"Bacon is the candy of meat."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Paris, Day the Third

We've developed a bit of a routine, now. We go out until about midnight, then sleep late. Mr. Gateau goes out in the morning to get the International Herald Tribune, a baguette (and anything else that tempts him), and a mocha, while I rest a bit more. Then we have breakfast and read the paper, and figure out what to do in the afternoon. So we're not out and about all morning, but we're enjoying the quiet relaxing time, too.

Yesterday we took advantage of Paris's wonderful municipal bicycle program. All over the city are racks of sturdy gray 3-speed bikes, attached to a computer system. You buy an access card (a day pass costs 1 Euro) which allows you to take a bike. You are then charged a nominal fee by the time you use it (first 1/2 hour free, next couple of hours is 1 Euro, etc.) and you can return it to any rack, where it is checked back in. In addition, the city has made a significant commitment to creating bike lanes, and everywhere you go you see people commuting and getting around by bike. We rode ours down past the Tuileries to the Place de la Concorde, then across the river and back over to the Musee D'Orsay. A little indirect, but fun by bike.

At the museum, we were both extremely taken by the extensive collection of Art Nouveau decorative objects. We even battled the crowds that always seem to surround any Impressionist or post-Impressionist exhibit. We also checked out some of my old friends, the Rodin sculptures. We had lunch in the pretty museum restaurant -- Mr. Gateau had a creamy ravioli with truffle sauce and a Limonade; I had a salad of arugula, pecorino, prosciutto, and sun dried tomatoes, with a glass of rose and coffee.

After the museum, it was drizzling lightly, but we walked anyway, heading to St. Germain to the outpost of the venerable salon de the and bakery Laduree, famous for its gorgeous and vibrant macarons, packed into beautiful pistachio-and-gilt boxes. Mr. Gateau was quite taken with these delicate little items, and ordered an extra box of assorted flavors. We took them back to our apartment and each had two (he had chocolate and lemon, I had caramel and raspberry) with Earl Grey tea. Then we read a little and napped.

For dinner, we went to Le Caveau du Palais, a small restaurant on the Ile de la Cite, that is an apparent favorite of the lawyers and judges who work at the nearby Palais de Justice (there is also a store selling law books right down the block). Each table begins with a basket of bread and a hunk of the country pate that sits in a large terrine in the front of the restaurant. We shared a bottle of nice red wine and ate some actual vegetables -- grilled vegetables with shaved Parmesan and basil-infused olive oil for Mr. Gateau, tomato tartare with marinated anchovies and pesto for me. For main courses he had entrecote au poivre, and I had a saute of veal with vegetables that tasted like the best pot roast you've ever had.

After my coffee (and Mr. Gateau eating his share of the little chocolates and cookies that always come wrapped along with a coffee), we took a stroll along the Seine, stopping to view Notre Dame by night, and around the Marais. We stopped for a last beer at a bar on a quiet corner near my apartment from student days, and then called it a night.


Meg said...

I'm really enjoying reading about your trip. Sounds wonderful!

Dad said...

Agree with Meg... I'm loving this live-blogging from Paris. Great reports and sounds like a great trip.