Sunday, April 3, 2011

La Vie est Belle

It is the contrasts in life that make it interesting...deep black with golden light...warm balmy weather compared to the power of a snowstorm. Then there is the sprinkling of salty fleur de sel on sweet, chewy caramels and the contrast of firm comté cheese with soft delicate figs. How could we appreciate the best if we had it all of the time? Eating dark rich chocolate every day would get boring. OK, well maybe not boring, but certainly better with the contrast of flavors. March was a month of contrasts for me. It was my first month based out of JFK and I had a 3 week vacation at the beginning that was a staycation. I wanted to tie up loose ends before things got hectic. That involved preparing income taxes, spring cleaning and more unpleasant obligations. I was going to Tokyo at the end of the month and was really looking forward to it. Then the world broke loose, literally. So many lives changed and ended with the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I watched the news day by day as things just got worse. My heart went out to the people of Japan.

My staycation began to fill with discord. My furnace broke and I had no heat for 3 days $$$!!! My garbage disposer broke and flooded. I was having a continuation of a bad reaction to pine nuts. An eye issue developed. Put in perspective these were all minor things, but happening all at once made them a little worse. Phone calls poured in from friends and relatives asking me to not go on my Tokyo trip. I concurred. As much as I wanted to be a part of the effort to keep flights moving in and out of Tokyo, things were just unfolding, and still are. I changed my Tokyo trip for a Paris trip that worked to Paris and deadheaded (rode as a passenger) home. Sweet. My friends Nancy and Helen were there staying at the Four Seasons George V and invited me to stay with them, if I could stay instead of deadheading home. Real sweet!
Contrasting to my earlier month, everything started to fall into place, albeit slowly. When I left Boston to commute to JFK, it was snowing and we were 2 hours late as we had to be de-iced. I sat and read and watched videos while waiting to takeoff. Once in NY, I was headed to Paris :-) Leaving the snow behind, I arrived in Paris to warm sunny weather and with the prospect of being able to stay for days with friends at the George V, no less. Ah, contrasts! What a difference a day makes. At the George V, day begins with coffee and newspaper delivered to the elegant room with French doors opening onto a balcony overlooking Paris. The energy of Paris entered through our open balcony doors like a long awaited guest. I settled in.

Later, while we were having cocktails before dinner, I called my company and was able to stay in Paris. We toasted! La vie est belle...Life is good. We lingered over canapés of fois gras, smoked salmon and goat cheese on baguette toasts. Beautiful Helen arranged this experience at the George V. I think I'll adopt her as my Fairy Godmother.Not wanting to ever leave this magical place, we were running a little late for our dinner reservation at Fish Boissonnerie. No problem, the concierge phoned the restaurant and then called a car for us. As we zipped from the right bank to the left bank, the Eiffel Tower was brightly sparkling in the dark sky. We were warmly greeted at the restaurant that has become one of our favorites. They serve all types of fish and other dishes here. They also own a wine shop La Dernière Goutte, around the corner thus the play on words with the combo of poisson (fish) and boisson (drink) in their name, Fish Boissonnerie. Our warm vichyssoise had the prize of oysters in the bottom. The fish courses as well as my lamb with sweet potato puree, were each the perfect contrasting prelude to dessert. Creamy panna cotta, dark rich chocolate cake and a coffee flavored crème brûlée all tasted delightful...yes, we shared!The unpleasant memory of the beginning of March was quickly diminishing. I was still having my eye issue, but liked what I saw!

The next day the hotel staff was truly at our service again to offer suggestions and answer questions.
No request is too large for the concierge desk and I think they must have some stories to tell. The whole staff loved Nancy....almost as much as we do.We didn't want to leave this gracious hotel. Even the business center was so inviting. But of course this was Paris, and we were going out. Our day was filled with walking, shopping and soaking in the sunshine and warm air. An Egyptian mummy sat dead still on a park bench in the Tuilleries and bowed as coins were dropped in his bowl. It was a day of surprises. Thinking about our next meal was delicious and I knew any surprises at the restaurant would be wonderful. Helen had secured a reservation at a 2 Michelin star restaurant. One of the hottest seats in town. So far I was liking this contrast.

La vie est belle!

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Kathy Walker said...

Contrasts indeed! Sorry to hear about your month's rough beginning but oh, such a fairy tale ending! Take care.

linda said...

glad that positive energy began flowing your way…& what a grand & wonderful comfort to spend time with such caring friends…& the george V no less…i remember the most exquisite floral arrangements gracing the lobby.
i hope that we will hear about the 2 star restaurant you scored a meal @ in another post!
wishing you all the best & hope that you are well…& that we will meet up for a drink once you are settled.

La Table De Nana said...

I am so glad your life turned so belle!!
You deserve it..
And what a belle vie it is..
I can't imagine ever staying in a hotel that looks like that in Paris..
Dian your photos are sublime.
It's what fairy tales are made of this latest trip of yours..
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your blog..and you:)

Keep well..and keep getting better.
Hope the eye and pin nut situations get solved very very fast.

La Table De Nana said...

I seem to have forgotten a couple of e's along the way..DianE and pinE:)

~ ~ Ahrisha ~ ~ said...

Thanks for sharing. Can I join you next time your in Paris? Sounds De~ ~vine!

~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

Melanie said...

Wow! It looks like you had a lovely time. So amazing!

Unknown said...

I can't thank you enough for this wonderful blog. Even though I was right there with you, I now have these memories forever because of your amazing photos. "Nous aurons toujours Paris"

Dianne said...

I love this post and the beautiful photo of the Eiffel Tower - always lovely to see photos of in every light and from every angle.
I'm going straight back to read this lovely post again.
Have a wonderful week. xx

Deana Sidney said...

I have such special memories of the George V, the first fancy hotel I stayed in when in Paris... they do make you feel like royalty, don't they... the freight is a little beyond me these days!!! You are so lucky to have a little group and a stellar arranger to do it with. The days did get better... so sorry about Tokyo... it is a great destination that I pray will get back to normal. I can't imagine going there now...

Lovely pics, as always... I want the soup with the oyster, please!

Hazel - Chicken in a Cherry Sauce said...

Wow! I envy you! This sounds like an absolutely fabulous trip. The hotel looks stunning, and your photos!