Monday, July 17, 2017

Keeping it quaint and cool

Quaint old building at the corner of the rues du Theatre and Tournus,
in the Grenelle neighborhood.

Lunch at Eclectic, in the Beaugrenelle Center.
July 18, 2017 – Cold pea soup on a hot summer day.  Doesn’t that sound good?  Garnish it with a dollop of excellent goat cheese, grab a couple of rustic baguettes, and pour yourself a glass of pale, chilled rosé.  Add a plate of fine Italian beef carpaccio and a few glasses of sparkling water, finish with a café gourmand, and you have the perfect lunch for two.

We treated ourselves to all this in the air-conditioned comfort of the Eclectic brasserie after a walk on the bucolic Île aux Cygnes and an hour or so of shopping in the Beaugrenelle center, where we bought nothing. 

In the afternoon, we had a funny experience at the post office.  We were there to pick up a small package addressed to our friend Roy, who owns the apartment.  A notice indicated that the letterbox on our building was too small for the package.

We took our driver’s licenses and a piece of forwarded mail of our own, to show that we really do belong at the apartment’s address.  We explained to the postmaster that we were picking up the package for our friend, who is in the U.S.  He said that the rules are such that we are not allowed to pick up the package.  We thought this might happen, but we wanted to try to do this for Roy if we could.

So, we said we understood and agreed, and we left.  As we were crossing the street, the postmaster came running after us, package in hand!  He said, “I’m sorry.  I did not make myself clear.”
Evidently, he had been saying that the rules are such that we are not allowed to pick up the package, but this time he will allow it since the package is “not important.”

View from a park bench on the Ile aux Cygnes.

We told him it was our fault for not understanding him.  If you miss a word here or there, you can end up thinking something that isn’t so.  All three of us had a good laugh over the misunderstanding.
The package really wasn’t too big for our building’s letterbox. 

In the evening, we walked slowly to the Trois Garçons brasserie to join a crowd of locals for a dinner on the terrace.  Mine was a delicious, whole daurade royale (golden sea bream), and thankfully, nobody offered to de-bone it for me.  Tom unfortunately ordered a steak – almost always a mistake in a regular café or brasserie.  The steak was so tough that it was practically inedible.  We traded knives, because mine was sharper.  But still Tom could barely cut that steak.   I shared my fish with him.  His fries were great, however, and I had a wonderful pile of carrots cut into tagliatelles, roasted in honey and butter.

We thoroughly enjoyed being out with everyone else.  The couple at the table next to us said, “Welcome to Paris,” because they heard us speaking to each other in English.  Then they asked us several questions about where we live.  I ended up telling them about mosquito control in Lee County, because Tom brought up the subject.  The French always seem to be interested in this subject, and they are impressed by the elaborate mosquito control program that we have in our part of Florida.

On the way to and from Trois Garçons, we passed through the Place Etienne Pernet, the site of an irritating and not-so-successful bar called Charlie Birdy.  In recent months, Burger King had announced its intention to establish a fast-food restaurant there.  But thanks to the “strong mobilization of Philippe Goujon [the mayor], who had agreed with the neighbors about the risks of nuisances tied to the establishment of a Burger King restaurant originally planned,” the building will instead become home to a brasserie called “Au Bureau” (source: Paris 15 magazine, summer 2017 edition).
Pont de Bir Hakeim

At the other end of the rue du Commerce is a McDonalds which is heavily patronized by locals.  Tom asked why the Burger King should be denied if the McDonalds was allowed.  I speculated that the problem is the site; the Place Etienne Pernet is the center of the old village of Grenelle.  With the church and a number of old, village buildings (including the one that houses Charlie Birdy), the whole place is picturesque, historic, and architecturally significant.  The same can’t be said of the McDonald’s site.

I thank Philippe Goujon and the neighbors for keeping Paris Paris.

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