• La Petite Venise (Paris)

I’m often the lone traveler.  Carrying my backpack, looking for accommodation late at night, forcing myself to be internally reflective (which does not come naturally as an extrovert).  Sometimes I get lonely.  But usually I enjoy the thinking time and the realisations that come with it.

One night, in Paris, it was me, at night, looking for a nice dinner craving pizza and ending up at La Petite Venise.  The friendly owner sat me at the back at a table next to another lone woman and two girls who I later discovered were his daughters.  I ordered vegetarian pizza and a carafe of red wine because it was only 50 cents more than a glass.  As my pizza arrived and I commenced to snap photos, the woman at the table next to me commented that it was a good idea and asked if she could take a picture of my meal too.

The conversation began that way, she was working at a hotel, trying the restaurant for the first time after having recommended it to many of her guests.  There are usually long queues, apparently, and it is known as one of the best pizza places in Paris.  The pizza base was crispy and topped with tomato sugo, green capsicum, olives in the centre, white onion, thinly sliced mushrooms, dried oregano, battered and fried eggplant, mozzarella and rocket on top.  I drizzled it with the large bottle of chilli oil that had been ceremoniously brought to me.  Over the sounds of Madonna ‘Express Yourself’ and the many diners here at 9pm on a Saturday, we discussed life, Paris, work and pizza.  I collected her recommendations for sight-seeing and was happy to have made a friend.

The girls heard us talking and wanted to know where I was from.  When I told them I was Australian, a 24 hour plane ride away, they were astonished and began to ask me questions.  They could not believe that it was the opposite season and that our school terms start in February.  They then began to tell me all about the amazing rides at Disneyland.  They were so excited to tell every detail and I was happy to hear and be included in the joyous familial conversation.

“You must have dessert!”  They instructed me convincingly.

The tiramisu had a hint of lemon in the sponge.  The coffee was not soaked all the way through.  It was big and I enjoyed it.

“Aren’t you scared being alone?” They asked.

Not scared, I thought.  Being alone you can do whatever you want, and sometimes that may be enjoying conversation with others.  It is the chance moments like these that bring joy when travelling.

La Petite Venise
92 Rue du Chemin Vert
75011 Paris, France
+33 1 43 57 90 42