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Chris had made only one culinary request — aside from not taking him to any more restaurants where there’s nothing he can eat — which was to dine at a Polish restaurant, serving the kind of food his mother makes. Thursday was his night. Chris chose a place called Mazurka, and since it was nice out we set off for a half-hour walk rather than taking the métro. After the first ten minutes I was no longer familiar with the neighborhood, except that we were climbing so much that we had to be going up Montmartre.

The restaurant is in a somewhat run-down part of the 18ème, but it looks rather cute. Chris and Matt had a flashback to the empty restaurant we had fled on our first night but I reassured them that we were just on the early side, and that this place looked fine, as indeed it proved to be.

Matt and Bob and Chris at Mazurka in the 18ème.

Matt, and Chris at Mazurka in the 18ème. (And note our playful waiter in the mirror on the right.)

Polish isn't my favorite cuisine but I have to admit that this plate was pretty good.

Polish isn’t my favorite cuisine but I have to admit that this plate was pretty darn good.

We had been noticing tantalizing little views of Sacré-Coeur as we climbed up to the restaurant, and on the map it seemed to be quite close — just a few little streets away. So I suggested we stroll over, imagining that we were already more-or-less on top of the hill.

On "rue Maurice-Utrillo," which, like "rue Paul-Albert" is actually a steep flight of steps. Ooops!

Chris and Matt on “rue Maurice-Utrillo,” which, like “rue Paul-Albert” is actually a steep flight of steps. Not the best plan right after a filling Polish dinner…

The church was lovely by night, however, as was the view from the plaza.

Sacré Coeur looking nice after dark.

Sacré Coeur looking nice after dark.

Just as Matt and Chris were about ready to forgive me for taking them up all those steps I made an even more serious mistake. I let Google Maps navigate us back to métro Château-Rouge. After midnight. I knew better, but we were all tired and this was both the closest station and on a line that took us directly home. Almost everyone else on the platform was drunk and rowdy. We were also amost the only white people. One guy in particular staggered in my direction and seemed to be planning to accidentally-on-purpose fall on me, which would have been unpleasant at best, and would have cost me my wallet and/or cell phone at next best. Chris, though not tall, is trained to deal with aggression, and he was braced to act if the guy got much closer. For some reason — quite possibly Chris’s glare — the guy changed his mind and the train arrived and whisked us safely back to our cozy neighborhood. Note to self: avoid Château-Rouge after dark!

Our walk back home took us up rue Montorgueil past my former apartment on the corner of rue Saint-Sauveur. I suggested the possibility of rounding out the evening with a cocktail, and hearing no dissent guided us a few doors down to the Experimental Cocktail Club, the first of a current flowering of bobo cocktail establishments in Paris. It’s in a tiny speakeasy-like stone room. It was busy but not jammed and we only had to wait a few minutes for seats. The service and patrons were friendly and the cocktails washed away any anxieties that might have arisen at Château-Rouge.

A nightcap at the Experimental Cocktail Club on rue Saint-Sauveur in the 2éme.

A nightcap at the Experimental Cocktail Club on rue Saint-Sauveur in the 2éme.

Our refreshing drinks at the Experimental Cocktail Club.

Our refreshing drinks at the Experimental Cocktail Club.

As we were about to go Matt chided me for not eating the cherry in my drink, but warned me about the pit. His warning was unnecessary, however, since it was actually a radish.