11.13.2013

I Dreamt of Paris

I had I dream that I lived in Paris for about a month, spent my days and evenings in the company of a girl friend of mine who owned her own bistro, and experienced her misadventures and joined in some of my own.

I don't usually write about my dreams, but this one had a very vivid, movie-like quality. A short movie about the mis-adventures of a thirty-something expat bistro owner in Paris.

Now, the disclaimer here is that I am NOT one of those romantic, rose-colored-glasses kind of person infatuated with the city of Paris. I do like Art Nouveau and Art Deco however (examples), and the idea of a bistro on the water is charming.

So, my bistro owner friend, an old girl friend or co-worker, I don't remember. She was an entrepreneurial spirit, all action and well on top of all things and people that were trying their best to come undone. She had experience and skill in managing her Art Nouveau design bistro, creating and selecting the recipes, cooking, working with the cook and prep staff, and training the small staff of waiters to provide an amazing experience.

I had apparently been staying there a few days already for a visit that would last about a month. I typically sat at a corner table for two in the back corner, out of the way. If you've ever been to a bistro in Europe you know that a table for two is more like half a table for one. I spent my time writing ideas down in a notebook, surfing the Internet on my small laptop (did I buy a macbook air in my dream?), and enjoying the people-watching to be had both inside the bistro near dinner time and outside the windows facing the river. Yes this was a bistro on a tiny, packed-in corner of a river. The Seine? A canal?

I remember that there was a ton of art nouveau architectural details in the bistro and in the city in general. Lots to take in, which I liked.

There were a few steps leading down from the street to the front of the restaurant, but it wasn't a major throughway kind of street, more like a side street. There were a couple of bushes or potted bushes in a mini patio sort of area that could seat a couple of bistro guests on metal tables-for-two during warmer weather. The doors leading into the restaurant were opaque glass in various dark and opaque jewel tones (like purple and bottle green) with amazing, thick undulating wood frames in black, with those tell-tale curvy and meandering shapes that form art nouveau.

I was staying above a shop or home of some sort, in a tiny little room with the very basics. I think my friend had located that spot for me, as she dealt with the people who owned/lived/worked below me.

At some point there was a little bit of a drama featuring one of the someliers and a waitress at the bistro. I remember people were hating on the somelier as he had probably either broken a waitress' heart and/or gotten her pregnant, so she hadn't come to work for two or three days in a row. The somelier had an odd resemblance to Thomas from Downton Abbey. The bistro suddenly had to scramble due to too little wait staff on a busy evening. I gladly stepped in to help, by filling and refilling water glasses and taking dirty dishes away from tables.

I remember that at some point my friend either catered or had been called to a special event in a large, ornate ballroom. Very dark wood window frames, door frames, and thick, huge pillars, with a view over either a park or a residential area. Still very Art Nouveau. My friend suffered a crisis in confidence either because she saw an ex there or because things didn't go as smoothly as she would have liked. I thought everything went well though, from the guests' perspective and tried to reassure her. We got to sit in the kitchen at the chef's table and realized one of her friends/mentors/colleagues owned the place and was running things in the kitchen. We got to see how their dishes were put together by the cooks and staff prior to being sent out into the dining hall. All the while the three of us were sipping on either wine or water (in my case juice mixed with water) while listening to the owner/master chef tell us all about the business, the dishes, and how things worked.

After the event, to take a mental break, we went to a bench on an overlook with a great view of the finer apartment homes in the city. There was an ornate wavy baluster that didn't seem all that secure, and when we looked down we saw a lap pool. We joked that we could probably dive into it from where we were.

The dream ended as we headed back to my friend's bistro, well after hours, hung up our coats and sat down exhausted at a little table which faced the open-concept kitchen, to ponder our adventures as we absentmindedly rested our elbows on the table and our chins on our hands.