The best laid plans

Berlin is not easily gotten to or from. I had to go to Paris for a night on the way back to the ol’ US of A.


Seriously. I had to be near the airport because the trip to and from Paris can be brutal, traffic-wise and expensive. After a brief search on the google I found Le Manoir de Gressy which was “five minutes” from Charles de Gaulle. It had a “gourmet” restaurant but I figured I’d just walk around town and eat somewhere cheap and normal. Maybe have a glass of wine with the locals and regale them in broken French of my recent travels and festive wedding in Scandinavia.

Welp, the taxi took 35 minutes and cost more than going into Paris. There was hideous traffic. In. The. Country!!! There were nothing but potato fields and traffic. It was insane. But fine, we finally got there. The very tiny town looked lovely. I hadn’t gone online looking for anywhere to eat because what place doesn’t have its fair share of little boîtes to eat in?

Gressy, that’s what.

Not one goddamn restaurant, not even a little grocery store, nothing. What do these people do?!? The walk in the town took 45 seconds before I was at the edge of it. There was a lovely little park with a pond with swans and coots, I mean, aside from me, bird coots, and a very bucolic, tiny and well kept neighborhood but nothing else. I could take a taxi to a neighboring town to eat but, no.

Now I was trapped in a beautiful little town, in a beautiful grand room with nothing to do (except possibly write a blog). And wait 3 hours to eat in the “gourmet” restaurant.

There was me and a very loud bickering American couple. He was wearing a Hawaiian shirt. Christ. So very gourmet.

Le manoir.

Europe in review

Random crap that comes to mind

Leaving Chicago, Arriving in France

I love this place Chez Paul. I do not know what possessed me to order a hamburger. I don’t even eat them in restaurants in the US. Although possibly our adorable waitress who spoke perfect English inspired me. She did her semester abroad in…wait for it…Milwaukee!!! The hamburger came essentially raw, topped with essentially raw bacon on top and ESSENTIALLY RAW SALMON on the bottom, I discovered this after I’d eaten a few bites of it. I removed the bacon and salmon and choked down another bite or two. This was the only food that The Royal Indian Mounted Food Police and I did not share. I got sick after this. I’ll spare you the details but it went on and on and on and on. Possibly this is why I did not gain weight in Paris. I can tell you the location of every toilet between the Bastille and le Place de la Concorde.

This is the statue at the top of the Bastille a block or two from Chez Paul where this copy of lovely fellow, The Spirit of Freedom (indeed!), graced the counter above our table.

Fondation Louis Vuitton was the site of a spectacular exhibition of Impressionist paintings owned by the insanely wealthy Mozorov family in Russia. The insurance for this show cost $1,000,000,000. Seriously. The collection was amazing, chock-a-block (an expression I feel is not used as often as it ought to be) with stuff like this.

Unfortunately the reality of it was mostly this.

What I thought was truly amazing was the display of the process of the design and construction of this SPECTACULAR Frank Gehry building, if I can even call it that, structure, maybe. On the left is the maquette he presented to the design committee. It looks like someone emptied out their wastebasket after an upscale birthday party.

We took a brief detour to the fabulously glorious city of Bordeaux.

My view the entire way back to Paris on the train.

Back in Paris we had dinner, a pre-nuptial extravaganza at Le Train Bleu the glorious Belle Epoch restaurant in the Gare de Lyon. I had eaten there 10 years ago and while I loved the place, I recalled the food as iffy. The place is stunning, the food and service less so. We don’t recall exactly what the amuse bouche was but I don’t think my bouche was very amused by it. Our saltless food was delivered and we never saw the waiter again. Ever. I had lime curried monkfish—salt free, in tapioca. This is not a good idea, tapioca, in case you’re planning a menu like that. The dessert was good, if you like that sort of thing. It’s worth a trip to the bar. Don’t eat there. Bring your own salt shaker if you do. And for god’s sake, skip the tapioca.

One exciting thing I discovered at Le Train Bleu was that in the glorious mural on the ceiling was Hyéres, the town where I had my apartment. It was the termination of the Train Bleu line and a favorite resort area of the jet set, I suppose you’d call them train set, of the time.

Some puzzlements in Germany

Pflegeleicht, indeed. You figure it out if you’re so smart.

Copenhagen has a kind of peace that is not found in Paris or Berlin.

Germany, hither and tither

We met most days at Galeries Lafayette near Brandenburger Tor after work (He worked, I swanned about) for drinks in their wine bar with the unpleasant German bartender. Really I don’t know why we went there, you needed a flare to get his attention.

Last day. This is the spectacular National art gallery. The architect, Mies van der Rohe was in his 90s at the time. Apparently the largest collection of contemporary art in the world. Surprising since not that long ago they were burning contemporary art.

Bye bye Germany, bye bye husband