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Travelogue Slideshow by wayne rhodes

A Week in France

Bonjour!  This will be the shortest overseas trip we have ever blogged about.

We are in France for one week because Wendy's choral group, Kol Zimrah, was asked to perform at the Copernic Synagogue in Paris!!!!!  And, since Wayne is a full-fledged KZ groupie, we decided to take advantage and see parts of France that we have not seen before (our last time here was in 1995 for our 20th anniversary!)

Here is where we will go:
Fly to Paris, train to Rennes (in Brittany), car to Mont St. Michel, Normandy (tour), car to  Bayeux (tour), train back to Paris for sightseeing, eating, and singing.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Planes, trains, and automobile!  Up there with some of the most complex travel days we've ever had.  Left O'Hare at 6:30pm Friday, landed at DeGaulle at 9:30 am Saturday (neither of us slept much nor well). Quickly got through customs, and made our way through the airport to find the RER train to take us to the Montparnasse Station. This trip took about an hour. Got to Montparnasse at 11:30, so plenty of time to sit and have some macarons before boarding the 12:57 train to Rennes. This was a very nice coach car, and we sped smoothly through the countryside at speeds up to 315 kph (195 mph)! We arrived at 2:24 and were met by Sebastian who took us to his comfortable, spacious Mercedes van, for the 1 hour drive to Beauvoir and (finally) our hotel.

We are staying at L'Ermitage, which, according to Willy the proprietor, is the smallest 5 star hotel in France. Only 6 suites!

After all that sitting (and because we had 3 hours until he would serve dinner), we took a 2.5 mile walk through this small town, along the River Couesnon (the boundary between Normandy and Brittany), to the edge of  the bay to see Mt. St. Michel floating in the distance.

To make it easy after a long day(s) of travel, we decided months ago to eat in the hotel's dining room.  Just before we left on Friday we received this email:

L’Ermitage  has a restaurant of small capacity for the comfort of all.
We work raw and ultra fresh products, which is why we propose to dine with us during your stay.
Please find below our current map. If you wish to dine, thank you for communicating your choices in advance.

To Begin
- Foie Gras with Pommeau and Calvados  19 €
- Tasting of hot oysters, Champagne sauce 6: 14 € - 9: 19 € - 12: 23 €
- Tasting of raw oysters n ° 3 6: 11 € - 9: 16 € - 12: 20 €
- Nordic plate, salmon, haddock, halibut, herring, seaweed butter 17 €
To Continue
- Leg of lamb, vegetables and its slightly iodized sauce 32 €
- Steak of beef fillet with morel sauce 32 €
- Bar fillet on leek and champagne sauce 32 €
- Grilled blue lobster 12 €/100g
Sweet touch
- Iced nougat on red fruit coulis 12 €
- Fluffy chocolate with a flowing heart 12 €
- Norman apple pie from la Mère Lilie 12 €

Oooohhhh!  Picking out a French dinner in advance!  There was no question as to what each of us would order: 
Wendy: Nordic plate  Grilled blue lobster  Norman apple pie (we're in Normandy after all!) 
Wayne:  Foie Gras     Steak of beef            Fluffy chocolate (which turned out to be a dark chocolate lava cake)

….and of course, French baguettes, all of which were prepared from scratch by Willy's wife.
An amuse bouche of tuna mousse
(which we call tuna salad!)

The Nordic Plate

Foie gras avec caviar

Homard - avant…… apres!

Filet avec veggies

pommes tarte

gateau au chocolat

All were very tasty, except that the veggies were cooked to the point of mushiness. Wendy did her usual surgeon-like job on the lobster to get every meaty morsel. And while we were eating, the house
dog was walking around the room.....the wrinkliest, Churchill-lookingest English bulldog you've ever seen!

We barely made it through desert with our eyes open, so we then quickly headed upstairs for some much needed sleep.

