Monday, September 3, 2012

Last Day in Paris...until next week

A few years back, I met Terrance Gelenter of "Paris Through Expatriate Eyes" at an event he hosted in San Francisco. Since then, I've been receiving his weekly e-letters where he talks about all things Paris.

Each week he mentions his Sunday "office hours" at Cafe de Flore. There is always a photo of him with that week's new-in-Paris guests. No charge; just show up and buy a drink or lunch/ brunch.

High on my must-do list was going to " office hours."

So off I went to the famous Cafe de Flore.

Even though it was a few minutes past 11:30, Terrance was not there. The maitre'd directed me to a corner where Claire, aka "Madame Chapeau" in Terrance's emails, greeted me. She was puzzled at his absence. Only one other showed up, Penny of Florida, whom I'd met at dinner the night before.

Claire made several frantic phone calls to Terrance, to Terrance's girlfriend, but there was no Terrance to be found.

Penny and I ordered the Croque Monsieur, which is said to be a house specialty.

This French version of a grilled ham and cheese sandwich was good but not great. It was only topped with top layer of Bechamel to be seen.

But, it was lunch and an adventure.

Oh, Terrance did call the cafe about 1:15, with copious apologies for not showing...he said his phone wasn't working correctly.

My thoughts are that either his phone ran out of charge or, even better, it was a woman to blame!

All the same, I visited Cafe de Flore and made some new friends.

Penny and I parted ways.

She headed off to a favorite bakery and I went off to find the building on Rue de Fleurus where Gertrude Stein lived first with her brother and then with Alice B. Toklas.

It is hard to believe that this is where the likes of Hemingway and Picasso hung out in Gertrude's apartment.

Gertrude lived a block from the Luxembourg Gardens.

And that's where I headed next.

On this beautiful Sunday afternoon, the park was filled with picnickers, joggers, sunbathers, and Sunday strollers.

Now you may be wondering why these people are picnicking on the gravel, rather than on the lawn.

I found out the hard way when I stepped over a tiny wire fence onto the lawn and two police materialized out of nowhere to shoo me away.

This is the fence!

And the not-so-gentle reminders kept coming when I sat on a stone wall by one of the garden's palaces and was chased away by another gendarme.

But the gardens are lovely and here are a few more photos. I was especially taken by this well-dressed elderly couple out for their stroll.

Sunday is a hard day to be a tourist in France since most shops and restaurants are closed.

I know of a few restaurants in my Paris neighborhood that are open Sunday. As I was walking to one, I saw lights on at several on Rue Amelie. The menu at Chez Pierrot looked interesting and that's where I ate.

I started with a duck pate salad.
Then went on to the duck breast in currant sauce.
And went all out with the Assiette Gourmand for desert, a sampler of a tarte tatin, creme brûlée and one Profiterole.

And, so ends my second full day in Paris...

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