My traveling companion made reservations at one of the nicest restaurants in all of Paris for the evening. Apparently Jean Georges opened a restaurant in Manhattan, New York some years ago. It was so successful that eventually he traveled back to Paris to open another. It had an obvious American twist on the cuisine.
Before we left I was trying to get ready and couldn't decide between a dress or slacks. As I worked on deciding, I came across a large shopping bag among my things.
"That bag is for you by the way," my friend said to me. Surprised, I hurriedly opened it. Inside was the most beautiful jacket I had ever seen. It was a stunning blue velvet with remarkable embroidery designs all over it. The intricate design was one I had admired in a shop window on our way to the museum that morning. I'd never seem anything so beautiful. I had fallen in love with it then, but the shop had been closed. Someone had gone back to the shop after dropping me off and purchased the coat of my dreams for, not even fully knowing my size.
I immediately tried it on and it fit like a glove! That second, I knew I would never in my life forget my trip to Paris. I would also never forget the generosity and kindness of my Paris benefactor.
I put on the nicest dress I has brought with me, knowing full well it would pale in comparison to my gorgeous new coat. Then on went the knee-high gray boots I bought specifically to take to Paris the month before and pinned my hair up. The look was completed with a bit of red lipstick and we were ready to hit the door.
We took a taxi to the restaurant and walked in moments before 7pm. Much to the Paris tradition, the restaurant wasn't open quite yet. Traditionally in Paris, people dine rather late in the evening. To be in a restaurant before 9pm is unusual and decidedly American to the French. They greeted us with a hearty American "hello" rather than the native "Bonjour" I had gotten accustomed to. Because of the time we came in, they knew without a word that we were Americans.
The food was divine! I could go on for hours about the tuna roll wrapped in filo dough, salmon sashimi, thinly sliced scallops, incredible cod and fantastic chicken samosas, but anyone who knows me well knows that I do love food and have a food memory that lasts like no other. This, however, was so decadent and mouth watering that it is unlikely I could ever do justice with my writing in just what my palette experienced.
That evening we walked back to the hotel rather than taking a cab. It was a nice evening out in Paris and the rain had stopped. It took about a half hour to get back, and when we did I jumped straight into a bath.
I have often judged a hotel by the bathing facilities within. While in Norten Hardenburgh, Germany in 2003 I found the bathroom to rival all others with a jetted tub. I finally met its match, if not its superior. The French certainly know a lot about comfort and relaxation.
It was the perfect way to end my first day in Paris.
Ah, Paris. How I love Paris.