Sunday, March 10

Today we tour Mont St. Michel.  This is an abbey built on an island of granite. It came about when, in 708 (yes....708), a bishop named Aubert was visited in a dream by St. Michel. The angel told Aubert to build a small church on this rock and dedicate it to him.  St. Michel is the one who (so the legend goes) decides if people will go to heaven or hell. So Aubert did as instructed, and people began to make pilgrimages to the church. Which meant that they had to make the church bigger. So it was enlarged, rebuilt, and expanded over the next seven centuries!!!!

Over 2 million people a year now visit. Most are tourists, but many still come as pilgrims, often as part of the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

Our guide, Val, picked us up and we drove about 2 miles to the shuttle bus parking lot (you cannot actually drive to the island without a special permit). The bus then drops people off near the end of the causeway (built about 5 years ago after the one from the 1880s was washed away!). We were fortunate to be there at high tide, and also at this time of year, when there are fewer tourists. But, as it is still the end of winter, we were met with winds upwards of 30 mph!!!  It was actually difficult to walk the rest of the way to the base of the island!
 See those waves!!!!!!  High tide and tres windy

Over time, a village grew around the church. Later, walls were added to protect it. During the 100 Years War, it was the only part of France not occupied by the British. Once we got inside the main gate, we were protected from the wind. But it was still quite cold!

Here you can see the various levels of the pathways and buildings, all the way to the spire on the church topped with a gold covered statue of St. Michel.

The carved masonry inside the church (and throughout) is truly extraordinary. You can see it here, as the main priest is setting up for morning mass....complete with an electric steam iron for the altar cloth! (Yes.....things do change over the centuries.)

And here is another statue of St. Michel.  He is holding the scales (balance) with which he uses to weigh a person's sins vs his good deeds to determine where the person ends up.

Here is a medieval sculpture of the angel and Aubert:

You may be able to see that the face of Michel is missing. This happened when the sculpture was defaced (literally!) during the French Revolution!  And, from then on for the next hundred years or so, the church was used as a prison!  It was only returned to its original use in the late 1800's.

We toured the refectory (dining hall), several crypts, the scriptorium (where books were copied by the monks by hand), and other smaller chapels.

By the time we finished our tour after several hours, the tide had mostly gone out! But it was still just as windy walking back to the shuttle stop.

This was a really wonderful experience (Wendy had been wanting to see this ever since French 101 at DHS). It is certainly not as gaudy as the Sagrada Familia, nor as brilliant as the Taj Mahal, but it is definitely a must see.

Then we drove to Val's home town of Avranche, for a splendid lunch at the Croix d'Or (Golden Cross).  They started us with not one, but two amuse bouches: pain croustillant avec petits legumes et fromage and smoked trout with sweetened cream.  tres delicieux!

Then, Wendy had Dover Sole Meuniere and Wayne had scallops with pureed beans and bacon crisps; both of which are locally caught (seafood is very plentiful and popular in this region).  So good and so filling. (BTW, once again, Wendy completely and successfully dissected / de-boned her fish.)

Unfortunately, we had no room for dessert!

We then drove to about 1 hour to Bayeux to see the world famous tapestry (spoiler alert: it is NOT a tapestry!) and prepare for the Normandy Beaches and war memorials on Monday.

It is now 9 pm and we are tired and this post is already getting long, so we will say bon nuit for now and finish with Sunday (and Monday) once we get into Paris.

avec amour,

Bayeux and D-Day Beaches

Sunday, March 10, 2019 (cont'd)

We pulled into Bayeux at about 2:30, made a quick stop at our hotel, the Villa Lara, and then took a short walk to see the Bayeux Tapestry.

Right at the beginning of the exhibit we learned two things:
1. No photos!!!!! (Boooo!)
2. It is NOT a traditional tapestry (as we have known and loved them)!

A tapestry is a form of textile art, traditionally woven by hand on a loom. This work is totally embroidered. It is about 70 meters (200 feet) long and 50 cms (20") high (again, unlike a tapestry which is usually one large panel). There are nine physical sections which represent about 70 scenes. Part of it even refers to and has a picture of Mont St. Michel!

