Chitty chitty bang bang, he’s a wobbly jalopy zig-zagging his way across the street, intent on the wide open door of @LaBelleHortense. Balancing coats and bags and a giant black book, Monsieur Livre grabs a seat at the bar, and the book claims the one next to him.
La Belle Hortense was founded in 1997 by a former publisher of Actes Sud and Xavier Denamur, a restauranteur in Paris. Part bookstore and part wine bar, the Hortense serves food from its partner locations Au Petite Fer à Cheval and Philosophes.
La Belle Hortense sits quietly as a refuge in the Marais while a constant stream of people rushes by with umbrellas and rain jackets. We are all sitting around reading, sipping, and snacking amongst the tall bookcases while music plays in the background.
I try to sneak past Mr. Livre to take the first photo in this series, and he catches my eye, stops in mid-bite of his plat du jour, and smiles broadly. It’s almost as if someone was squishing his face from the top and bottom; this smile widens to take over the entire visage, and all of his other features disappear.
“You seem like a nice person,” he says casually. “You should be in this.”
I look down, and his book companion is the 40th-anniversary special edition @therealpeterlindbergh , “On Fashion Photography.”
I’ll take that compliment, thank you very much.
When I first arrived in Paris, I was so timid about spending much time in places like this. I was afraid of the conversations I couldn’t have in a foreign language, meeting people I didn’t know from another culture, and making friends.
But the real fear was about perfection. And rejection.
And Paris has helped me learn that those are just stories in my head. Nothing and everything is perfect. And the only person that can reject me is myself.
If you’d like to connect with locals and travelers over an interesting glass of wine or a classic French dish, stop by the Belle Hortense. I might be there, and we can strike up a conversation too.
#blackandwhitephotography #pariscafe #paristips #frenchwine #parismonamour #parisfrance #parisjetaime #parisvibes #parisgram