From Lyon to Paris by train was very relaxing. So relaxing, that Dr. Doug, Nicole and I went to the table in the back with a bottle of wine from the Hermitage region and a chunk of cheese that we picked up from a Farmer’s Market before boarding the train. The cheese, wine and scenery were all fantastic. The cheese monger we gathered it from was from the country and allowed us to taste each of the ten cheeses he was offering. Using his calloused hands and his pocket knife he shaved off a chuck from each one until we made our decision. This would not be experienced here in America. So the train rolled into Paris Station and we all departed onto the busses to bring us to the hotel.
Later that evening, we were pleasantly invited, once again, to dine with Dan & Beverly Stephenson at their memorable honeymoon restaurant atop La Tour d’ Argent. WOW! This establishment has been a restaurant for over 150 years and famous for their duckling preparation, pressed duck. What an evening, with all the courses, the bottles of Bordeaux wines, and overlooking the lighted Notre Dame Cathedral across the River Seine. For the second time, while in France, I enjoyed the Quenelles of Fresh Trout Nantua. Of course, cheeses followed the meal as in any fine French meal. They were exquisite and from many regions of the country. It is well known that Frenchmen cannot agree on the best since there over 250 varieties of crafted cheeses. We enjoyed.
On Friday, we met up with Dr. Doug to return to one of our favorite luncheon spots, Le Comptoir du Relais in the Spanish arrondissement. We walked for many city blocks to determine how to find the restaurant. Once accomplished, we sat across the street and had an aperitif while waiting for them to open. As the line grew on the sidewalk, Nicole sacrificed herself to go stand in line while Dr. Doug and I watched from across the street. We were seated in a small little corner table and proceeded to try our best at reading the very French menu.
We all tried various items, my appetizer of roasted Bone Marrow, Roasted Chestnuts and Foam was my favorite, yummy. Nicole always picks the best item when we go out to eat, hers was a rendition of Cabbage Rolls.
After an hour and a half lunch, with wine of course, we started to walk again crossing the river and first admiring Notre Dame Cathedral up close.
We then turned north up the river and entered the gates of the The Louvre.
With Champs-Élysées in site, we walked under the Ferris wheel and through the Christmas Market towards the Arc de Triomphe.
We turned south toward the Eiffel Tower, thank goodness the walk became more downhill at this time, my feet were throbbing by then.
We walked past the Spanish Embassy, and while there was a major demonstration taking place, we refused to stop and take Dr. Doug’s photo with the group. Good decision, not knowing what lay ahead that evening in Paris. We strolled past the famous tower in the near distance, all anxious to get back to prop up our feet. We had started walking at 9:30 am and by the time we returned to prop up our feet it was after 5:30 pm, stopping only for a wonderful lunch together. What a day to remember!
That evening, it was our turn to treat Dan & Beverly to dine. We chose SPRING to return to. The Chef / Owner, a Chicagoan, who has only cooked in France and under none other than Paul Bocuse. We did not have a menu to choose from, only what the chef’s whim was for the evening, and each course paired with wines. The evening was full of surprises of food and wine pairings and great conversation for sure. When we left the restaurant to find the metro, none of us had any idea what atrocities were taking place in the city of Paris just a short distance from our location.
The next day, when Nicole and I walked the the city, the abandoned city streets had such a feeling of eeriness. We wondered and felt hopeful for the next time we would return to our City of Light.
God Bless us, everyone!