Much like the stained glass windows in a church which relate tales from the Bible, this piece was created to tell the story of William the Conquerer's victory at Hastings in 1066. Originally, it was displayed twice a year at the Bayeux Cathedral for the benefit and elucidation of the illiterate and uneducated masses. Now it is on permanent display in its own building nearby.

(internet photo)

Heads up: if you are planning to visit it in the near future, be aware that it is being loaned to England sometime next year; the first time it will leave the country in over nine centuries!

In the meantime, here is a good way to see it: click.  It really is amazing...the level of detail and the craftsmanship (or perhaps crafts-womanship… no one knows who actually created it). However, the figures do not actually move like they do in this video!

We then walked a few blocks to the cathedral where the tapestry was formerly displayed.

After a short rest, it was time to eat again!  Near the cathedral is Restaurant Le Pommier. Meaning "apple tree", it certainly reflected the region, as Normandy is known for its apple production. These are used for eating, but also to make calvados (apple brandy), pommeau (which is apple juice mixed with calvados! So slightly less alcoholic), and cidre (which is hard cider). Oddly, only one dish on the menu (a dessert) featured apples!

As we were still quite sated from the large lunch, we decided to split our food. First they brought a tapenade with bread crisps and cheesy mini-muffins. We ordered the soup du jour (hey..we have that soup in the US too!), which was carrot-onion-tomato-potato.  It would have been better if they were 4 different soups.

Then we shared scallops (twice in one day!) with leeks, zucchini, and rice in a coconut sauce. This was tres bien!!!!

Dessert was profiteroles (Wendy's favorite) and a chocolate-pear cake.  Both were quite tasty!

Monday, March 11

Today was dedicated to visiting D-Day sites.While we've seen most of the movies, nothing replaces seeing and walking the areas where history happened.  Val explained that to do a thorough D-Day tour, you need 2-3 days at a minimum.  We had known that our time would be limited and she assured us that we would see the highlights.  We made four stops: Pointe Du Hoc, Omaha Beach (one of the American invasion locations) with the French and American Memorials, the largest Normandy American Cemetery, and Avranches.  More thorough tours include visits to the British and Canadian sites, Caen, Cherbourg, all the museums and all of the cemeteries. For some travelers, those extra stops would be a must--not so for us. And though the weather was rough, we were again fortunate not to have to be shoulder-to-shoulder with the millions of tourists who visit each year. And this year, being the 75th anniversary, it will probably be even more crowded. In preparation for this, some of the parking lots and buildings were closed for renovations! (Not to be political, but Val told us that if our esteemed president decides not to attend the commemoration, he would be the first US president to do so.  Hmmm)

Here is a map showing the relative location of these sites:

Starting at the beginning... it was still a little chilly and being on the coast--it was quite windy.  Actually very windy.  Actually, we held on tight to each other or we were sure we would literally fall off the cliffs! Val said it is always windy along the coast, but especially so at this time of year.

We began at Pointe Du Hoc. This battleground is often overlooked by the casual observer, as it was a precursor to the main landing force several miles to the east.  Point Du Hoc lies midway between Utah and Omaha beaches (by the way....the locals still call these beaches by those names even today!). This was the site of a large German battery, high up on the cliffs ( the east and west are beaches, but here the land ends abruptly high above the sea; much like Dover just across the Channel). Before the war, this area was primarily flat cattle pastures. As D-Day approached, US and British bombers pummeled the coast with thousands of tons of bombs. Today, we could still see crater after crater where they had hit and exploded.

A view from the bunker
This battery (one of 40 such along the entire northern coast) had canons big enough to reach 20 miles in either direction....enough to hit Utah and Omaha. So taking it out prior to the beach landings was a necessity. A force of 250 US Rangers came in on 10 small boats in the pre-dawn hours, then rappelled up the cliff and fought hand to hand to seize control. Success here was critical to the entire operation.

