Feeling quite nostalgic my last days here! But my pain was assuaged considerably on Thursday evening by a lovely farewell dinner at Lisa’s and Ali’s, also including Ali’s sister and my American friend Colin. Ali’s Iranian cuisine was terrific, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves as much as I did.
In a time-worn ritual Lisa accepted my mysterious dental apparatus for storage until my next visit, though in a new twist Colin took my stash of Paris guidebooks to see what might be useful for his stay here. After dinner Colin came back to my place to have a look at my poutres apparentes (and another little glass of wine). Then we met up with my friend Dan and strolled over to The Experimental Cocktail Club. It was a big, happy crowd! As well as enjoying the creative drinks and each other’s company we got into conversation with a group of fêtards seated nearby and Colin ended up exchanging phone numbers with one of the young women. (!?!)
I had initially planned to see Dan for dinner on Friday night, but he contacted me early in the week to ask if he could “sleep on my floor” for a couple of nights. Needless to say, I offer a higher standard of accommodation to my guests! So he stayed over Thursday and Friday nights in unexpected comfort.
Dan and I had dinner on Friday with his friend Johanna, starting with drinks at her fabulous and quirky apartment overlooking the Canal Saint-Martin. We ate at a peculiar little Asian vegetarian restaurant, Tien Hiang. Each of the dishes was described (in French) as including « chicken » or « beef » or some other meat, all composed of textured soy protein. The food was very good, but I couldn’t help thinking that the place catered to vegetarians who were pining away for a meat diet, or to couples in which only one was vegetarian.
During the day on Friday I took an excursion from An Hour From Paris to the Parc de Sceaux, only a 15 minute train ride from Paris. It’s a glorious place, with an impressive château, lovely gardens, fountains, waterfalls and a kilometer-long Grand Canal. It was originally designed by André Le Nôtre, the architect of Versailles, for Louis XIV‘s right-hand man, Jean-Baptiste Colbert.
The château houses the Musée de l’Ile-de-France, a charming hodge-podge well worth half an hour of your time. The park’s little secret, however, is that the only original building is the tiny Pavillon de l’Aurore. The current château dates from the 19th century, and the park itself is an early 20th century restoration. Despite its dodgy provenance, the place is delightful and fully expresses the 17th century vision of its creators. My photo set is at: Parc de Sceaux.
Saturday, after Dan left, was mostly spent blogging and cleaning. After an uneventful checkout I attended Elliot Marks’ birthday party. He cooked up a storm! Colin and Andrew were there, as well as other Harvard and non-Harvard guests. I was particularly pleased to meet Elliot’s partner Pierre. I made it an early evening, however, since I fly to Marrakesh tomorrow.
Au revoir, Paris !