Early bird catches the freshly baked croissant
5:45 am: May 7, 2016
Quarter past dusk, I climbed down from the fourth floor of my building, stumbling in the darkness, to Rue Bonaparte. The sun was just coming out and the street was deserted. I had unintentionally chosen an awfully good neighborhood to stay in when I picked my Airbnb. Not only did Rue Bonaparte bristle with cheese shops, fresh markets, florists, stylish bistros, and restaurants during the day, it was also only a stone’s throw away from the historic old town. Since it was my first morning, I decided to make a beeline to the heart of the old Town, Place Rosetti. As I turned the corner into Place Garibaldi, I spotted a fruit vendor loading strawberries from cartons onto small baskets on the display shelf. I bid him “Bonjour” and entered the old Town.
I weaved my way through the network of cobblestone alleys and squares that made up the old town. Early sunshine streamed in through the hollow gap between the rooftops and dusted the bright facades in soft golden light and long shadows. As I sauntered along, the silence of the empty streets was punctuated by the sound of the morning news on the French radio from a nearby house. I peeked in through a slightly open window shutter but I didn’t see much. I was mildly disappointed. I was hoping a friendly face would peer back at me and welcome me to a home-cooked breakfast. Quel dommage! A few seagulls caw-cawed and dipped a little low and whizzed past me. I ducked my head and I resumed my stroll.
After getting lost and finding myself in the lovely honeycomb of narrow streets, I reached an impressive square.
Place Rosetti or Rosetti Square was crowned by a towering baroque-style Cathédrale Sainte Réparate on the right, built in the late 17th century. Buildings in red and yellow ochres dotted the plaza and surrounded a fountain in the center. Empty chairs spilled over from the closed restaurants.
It was 8 o clock and I seized a chair at the terrace (obviously!) of the Cafe Antonio. In France, there is something of “a terrace culture”, one could say. At a coffee shop, restaurant or bar you’d be crazy to sit anywhere but outside facing the street aka “en terrasse”, sip your coffee, and people-watch. That is exactly what I did.
Soon, a barista appeared out of thin air and I ordered a simple petit dejeuner in awkward French. I’m usually a bit shy transitioning from English to French and it takes a day or two before I can confidently butcher the language. 😀 A soft breeze rustled the pages of my book and the clothes hanging from the balconies above me.
After a few minutes of spying my surroundings and giggling to Wooster’s adventures, my fresh petit dejeuner arrived in a straw basket. The delicious smell of warm bread and butter wafted in the air and my stomach rumbled. I picked up the buttery croissant and nibbled at it. Flaky layers slowly crumbled in my mouth and unveiled a doughy inside with spongy pockets of air. Between sips of fresh squeezed orange juice and silky macchiato, I slowly drifted away to puff pastry heaven, floating on clouds of billowy dough.
I have simple needs if you ask me: Early morning strolls, a good conversation or a good book, and freshly baked butter croissants paired with orange juice and coffee.
My stomach was full and my heart fuller. 🙂
Here is a pin if you like and read my other posts about Nice here 🙂