Next we drove 20 minutes to Omaha Beach. Here is where many of the 250,000 soldiers came ashore that day. It is hard to imagine what kind of hell it must have been.

A memorial was erected right on the sand as part of the 60th anniversary commemoration.

It is called Les Braves.  The memorial represents three elements: The Wings of Hope, the Rise of Freedom, and the Wings Of Fraternity. 

We went another 15 minutes east, to the Cemetery. Val told us that the soldiers were originally buried on or near the battlegrounds where they fell. But a few years after the war ended, the idea to create one big American cemetery was proposed (there are also large British and Canadian cemeteries). The family of each soldier was contacted and asked if they wanted the remains to be moved to the new grounds or repatriated. About 60% chose to leave them in France.

The 9,387 graves (of which only 4 are women) are arranged in sections, each one made up of rows and columns. There is no kind of organization or hierarchy at all. Not alphabetic, by rank, by date of death, home state, religion.....nothing. Indeed, the graves of the 400+ Jewish souls buried here (indicated by Stars of David) are interspersed randomly throughout. Each cross/star indicates:  name, unit, state of residence, and date of death.

To those of our generation, WWII is history...something that happened far away; to our children's generation, it is ancient history (if thought of at all). But to many of the people of France, and especially those of Normandy, it is an ever-present part of their lives. Val told us that her father grew up on the family's farm and he remembered, at age 9, seeing the Americans roll through as they liberated town after town. She also remembers her grandparents sharing how they sheltered Canadian soldiers during the invasion and how they could have been killed for doing so.

Being at the cemetery was heartbreakingly sad and chilling.  In Normandy alone, we lost more than 9,000 souls. While the outcome (ending the occupation of France) and aggressively moving toward victory was positive, the price was so high.We heard about several families (remember the movie, Saving Private Ryan) who lost multiple sons here.  Tragic.

We had much to think about after we left, and food was not on our minds. But, it was getting close to 1:00, so eat we must. Val drove us to the small fishing village of Port-en-Bessin-Huppain, and to La Marine restaurant, where the fish are practically taken right off the boats.

The specials of the day were Matelote de Poissons and (wait for it) Tagliatelles de Coquilles (scallops!) St Jacques et creme du Homard.

The matelote was a fish stew (kind of like a Normandy-style bouillabaisse without the tomatoes) of hake, skate, sea bream, sole, potatoes, and a scallop thrown in for good measure. Magnifique!

The scallops, pasta, and sauce were also outstanding, though we have now reached our scallop quota for the year.

We chose to split a dessert (yes...we had to force ourselves), which was listed as "lemon tart" on the menu. But, it sure tasted like key lime pie.

Small mounds of lemon (lime?) creme on a crunchy graham cracker crust, with a few meringue kisses thrown in for good measure. Delicieux!!!!!!

We were quite the happy group at that point.

Our final stop was at a WWII museum in Avranches, the site of some of the fighting of Operation Cobra, which began 7 weeks after D-Day.

By this time, we had to head back to Bayeux to make our connection for the drive into Paris. Wendy had mentioned (several times) to Val about her donut obsession. So she was up to the challenge of finding an authentic French beignet. She checked out a boulangerie in Avranches, but said they had sold out. We found anther on the road back to Bayeux, but were not impressed. Then....the best one... right in Bayeux!  Look for a donut blog posting for details.

We even had enough to share with the Villa Lara staff!

The rest of the choir had arrived earlier in the day, and a group dinner was planned. We had hoped to make it back in time to join them, but the long day of touring and the 2.5 hour drive (including some rerouting caused by a "deviation" (French for "detour") made that impossible. We got to the Hotel California (yes!) at about 8 pm, had a quick bite ( scallops) in the hotel bar, and called it a day.

