Café Le Flores, 2006
It doesn’t take much to create an oasis or, as Café Le Flores shows, an island of civility on a narrow sliver of concrete.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how people treat each other. I’m not one of those pessimists whose every experience reinforces a belief that the world’s going to hell in a hand basket. (And who came up with that line, anyway? Someone who’d seen too many executions by guillotine?) Nor am I a dewy-eyed innocent who believes everything’s coming up roses.
Still, there’s no denying that there’s a lot of disrespect and intolerance about. I attribute most of it to fear, since fear leads people to say strange things, take outrageous steps and generally revert to their baser selves.
As a balance to this behavior, I offer up Café Le Flores. It’s located close to the hotel where my wife and I stayed during our last trip to Paris.
Each afternoon we came upon this couple sitting outside Café Le Flores at the corner of Rue de Grenelle and Rue du Bac. With each change of the stop light or rumble of the Metro into a nearby station, people walked purposely by, coming home from work, picking up kids, shopping for dinner, digesting the day’s events and already thinking ahead to the next day.
But this couple sat quietly by themselves, occasionally looking up to share a few words or wave at a friend.
I like to think this couple comes here every day in the good weather to sit by the street, enjoy a glass of vin ordinaire and let the world know they’re still here.