Forget what others think and just do it!
When I first came to Paris back in May 2010 to live and work I used to walk past various brasseries’ terraces and stare at the couples enveloping each other in midst of smoke and no doubt talking about something intelligent like Proust. I, on the other hand, was too afraid to even sit at a table and so that summer past with me walking sometimes seriously dehydrated past all these tables afraid and missing out on an essential part of French life – people watching!Who in their right mind has an aperitif or apéro solo I thought and what will everyone think of me sitting there drinking alone. Although I longed to sit on a wicker chairs at Le Select which I walked past weekly. Since starting this blog, I have drank several times at Le Select and enjoyed basking in the sunshine and coughing through the mist of cigarette smoke bellowing from my fellow neighbouring diners. I overcame my fear, stopped worrying about what others think of me and enjoyed people watching in some pretty wonderful Parisian locations.
Le Select is a foodie institution located in Montparnasse and has been there since 1923 and was a regular to Picasso, F.Scott Fitzgerald and Picasso – how’s that for literary and artistic greats. The terrace is grand and the inside equally wonderful full of wooden stalls, a zinc bar and glorious art deco lighting. The wicker chairs and table that line the terrace are purpose made for hours of people watching and writing or reading a chapter or two of a book.
I honestly don’t know what I was so worried about sitting down on the terrace solo, now the seasoned pro that I am I just chose a seat and sat down. The welcome is always “warm” well as warm as any French waiters are. They do smile and are non plussed by my solo status and I have sat indoors as well as en terrasse. Sitting on the terrace feels like stepping back in time to when there were few cars on the road, lunches lasted 4 hours and people talked to one another and observed those around them rather than transfixed to an LED screen vibrating in their hand with messages.
If it’s past 3pm in the afternoon I order wine as it must be cocktail hour somewhere as the saying goes. The glass of wine here is cheaper than a soft drink and well really and truly a choice between a half decent glass of wine or sugar water with gas that will make me burp. I choose wine ever time. Except for this solo apéro I chose a classic and personal favourite – a kir – made with wine and cassis. My order was taken by the smartly dressed waiter and my kir arrived quickly along with something salty to nibble on. I sat back in my wicker chair and watched the world whizz by in the street ahead, listened to the bustle from the group next to me and gave into the running monologue in my head of how I too might one day write my own Great Gatsby!
Where? 99, boulevard Montparnasse 75006 Paris
How? Metro Line 4 (stop Vavin) and it is 1 minute from the exit.
Open when? All the time, 7 days a week as it is a brasserie
Pricey? I’ve never eaten here but if the price of glasses of wine is to go by it is reasonable – my kir was €6