Jusqu'a la prochaine fois,

Paris - Part 1

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

At breakfast we learned that the choir's flight had been delayed 1.5 hours before leaving O'Hare, and then it took them almost 2 hours to deplane, get their bags, and get through customs at Charles DeGaulle! Then they had a bus tour of the city, followed by a lecture (at which many predictably dozed off -- we have done the same on other trips) and then the group dinner. So we were rarin' to go in comparison to many of them when we boarded the bus this morning.

It is once again windy and cold (low 50s without the wind chill) so layers, hats, and gloves were still required.

First stop: Notre Dame. The last time we were here ('95) there was scaffolding covering part of the building. This time?  Same thing! OK....the first incarnation was built in 1163, so we guess ongoing repairs might be the norm. We did manage to get some mostly-scaffold-free pix:

We got some good representative pix inside too:

In '95 we were on our own (and a whole lot younger) so we climbed to the top and outside to see the gargoyles. That was not an option with this group.

Our local guide, Lillian, was terrific.  She shared some "Jewish crowd" oriented stories including an explanation of a female statue outside the cathedral who was holding a Torah scroll upside down (and, therefore, conveying an anti-semitic message) and the Archbishop of Paris who died in 2010 and--as a convert from Judaism-- had rabbis and priests at his funeral which included reciting of the Kaddish prayer. 

We next walked to the Memorial to the Martyrs of the Deportation. This is dedicated to the 200,000 French citizens who were "deported" by the Germans during WWII. About 70,000 were Jews; the rest were Roma (Gypsies), French Resistance members, homosexuals, and anyone else deemed unfit by the Reich.

The site is actually just beyond Notre Dame, at the end of the Ile de la Cite. Built in 1962, it is full of rough stones (walls and floor), narrow stairways, iron bars, sharp points, and a view to the Seine, so close but unreachable. All this was designed to evoke the suffering and torment that these people had to endure. For all but a lucky few, deportation was a one way ticket.

In one room, the names of some of the many concentration camps are inscribed on the walls. This is to represent the final destinations of these people, as opposed to their individuality (which is often seen in memorials of this type).

Above these, on one side is this:

...which means "200,000 French were exterminated in the Nazi camps".  You can see that even the letters are sharp and jagged...reinforcing the pain of these journeys.

On the opposite wall:

"Forgive.....but do not forget".

We, of course, know that Jews in all occupied areas across Europe were forced to wear the Star of David so that they could be easily identified. However, it was not top of mind that these other groups were forced to wear different colored triangle patches for the same reason.

The simulated crypt part of the design was particularly chilling with separate miniature crystal lights for each of the 200,000 souls lost.

Also chilling was the section with urns containing soil and ashes from the camps where French deportees were sent...again in the shape of a triangle.

We next walked a few blocks to the Shoah (Holocaust) Museum.  This was built in 2005, reflecting France's long denial (or at least non-recognition) of the part that the Vichy Government played in the atrocities of the war.  They finally made that acknowledgement in 1995--we remember nothing about the Holocaust when we visited Paris last. We have been to enough of these museums to know what to expect as far as displays and text. This one completely fit the mold. The Wall of Names, the photos (especially of children) with their birth and death dates, the pictures of skeletal camp survivors. There were several groups of school children touring at the same time. We hope that they understand the lessons and carry these images with them so that such a thing will not happen again.

Something different was the closeted area with all of the ID cards of the Jews--those cards followed individuals wherever they were sent.  No ID card, no record.  So, for those who escaped, identification later was problematic at best.

That was the end of the tour, as we had to leave time for lunch (of course) in order to get back to the hotel so that the choir (sans spouses!) could have their first rehearsal at the synagogue.

The Shoah museum is in the Marais District, the former Jewish Ghetto (though it was never officially designated as such). So since we were there, we just had to try to eat at L'as du Fallafel, the most famous, bestest fallafel restaurant in Paris. Say what? Yes...fallafel is really huge here now.

