Only An Hour Away . . .
After my novel was completely out of my hands and not yet “live,” we celebrated with lunch at our favorite garden hide away Les Climats, a Michelin star restaurant, with a bucolic lunchtime garden, and La Cave des Climats, the chic wine bar with 28,000 bottles in the cellar from 276 wine makers --a must-visit destination for Burgundy-philes. The menu is always a delight, with seasonal specialties by the young and talented Chef Emmanue Kouri. Scrumptious imaginings such as tomatoes marinated in lemon thyme/tarragon vinaigrette, old balsamic sorbet, fresh almonds; John Dory, from the Brittany coast, steamed with seaweed, simmered periwinkles, potatoes and sauced with sea fennel, lovage and nasturtium butter; Roast duck breast, creamy polenta, chanterelle mushrooms and fresh corn glazed with old Xeres and duck jus are some of the many and varied choices depending on the season. You can follow en suite with Ossau-Iraty ice cream, black cherries, piment and Lot hazelnuts, Wild
strawberries coated with candied rhubarb and red shiso leaves, strawberry sorbet and crispy Arlette, or my favorite (as a chocaholic) Grand Cru Chocolate with Passion Fruit Almond and cacao biscuit, passion fruit and cardamom infused cream, cacao ice cream.
This restaurant is housed in what had been the old Paris Telegraph & Telephone Building. Le Télégraphe – located at 41 rue de Lille, Paris VIIe – was designed by Architecte E. Bliault in 1905 and also housed its single workers as well as those who came from the provences to gain employment. The restaurant, le Télégraphe, had its début in the the 80s after the telegraph became obsolete and the building was vacant. We chanced to come upon it in 1986, the year that the Musée d’Orsay opened and we happened to be staying in a small hotel on the same street and just a block away. We adored the ambience of this restaurant and the dollar was strong, so we came whenever we were in Paris. Then finally we visited in April one year and it was an unusually cold springtime. There was a gap of about two-inches between the sleeve of my coat and the top of my gloves, so needless to say, I suffered a terrible spell of hypothermia and could not rid myself of the chills for hours and hours on our very last night before we had to leave Paris and return to Los Angeles.
My darling Ted covered me up with all of the blankets he could muster and piled all of our coats and everything else he could find in the room on top of me in the bed in an attempt to warm me, but to no avail. We had a reservation for that evening at Le Telegraph, and it was clear that I wouldn’t be able to go out of the room that night. Ted tried valiantly to convince the restaurant to allow him to bring our dinner back to our hotel, but they would not hear of giving us 'take away’ in those days. Unfortunately that was the last year that the Telegraph was in business, and when we returned again, it had closed its doors due to the effects of the recession in the early 90s.
Happily, coinciding with our permanent move to Paris,
a new restaurant opened in that same spot: Les Climats. And that’s how our love affair with that establishment began and continues to this day, year ‘round, indoors and out in their divine garden or their upscale and updated dining room. Now you might be asking, what are Les Climats? I was told that they are unique Burgundy microclimates, the precisely-defined vineyard parcels that are so important to the world of wine and to the region which, since 2015, is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
As limited as we are to venture more than a day-trip from home in Paris, in favor of our little Mickey, we continue to discover the marvelous small and not so small Chateaux, with their gorgeous gardens, all within an hour’s drive from home. While waiting for our friends to return from vacance, and for my mystery novel to populate the websites of the world, we last visited two Chateaux in Yvelines.
Our trip to Les Chateux Rambouillet had been planned for some time. There we found not only a splendid little castle, partly renovated, flowering gardens and enormous water elements we could only have dreamed of. Of course pictures are worth a thousand blah, blah, blah's. But I might add that Ted had discovered a bucolic restaurant by a pond, not too far from the chateaux, and had reserved a special table for our lunch that
day. On the road from Rambouillet to the restaurant, we passed a sign that brought us back to that same spot days later the next week. The sign indicated Le Chateau de Dampierre-en-Yvelines, and the name brought us back to memories of the Marquis who was so hospitable when we first arrived on May 3, 2016. This former home of Elie de Dampierre's ancestors would surely be our next destination, but not until after our
appointment on Wednesday, September 1st at the Prefecture de Paris to apply for our 10-year Carte de Residence that, after having lived in France these past five years, would transform us from immigrants to the level of tried and true residents of France. All month long, our adventures carried a backdrop of angst, while we prepared our two dossiers on most days, each the size of an old-fashioned Los Angeles telephone book. This year was like no other at the Prefecture. We were not only applying for our ten-year Carte de Residence, but we were separated in two different places with Jean, our trusty “fixer” shuttling back and forth between us, each in our own cubby hole and with two very different government administrators.
I was lucky this time. My number drew a youngish woman of African descent who was trés gentile. And for the first time, I could handle most everything in french with this caring and patient woman working with me in good faith. I understood her and I was able to make myself understood -- a new experience. I even told jokes in French, and we laughed and giggled our way through that mess of paperwork together.
In contrast, Ted landed in a cubicle with an older woman, more than a bit crabby, probably about having to come back to work from her holidays, and utterly unimpressed by Ted’s cultured French manners and language. Our ‘fixer” had his work cut out for him. Finally we were finished, after three hours, with a good prognosis for success.
After the ordeal, we sat for coffee at our favorite place to celebrate a successful visit to the Prefecture, “Les Deux Palais,” right across from the famous St. Chappelle. Afterward we walked all the way home by the river. It was a beautiful day and we were treated to a surprise display of the maneuvers of the Pompiers, one by one jumping off the Pont Neuf in their bright red wetsuits,
and taking turns rescuing one another, coordinating with the boat and it’s supply of rubber rafts. As we passed through the arches that lead to the Place de La Louvre, we enjoyed the view of the Carousel and ended the day relieved to arrive home before the rains that had been promised for that afternoon.
Friday, we spent the day at The Chateau de Dampierre-en-Yvelines, and although the impressive castle was closed for renovations, the gardens were vast and
utterly enchanting. We took a golf cart in order to see the endless grounds and gardens. After we‘d had our fill of eye-candy, including horses in pastures, little streams and brooks, Canadian geese, forests galore, and carriages and mules, we
returned to Les Terrasse des Clairfontaine-en-Yvelines for another delicious déjeuner and a walk around the pond. This was to be our last outing for at least a week, as the weather was forecast to be too warm and/or rainy, and I had my book-launch coming up for “Couched in Blood” on Monday the 6th.
I spent most of the weekend, after a trip to the open Marché on Saturday, making take after take of a little movie for the occasion of my book launch, and was finally "successful enough" by Monday’s upload for social media. So, you can view me making an old fool out of myself below, doing what I am told is necessary in order to be a “complete author” these days.
Have a good laugh, but don’t let this camera-shy author be the cause for dismissal of a good whodunit, or is it a whydunit? I think you might enjoy the read, and the discovery of who lives, who dies, and how I tell the story!
Stay safe, and happy reading to you all!