May 24, 2006

Croissants and a concert

There were some lovely moments on the trip, in the midst of the Lyme disease stupor.

I ate chocolate croissants every morning for breakfast and still lost five pounds. I'm convinced it doesn't work that way in the US, only in France.

I remembered that I love espresso. And I heard one waiter call it expresso, which is how my mom says it, which made me laugh.

I discovered that Air France has absolutely the best food in the airline business. It actually smelled so good it made you want to eat, even if you weren't hungry. And, the wine is free.

I drank my coffee every morning at the table in our courtyard, with the just-opening jasmine covering one wall and pots of lavendar and begonias.

I remembered the importance of good wine, which doesn't have to be expensive wine. In the Languedoc region, you can get stuff for 2 or 3 Euros at the grocery store and it's fabulous. (At least, to non-conissuers like me.) And thank goodness for Trader Joe's which serves the same purpose here.

We went to a Mediterranean beach one day -- Vieux de Cap, in Agde, a black sand beach protected by cliffs. It was lovely -- hot, perfect. Except for the really old guy wearing a g-string who chose to do much dressing and undressing (accompanied by much bending over) just in front of us.

The second day in Paris, I got to go to a concert in Saint Germain des Pres, a chamber orchestra playing Mozart. The church was dark and heavy, and only about 1/3rd full. The music was so comforting and full of life, against that dusty backdrop.

On our last night in Paris, Melissa's dad sprang for dinner for all of us. He wasn't on the trip, but he made reservations for us at a restaurant called Laserre with instructions to enjoy ourselves. It was the nicest restaurant I've ever been in. When we arrived at 7 we were the only people there, and there were about 15 (or more?) waiters hovering, their only objective to ensure that all of our needs were met. The room was full of orchids. The ceiling was open. They brought out tiny bites of things while we ordered, so I tried foie gras and sushi and something else that was very good but we had no idea what it was. The salad had Delphinium flowers on it. All the flavors were intense and everything was so carefully done. When we had finished everything, they brought out more tiny bites of dessert (little chocolates and caramels and creme de menthe with chocolate on a stick and single raspberries perched on tiny sponge cakes -- everything made from scratch by their chefs). Amazing. I felt completely pampered.

It definitely more than made up for the ugly Frenchman we encountered the day before. We were attempting to see a bit of Provence, and misread the map and ended up in what could only be called bad France -- a gypsy beach town in the middle of nowhere. We walked out to the beach and a guy said, "Be careful, the water's cold," and then threw a bucket of water on all of us, from behind. Sheesh. I think the ugly French people and the ugly Americans should all get together, and spew their hate on each other. Then they would all be satisfied because their very low expectations of the other culture would be more than met. And they could leave us out of it.


Blogger Sarah Hazel said...

I'm glad you're back, and I glad you're blooking again. (as opposed to blogging) I've recommended your site to quite a few friends.

How wonderful to have a "grace" experience at the restaurant after such a harsh and unkind incident the day before.

5/28/2006 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger Margaret Feinberg said...

Wow! What a crazy experience. Glad the restaurant was so pleasant.

5/31/2006 03:37:00 PM  

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