We had been told that the lines to get in were very long (and they were indeed when we left), but we must have hit it just right, because as we walked up a waiter came out and said "I have a table for 10 and a table for 6 available"! (Perhaps our guides had pulled some strings?)  This was not enough for the whole group, but we were lucky enough to be near the front (as always). We had only 30 minutes to eat! It was crazy. But, apparently they are used to this (and they like a quick turn), because our waiter was there and ready to take our order: 10 fallafels (one sans tomate) and 3 orders of fries (another specialty). He was back in a minute to give everyone a large bowl and several napkins; then within another 2 minutes he came back and started handing out these huge fallafel-pita sandwiches, stuffed with red cabbage, eggplant, cucumbers, and sauce.

Quite messy!!!!!  But ohhhh sooooo gooooood!  Way better than what we get back home.

Despite the grimace, Wayne really is enjoying it!

Then it was back on the bus to the hotel, and rehearsal. Who could sing after a meal like that!!?!

Time passes..............

We had solicited restaurant suggestions from several people. One of the ones we got, that looked very good, was La Regalade. We decided (back in Highland Park) to go even though it was a 30 minute cab ride from the hotel, and made reservations for 7 pm.

Readers of this blog know that we love to eat and have been to many fine restaurants all over the world. But even seasoned travelers like us strike out every now and then. That is part of the adventure! Here is what happened:

We headed out at 6:15....Paris rain and traffic. The ride took about 40 minutes.  We walked in to a room that had maybe 10 tables. The wait staff were all eating their dinners, and no one else was there. We did have a 7:00 res; right? One of the waiters came over and we told him so. He said he would go get the chef, who had the reservations book. Say what? After a few minutes the chef came out and indeed confirmed we had a reservation. He sat us at a table, and then brought two glasses of complimentary wine to thank us for our patience (?? uh oh). We checked out the menu and saw that it was a fixed price for 3 courses. Not our favorite arrangement. There were five each of entrees (really appetizers), plats, and desserts. Very exotic stuff like trout tartare with kiwi, grilled octopus with boudin, and pigs head with beets. Wayne did not like any of the appetizers. Meanwhile, 10 minutes had gone by and a) the waiters were still eating, b) no one else had come in.  So we started to get a little antsy and wonder if we should leave. More time, few choices, no service, bad vibes. So we got up and said we were leaving. They seemed relieved at this decision! We asked the chef (who was behind the bar!) to call us a taxi. He said his "taxi calling machine was broken"......what in the world!?!?!?!  (Benefit of the doubt, there are several Regelades and we probably selected the wrong one!) So we headed out into the rainy night with no idea where we were or where we were going! Of course, the worst time to get a taxi is when it is raining. So after walking several blocks and not finding any suitable looking eatery, we remembered being in Madrid in 2004 in the same situation; what did we do then? Find the Metro! So we walked some more to a main street and sure enough, there was a Metro station. We found where we were on the big Metro map inside, and (luckily) remembered the stop closest to our hotel from our pre-trip research. We paid and got on.....
9 stops, then change at Chatalet, 6 more stops to the George V station. About 50 minutes. By now it was after 8....way late for us for dinner. Just outside the station (it was still raining), was the George V of those big touristy type restaurants. But it was literally any-port-in-a-storm time, so we bit the bullet and went in.

Sometimes you just never know....the food was quite good!

Wendy had salmon crepes, and Wayne had quiche Lorraine (which seemed like a safe bet as we are in France!).  

Then the walk back to the hotel. The last time we were here it was June, so walking back in the rain was very romantic. This time it was late and cold and rainy; still romantic, but brrrrrrr. 

Wednesday, March 13

Today the group was scheduled to do a Louvre or Musee D'Orsay tour. One of us had seen both, so we chose instead to go to the L'Orangerie and back to the Marais.

On the Metro (so fast, efficient, clean, and easy to get around) and over to the Jardin des Tuileries. This is a large garden (beautiful in the summer but not much to look at now), which is surrounded by several museums. From the esplanade we also got our first look (this trip) at the Eiffel Tower in the distance, and the Luxor Obelisk closer by. 

