The Adventures of BJ and Tony Morris
brother (Ill call him Bro) mentioned that he was taking a business trip
to Bordeaux with his friend, the wine buyer for a chain of liquor stores. The business at hand was to taste the
2004 Bordeaux wines to determine which ones to purchase.
Sounds like a pretty good excuse for a trip to me! Bro decided to go over early so he could hang out
in Paris and enjoy some savory dining experiences before meeting his friend in Bordeaux. Thinking hed like some company in Paris, Tony
and I invited ourselves along. (We were
unsuccessful in getting ourselves invited on the Bordeaux tasting part of the trip.)
Bro, quite the planner, made dining reservations at some of Paris most prestigious restaurants well in advance of the trip. Tony and I discussed that this was going to be a very expensive trip, but decided that it would be worth it to enjoy the time with Bro, so we decided to splurge. Bro reserved a room in a nice hotel near the Louvre and the Opera called the Etats Unis Opera. Tony and I reserved a room at the nearby slightly less convenient, slightly less well appointed and slightly less costly Malte Opera hotel.
As the time of
travel drew nearer, it started to look like the lack of available seats on the Paris
flights might foil our plans so I began looking for alternatives. The most favorable route looked like one through
Stuttgart and then to Paris on Air France. Air
France is one of Deltas partner airlines, so we were able to purchase a reduced fare
on the connection through our affiliation with Delta.
The fare was quite affordable, but we were disappointed to see that the
addition of taxes caused the cost to more than double!
Sunday, the day of
our departure, we packed. Bro had instructed
that we would need formal attire for the restaurants, so I packed a silk jumpsuit and Tony
a silk sport coat and a spiffy new ($7.95, about 6) silk tie that
he had purchased the day before. We were able
to bypass the LONG International Check-In line at the airport by going to the far left end
of the counter to the International Check-In No Bags counter. We both whizzed through security without so much as
having to remove our shoes and made it out to E Concourse with plenty of time to spare. Just as we were approaching the gate, the clasp on
the belt on my fanny pack broke. Not to worry
though, with time to spare, I was able to ride the train back to T Concourse where I knew
there was a Wilson Leather
shop. At Wilsons, I found a fanny pack
almost identical to my defunct one. The trip
was saved! As soon as I got back from T
Concourse, I heard them calling for Morris, party of 2. We retrieved our boarding passes and settled down
into 1C & 1D. We enjoyed dinner (pasta
with scallops for me and steak for Tony) while watching Meet the Fockers. We barely made it though our ice cream sundaes
before we were asleep. About an hour before
landing, I awoke to the sound of the flight attendants offering Orange
Juissssssssssssssssss and Breakfasssssssssst around the cabin. Thanks to my friend Karla who pointed out this
annoying sound on a previous trip, I now can no longer sleep through the repetitive
hissing of these two words.
In Stuttgart, the
Air France agent assigned seats as soon as we checked in.
It was a short flight to Paris. I
had done my homework and decided that the Roissybus
was the best way to get to our hotel. We were
just about to board when Bro called. His
flight had just arrived in Paris as well. We
agreed to meet at his hotel in about an hour. The
Roissybus dropped us off near the Opera.
When we got off the bus, I whipped out my new wrist GPS (they dont call me gadget-girl for nothing) and navigated us right to our hotel door. Our room was tiny, with barely enough room to walk around the bed, but it was clean so we were satisfied. Bro called to say that he had just gotten off the Roissybus and couldnt find his hotel. We had him wait for us so we could show him the wonders of the new wrist GPS as we guided him to his hotel. As it turns out, he was on Chaussee d'Antin when his hotel was on Rue dAntin. I guess dAntin in Paris is like Peachtree in Atlanta. His hotel room was very nice with its own private balcony overlooking a quiet side street.
The weather was beautiful so we decided to find
an outdoor café and enjoy a glass of wine. We
found a nice sunny table near the Opera. The
service was very slow, reminding me of my first trip to Jamaica where I learned the term,
Soon Come. Patience paid off
though and we enjoyed a nice bottle of wine with some cheese as we watched the Parisians
hurry by on the busy street.
One fellow carrying a large clear plastic bag
of what looked like Captain Crunch cereal entertained us by trying to figure out how we
was going to transport this bag on his motorcycle. Tony
thought the bag contained Bay Scallops from the seafood shop down the street. The fellow finally stuffed the bag inside his
leather jacket and zoomed away, dropping his cell phone.
We retrieved it, but were unable to get his attention. We contemplated making a few phone calls, but
finally decided to turn the phone in at the restaurant.
