Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Last Week-end

My final few days in Paris were perfect.  I got to enjoy all that I love about Paris from the city itself to the architecture to the food and the people.

The week-end started with a beautiful concert in Notre Dame.

It was an evolution of music starting with Gregorian Chant, sung harmoniously and spectacularly by a group of a half dozen singers, and an occasional cow bell, because well, you can always use more cow bell.

The next day, I literally ran all around Paris to say goodbye to each and every landmark (luckily I'm training again for another half marathon) and then found myself back at Notre Dame and thought, they only place left to go is up, so I climbed the nearly 400 stairs for amazing views of the city.

I've always loved the collection of gargoyles and statues that adorn Notre Dame, and they're even more beautiful up close and personal with an amazing backdrop.

The intricate detail of all the work is truly awe inspiring.

As I was packing in my apartment over the week-end, I heard noise coming from the Bastille, and I had to investigate for the last time.  I was getting a final protest send off.

The streets were closed, the food vendors were out, and like a game, I looked at the people, signs and displays and quickly learned that they were marching for gay marriage.  There was an anti-gay marriage march the week-end before, so everyone was getting their turn.

I do have to say that I think they need to visit a parade in West Hollywood to see how things are done.  I thought the showing was a bit drab and boring.  I think they can do better.

I couldn't leave Paris without a final, over the top, French meal, and we did just that at Les Ambassadeurs in the Hotel de Crillon.

It was a windy and rainy night with chaos in the streets and metro, but the second my foot crossed the landing of the Hotel Crillon, the birds starting singing and all was well in the world.  You could actually smell fresh flowers as soon as you entered. Everything was decorated so lovely for the holidays.  We loved the lounge area so much that we enjoyed more than one glass of champagne there, though luckily the second one was free as I'm not sure my credit card would have gone through otherwise.

The dining room matched the splendor of the lounge, and we ate famously.  You can be sure there was foie gras on the menu and that I've stored the CA outlawed product in as many places as possible. 

And of course what's an over the top dining experience without bellying up to the cheese cart.  I did everything I could to wheel that thing home with me, but I settled for more stomach storage.

For my final day and night, I went the opposite direction for a fun, down and dirty Parisian Au Revoir.  We had to have a drink at my favorite dive bar, Le Baron Rouge.

I had never managed to hit it during oyster season, but today was my day.  The man from Cape Ferret was down with his oysters and he was shucking them outside on the spot and people were eating them on trash cans, car roofs and window sills, and they couldn't have been better.

I also had to go in for my favorite rillettes here.  I was able to snag the last one before final call.

Of course all the food in the world is no good at all without the right company, and luckily I also had plenty of that.

There was only one last thing to do after this.  A final sandwich at L'As du Fallafel. 

And yes, I finally have a picture of me now eating this monstrosity.

And now the falafel wall of fame is complete!

With my heart and belly full, I left Paris just a few hours later.  I could go in to the painful details of the packing, stomping, lifting and dragging of my 7 bags weighing in at over 400 pounds down my stairs, into a car, onto 2 carts, into the CDG airport, repeated in Cincinnati, and then again in LA, and finally to my place, but why don't we leave it with happy falafel instead. 

Suffice it to say, I've made it back to CA, for better or worse.  I'm still digesting everything, literally and figuratively, but you can be sure that there will be at least one more post, or rather Ode. 
Up next, my Ode to Paris.

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