Well, the day finally came.
At around 3:30 we bade a fond and guilty farewell to Lucy and headed off to MIA. We threaded our way through the usual assortment of nutcases out on I95 and – without much problem – arrived at the AA terminal. We checked our bags, noting that they had been tagged with the bright orange indicators that said PRIORITY which, translated to baggage handler lingo, means drive a forklift over me.
The TSA line was wonderful. Little hassle, and in just minutes we were safely in the cavernous interior of the D concourse, which stretches from the Florida Keys to Orlando. The monorail is still being worked on, so you have to trudge to your gate, but, luckily, our gate was just three away from the point where we entered. Maybe a good sign?
AA had changed our plane from a 767 to a 777, which is about the size of the entire block where we live. It’s like flying in an iPic movie theatre, except the food isn’t as good (more on this later.)
Unfortunately, AA changed our seats from 4CD to 13 HJ with the new equipment. One problem with this is that it put us at the end of the food selection chain, so when they showed up all they had left was two types of dead animal and a vegan selection that was incomprehensible. Apparently AA’s new food service relies heavily on giving exotic names to every dish. David and I both went with the shrimp rather than the beef, and were rewarded with five small breaded shrimp that were almost inedible. While we waited, AA served us their trademark bowl of warm nuts, except by the time they got to 13HJ they were not warm anymore. Our eager flight attendant came back after a few minutes and grabbed up the bowls while we were still eating them. David asked her what she was doing, and she looked as though we had grievously insulted her. “Oh, do you want to finish them,” she said. Not wanting her to spit in our dead shrimp dish to come, we said it was okay.
The shrimp arrived and were inedible. Apparently we were to make up for it by dipping them in a bowl of what looked like 10W30 motor oil. It didn’t work. I awoke in midflight with a terrible stomach issue. David surveyed a movie list where the highlight was The Three Amigos and tried to sleep. We both suffered through the rest of the flight until our flight landed (early) at CDG.
We breezed through Customs and Immigration, picked up our luggage, and met the driver from Barons Limo, who was a delight. Our ride to Paris from CDG was slow, but enjoyable due to the conversation and the fact that the driver didn’t fight the traffic. We arrived at Lavoisier, our Paris home for almost 20 years and crashed to get rid of some of our jet lag.
Around 7:30 we got ready for dinner, which would be just 50 meters down the street at Crom Exquis, a delightful spot run by Pierre Meneau, the talented son of a Michelin three-star chef in Burgundy. The greeting was warm, and the food and wine lived up to our expectations. We both had an excellent cod after whetting our appetites with a marvelous ravioli swimming in a light broth. A wonderful way to start our time in Paris.
Saturday was a dialysis day. David dropped me off at 7:45 am and I was done a bit after 11:30. Then, we were off to the Place de l’Alma for lunch. Chez Francis has finished its remodeling, so we went there. The food has never been tops, but you can’t beat the views, and not much has changed. David had an omelette with smoked salmon and I went with the beef carpaccio. Nothing great, but okay, and at a fair price. The service started out slow, but we were early, so the full cadre had not shown. Once they did, it was excellent. We finished the meal with a St. Marcellin cheese from la Mere Richard, a trademark here, and always excellent. We puttered away the rest of the afternoon, and then strolled down Boulevard Malsherbes to Loiseau Rive Droite, which was formerly Tante Louise. Bernard Loiseau was a Michelin-starred chef who killed himself when he lost a star. His team has continued with his name, and now has several excellent restaurants. Our choice was no exception. The food is exquisitely presented, and rich with flavor. My duckling main course was superb, and David said his beef was also exceptional. We splurged with a beautiful Meursault, which made the meal even more enjoyable. The service was gracious and friendly. We will go back.
Sunday dawned grey and gloomy, but we decided to go to the Place de la Concorde and take a ride in the Roue de Paris (Ferris Wheel). After a short wait, we were in our little cab climbing ever higher, with views of everything, limited only by the grey overcast that hid the top of the Eiffel Tower. You get two trips around for your admission fee, which is enough. I got some great shots, which will go up on the blog soon. Then it was off to the Place des Vosges for lunch. The taxi driver ran us a bit out of our way, but we didn’t complain. With tourism off more than 20 percent, everyone is hurting and needs the money. With a light mist falling, we grabbed a table at an old favorite – Ma Bourgogne. David claims they have one of the best boeuf tartares in Paris, so ordered it again. I had an entrecote. Both were as good as we recalled. With the rain increasing, we grabbed a cab and headed back to the hotel. After a short snooze, we took the advice of Ludovic, the hotel manager, and walked over to the Gare St. Lazare to try Mollard, a seafood brasserie. Like others of this genre, the interior is all mirrors and glitz, and the menu focuses on seafood, mainly shellfish. The service was cordial, and our main course (Turbot), excellent. After dinner, it was a short stroll home and to bed. Tomorrow we go to Provence.