Whenever I am asked what my favorite place in Paris is, the Jardin du Luxembourg is always my no-blink response. Sprawling and grand yet cozy and warm. Lush yet airy. Very public yet very personal. Indeed, in this magnificently manicured expanse of greens and pinks and yellows – and in autumn, orange of all hues – in the middle of Rive Gauche, I know a spot just for me is always waiting.
With a sandwich grabbed from Monoprix in hand, I would always secure that spot – never knowing where it will be – every day after school. I miss those days.
I’m sure someone out there has the same ritual but in the Jardin des Tuileries, Paris’ other famous park/garden, on the other side of the river.
Recently, I was taking an aimless stroll on this right side of the river. A bit tired from all the strolling, I craved un pause café (coffee break). So I weaved through side streets and alleys until I ended up in Palais Royale.
Palais Royale. A familiar stop on the Metro (Palais Royale-Musée du Louvre) but not a familiar sight. For sure, it’s the Louvre part of the stop that almost always holds anyone’s attention and interest. Probably the only reason you get off at that stop anyway.
But on that day, it was Palais Royale that caught my attention.
I walked past the typical cafés and Parisian fixtures that made up a seeming maze of hallways left then right then left again then finally, voila – one of Paris’ best-kept secrets.
Void of Jardin des Tuileries’ constant fanfare and delightfully toned down as compared to Jardin du Luxembourg, the cool and collected Jardin du Palais Royale suddenly bloomed in front of me. A true pocket of calm right in the middle of one of Paris’ most happening districts.
The perfect space to breathe, the perfect spot for a cup of coffee. The perfect spot for my favorite stumbled-upon thing that day: Café Kitsune.
From the same owners as one of my favorite stores in Paris, Café Kitsune is a wonderful surprise within a surprise.
I ordered my cappuccino, eager to sip it outside with the crisp autumn air as my date. But it had started to rain. Best afternoon ever.
Photos, Rio Jorolan.