J’entre dans la salle
Comme une souris, timidement.
Tout est silencieux
Comme un rêve,
Des voix douces du passé susurrent :
Des rois, des poètes,
Des acteurs, des artistes…
Un monsieur nous accueille
Nous le suivons à table,
Où le nom de Napoléon a été gravé…
Il y a des années,
Est-ce qu’il s’est assis dans cette place ?
Aujourd’hui, c’est moi qui vais m’asseoir.
Et après ce repas si magnifique, le célèbre chef Guy Martin est sorti de la cuisine pour saluer les clients. J’étais vraiment sans voix. J’ai regardé ses émissions sur TV5; Chef Martin m’a aidé à apprendre le français et la gastronomie française !
After this magnificent meal, the famous chef Guy Martin came out to greet the guests. I was truly speechless. I have watched his show (“L’épicerie fine”) on TV5; it helped me learn French and about French cuisine at the same time. I couldn’t believe we were really there, at this place where there has been a restaurant longer than the US has been a country, being served all this gorgeous and delicious food from the kitchen of a chef étoilé, just like we were royalty ourselves. What a special gift for our 22nd wedding anniversary! We had Champagne, foie gras, beautiful fish, an amazing selection from the grandest cheese (cart? Is that what they’d say?) that I’ve ever seen, and a dessert too beautiful to eat. (But I ate it anyway!) Wine that enhanced the meal, and coffee (yes, real coffee, un expresso,) to finish. They started the whole thing with an amuse bouche and brought a tray of “little sweets” at the end as well. It was a good thing to stroll in the gardens of the Palais Royal after this feast. Il faisait beau, le soleil brillait, and we were in Paris.
But here’s the “adventure” part of this: Our reservations were for déjeuner on Wednesday. La valise de mon mari était encore perdu ! (His bag was still lost!) Therefore, he had his jacket which you can see in the photo, which really wasn’t as dressy as it should have been, jeans, which weren’t acceptable at all, casual shoes, and no tie. So we ran, literally ran around Paris that morning trying to find clothes. We had really hoped to have the suitcase back before our lunch but no such luck. So we found…The Kilo Shop ! One can buy used clothing there…by the kilo! You find what you want, weigh it and pay by the kilo. So we found him a shirt (slightly too big) some Italian leather shoes (slightly too small) a belt (just right) and what may have been the ugliest tie ever created on this planet. (As you can see in the photo.) But…no pants! The Kilo Shop only had jeans. So we ran, we ran, we ran. We saw restaurants. We saw women’s clothing. We saw candy stores. We saw hardware stores. We saw banks and pharmacies and bakeries. NO PANTS. I called Le Grand Véfour and explained to the gentleman that we were slightly late, parce que la compagnie aérienne a perdu la valise de mon mari et il n’a pas de costume, mais on était en train d’acheter quelque chose et est-ce que c’est possible d’être un peu en retard ? En effet, il a ri, et il m’a dit que ce n’était pas grave.
Enfin! We found a store with men’s pants in the window. We walked in, and after a quick “Bonjour madame…nous avons une urgence…je dois acheter un pantalon pour mon mari…nous avons une réservation au Grand Véfour et la compagnie aérienne a perdu sa valise!” She laughed a little. She told me that we were not the first people to come in with that particular problem that week, and asked my husband nicely (in English!) his size. We found a suitable pair, and he wore them out of the store as we ran back so I could change very quickly before hopping on the Métro (très facile avec la carte Navigo) and entering, tranquillement, this dreamscape that I described above!
Have you ever had a “pants emergency?” I am happy to report that through a series of fortuitous events, we got the suitcase back later that afternoon! Of course, by then he had the dubious distinction of having worn second hand clothes to a Michelin starred restaurant, and…TOO MANY PANTS!
France Travel Tip #4 – If you ever find yourself in France with clothes that you wish to leave behind, there is a charitable organization called “Le Relais” which collects used clothing items, with collection points all over the country for donations, as long as they are clean and bundled together in a plastic sack. You can locate the nearest one on this website. I’m still not certain that donating the horrible tie was indeed a charitable act…
Qu’en pensez-vous, chers lecteurs?
Avec l’indice que je vous ai donné, avez-vous deviné le sujet du post d’aujourd’hui ? Did you guess from the clue I gave you which letter I would write about?
Prochainement…Un espace vert et un hommage…
Next time…a green space and an homage…