"Everyone knows the more you wear pearls, little by little they become real....And isn't it the same with memories?" - The Madwoman of Chaillot

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We'll always have Paris....

During our bike tour, we were reminded of a story that comes to mind often when you look at Paris, either from a distance as today or from in the city. The Nazis had occupied Paris and when Hitler knew his troops must retreat from Paris, he instructed his General Dietrich Von Choltitz to place explosives under all the major buildings and landmarks in order to destroy the city if he couldn't have it. But the general did not agree with this and did not want to go down in history as the man who destroyed Paris. So he disobeyed and when Hitler asked, as they were driven out by the resistance, "Is Paris burning?", he was told yes and thought he had destroyed the city so no one could have it. Sadly von Choltitz was never really celebrated or thanked by the allies, although certainly he must be appreciated now...I know he is by me...

We walked about 15 minutes to our RER train which we caught near the Opera. It was quite full but we had seats for the approximately 45 min trip to St Germain-en-laye which included many stops. The town is considered on the outskirts of Paris and you can see Paris from it as it is up on a hill. There is a law in Paris about how high the building can be but obviously there are the areas outside the main old city with the usual tall buildings but very glad they kept them outside.

Bill checking his GPS to find the way to the hotel

The old castle comes in view as you exit the underground train station

And our hotel - what remains of the "new castle" built by King Henri IV.

Entering our room

Rainbow out our window

View of Paris - the tall thin thing in the middle on the horizon is the Eifel tower.

More views of this beautiful old hotel

The room where King Louis XIV was born. Looking at the grandeur of royal sites and the riches in Paris as well as this place you really start to understand why there was a revolution....although having Napoleon take over was like having more royalty...

Just a small part of the grounds with the wall that was part of a series of walls and terraces that went down to the river Seine. More on that in the next entry...

My birthday dinner in St Germain-en-laye - at hmmm, forgot the name but have it written down, will update later...

First they brought a mushroom soup that was delicious

Then Foie Gras with chocolate that Bill ordered

Bill's duck dish with raspberries and black currant reduction - duck is our favorite "plat" in France

And my lamb hock with quinoa - as amazing as it looks

Dessert - Bill had Peach Soup in Verbena infusion with bitter almond ice cream

And my Encounter of Raspberries (which were actually strawberries, something lost in the translation I guess) and Ganache on a hazelnut chocolate bisquit.

Were they good?

Goodnight Paris - view out our window with Eifel tower lit up

Tomorrow a walking tour of St Germain-en-laye and the Vieux Castle (old castle)

No comments: