Le Saint Eustache

June 28, 2002 - 4:00 p.m.

A very cold wind has predominated here, and me in my thin shirt sitting outside in the midst of it. When the sun periodically emerges from the clouds from time to time it is wonderful, and as the afternoon progresses the sun creeps closer to me, slipping under the awning to warm me. It is halfway across the little round table at the moment, but there is half a skyful of clouds waiting in the wings to take its place very soon.

The six outside tables have hollow tops and Volkswagon advertisements inside. The ads are designed especially for this kind of space and feature optical illusions with images of actual size peanuts sprinkled around the car as though they were served to a previous customer and had somehow fallen inside. The ad says, "New Beetle: 15390 euros and not one peanut more."

In front of me to the left is the edge of the rather gothic St. Eustache church. Farther down at the end of the street are the gardens of Les Halles.

The cane wicker chairs outside here have maroon mesh backs and seats. I can't see anything inside the café from where I'm sitting. The window is filled with things for sale: candy, lighters, pens, watches, a deck of tarot cards. My espresso arrived in a clear shotglass inscribed with the word coffee in a multitude of languages. It came with a blue tube of powdered sugar. There is a black ceramic or glass ashtray with the Marlboro horseshoe design. I can hear the radio, barely, and it sounds like Nirvana is playing. But, then again, there are a lot of bands that would sound like Nirvana from where I'm sitting. Earlier I heard "Come On Eileen" and "Torn."

When the sun is out, I can't help but stare at its reflection in my table top and try to will it to stay, but there are always more clouds and the wind blows them towards me.

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Le Saint Eustache
14 rue Montmartre
75001 Paris
Metro: Les Halles
Price of an espresso: 1.90 euros
Sugar: tube of powdered sugar

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