After such a late night last night, I fear that I am turning into a nocturnal creature of Paris
The guilt of not seeing monuments and museums is starting to build up again but it only lasts for a short time.
Since Jim Hayne’s dinner my mobile phone hasn’t stopped ringing and my pocket book is full shall we say!
Not really knowing for sure how or when it came about but I am definitely a rive droite – right side of the river girl. It only occurred to me that I hadn’t really spent any time on the left bank at all.
With an invitation to meet for drinks at 7pm in a café near the Notre Dame Café Panis and carrying a slight hangover from the night before I decided a good square meal was in order and it was time to venture over to the other side of the river.
Le Procope 13, rue de l’Ancienne Comedie 75006 Paris is the oldest restaurant in Paris.
As I left the busy, Boulevard St-Germain and slipped into rue de l’Ancienne Comedie, I could see the lovely ancient restaurant.
Upon entering, my coat was stylishly and swiftly whisked away into the cloak room, a receipt number was slipped into my hand, a white clothed table was pulled out and I was guided over to the red banquette seating.
An Australian couple sat for only minutes and left intimidated by their surroundings, which was a shame and appeared rude to the bewildered wait staff.
What could appear to some as stuffy, with the attentive staff and white napery, is in fact a very stylish and relaxed restaurant. I notice the staff fooling around, doing John Clease walks when no one was watching and this added to the relaxed atmosphere.
There is also a number of upstairs areas, where well heeled business people were eating and chatting away.
After running my eyes over the menu, I decided that I should have a speciality of the house and see how this restaurant has managed to stay open since 1686.
One of the specialities was Coq au Vin but I spotted veau, I love the way the French cook the veal, thinly sliced, normally in a lovely creamy sauce and generally with potatoes. It came with potatoes, decision made. I sipped on a glass of Bordeaux with anticipation.
The waiter approaches me, I can see a rich dark demi-glace sauce, he carries it as if it Venetian glass and one wrong move and it will break. He places the plate down, says bon appetite and I have a grin from ear to ear. I have ordered medium rare, with a demi-glaze mustard sauce, kidneys! I look around to see if perhaps, this is a joke they pull on tourists, or perhaps the man from candid camera is going to pop his head around the corner. Smile – I was, but it was more from the sinking feeling that I would have to eat medium rare kidneys, with a hangover, this was not a joke, in a place where their other speciality is veal head –
The sauce was amazing, and the kidneys weren’t too bad once I got over the shock of realising what I had ordered. Every French person I tell the story to thnks it is funny but they love this dish. Well if I am meant to be, when in Paris….
High in protein and I guess low in fat, by the time I walk around a bit before my 7pm meeting, I should have burned the kidneys off.
It started to get really windy, I jumped on the pave outside the Notre Dame, reminding her to grant my wish that I want to come back again and then took a seat inside for a bit to get out of the wind. Once again I ended up in the Marais. I really do love this area and seem to be drawn back to it time and time again.
I said hi to my mates at L’Etoile Manquante, gave them a good laugh with my kidney story and scurried back over the other side of the river to meet for drinks at Panis.
After much chatter and laughter, we began to put on our layers of scarves and coats, to go in our respective directions but somehow we ended up in an amazing cave that plays blues and jazz.
Down a dangerously skinny spiral staircase to two small rooms, with rock walls, we are literally in the basement.
A steady flow of musicians come to jam at Le Caveau des Oubbliettes
A fantastic, free venue, with great music and a wonderful laid back crowd. We bopped to one young French music student who amazed us all with his saxophone playing skills.
A nightcap at Georgies and I walked the empty quiet streets of Paris at 4am.
What another amazing day. Each and every day unfolds and shows me another Paris I didn’t know.