Monday, August 02, 2010

Paris 14/7/2010 Day Three

It's Bastille Day or as the French call it 14 Juillet. We have been reminded about the official day of celebration by Donny's bff, Dale. Donny says that besides his immediate family, he has known no one else as long as he has known gal pal Dale.

Thanks to Dale's heads up, Donny has made reservations for us at Restaurant 58 on the first level of the Tour Eiffel for the evening so that we can see the fireworks from the tower.

Our day starts with us being awakened to the sounds of planes droning overhead. It seems as though they are going to land in our street. I leap out of bed shouting, "It's a fly over!"

And it is. I grab my iphone and my camera and get some wonderful shots. Because of the view from our window up through the surrounding buildings it makes me think of how the French must have felt during the war. The flyover is spread out over about an hour because the weather is so bad, we later find out, that they have to wait for a clearing in the cloud cover.

I work until it is time to dress for dinner. Donny has hired a cab which meets us downstairs. The cab driver has an awful time getting us close to the tower because streets are blocked off for the firework display due to start at 11PM. We don't mind walking and get to see a very eclectic building covered deliberately in growing plants.

We reach the tower and check in at the Restaurant 58 ticket window. We are told that we will be riding up in the employees' elevator because the tower is closed to the general public today because of the fireworks. We are escorted into the guts of the tower where the elevator is located. There are other people also going to dinner and lots of service people. The ride up is impressive. The elevator is glass so we can see everything.

Donny tried to get us a window table but they were all sold out but he was assured that we would have a good view and we do. Dinner is quite exotic. It is a planned menu so all we need do is eat. Which is almost hard to do because the presentation is so beautiful. The food tastes as good as it looks and we nibble and sip our way through all the courses finishing just in time for the firework display. It gets dark so late that 23 hours in not an unreasonable time for the display to start.

It is amazing looking down on fireworks. Some explode at window level, some below and a few above. It is quite a production and we are glad not to have missed it, although a French gentleman at the table next to us says that it is not as good as last year's.

We plan to hail a cab to take us back to Ile St Louis after dinner but that proves difficult. It is a chilly evening and I buy a scarf from a street vendor. We ask how far it is to walk to Ile St Louis. He tells us far but not complicated, go to the corner, turn right and keep walking. It turns out to be a pleasant walk and not really all that long, about 5 kilometers.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Paris 13/7/2010 Day Two

We sleep until we awaken, around midday sometime, maybe later. I do not remember and we don't care. We are not on anyone's clock but our own. We have been to Paris enough times by now to be able to truly enjoy the flavor of the city without rushing around to see the famous highlights.

And besides it's time to get to work. This is after all a working vacation. Sight unseen my remarkable husband has procured us an apartment with not only north light but also a perfect art table.

The table, which is actually a dining table, adjusts in height and also the top folds out to double the size. The top then is cleverly rotated so that the legs remain centered. We know how to do this from recently figuring out the secret to my grandmother's card table which does the same thing.

At first I had set my things up at the desk in the corner, nice but not facing the window, when I happened to take a harder look at the table which was folded and low serving as a coffee table. This unfolds I think and then Donny discovers that the height can be adjusted. We set it to our liking and are delighted that there is room for me to spread out and Donny to set up his computer.

Like I said sight unseen he has found us the perfect apartment for this trip. He did request an inside apartment overlooking a courtyard which is completely wonderful. But the rest just came together.

I work for a few hours and then we head out for groceries. I have started the project while at home but got stopped by lack of reference material. For this book I needed photos of Miller & Rhoads during the 1940's or as close as possible. And because of the impending deadline I needed easy to identify departments within the store. The folks at the Virginia Historical Society had been most helpful in getting me these types of pictures but with vacations and such I had not been able to get the digital files I needed before I left. Since their preferred method of payment was by phone and since by now I was out of the country I did not want to make a call if I could help it. So Jamie said he would do what he could to get me a secure way to use my credit card and I believed him but I was still waiting. So I put away my work early.

We are more awake today and find our favorite grocery located not far at all from our flat. We buy more supplies and then fresh bread from the bakery across the street. We take our groceries home in our own tote we have brought to be more ecological responsible and unpack. Later we go out again strolling and stopping at one of our favorite restaurants on the island, Auberge de la Rhine Blanche, for dinner.

It did not disappoint although we were sad not to see our good friend who always waits on us. The girl that did wait on us, did not speak enough English to understand that we were asking about our friend so we do not know if she was on holiday or what. She owned the restaurant with her husband who was still there cooking but we never met him and so perhaps next trip she will be back. They do have children so maybe she is doing things with them.

After dinner and more strolling we stop in a bar for a nightcap of cognac. We wanted Remy Martin but settled for what was available and it was quite nice. While we were sipping our drink, two guys came in and ordered Jaeger bombs, a shot of Jaeger and Red Bull. I have heard about these but never seen one mixed. They way they did it was fun. The bartender put the Red Bull into two glasses then floated a shot glass of Jaeger in each full glass. These were lined up touching side by side. Then an empty glass was turned upside down beside the set ups. One guy hits the empty glass which causes the shots to tip into the Red Bull. The drinkers grab up their glasses and down the entire mix just like a shot. They did this twice and seeing my intrigue invited us to join them but we declined.