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Monday, November 14, 2011


For starters, how can you not love a city that lets you bring your dog into the restaurant?  Your little friend is allowed to sleep under the table or snuffle around your feet looking for crumbs.  This is the most civilized thing I have ever heard of!

Today we did a whirlwind tour that included the Eiffel Tower, a boat taxi up and down the Seine and a trip to the Louvre.  The color of the light is magnificent.  I can't imagine that any other season could top our day today.  It was cool enough for a light coat with a scarf, brilliant sun and warm golds and browns still in the trees.  Vive la Paris.

Now, I must tell you about dinner this evening.  When we returned to our room, late afternoon, a small ten minute siesta sounded like just the right thing.  We were right.  We had already decided that we wanted to eat in a "real" French restaurant, one that would fit our comfortable but cautious travel purse.  Our concierge suggested two establishments in the next block from the hotel.  He said they were both good and to simply choose between them based on any wait time.  The first restaurant was busy, but they could seat us immediately.  The menu was totally in French, but our grade nine course had taught us the difference between boeuf et poulet, so we were confident that we could order.  Kath won't eat liver and I don't do lima beans, so again, how hard can this be?  Man, were we wrong.  We did not know it, but we had stumbled into one of the most famous restaurants in Paris.  They offer one salad, one meat and one potatoe each night.  You sit down and they just bring you food, asking only if you want rare or medium temperature.  There was a wine list, but I could not figure out a single word except rouge.  Four reds were on the menu and I did the only thing I could think of.  I rated them from most expensive to cheapest and then pointed to the second cheapest and asked for the half bottle.  Hey.  We are in France. How bad can red wine be?  The evening got a bit better because our waitress spoke a little "restaurant" English.  We were served a salad made of that wonderful skinny curly lettuce with a fresh dressing made with a light mustard flavor.  Superb.  Then came a plate of thin french fries and the most buttery tender filet of beef topped with a secret sauce.  By now, we had struck up a conversation with the young couple at the next table.  They were both fluent in English.  This is when we learned of the fame this restaurant enjoyed.  Seems that the recipe for the secret sauce is kept in a vault, where it is guarded night and day.  There is a long list of attempted robberies and evil deeds.  The sauce has something of a green hue and the consistany of a light gravy.  It is thought that anchovies and capers are on the list of ingredients.  What ever.  It was all I could do to keep from running my finger around my empty plate.  But did dinner stop here?  Of course not.  Kath finished with a dish of lemon sorbet, swimming in vodka.  I had the most perfect creme brulee I have ever had in my life.  The custard was rich with fresh vanilla bean and eggs.  Not only was it the best I have ever had, the serving size was something one can only dream of.  Fear not.  I managed to get every custardy droplet into my mouth.  Hand me down my elastic waistband pants please.

And, as further proof of how civilized Paris is, here is a photo our hotel room key.  Some may think that this is cumbersome and not practical for carrying in one's pocket.  Ha!  You simple lock your room and leave the key at the front desk until you return.  Each room has a little pidgin hole behind the concierge's desk where he stores your key until you return and ask for it again.  I told you this city is the height of civilization!  I will really enjoy returning with my husband one day.  Right, Mike?  Please?

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