Cheese, Baguettes and a family getaway in Paris

A warm morning. Bright sunlight struck on the window of the small cozy apartment which I rented through Airbnb. It reflected on my skin, implying that it would be a warm sunny Parisian day. It had me wondering about how to make the most of the day before it starts pouring again. Perhaps breakfast with family? Isn’t a picnic on a sunny day always a great idea? I had it all planned out in my head by now. Picnic, in a park, with my family, under a tree, enjoying the breeze with genuine parisian breakfast. Couldn’t help but waking them up so that all can go as planned.

My parents and sister weren’t up till now, but who sleeps on a sunny morning in the city of lights. I woke them up, promising them a truly French breakfast in a lovely place. They followed my instructions and in 15 minutes we were heading towards the metro station down the street. Our destination was Jacques Bonsergent station, I worked my way through the map and it took us 10 minutes to get there. We exit the station to find ourselves in a quite area, we crossed the street towards rue de Lancry. I easily found the shop I had in plan. I recognized it by its red façade and the classy white typing on its top showing its name ‘La Cremerie’. That was our first stop; a fromagerie, a lovely Parisian experience, no one should go there without visiting one. That one in particular was recommended by a friend of mine as one of the best in Paris.

The place felt like a cheese heaven, yellow was the dominant color alternating with some white occasionally, mixed aromas were hanging about the place making my mouth water. In a couple of minutes I realized that this was the place to be for cheese lovers like myself. Yellow and white weren’t the only colors, they were contrasted by dark red at the corner where the sliced meat under the black signs that carried their names with drawings of either cows or pigs depicting their origin. An old man was communicating in French with a customer at the cashier, while a younger lady looked towards us with welcoming eyes and a friendly “Bonjour”followed by “how can I help you”. I explained to her that this was our first time to go to a fromagerie and we had completely no idea what to buy and we also have no idea what’s written on these signs in French next to each item. A smile was drawn on her face and she asked us not to worry and gave us a brief description to the numerous types of cheese they have displayed. Due to obvious reasons we weren’t able to buy all of their cheese, so we ended up with a creamy round piece, some smoked lamb cheese cuts and for main dish we had 200 grams of a 24 month old yellow piece, she was recommending it as it is one of the most famous optionsin Paris. I asked her to cut them into small pieces to be able to eat them now. And before we paid we added some beef cuts. My mum reminded me on our exit that we need to buy some bread, luckily we found a patisserie on the opposite side of the street. So we bought 2 long freshly baked baguettes.

We haven’t reached the highlight of the day yet, it’s just a couple of minutes’ walk away as google maps told me. I followed the voice on my phone and my family followed me through narrow alleys until we had water flowing in front of us. It was slowly moving in a narrow canal at street level, paved by large trees on both sides, with small bridges occasionally passing above. An admirable place like this, hidden in the heart of Paris, away from the bustle of the tourists is nothing but Canal St. Martin. A 4.5 km (2.8mi) long canal which begins at Bassin de l’Arsenal which connects the canal with the Seine river. The canal continues underground at the Bastille Square and re-emerges at the 10th arrondissement, not far from the Place de la République. From there it leads north towards the Bassin de la Villette at the Place de Stalingrad. Its beauty caught us in a romantic ambiance, we started to take pictures along the canal and got really caught it with its beauty that we even forgot about breakfast. Only when reminded by my hungry sister we started to open the cheese packs and cutting the baguettes and started to devour the best breakfast we had in the city of lights.

“Coffee” my father demanded. It took him a lot to complain that I didn’t allow him to have his coffee before we left this morning. So we started the search for a café by the canal. After a 10 minute lazy walk along the canal we found a cozy one. We ordered our drinks at prices much lower than other touristic places in Paris and we sipped them while feasting our eyes by the picturesque view of the canal lying in front of us.

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