When I lived at the Palaise Royale
When I was a child and living in the apartments that surrounded the central courtyard of the Palais Royal my life was enchanted. I played, I danced, I strolled, I had wonderful dreams, yes as a child I was spoiled. The best part was that i loved all the attention and spoiling. Why not? i thought I was a princess. Fantasy or reality it did not matter. I was there. Life was simple and fun. Days were spent playing in the gardens, talking to the flowers, and making rings around the trees. I would take my dog for a walk and then play with the water from the fountain, My Nanny would be very angry when we both arrived home wet. But did I care? Not at all.
The arcades of the Palais Royal contained endless stores, art galleries, food stuffs and entertainment for the people who lived in this elegant complex. All are still open to the public today but as a child it was my special village. I wanted to see all the new things. I would go to all the shop keepers and ask them what was new. To my delight they obliged. One of my special stores was the glove maker. The smell and the warmth of the shop made you want to stay all day and watch them make gloves for their wealthy clients. It still exists today. That was why I could choose what I wanted to wear and accessories to enhance my petite size. Yes I was spoiled.
Gardens of the Palais changed with the seasons. Many people would sit and read contemplate the world from this quiet reserve in the center of Paris. Very hidden and private. It was a living complex with covered walk ways and a wonderful elegant restaurant. My special treat was the restaurant “Le Grand Véfour”. This 18th century jewel is still a favorite in Paris society. It was the place for political, artistic and literary people to be seen. If you were there you were part of the Paris elite.
For my sixteenth birthday my parents had promised to take me to the Grand Véfour for my celebration. I was allowed to invite ten of my friends…That was hard because I wanted to invite all my friends. But I had one special boy that I would definitely invite. I was too young to date so this would be my first date. All of my friends accepted the invitation of course.
The night arrived. My nanny was getting me dressed. Real silk stockings with garters, big slips, a tight corset so my waist was only 22 inches, then my magnificent green dress. Mother let me chose it myself. Green enhanced my dark hair and my green brown eyes. I was thrilled. And my mother let me wear her emerald earring. This was going to be my evening.
On arrival at the restaurant the Maitre d’ called me by my first name. I had arrived, they knew who I was. This would be my night of dreams. Dinner was magnificent. The decor and food were above all expectations and my special boy was seated next to me and talked to me all night. I am not sure I heard anyone else speak…Before desert was served he asked if I would like to go into the garden for a breath of fresh air. Of course I said yes. I was an adult now. i could make my own decisions.
The night was warm the arcade dark and the sweet smell of flowers over powered us. He held my hand and we walked for awhile not saying anything. Then he turned and kissed me. He was sweet and gentle and I was thrilled. We said nothing. He took my hand and we reentered the restaurant. Was I blushing? Was i happy? Was i thrilled to be sixteen and being kissed? Yes I was.
The memory of the Palais Royal will be forever in my mind.. As I get older I will never forget the memory of this beautiful place See it and dream.