Sitting in the Caffe Vito tonight, on the Rue des Archives, Mirinda noticed that most of the smokers were young. They were all sat outside, in the covered area reserved for smokers. Heaters were blasting them with warmth. They were in groups, drinking, chatting, laughing. Apart from the smoking, what was most obvious was the lack of mobile phones.
At one point, one young woman checked her phone surreptitiously but, generally, there was not a phone in sight. And this was the same inside as well. It was a restaurant full of people communicating tête-à-tête and in groups. It made a welcome change.
There’s a study that shows when people dine with their phones they are sending a signal that they are not for socialising. Caffe Vito was definitely all about the socialising.
The cafe was just around the corner from our hotel and the rain had stopped long enough for us to walk around and take seats in the corner, inside. It wasn’t the only rain we’d seen today.
The weather was awful most of the morning. The rain, though light, was almost continuous. Taking the girls to Sue meant all three of us getting wet. Even though I tried to keep them on the all weather path.
The weather in Paris was about the same. Arriving at Gare du Nord, the rain was slashing against the Eurostar windows. It did not look very welcoming. Queuing for a cab was also a bit damp but by the time we reached our hotel it was all but rained out.
But, back in Farnham…
Having dropped the girls off, the rest of my morning was spent organising myself. This consisted of printing, packing and then unpacking to repack into a smaller suitcase. The house was very quiet without Miss Tippy Tappy continuously walking behind me. Or Emma greeting everyone and everything that passed her window sill.
I had an entertaining chat with the taxi driver about how wonderful well defined seasons are and the sudden appearance of flowers. Normally I’d get the bus but the rain was steady enough to persuade me that a taxi would be a drier option.
The driver, a philosophical chap of floral bent believed that one should look forward to every season and embrace the changes. Rather than looking forwards to the next year, one should live life in smaller chunks to make it last longer.
He was in complete contrast to the black cab driver to St Pancras who kept moaning about the rain, saying he’d had enough of it. He wasn’t happy. I felt like telling him about the philosophical driver from Farnham but it would have been wasted.
Regardless of how miserable he was, he delivered me in good time at the Eurostar entrance. I thanked him, paid and wheeled my way inside. I didn’t have to use the escalators so any fear of my reciting Shakespeare on one was immediately dispelled.
The trip through to the waiting area was, as usual, hassle free. Apart from the kids that is. What is it with parents? When they have one child it seems okay. Two is fine if there are two parents. Then, the moment they have a third, everything goes to shit. Add to the third child a little pink suitcase on wheels with a lead attached to the child and there’s all sorts of mayhem.
Still, the train ride was simple and smooth, like it always is. Why anyone gets a plane to Paris is beyond my comprehension. Regardless of how one feels about the planet, it has to be quicker and easier by train. Of course it could change next year…but I’m trying not to think about that.
The Hotel de la Bretonnerie is an absolute delight. Beams and high ceilings, room on the first floor, separate toilet to the bathroom. Not quite as fancy as the JoBo (where we stayed in December) but just as lovely. And remarkably quiet.
Mirinda decided we were staying so, having had a slight breather, we headed out to forage and that’s when we found Vito’s.
There was some slight confusion over our order. Mirinda hadn’t noticed the food on the front page of the menu and, after I’d said I was going to have the calamari and a Caprese salad, she changed her mind about having veal. She decided to order a Toscana antipasta and charcuterie.
The waiter explained that the Toscana antipasta was a combination of the charcuterie and the Caprese salad. She said to ditch the Toscana and we’d have the Caprese and the charcuterie.
We thought all was well. Then the waiter bought us a Toscana antipasti followed by the calamari. Never mind, we said, this is fine. And it was. Actually, the ham was melt in the mouth superb. The beer was good too.
Afterwards we went for a short wander to familiarise ourselves with the area before returning to the hotel. And bed.