We were half way through our meal when Zouzou, the amazing mother of the place, stood beaming at us, “how are you my daughter? How is the food my son?”

These simple yet heart warming words epitomise my experience of this quaint off the beaten track restaurant. La petite rose des sables is like going to eat at your parent or your grandparent. It is a small (just a few tables), convivial and warm place, whose setting would otherwise feel kitsch but for the homely feel it conspires. And then of course there is the food, which if I may say, challenges the notion that your own mother’s cooking is always best. As soon as you sit you are welcomed with an appetizing array of nibbles and munchies, a humble prequel to the meal that will soon ensue. But don’t be tempted as I was to fall too deeply for them or else you will not have enough space left for the 12 euro mountain-plate of meat, melting potatoes and salad. If indeed you can finish the Goliath-like portions that are served then you are an altogether impressive eater. The menu is a mix of traditional French creations and Mediterranean comfort meals.

But more than the food, it is the human warmth of the place that makes the experience so special. And don’t worry, even if you can’t speak French, Zouzou will keep talking to you regardless, explaining the food or showing you poems of a friend.

And after a few hours of a nice warm atmosphere and free liqueurs, Zouzou will take you to the door, “put your coat up my children, it’s chilly outside. I hope to see you soon” ….. and yes, you’ll come back soon.

 

Naniso Tswai
I have travelled afar and aplenty but never before have I met a city such as Paris. In fact, “that Paris exists and anyone could choose to live anywhere else in the world will always be a mystery to me” (Woody Allen: Midnight in Paris). This powerful quote both explains and encapsulates my relationship with Paris. Young, energetic and full of life, almost instantly her cuteness consumes you, coursing through your veins until all you desire is to never leave her embrace. But it is not all catwalk perfections, as despite her elegant demeanour, living here is an altogether different and gritty affair. For the tourist Paris dons her most beautiful frock and flirts an irresistible charm, but were you intent on becoming a permanent fixture, prepare yourself for her invariably coarse moods. She is obstinately and often infuriatingly French. She wears her French mantra, indeed breaths it as if though to do anything else would be an affront to her flag. Even when I ventured into her sprawling contours expecting her personality to become diluted, however I was both relieved and perplexed by the resoluteness of character. She is France at its most unyielding, arrogant and concentrated self, but damn, do I love to love her. I invite you to follow my own discoveries of Paris’s hidden corners and whispered beauties.

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