Sunday, December 10, 2006

Jolly bubbles

It's December, and the warm wind decided to back off just three or four days ago. Now it's nippy, there's a snap in the air, it's dry and cold. Shopping places are open on Sundays for the only time of the year, and every caviste from the corner wine shop on up to Lavinia is doing a champagne tasting.

Arnaud and I went Christmas shopping yesterday and bought a little champagne, too, just because it leaps out at you as soon as you set foot in any purveyor of things vinous. But we didn't do any tasting. We walked. Along the Boulevard Saint-Germain and winding through the little streets of the 6th arrondissement, then ducked under the arch behind the Collège de France and came out on the quai. We crossed the Pont des Arts, artfully avoiding the jugglers, rap-dancers, and honeymooning couples taking pictures of themselves. On the other bank of the Seine, we crossed through the small courtyard at the Louvre, walked up and into the Marais neighborhood, and generally bantered.

When we got home, a few hours later, walking more slowly and gift-laden now back across the Ile Saint-Louis as it was starting to get dark, we put away our purchases and settled into the living room with a stack of magazines and books. It wasn't cold enough yet to make a fire in the bedroom fireplace, but we decided to get warm and toasty and popped a bottle of NV Piper-Heidsieck brut.

Its toasty, hazelnut notes were just the thing as we unwound with our presse. As it opened in the glass, I opened and warmed to it, too. A nice reward for a long day's hike in the city.

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