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  • Writer's pictureClarke Wallace


Several weeks ago, Rosanne and I flew to Paris to celebrate our 30TH anniversary, and squeeze in a small toast to my new book, HARM’S WAY. We arrived early one Friday morning and would spend three full days there and fly back on Monday. Roe and I accomplished things that we’ve wanted to do, but never got around to it.

We’d been up the Eiffel Tower, but never eaten there. We’d watched the Bateaux Mouches tour boats plying the Seine as they passed under the small bridge close to Notre Dame Cathedral, but we never went on one together.

We had arranged through the Chateau Dauphine St. Germain, our favorite hotel on the Left Bank, to have someone waiting when we arrived at the De Gaulle Airport. A driver was holding up a sign: WALLACE. A blessing, after a seven-hour flight.

We’ve stayed at the hotel on several occasions. Our small, cozy room overlooked a small courtyard where our windows actually opened, letting in the fresh air at night.

Having settled in, we headed for Le Départ bistro, on Place St. Michel and lunched practically on the sidewalk: croque madame for Roe, a croque monsieur, for me. Frosty beers washed those down as we people-watched the crowd passing by. On the way there, Roe picked up a crepe sucre from an open window.

A glance across the Seine we saw what was left of Notre Dame Cathedral after the terrible fired, its façade holding true; the rest bound up in scaffolding as construction workers slow and patiently restored it.

It was late afternoon when we left Place Saint Michel. We’d had little sleep on the plane and stretched out on hotel bed to fall asleep fully clothed.

Hours later we were looking for a familiar place where you cook your own dinner. We found Café des Arts, a small, quiet, intimate spot. The server covers a solid stone unit, a Pierade, with rock salt and turns it on. When hot enough you place small slabs of meat to cook. Roe chose beef and me, lamb, taking them off when they were somewhere between rare and medium.

The maitre d’ suggested a 2014 Bordeaux, Chateau Chamille, if I got it right. A good choice.

One disappointment hit us when arriving at Port d’Alma to catch the Bateaux Mouches. Our boat was the Patache surrounded by glass, both windows and roof. We had booked through the Bateaux Mouches, but our reservation got sidetracked, putting us unknowingly in a restaurant of theirs on the Seine shoreline, meaning it was there to stay.

Of the hundreds catching the late dinner excursion, there was one cancellation. Roe and I were promised if the couple didn’t show up unexpectedly, it was ours.. After an anxious hour, we climbed aboard.

It was a night of music, dancing, and eating - starting with champagne – an unimaginable two to three hours cruising the Seine, coming around the backside of the island before finally docking at Place d’Alma. Neither of us was in good shape to walk down the gangplank – mostly me – and flag a taxi.

Author’s comment: The piece de resistance was dinner in the Jules Verne restaurant, found two thirds up in the Tour Eiffel. Waiters in black tie, black suits, others who brought you courses under silver domes setting them down at the same time. Unveiled to show a crab delicacy topped with egg whites. Or cauliflower smothered in caviar while someone else refilled our flutes with champagne. And the cost of this wonderful indulgence? Ah, go see for yourself.

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