Paying the bill was as time consuming as ordering.
Bro mentioned that he needed to purchase a tie
for the restaurant outings the next day. He
had picked out a shop called Charvet from his
tour book. I later learned that Charvet is
where the Duke of Windsor shopped!
Bro discussed our
plans for the trip with the snooty sales clerk who turned up his nose at Bros plans
to wear his sport coat to Taillevent until he learned that it was a lunch engagement. He approved of Bros plans to wear a suit to
the dinner destination. At this point, since
Tony had not brought a suit, we started to think we might bow out on the dinner
engagement. We decided to discuss this with
Bro after the shopping experience. With the
assistance of the snooty sales clerk, Bro picked out 5 ties to match his sport coat. In heavily accented English, the sales clerk said,
Now you have to decide on one.
Much to the
delight of the snooty sales clerk, Bro informed him that he would take them all. I learned why the clerk was so delighted when I
finally found the prices posted on top of the tie racks.
At 110 each, I
decided I should stop referring to them as ties and start calling them cravates!
We left Charvet
and started meandering toward the river admiring the sights along the way.
We stopped for a
glass of wine across from the Louvre. It was
here that we broke the news to Bro about our plans for dinner the following night. Bro took it very well and said that he didnt
mind going to dinner by himself. We wandered
into the gardens surrounding the Louvre.
With some coaxing,
I posed for a picture with one of the statues.
Since it was our
first night, Bro had selected what he termed an inexpensive bistro near Notre Dame for our
We were a bit
early, arriving before the bistro opened so we stopped next door for a glass of wine. When Le Vieux Bistro opened,
we sauntered next door to be the first customers. Bro
asked us if we liked white wine, since we had only been drinking red wine all day. We both agreed that we liked Chardonnay, but not
too many other white varieties. Bro and the
waiter pored over the wine list and Bro finally selected Le Cygne, a Bordeaux Blanc which
they jokingly referred to as a Chardonnay. It
was delicious with just a hint of peach flavor. We
enjoyed this with our appetizers of Goat Cheese Salad, Leek Salad, Fois Gras, and Duck
Salad. The 2002 Roc de Cambos Cotes de
Bourg accompanied the main course of Porc Medallions and Boeuf
shared desserts of Crème Brulee and Tiramisu. It
was an excellent meal!
idea of inexpensive and mine didnt exactly align, but not so much that it caused me
alarm. We made our way back to our hotels via
the subway since our feet were hurting from the long walk in our dress shoes.
fell into bed and slept until 10AM the next morning, only waking briefly for the 6AM
wakeup call that the previous guests must have left for us.
How thoughtful! Bro called
shortly after we awoke. He too had slept in
and missed breakfast. Bro suggested a taxi to
our lunch locale, but my previous experience with Paris taxis has made me wary. (On a previous trip, a group of ten of us had split
into 3 taxis at the airport. When we hooked up
at the hotel, we had paid 3 VASTLY different amounts.
It seems there are no regulations governing taxi rates in Paris). It was a beautiful day and we were only one subway
stop from the restaurant, so we decided to take that route. Note how nice the boys
look, Bro in his cravate and Tony in his tie!
arrived at Taillevent a bit
early and loitered outside. I took a gander at
the menu posted outside the restaurant while we waited.
I almost gasped audibly when I read the prices. The least expensive appetizer was 42. I told myself that we were there to be with Bro, so
wed just have to splurge. After we were
seated, we were offered a glass of champagne and some delicious melt-in-your-mouth cheese
puffs. When I started reading the extra large
menu with its extra large prices, all I could think was Holy Cow!
In addition to the extra large menu, we were also given a small tasting menu with two options, each with seven courses. One menu was 130 per person and the other was 180 per person. Holy Cow! I asked Tony if he had made a selection yet. He said he was thinking of the Goat Cheese Appetizer (45) and the Filet of Boeuf (80). Holy Cow! Bro asked if we would rather have the tasting menu (all at the table had to order this if one did). We said that we would have that if he wanted to. The waiter reviewed the items on the tasting menus. I mentioned that I didnt care for one of the items that he mentioned, frog legs. That was an item on the
There was a
wine list on the inside of the extra large menu, but Bro asked for the wine book. He
ordered a bottle of honest-to-goodness Chardonnay this time for starters. An array
of silverware and glasses was laid out, we unfolded napkins (the size of bed sheets) and
the meal began.
With the conversion rate for the Euro, our lunch in Paris cost the three of us almost $1300! " 100 which didnt come close to paying for our share, but Bro insisted that he would rather pay more and be able to order what he wanted."
BJ and Tony Morris