art, Belleville, Canal de l'Ourcq, Champeaux, Conservatoire de Paris, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, La Grande Canopée, meals, Récitals de fin de l'année, Sherard, Zhizhong
On Monday we went up to Belleville one last time to pick up the small Clem Letrusko painting that Sherard had purchased on Friday, and to visit a few galleries that were on our must-see list. We had planned to make this a relatively restful day, but as it happened we kept seeing additional pieces that we wanted to buy, which required us to walk down the hill to an ATM then back up to the artist or gallery to buy the piece. We ended up walking 11 miles on our “rest day”!
For dinner I proposed a nearby restaurant, Champeaux, beneath the Grande Canopée. It looked quite stylish, and wasn’t terribly expensive. Besides, I had an ulterior motive: I had been reserving restaurants through the website of The Fork/La Fourchette for years. I had gotten some nice discounts but I had never accumulated enough points to use them before they expired. I noticed that I had enough “Yums” for a $10 discount, and Champeaux was one of relatively few restaurants that accepted them! We both enjoyed our meals and we particularly loved the wine they recommended: Triennes IGP Méditerranée Viognier Sainte Fleur Blanc 2018, which Sherard subsequently discovered can be found in the U.S.!
I proposed a range of options for Tuesday, Sherard’s last day. He selected thesis performances by students graduating from the Conservatoire de Musique et de Danse, Récitals de fin de l’année. I enthusiastically agreed, since I really enjoy these accomplished non-touristy (and free) concerts. In retrospect, however, I probably should have recommended something closer to home, or in a less familiar direction, since this was in the far north-east corner of Paris, close where we had already spent most of the week, so the walk was both long and partially repetitive.
We watched a couple of good performances but then needed to go get some food. Eventually we found a modest place on the Canal de l’Ourcq for a traditional lunch. After eating we walked home along the canals, and over to the Galerie Vivienne to find some vintage postcards Sherard had noticed earlier in his stay. With that mission accomplished we headed home, after a 12 mile day.
My friend Zhizhong joined us for dinner. I had reserved at an Italian place in the neighborhood, but when I mentioned our meal the previous evening at Champeaux Zhizhong’s eyes lit up, so we decided to cancel my reservation and go right back there for dinner.
Champeaux gets a quite good overall rating of 8.8 on The Fork, and we really enjoyed both meals, but I have to admit that it has some flaws: Service was somewhat uneven, and the greeting our first night was downright strange, with the maitre’d being busy talking with a couple of policemen and a waiter being unable at first to find our reservation. The portions aren’t large and the prices aren’t cheap, but we had enough to eat both nights, and the bill wasn’t punishing: 40 euros per person including wine and desserts. You would pay more at a similarly nice restaurant in Boston. The location in a shopping center is admittedly a bit odd, but the room itself is light and airy and stylishly decorated. All in all I think the critics are being churlish; Champeaux is good value for money.
Zhizhong and I stayed up past midnight solving life’s problems, but Sherard had an early flight so he went to bed after dinner. In the morning he headed out to the airport without waking me, but left a nice farewell note on a vintage postcard.