September 26, 2015 – Just as we finished working at our computers, the weather changed from gloomy to splendid. We went out to play.
There was no plan, but since we went west on our last walk, we turned north to begin this walk. As we approached the Champ de Mars on the avenue de la Motte Picquet, I said, “Let’s go on up to those two adorable little parks on either side of Les Invalides!”
|Square Santiago de Chili|
We had not yet visited those parks, the Square Santiago de Chili or the Square d’Ajaccio, yet this year. We found them to be two verdant oases of peace and solitude in an area surrounded by busy avenues. In between the two parks, we walked along the front of Les Invalides, admiring the canons, topiary, and the posters for the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, which features macquettes (to-scale models). These macquettes were used for military strategic purposes; the collection comprises models made under the direction of Louis XIV’s minister of war.
I have a friend back in Columbus (the artist, Chris Steele) who builds macquettes for architectural firms. I wonder if he’s ever seen this museum? Maybe we’ll check it out next summer. But for the time being, we just wanted to enjoy the outdoors on a gorgeous Autumn afternoon.
|Poster showing the macquette of Rome, from the Musee des Plans-Reliefs|
The avenue de la Motte Picquet in the 7th was a bit of a construction site, so we walked home through the mature trees in the southern part of the Esplanade des Invalides and then along the rues Saint Dominique and Grenelle, through the Champ de Mars, and finally down the rue du Commerce, which was thriving with pedestrian activity. We’re still amazed at how trendy and popular this shopping street has become.
Tom went on to the Eric Kayser bakery as I went up to water the plants on our apartment’s balcony. It is quite a chore because there are so many plants. We have a double length of garden hose that we stretch to a fitting by the kitchen sink on the other side of the apartment. Then I inch along the narrow balcony with the hose and nozzle, shooting water right into the pots.
|Les Invalides, from the Square d'Ajaccio|
Fortunately, I did not inherit my father’s fear of heights. Tom helps with maneuvering the hose through the apartment and controlling the spigot by the sink, but he does not volunteer to go out to water the plants, partly because he’s not sure how much water they need.
In the evening, we walked down the avenue Félix Faure to dine at Axuria. The chef, Olivier Amestoy, was upstairs in the dining room, with three young men in business suits, shirts and ties. These were new servers! I applaud the decision that the servers will not wear blue jeans in such an elegant restaurant whose tables boast linen tablecloths and napkins.
The dinner was lovely, but a little expensive without a lafourchette.com discount. We’re spoiled, I guess. Our starter courses were small croustillantes de gambas with a bit of salmon mousse and caviar, and little slightly spicy country sausages in a creamy sauce. The main courses were yet another supreme de pintade (guinea fowl, my third or fourth for the summer!) and a carre de cochon pate negra (fancy, high-quality, thick-yet-tender boneless pork chop). Tom had the incomparable soufflé Grand Marnier for dessert.
|"La Defense du Foyer" (Defense of Home) by Boisseau (1887),|
in the Square d'Ajaccio. His face looks like someone
who is a realtor on Sanibel Island. Can Sanibelians guess who?
Thank you to Axuria for such a delicious and elegant dinner. It will give us the strength we need for packing.