Yes...the tower is really much, much taller!

Then into the Musee de l'Orangerie. A section of the museum was conceived and designed by Monet to hold eight huge panels (spread over two oval-shaped rooms) depicting the changing colors of natural light in his garden at Giverny. They represent, in an impressionistic way of course, the passing of the hours from sunrise to sunset. very impressive!

There were also a number of other Impressionist works. A little gem of a museum!

Then back on the Metro and over to the Marais district, to visit the Musee d'art et d'histoire du Judaisme . (Even those of you with little or no French language skills can figure that one out. As Steve Martin once quipped "the French have a different word for almost everything!").

The collection is housed in the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan, a mansion built from 1644 to 1650 for Claude de Mesmes, Comte d'Avaux, who represented Richelieu and Mazarin in the negotiations leading to the Peace of Westphalia (1648).

This is an amazing collection of artifacts, many of which are centuries old. We were marveling at how and where they could have gotten these objects. There were torahs, hagaddahs, ketubas, clothes, tombstones, menorahs, books, and others related to Jewish life and culture.

Tombstones from the 1300s

15th C. book explaining various 
portions of the Torah

Interestingly (or curiously) the exhibits stopped in the early 20th century.

A full morning, and with another rehearsal scheduled, we had to fit in an early lunch. We left the museum and headed toward our Metro stop hoping to find a cafe along the way. And we did....the Brasserie Le Drapeau. It looked authentic enough, so why not?

Wayne once again opted for the quiche du jour (ham and potatoes this time!) and Wendy went for the salade Nicoise avec ton (with tuna).  Yummy!!!!!

On the way to the Metro, we just had to check out a patisserie or two.  The bakers are so kind and accommodating when we say we just want to take a photo but we absolutely couldn't resist purchasing three macarons - pistachio, chocolate, and praline.  Super!

More time passes........

Tonight: dinner at d'Chez Eux (roughly means "their house"). Another recommended place that we checked out and made reservations before the trip.

Let's just say up front that this restaurant more than made up for last night's fiasco. No adventure here, just superb fare.

This time a 10 minute cab ride took us there at 7:30. We went in and....uh one else there again!  But the maitre d' was welcoming and sat us at a table overlooking the Musée de l’Armée - Tombeau de Napoléon et Église du Dôme (Museum of the Army, Tomb of Napoleon, and Church of the Dome). Quite picturesque (that's French for "nice to look at").

Apparently the restaurant is known for its charcuterie, and they showed it by bringing a small plate of salumi slices. Spicy, and we are not big sausage fans.

Looking over the menu we found a lot of good choices up and down the page. For firsts, we each decided to get the Chariot de hors d'oeuvres, which is a trolly filled with different dishes that you can select from (or get all of them!); think mezzes in Istanbul or Tel Aviv. Tonight's selections were: crayfish with cocktail sauce, celery root remoulade, beetroot, cauliflower with apples, lentil salad with carrots, marinated artichokes, roasted red and yellow peppers, and squid salad. 

We passed on the squid and Wayne nixed the beetroots. Our waiter then carefully arranged several spoonfuls of each on the plate. One plate would have been enough to share!!!!

Then the mains: Wendy had dos de bar de peche , endives braisees, bisque du homard (sea bass with braised endives in a lobster sauce). It was beyond delicieux; delectable and divine.

Wayne went for the filet de boeuf, sauce poivre, pommes de terre grenaille. This was also a lovely presentation and very very tasty.

One of us was too full for dessert.  Pity.  But he was willing to share a great lemon tarte.  They sure know how to do those here-- this one was differently plated from the one just two days ago (was that possible?), but it was every bit as delicious.


Altogether, a stellar meal. And they were more than happy (and able!) to call us a taxi.

Thursday is our last day, and the night of the big concert!!  Can't wait.