Saturday, March 26, 2016

Paris, one last time

Language -- it's a funny thing. When I speak English one day, French (less perfectly, but still) the next two, then Polish, then French again, I wake up confused. It's not the bed nor the food nor the sights that mess with my sensibilities, it's language. The little bits and pieces of it that you use throughout each day -- the thank yous, the where can I find a good cup of coffee, the would you please move your suitcase so that I can pass?  We are on automatic pilot when we utter them and my pilot is confused.

Last night, however, I was still immersed with the French elements of this week. This was so very apparent when I set out for my final evening meal in Paris.

As if to repeat my previous day's success, I again picked a dinner restaurant in the 7th Arrondissement - this one boasting "only" a 40 minute walk from my hotel. I already knew that I would be adding minutes to that with my various pauses, detours and discoveries along the way, so I gave myself time for them.

It is, of course, my last evening walk in Paris and as I step outside, I am thrilled to see that the skies have mostly cleared.




What, you don't think I give gentlemen their fair share? Fine. Here's a guy whose foot attire is equally interesting.


Back to a few storefronts: this is a cheese store that I have loved for decades. Many many (many!) years ago, I would come here just as it opened in the morning, buy some cheeses and pack them into my suitcase for that day's flights back to Wisconsin. These years there's plenty of good cheese to be had back home. But I have fond memories of those youthful extravagances. In this photo, you see their shelf of goat cheeses.


Further along, I come across a flower shop with the most fantastic entrance. I'd never seen anything quite like it.


The photo with the cannonballs and the Tower? I've taken it perhaps a dozen times over the decades. And yet, the light seemed so right on this evening that I take it one more time.


And now I am at the restaurant that I picked for my final dinner in Europe. It had to be special.  I chose Le Florimond.


I'm not quite sure what to say about it. It is good. Yes, certainly it is good. Everyone loves it -- you should read the reviews! (Obviously duly noted by the very American clientele here.) And such nice staff. Superb staff.

And yet, for me, something is missing.

I start with the homemade foie gras. Good, very good. Toasted brioche, okay, a little onion confit, yes..


Why doesn't it excite me? Never mind -- let's take the next dish: Brittany monkfish with white asparagus. Good, very good. Nicely presented, too.


But somehow I'm not hooked.

I am, in fact, excited by the dessert: chocolate and a basil citrus sorbet -- oh, that is grand!


I would like to think I am not fussy. The problem is, of course, in the comparison. Yesterday's restaurant -- same price, same neighborhood, same rating -- was simply better.

On the walk back I again pass the vibrant restaurant-bar scene that is Paris. I'm including a photo that is rather more like a canvas that a photo, but I like it for its craziness -- Paris in love, a blurry emotion that touches us all in some fashion in the course of life, even as it seems that we feel less constrained to admit it here.


I go by the river again and this will be my last photo from the evening walk. Paris, determined.


The next morning I'm out of my hotel shortly after six. I face a different kind of light, no less beautiful, I think -- the light of a waking city. (Europe switches to daylight savings time Sunday and so I have a reasonably bright walk to the RER train. So different than when I'm here in the winter!)


So beautiful now in this early spring season!


Majestic and proud.


My final photo is one you'll recognize: play me a song with your flute, play me a parting song...


An airport breakfast...


... and easy flights to Amsterdam, then to Detroit, with the expectation of an easy last leg to Madison. My next post -- from the farmette, of course.