Hey, the traffic to Miami was Miamish this afternoon ... lots of car pile ups ... loony drivers ... typical.
MIA is not my favorite airport. It is almost as bad as JFK. I am now killing time in the Airport Lounge ... a contract place for Air France that has all the amenities of a Trailways rest room. Jesus, you would think that Air France would have something classy ... this place makes the USAir facilities look positively regal by comparison. Oh well, the Air France amenities at CDG are not all that swift either. I think it is that egalitarian thing that the French national companies have about service. Pay a premium and get the same as those who don't.
Hours later ...
The flight from MIA to CDG was quick ... we had a brisk tailwind, so our time aloft was just a tad over seven hours. It seemed shorter ... I guess it was because the girl in the next seat was a fashion model. She is a "was" because she is now 25 or 26 years old ... and, I guess Conde Nast and Vogue have eyes just for high teens.
I am staying at the Hotel Plaza Athenee again . I really like this hotel though, I have only stayed here twice ... though Annie hated the "cat walk" aspect of it when we were here last month. However, this month my room on the 5th floor is about half the size of the place Annie and I shared in October. But, Annie dear, the elevator shaft in this part of the hotel deposits people at the "end" end of the "cat walk".
Anyway, in a few hours my friend, Elisabeth, will be in Paris and we'll have to face that wonderful choice of where to eat. Hey, Dear Reader, you do remember Elisabeth, don't you? She is the owner of Chateau de Vault de Lugny ... in, of all places, Vault de Lugny. It is a world class small hotel in the Chablis part of Burgundy.
Before she arrives I shall take a stroll over to Place de l'Alma to see if the shrine to Princess Di is still active.
It is. However those paying "homage" appeared mostly to be young Japanese female tourists. Since the Eiffel Tower was in the background this was a perfect "Fuji" photo shot for them.
While there I passed some time at Chez Francis, which is located just on the far side of the main round-about near the shrine. Chez Francis is the restaurant where Annie and I last month witnessed the Eiffel Tower mysteriously move from one side of our view of the moon to the other side of that perspective. This time, since it was daylight, I wasn't treated to this neat NASA trick.
Elisabeth was in the lobby when I returned to the hotel.
Before dinner we had aperitifs in the English bar. This really unusual bar is located in the basement of the hotel. It apparently welcomes a very colorful clientele. More about that later.
Our dinner was in the Regence room of the hotel. "Gariniere de Coquillages aux Fettuccini" came first. Followed by "Turbot rote au jus de volauille". A Domaine de Chevalier '92 Blanc went with it all. At the end was an Armanac '52. That closed the evening. Dear Reader, this is boring you to tears, I know. But I am writing a diary of sorts on this trip.
Early this afternoon we took the number 63 bus from Place de l'Alma. This direct route would take us directly to Elisabeth's apartment if we stayed aboard. However, we hopped off about mid way and walked to the Hotel Lutetia.
The Hotel Lutetia harbors one of the best oyster houses in Paris if not in France. The restaurant has a modern feel to it but the service and the food is timelessly perfect. The specialty of the house is served on an elevated dish of ice that must be 18 inches in diameter. Layered on the ice were a wide assortment of oysters from France, snails, clams and shrimp.
After lunch we picked up bus #63 again for the ride to Elisabeth's apartment. Yes, the one with the view overlooking Notre Dame.
After a nap of sorts we taxied over to the docks of Yachts de Paris for a dinner cruise on the Seine. Elisabeth had purchased a special bottle of wine to go with the ship served pheasant. This Musigny '72 was the best. Musigny has always been one of my favorite Burgundies.
The sashimi at Kinugawa, a Japanese restaurant just a few footsteps from the Maurice Hotel, is a must for anyone in need of a raw fish fix. The tuna and the salmon are the very best ones that I have ever had. But, don't hesitate in having an aperitif at the lobby bar of the Maurice Hotel before looking toward Kinugawa.
Anyway, after checking out of the hotel (the Plaza Athenee) we took a taxi over to Simone's home. Simone Audan is Elisabeth's mother, and a co-owner of Chateau de Vault de Lugny. She drove us (at an alarming average 150KPM) to the chateau in Vault de Lugny. It took us about two hours; a grand prix driver would have passed the distance in three hours.
Tonight I was back in the King's room. This is my favorite home away from home.
Today's main food event was a wonderful lunch at L'Esperance, a three star Michelin restaurant in Vezelay owned and "chefed" by Marc Meneau.
Through so many of these journals, you have come to learn all the details of what the local restaurants offer up for their delicious meals, along with other, possibly overwhelming, detail. By now, you're probably tired of all that! For this journal, perhaps I'll do something different and focus on more photos and other images of the things that are interesting and illuminating ...
Photos, post cards and other miscellaneous November travel stuff: