Two friends, three meals: Paris express

Lately my wife Jan and I have been caught up in a flurry of social events, travel and guests, so my blog postings have been few and far between. Time to remedy that, first with a look back at a fast trip we made to Paris.

Although we live in France, and love Paris, it’s still a bit of a journey to reach the nation’s capital. Most recently, we headed there one Friday morning to meet up with Donna and Dave from Toronto, who were winding up a European trip that mainly centred on Italy. They are not only good friends (and members of our cycling group, the Wild Forest Pig Contrada) but also foodies.

So our plan was to meet for lunch at — wait for it — Epicure, the gourmet restaurant which bears the maximum three stars from Michelin, and is located in Le Bristol Paris.

Getting there was just a bit nerve-wracking, because when Jan and I arrived at the station in Gourdon, we learned that our train to Paris would be 25 minutes late. Then it was to be 50 minutes late. And as it turned out, it was nearly an hour late pulling into Gare Austerlitz in Paris — just when we were supposed to be sitting down at our table in Epicure.

In any case, our taxi driver did the best he could in heavy traffic, and we arrived at the restaurant half an hour late, to find Donna and Dave patiently waiting for us. And then, of course, it was time for hugs, a bottle of Champagne, and a close read of the seasonal menu (at 135 euros per person).

I’ve already described the full Epicure experience (in the August 31st posting, “Royalty? Rock star? Or just rich?”), so I’ll keep this brief, with just a few photos of some of the more startling dishes.

First is the lamb dish that both Donna and I ordered — a sort of “nose to tail” take on lamb, since the plate included tiny sausages, a chop, a piece of loin, a piece of lamb sweetbreads, and probably a bit more that I can’t remember. Here’s my plate:

Lamb in all its variations.

Lamb in all its variations.

Jan was delighted with her main course too — a nicely cooked piece of cod, surrounded by small bites of squid. Here’s her plate:

Cod surrounded by bits of squid.

Cod surrounded by bits of squid.

After we had all eaten our entrées, our main courses, our selections from the extravagant cheese trolley, and our desserts, we were offered even more sweets from another trolley. Included in the trolley was a row of macarons, those light meringue-based cookies, in eight flavours. Here they are:

Eight flavours of macarons were on offer.

Eight flavours of macarons were on offer.

After such a rich lunch, even I could manage only one macaron, but it was delicious — and rather elegant, sitting on this beautiful plate:

My lonely but beautiful macaron.

My lonely but beautiful macaron.

For the rest of the afternoon, as you might imagine, none of us had much energy left for strolling through Paris. (Jan and I had risen at 5 a.m. that morning to catch the early train from Gourdon.) So we took a taxi back to the hotel, for some rest and a shower.

But by 7:30, we were ready to go again — so we walked over to a café we enjoy at Place de l’Ecole-Militaire and ordered wine and “light” dinners. (Okay, Dave and I had cheeseburgers and frites, while Jan and Donna wisely avoided food.) That made meal No. 2 with Dave and Donna. And the next morning, the four of us had our third meal together in Paris: a rather un-French breakfast (including fried eggs and bacon) at another café on Place de l’Ecole-Militaire.

And then our long day’s journeys began — with Dave and Donna flying back to Toronto, and Jan and I returning to Daglan by train.  Needless to say, we slept well that evening at home.

This entry was posted in Cafés in France, Food, French food, Paris restaurants, Restaurants in France, Travels in and out of France, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Two friends, three meals: Paris express

  1. D2 says:

    Here is our one tip on how to be a foodie. Instead of saying lets go there for a special occasion, realize that going there IS the special occasion. We were so happy to share the experience and for your diligence in scouting the cuisine and venue a month earlier. We were also reflecting that some of the finest meals we have enjoyed have also been in the company of the GDA blog staff (you and Jan).

    We were sort of wondering if breakfast was necessary the next morning but as luck would have it, the decision was sound. We arrived at CDG T3 to find the culinary expo of a soda machine, a vending machine and a sandwich stand that did not serve wine and only one brand of beer. Folks if you read this, eat before you arrive at the airport. Mr. Holland I think I found a source of revenue your Government may have overlooked.

    Great to see you both!!


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