Monday, January 08, 2007

Boat Shmoat, We're Going to Paris - Part 7

We used our map to navigate a short way back to Le Méridian Étoile, our hotel, and enjoyed Paris on our way. There really are no ugly places in downtown Paris. Everywhere you turn there is a surprise of beauty waiting for your eyes to feast on. No kidding. I shit you not. Go there and see for yourself. On our way we passed the nearby Musée D’Art Moderne but we could not take the time to go in and look around.

The inside of a room just like ours. The beds are pushed so close together not for l'amour, but because the room is so small. A window and the opposite wall are just outside of the photo.

We arrived back at our hotel and our room was on the third floor. We took the elevator up and the room faced out onto the street and the street noise was just unbearable. So, we went back to the desk to see if there was another room available either higher up on another floor, or facing the courtyard. Sadly, they told us the hotel was full. Yeah, right. So, we had to make do. Not, so bad, we were in Paris for free after all. I was tired, needed to unpack my suit case, had a big day of interviews tomorrow and just wanted to relax. I proposed to Sean that we just stay in. He was all energized and wanted to continue to explore. Fine. We compromised. I would stay in and unpack and rest, while he would go out and explore. Between the French he had studied at home from tapes and the little bits I had coached him on, such as, “How much is that please?”, “I would like one of those, please.”, and “Thank you very much.”, I felt confident that he would be all set.

Some time later, when I was all unpacked and resting in bed he came back with three pastry bags. Three pastry bags. Oh, and a huge grin of accomplishment on his face.

“I could live here.” he declared. “I can go into a store and buy stuff. I have just proven it. My French is good enough.” Again the big goofy grin. He held the bags out to me and I looked inside. There had to be enough French pastries to clog our arteries until we got home. He had bought éclairs, Napoleons, fruit tarts (those were for me), cream puffs, tiny chocolate croissants, you name it and it was in there. “I amused all of the ladies in the store too. They giggled at my French and I just went with it. I had a really great time.”

I said, “Sean, who is going to eat all of this stuff. We have no refrigerator here.”

He got a doubtful look on his face and said, “I will.” Then he smiled. Somehow I had no doubt that he would be in his element here.

When dinner time at around came at around 7 pm, we headed to the closest restaurant, the one right next to the hotel. It was a five star Southern French fish establishment featuring specialties from Province. The décor was also of a style reminiscent of a store back home called Souleiado. See photos below for examples of the décor.

So we felt right at home. The maître d’ asked in French if we had a reservation, even though we could clearly see that the establishment was empty of customers. We soon became aware that this was typical in all French restaurants. I replied in French that we were sorry and did not. He must have taken pity on us poor uninformed bourgeois Americans because he gave us the best table in the house, in the back up on a raised area, surrounded by a valance of curtains and piled high with throw pillows. Either that or he wanted to hide us from passers-by that might see that he had been gauche enough to seat diners before the trendy 8:30 pm dining hour or he just rewarded me for using my pathetic French.

We both ordered a three fish dish and were astounded at how wonderful the food tasted. We also ordered one of the suggested wines which of course was terrific with the meal. Guess that is how they got five stars. We thanked our server profusely and complemented the chef. I tried not to notice how much the bill was for, but it was the most we spent the entire time we were in Paris and apparently this was the fanciest restaurant we dined at the entire time we were there (that we paid for). We just didn’t know it at that time.

We returned to our hotel and I was completely sleepy and ready for bed. Tomorrow was a really big day crammed with interviews. But the damned street noise kept me up all night. I took the blankets off of my twin bed into the entry vestibule and slept on the floor there for more quiet. At least I got some shut eye.

8 comments:

Ryan said...

u know when i read your posts makes me want 2 go on a trip with you!

Sue said...

Thanks Ryan! We would have a great time!

mr tickle said...

allo!

Shaney said...

I got excited when I saw Boat Shmoat 7...*winks*
So tell me I have to know..Did he clog his arteries with all that pastry? I would be so lost in a country where any language other than english was paramount. I may need to take a translator on the trip. I dont think I would have slept with all that noise though.
Why would they not put a double bed in the room? Well sounds like you had a lovely 5 ***** meal. I have been told that eating out & shopping is very expensive in Paris. That could pose a problem for me every having the $$$ to stay there...lol

Sue said...

Bonjour Monsieur Tickle! Comment allez vous?

Yeah Shaney, but he's on Lipitor now. lol You could buy a phrase book and learn what you need in no time before you go. The French really appreciate effort like that. I think they went with the twin beds because a double wouldn't fit into the door and in general doubles are harder to manage in a small space. Paris is super expensive, more so than New York City, and I was glad the company was paying for it all.

Peter from Amsterdam said...

Hi Sue,
I loved The Meridian in Paris, stayed there for a week some 12 years ago [alone]. What I spend in that one week a whole family could go on holiday for a forthnight.
I don't speak French, just Dutch, English and German.
And Shaney with English you get along fine in Paris too. Food & drink I purchased then at Marks & Spencer [now they're closed], but there are enough places where you can get good food for less.
Explore the unknown, especially in a place like Paris.

Sue said...

Peter, you are so right about the high cost Paris. Thanks so much for commenting!

Shaney said...

Oh good so I dont need to change my Aussie slang for A-Class French...*winks*