Café, Thé, ou Moi? Or in English: Why I Love French Waiters

The view from my table at Jardin des Tuileries. Of course, I wasn’t in the view, I was at the table. You get the idea. My flirty waiter took this snap.

I’ve talked a bit about my ten days in Paris. It was an important time because the trip gave me some badly needed clarity about my life. One of the reasons I was able to achieve that clarity was because I had so few decisions to make. Do I have cheese or bread with my saucisson sec? Or both? After all, I am on vacation. The decisions I did make only affected me, not my work, husband, or children.

And I had QUIET time. Something that is virtually non-existent in my house. It’s not even quiet when everyone is sleeping. Both Russell and Mgazi snore!

In Paris, I felt like I had permission to enjoy “moments” because there was nothing pressing going on. Nothing to distract me from being present. Does this make sense? I’ll try to explain by telling you about one of those little moments.

I was visiting the Jardin des Tuileries. It was lunchtime and I wanted to eat. I sat down at a cafe in the middle of the park and practiced my French on my very forgiving waiter. After the poor man endured that bit of torture, he brought me a lovely cobb salad and a glass of wine. (I thought I had ordered mussels with fries but no matter.)

I took my time and enjoyed my meal in peace. No one was asking me to cut up their chicken. No one was complaining that the mashed cauliflower didn’t taste like exactly like mashed potatoes.  I didn’t have to forcibly remove my house cat from the dining room table for the umpteenth time.

It was quiet and I was content.

Twenty-five luxurious minutes floated by and I had just finished my last bite when the waiter revisited my table. In English, he asked, “Coffee, tea or me?”

I couldn’t help but smile (and probably blush). “I think I would like some dessert,” I said.

He returned my smile (although he pretended to look a little disappointed too) and turned away to leave. As he passed the couple at the table next to me, he leaned toward them and stage-whispered, “Did you hear that? She didn’t say ‘no.’”

I laughed. The couple at the next table laughed. The waiter laughed. It was a little moment. But one that I got to enjoy fully because no one was making demands on me or my time. It was a moment I had time to savor.

Paris was full of moments like that. They are a part of what made the trip so special. I will never forget these moments and I will always relive them with a smile.


It never would have occurred to me to share this simple little story even though it makes me so happy to remember it. But I read a post today about an unexpected bike ride on the blog, The Deliberate Mom. She was writing about the magic of the mundane with encouragement from the blog Sofia’s Ideas. I thought it was a great idea and decided to do it too.

Thank you, Deliberate Mom and Sofia! I got an extra boost of “happy” today by writing this little memory down.

4 insightful thoughts by 4 brilliant people

  1. Ooooooh, Paris! How I long to go to Paris. This sounds like such an amazing moment… I can imagine someone playing a concertina in the background whilst the waiter bats his eyelashes at you.

    I’m thrilled (and flattered) that my unexpected bike ride story encouraged you to join in the Magic of the Mundane! There really is magic everywhere, isn’t there?

  2. First of all, I want to say “welcome” to {Magic of the Mundane}!!! I am so glad you decided to contribute this piece! Jennifer’s writing is inspiring, isn’t it?

    I really loved this because I felt like I was there with you. I could picture myself in your shoes, enjoying this moment as you described it. And of course, what mom can’t relate to that joy of a truly quiet moment when our daily lives are so full of “music”! *wink*

    Also, I am so jealous you got to eat REAL saucisson sec!!! (My husband is French; we are constantly looking in our specialty stores for some!)

    I can not wait to read your contribution next week! *wink*

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