stomach relocate to their throat.
It was worth it! What an absolutely incredible 360 degree view of Paris. I can honestly say, it took my breath away, not from fear, but from the sheer beauty of this city. There was also a bonus…a coffee shop at the top. I had my “first” cafe creme and unbelievable pastry called a pan du chocolate (pardon my spelling). The coffee was fabulous, rich, dark and very strong with the sweetest tasting milk that I’ve had. I was hooked.
Only one other of my fears needed to be overcome that day while I was conquering my fear of heights, very nicely, thank you very much – my fear of birds. There were pigeons everywhere and they were bold. They are used to being fed by vistors to the top and they approach you. I’m talking right up to your feet. I had to throw small bits of my pan du chocolate some distance away from me just to get them away, far away from me. But these were smart pigeons, they saw the hand that was feeding them and demanded more. Sorry, but my fear stems from a flock of pigeons that desended upon me at a young age at Miami’s Bayfront Park…..just like the movie “The Birds”.
Needless to say, it was one item on my list of 50 that exceeded my expectations. It also had that bonus…my first Cafe Creme.