Day 1–Getting our Bearings

There is a piece of art in our office showing a lovely woman at the Trocadero, I can’t recall (could be Montmartre) overlooking a city. She holds a Michelin Green guide. The caption is: “I can’t believe I’m in Paris. I can’t believe it.” It’s the way I feel every time I come here. And though it’s a cliché (had to find that accent key, but it didn’t translate when I published this, fixed now though it seems), it happens when I first see the Eiffel Tower looming in the distance, coming into the city from Charles de Gaulle airport. It happened again today, on an overcast but warmish day. After unpacking, we headed to Au Sauvignon for lunch but it was closed. So we sauntered along further until we got to Le Comptoir du Relais St. Germain, Yves Camdeborde’s hugely popular bistro. “Outside or in,” we were asked. “Ca m’est egal.” Packed with Japanese at the next table, a few Americans and many French, we had a lunch of roast chicken and duck, a tub of runny St. Marcellin, dessert and a bottle of Marcel Lapierre 2007 Morgon recommended by our server. (Funnily enough, we had met M. Lapierre a few years ago at a wine shop here.) At this rate, despite all the walking, there will be plenty of tonnage on board when we return in June. While lunch at Le Comptoir is merely a wait, dinner another thing altogether. Prix fixe 50 euro menu gastronomique, choice of entreé, is one of the best cuisine values in Paris. On the other hand, getting a reservation takes time, they are booking into September, Mme. Camdeborde told us. Anyway, their website is if you are interested. If you stay at the hotel, you get preference for the dinner. I am going to try to add a photo, so here goes. (See photo.) We are living in the 6th Arrondissement on Rue deVaugirard in one of those five story apartments that when you walk by, you say, “Who lives in these places and what do they do here?” This one is owned by an American couple from San Francisco. We overlook the courtyard, not at all unusual but on the street below are the shops you would expect, a pharmacy, coiffure, convenience store and patisserie (the last, not to be desired). The major effort of the day was BT or Blackberry Detox, not Breakfast Television. I have now turned off the data function on my Blackberry, in itself a cause for certain anxiety, but either this is a sabbatical or it isn’t, right? After a long nap, we are off again for another walk and maybe a movie. No more food for the day. I had never heard of a blog (“web-log”) or blogging until I read a New Yorker article about Meg Hourihan, a computer guru of some note, who has a blog called which I hadn’t looked at recently. She has become a food enthusiast and this what she discusses now on her blog. “Blog” is a word that David Duchovny’s character, Hank Moody, would decry in “Californication” as being part of the seemingly inexorable erosion of the English language, like LOL, and I can’t say he’s wrong. Whatever it is, as my friend the Prince says, given that whoever in the world wants to read this, can, it’s shamelessly self-absorbed and self-indulgent. I am sure that’s right so stop reading right now. *** We ended up at a piece of fluff called “He’s Just Not That Into You,” titled “Ce que pensent les hommes” in French. Turns out it was dubbed into French, with no English sub-titles, but not that hard to follow, whatever its questionable worth. Or maybe I missed the subtleties?