Days 3 & 4
Paris- Monday, March 21st 2005This morning we were determined to get up and out earlier. The first thing we did was call Le Grand Vefour, but we could not get reservations for either Monday or Tuesday. Since we're in Lyon for Wed-Friday and they are closed Saturday and Sunday, that's it. So, we decided to walk to Lucas Carton (another 3-star) in the Place de la Madeleine, but they had no menu in the window, and we decided against the expense of a 3 star lunch.
The Place de la Madeleine contains what some consider the most beautiful public toilettes in the world. They were designed and built by Porcher in 1905. As you stand in front of the church, they are to your right and below ground. The room is beautifully tiled, with individual stalls made of dark stained wood and stained glass. Each stall has its' own mirror and sink and in the center of the room is a men's old fashioned shoe shine stand (no longer in use). From a little bakery on the place we bought a jambon and chevre sandwich to eat on steps of church and then went inside. As we entered, we could hear a priest chanting at the pulpit, but the church was empty of worshipers, save a few tourists like us walking around.
From the place, we walked south toward the Tuileries. We passed a Laduree shop and a bell went off in my head. I knew I had read about it, but couldn't remember why. Inside I saw the macarons. These are not macaroons (coconut cookies we have in the US), but rather a cookie sandwich with a filling. They come in many flavors and both large and small sizes. The large ones were almost 3 euro each (I think), but you could get 6 little ones for 6 euro. We got an assortment of the small and the chocolate and caramel ones were my favorites.
The Orangerie museum turned out to still be closed for renovation. Drats! I'd never been there and had been looking forward to it. Instead, we took metro to the Marais and went to the Picasso museum. The museum is located in an old manor house once owned by a salt barron and is now owned by the state which claimed all the works inside in lieu of taxes upon his death. I had no idea that Picasso not only painted, but did sculptures as well. There were quite a few paintings in there by other masters which were part of his private collection.
From there we walked to the Place du Vosges and then through the Ille St. Louis and Ill de la Cite to the wine bar Henri IV which was now open. The Taverne Henri IV seats about 30 pp. at end of Place Dauphine at the Pont Neuf. I had a glass of Viognier Gerard Bertrand (4 E), D had a glass of Hautes Cotes de nuits 2001 (6 E). The Cheese Plate was (8 E). (Chevre, St. Nectaire, Cantal, Fourme, Brebis Basque, Camembert, Pont l' Eveque). With one coffee, and two yummy crepes filled with orange creme the tab 30 E. D ordered a "Pruno", but there was not enough for a full glass left in the bottle, so they gave him the 1/2 glass free.
It's always a good sign when there's a cat.
In the evening, we walked from the apartment to area with a few restaurant recommendations I had. The first place, Chez Jean was very expensive and the menu didn't seem all that appealing. Another, Bistro de Gala, no longer existed. Vaudeville (part of Flo group) looked too similar to the Terminus menu.
So, we walked back to a place we had seen in the Galerie De Varieties, in the Passage des Panoramas. It's called les Coulisses (means backstage) and it's located behind Theater des Varieties near the Grandes Boulevards metro stop. They have a 19 euro two course menu, and a 24.50 euro three course menu. The walls are covered with movie posters, theater posters, and black and white photos of celebrities. The owner/waiter smiling and joking with everyone and the Chef, with his mis-buttoned jacket, was running food to table. As we were sitting waiting for our food, and orange and white cat walked under the tables and through the diner's feet. His name is Sascha and he seems to be a "regular" as people were continually letting him in and out of the front door.
We had Terrine de Fois Gras du Canard, Salmon Fume Maison, gigot d'agneau with pommes anna (lamb steak) and sole muniere (+4E). The wine was a glass of Cotes du Rhone, and a glass of white, Chateu Menton Blanc. The fois gras was not served with fleur de sel or something sweet, as it is traditionally, but it was still quite good. Since we had been eating so much the past few days, we decided to skip dessert for once and walk home.
Les Coulisses- 19, Passage des Panoramas, entrances at 38 rue Vivienne or 11, Blvd. Montmartre. 2nd arr.
Paris- Tuesday, March 22nd, 2005
I woke up feeling sick at about 2:30 in the morning. Nauseated, I thought, I must have had too much to drink today, so I drank some water and went back to bed. In the morning, I still felt sick and thought, maybe I just ate too much fatty food, too much cheese and fois gras. No such luck. It just got worse and I spent the entire day in bed sleeping. It was definitely some sort of food poisoning. David ended up with it too, albeit in a milder form than mine. So, we never even left the apartment and lost an entire day in Paris.