Friday, July 19, 2013
MAJESTIC SITES AND BITES
We took a leisurely stroll through the gardens of the Chateau de Saint Germain, with a spectacular view of the Paris and its western suburbs from its terrace, and had lunch at an outdoor cafe located in the park. Versailles was even more spectacular, though we did not try to enter the Chateau itself due to the carloads of tourists who formed a line of several hundred yards snaking across the cobblestone courtyard. But the park, with its classical statuary, manicured hedges and dozens of ornate fountains (none functioning at the time, unfortunately) was worth the visit in itself. An added attraction was a series of monumental sculptures by Italian artist Guiseppe Panone.
Back home, John and I worked on some Django Reinhardt tunes—Daphne, Minor Swing, Swing 42, Dounce Ambiance—which we hope to do live next time we get together at the Columns in New Orleans in October. Dinner was at the Brasserie du Théâtre, across the street from the Chateau de Saint Germain, bathed in its golden nightie illumination. Sylvaine and I introduced our guests to several varieties of local oysters (no ketchup or horseradish, only lemon juice or vinegar and shallots), raw mussels, sea snails, and possibly the world's best baba au rhum, liberally doused with Saint James rum and topped with home-made crème Chantilly. The night before, Sylvaine had fed them a rabbit stew (fricasée de lapin) washed down with a nice Macon red, so we had them pretty well acclimated to the French way of life by the time they left.