There is something inherently evasive and difficult about the local cafe. It walks that fine line between hostility and hospitality. I have tasted my fair share, and to be honest it is always a hit and miss adventure. On occasion one encounters a local caffeine drinking venue that does not shun the wondering stranger, and yet whose walls resemble a quaintness that is known only to those frequent water hole drinkers.  Trust  me, there is nothing worse than the venomous stares of strangers to remind you have walked into an unwelcoming place. And well in this respect, Le Poisson Bleu Café is a success, for it has succeeded where other local cafes have failed. Located in the heart of the 20th it is the well to which all the local habitants gather to on all social days (Friday evenings, Saturday and Sundays).

On my fist visit I was surprised when customers went into the kitchen to prepare their lunches and snacks – with produce freshly purchased from the market. But then it occurred to me, it is just that kind of place, a place where the novice becomes local within a matter of minutes, where the barkeep lives among the community. Every little community has their own local, but not all of them are as welcoming as Le Poisson Bleu Café.

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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