|July Column: Colonne de Juillet|
I have arrived in Paris.
Counting "Countries Visited" via the Spretnak method,* France is Country #22 on my List of Countries Visited (counted via the Spretnak method). Iceland was #21.
My room in the Hotel Des Mines is small.
How small is it? I have to stand on the bed to get to the closet.
The room was VERY inexpensive. The place is clean. It's got that old, frayed look and feel of a place where someone struggling to write a novel in Paris would be found. I like it.
Walking to dinner last night and quickly noticed how the building all seemed to look like Paris.
Up ahead, in front of the Romanian football fans (evidenced by the large Romanian flag and the fact that Romania had played France in the Euros in the national stadium just north of Paris the day before), is a building that looked interesting,
Turned out, it was. This is the Pantheon, located within Paris's Latin Quarter, We were walking through the Latin Quarter to get to a highly-recommended brasserie for an early dinner. Restaurants are not open at the six o'clock hour. That would be gauche. Which you would think would be OK. Seeing that I'm staying on the Left Bank (which you Francophones know as: rive gauche).
This is the Church of St. Stephen the Martyr, or the Eglise de Saint-Etienne du Mont in the local tongue. I didn't know it when we walked past it, but I do now. Jean-Paul Marat is buried in its cemetery. Marat, as you know, was the guy from the French Revolution who was famously murdered in his bathtub.
Walking north, we soon reached the river. This was interesting. You can see hear that the Seine is still a little high and overflowing its banks at this point. From the Pont de Sully, you can see how high the floodwaters got:
The river is set down below street level. All that shrubbery along the side was underwater, as it is still caked with mud. The level of the mud visible on the side wall is fairly high.
We soon arrived at our destination: Bofinger.
Bofinger is a brasserie, started by a gentleman from the Alsace-Lorraine region of Eastern France,
Beautiful interior, especially under the skylight.
I had the crayfish bisque for an appetizer. Mmm. Mmm. Just like New Orleans.
I had the traditional "sauerkraut" for a main course. This was a selection of sausages and pork meat on a giant bed of sauerkraut. This dish was very German, which makes sense since the food was "Alsace Lorraine" and not French per se. Delicious, Bur very filling,
* The Spretnak method allows countries visited only during a flight layover if there either was commercial interaction (i.e., you bought something in that country) or you were subject to law enforcement or needed approval of authorities to enter that country (i.e., your passport was stamped by passport control or border authorities). This method allows me to include Switzerland (bought souvenirs, passport checked and stamped) and the United Kingdom (passport checked and stamped) among my countries visited.