Thursday, June 05, 2008

Paree Is for You and Me--Day Eleven

OK, so I went a whole month without writing another one of our days in Paris, and even with this one out of the way, I'll have 3 more to do, 2 of which I don't have notes for, but luckily have plenty of photos. You probably know how it is--after a couple of months the vacation slips into dream time, something it's almost hard to imagine you did.

But on Day Eleven, we went to the land of even harder to imagine, Versailles. This over-opulent palace proves it's good to be the king, until, of course, the mob arrives, drags you out, and beheads you. But that risk adds a certain frisson, no doubt. We RER there with only a tiny problem, as the computers are down to buy our handy rail-museum combo tickets for about 10 minutes. Versailles is also an odd approach--you make the left from the one road up from the train station, it all looks like suburbs, and then at the end of a road, it's Vegas or something, clomps of grandness beyond anyone's need.

Even with the throne made of paper, it's mind-blowing--you want to call it ornine, as it's beyond ornate (you might have to read that one aloud). Plus I'd get paranoid realizing in every room there are paintings staring at you from the ceiling.

And then I sort of like a bedroom to be a peaceful place, but then again I've never held court from my bed, either, so what do I know. And the poor queens had to give birth in public, years before anyone knew about epidurals.

What's more, most of the good stuff in the interior was at first sold to finance France's endless wars (if only Bush and Cheney had to use their personal wealth to finance wars), and then the Revolution wiped out what was left. Nonetheless, the Sun King left his mark on the place.

The recently restored Hall of Mirrors also impresses, all glitter and length, oh, and tourists. The mob came in 1789 and we've never quite left.

We also gape at the great salons, the chapel, but alas the opera is closed for restoration. Much of France seems closed for restoration; they're going to have some lovely country someday, unless they got the person who did Melanie Griffiths' plastic surgery to freshen the country up. We also spend a lot of time outside, where I'm suddenly remembering I'm missing Spring Training (this was taken on March 25 after all).

Now there'd be a uniform for oldtimers' day. Oddly while it's suburbs on the front of the "house," out in the gardens you're in country--much of it super-manicured, but even some pastureland with sheep and cows. This is a shot taken not out by the livestock; after all, three cows in the fountain is Rome.

Does it look cold in that picture? it should. There were flurries that morning, and it was a bad foot day for both of us, which didn't stop up, just made us really slow. Still we got to Marie Antoinette's compound, toured the Grand Triannon, and found out the Petite Triannon (enough triannon to fill the appetite of most hungry for triannon, to tell you the truth) was getting restored. Still, its gardens, complete with a Temple of Love (say that with a lascivious accent, please) and grotto and redwood tree (!) is lovely if reminiscent of Bouvard and Pecuchet (something for you Flaubert scholars).

To get back we wander through more gardens and are a bit delirious, worrying the statues are talking to us. This one said take my picture.

We said we'd had enough, and the tourists just kept piling in, as the line at 2 when we left was longer than when we arrived at 10. We wandered into town and a chain-type place (but this is France and even the chains are competent) selling crepes, and a bite and sit is very comforting, especially with a biere a pression each of some unidentified brand, but it was a Belgiany, malty, yeasty relief. And so we trained back to Paris and rested a bit at the hotel.

Till it was cocktail time. We went to La Lenox in the hotel of the same name not too far from our hotel. It's totally Deco'ed out to the point you expect Fred Astaire to tap his way in and banter with Edward Everett Horton over champagne. The cocktails are lovely, too: Amy had La Lenox their house champagne cocktail and I had an Americano because I never had had one. And I keep wanting to convince myself I like Campari as I desire to be that contintental.

We then strolled through St. Germain to Le Gorille Blanc, which was open this time. The waiter was an odd mix, physically resembling a character Peter Sellers might play but his voice sounded like T Bone Burnett's. He kindly guided us through the menu in the candelight of this romantic bistro. Amy went all specials all the time with the seafood farfalle to start, complete with perfect little cuttlefish, and then a pork with a mashed vegetable we never quite ID'd--maybe turnip and apple? Still, a lovely dish. I had a mushroom terrine that was rich and earthy and the restaurant's signature cuttlefish with risotto made with the ink from the cuttlefish. It was a bit too ripe with garlic for me but certainly tasty. For a wine we had a 2005 Domaine Auchere Sancerre, as I love saying Sancerre with an airy French accent (that I no doubt didn't use in Paris, for fear of being kicked out of the country as a mocking fool). Dessert we shared a fine hot apple pastry, all flake and super-thinly shaved apple, with pain d' epices ice cream adding a spicy sweet kick.

This was a long day, so we Metro'ed back to the Muguet and slept the sleep of those not in gaudy princely rooms.



Blogger Mike said...

L'Etat c'est George?

4:58 AM  
Blogger Rickey Henderson said...

Non, non, L'etat c'est Rickey!

The mind meld is complete by the way. Rickey also blogged about French subject matter (albeit in a much more one dimesional, goofy, and shallow way).

6:34 AM  
Blogger Generik said...

You realize you two are a couple of very lucky canards don't you?

Love the travelogue (and glad it's back!), especially the places that Mrs. Generik and I missed. In Paris for a week and we neglected to see Versailles. Hello!?!

7:59 AM  

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