Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dispatch from Paris: Looking for Capers in All the Wrong Places

The day dawned a beautiful late summer jour en Paris. I rolled out of the sack and headed out the door while Dolly-girl was still in the land of nod. I made my bonjour to the hotelier. We started a short conversation. He spoke rapidly and I've filled in my interpretations of what he might have said in [brackets] here. I started. "Bonjour, monsieur." "Bonjour monsieur. [Fast French-->Off on a coffee run?]" "Oui, ma femme ne se déplace pas sans café. "Ha ha. Quel dommage. [Fast French-->Why don't you just speak English to me, it would be so much simpler, although less amusing...]" I headed out the door around the corner, and west on Rue St. Antoine to a joint du café that specializes in les Américains à Paris. Quel domage, mais ma femme ne se déplace pas sans café.

After we downed our joe, we packed up for the day. I'm still feeling a little under-prepared without Messrs Smith&Wesson tucked in my belt, but seeing as how I haven't found any capers, I guess it would be extra weight. We walked along the river to catch the BatoBus down to the Louvre, a place Dolly-girl and me had been eying up, even when we were just reading the Steve-Adore's guide to Paris. (Dolly-girl calls people who like that Rick Steves guy Steve-Adores--pretty cute, eh?)

There were lots of people in what I call the big-open-area-outside-the-museum, but I assume has some name in French that sounds a lot more lyrical and requires shaping one's mug into positions no native Stumptown speaker can manage. Or is that man-ahhhhge? Anyhoo, it was hard to get clear shots with the Kodak and when I went through them, I found that I had someone's perfect vacation photo, but I have no idea who they are. Now, that would be a caper...I'll keep my eyes peeled.

I was pretty impressed with the fountains and the whatnot. Looked to me like it was a place that would have done kings and queens proud. That got me a shot through the wave from Dolly-girl, who said, "Jack, it was the royal palace--le palais royal du le roi et la reine--until around the Revolution. I mentioned as how it looked pretty old (I learned though the wave that the first buildings were completed in about 1280, which I would have said about 1300 'cause it would be close enough. Given that, what I saw next was really surprising.

In the middle of the grand-champ-libre-hors-les-musée as I was now calling it, was this giant glass pyramid. Now I knew that the Egyptians and the Inca and the Maya had learned how to build pyramids long before about 1300, I didn't realize the technology to build large pyramids completely of diamond and triangular glass panes with a relatively small steel supporting structure dated back so far. Now, if you think I'd ever seen un coup d'oeil grâce à une vague de cheveux, I'd say you were wrong.

We went in. The place was hopping and I have to hand it to them, there is a lot to see in there. We spent the better part of 3 hours and I'll bet we didn't see the half of it. Dolly-girl's already talking about coming back here just to spend a couple weeks there. I guess maybe you could do that. We did see some stuff that was really famous, according to Dolly-girl and I think it must be true what with the crowds of tourists crowding around. I got this snap of whatever they were gawking at. Looked like something the D'Mestieres of the Old Country might have had. In fact, I think I remember seeing a picture of my old uncle's living room with that picture in there. Wonder how it ended up in a French museum? Hey, there's a caper for me.

Seeing as how it was a looker of a day, and seeing as how we'd already spent most of it inside, Dolly-girl suggested we catch the A Train over town and spend some time outside. Sounded A-OK to me. We ended up in this kind of park that had a bunch of statues around. As far as I was concerned, I don't think [I can hear the moans] we could have found a better spot to take a load off. We parked our carcasses on a bench and watched the sun change position in the sky for a bit. It is vacation, after all.

After a jour d'art, as a certain -girl would call it, we decided to end the day with a glass of skid-row on what used to be an open sewer but now is a street full of food, bars, shops, and people--Rue Mouffetard. Couldn't be a better end to a day than a chance to take pictures of poisson and knock back a couple cold ones. Well, maybe there could be one better end...

After we got back, we decided to head on over to an Eh-talian joint across the street from where we set the brake on shank's mare--Cuccina Napoletana. I started out taking pictures, like one of Toto, the door dog (or chien du porte, as he likes to be called), but after reading the board and listening to the chef railing at one of the workers and throwing stuff, I decided maybe the Kodak wasn't a good choice. But the food was great. Everything is for the table, so we had the vegetable antipasta and then an asparagus and Parma ham pasta with a buttery Parmesan sauce. Between the two of us, we ate about half of it. Some good Italian wine made a perfect dinner in Paris! Best part was, after it was over, me and Dolly-girl stumbled about 20 yards across and up the street, and we were back where our carcasses could touché la paille. By the way, there were capers in the sauce.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Thanks for taking us along with you to France.