The intent this morning was for James to run and me to lounge around in bed. Instead we lazily lounged around until we decided to do something before lunch, but just late enough that the lines for the Modern Art Museum were out of control (also the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays and the masses flock elsewhere!). Instead, we sat outside a carousel, eventually rode it, and stalked a couple who had a pair of backpacks we desperately wanted (only to find out you can get them in Spain, but pretty much anywhere else they are nonexistent).
For lunch I made reservations at Le Jules Verne, a restaurant located dead smack in the middle of the Eiffel Tower. From the ground, you can see a restaurant, which we assumed was JV. Nope. This restaurant is literally tucked away on the second observation deck. A terrifying elevator ride, and we arrived to about 40 waiters all greeting us. Our seats were incredible – on the outskirts of the room, which meant we were next to a window the whole time. Similar to Top of the Hub, for those who have been there before – but with a piece of the Tower blocking your view (even cooler).
I let them know that I was gluten free and they brought the usual olives to the table. I’ve become accustomed to eating olives, which I used to detest, simply because its the only thing I can often have while everyone else is gorging on bread. And then they brought out warm, delicious gluten free bread. I don’t know what they do here to their bread, but it is nothing like you get the in the States. Nutty, and complex, soft in the center, but not crumbly. Unless you’ve eaten gluten free bread, none of this will make sense – but trust me on it. The amuse bouche was a piece of fish served on a cabbage and purple potato salad. For my appetizer I had warm asparagus with ham, peas and a massive pot of hollandaise sauce (I ate all of the sauce, spreading it on my vegetables and my bread of course). James had a mackerel tart. For our entree I had the duck and James had the beef. Dessert we both ordered what we thought was mango sorbet. It was not. It was literally a pile of mango with some sort of passion fruit sauce on it, with a small side of sorbet. Then they brought out chocolate, homemade marshmallows, cream puffs, macaroons and more. It was literal heaven.
We left lunch, satisfied and completely full. Next stop? The sewer system museum. I had read this was a cool, off the beaten track place to go. After the mornings experience where we were unable to get in, I was a little nervous about the lines. I don’t know why. The sewer museum is not in an old part of the sewer that’s unused. No, this is in an active area of the sewer, where waste from the Eiffel Tower region is flowing under our feet. It was…. disgusting. I walked around with my scarf covering my face. In fairness, we learned a lot, but I would not advise going after eating. Ever. It smells like your worst nightmare.
Following, we headed to the Technology Museum (Musée des arts et métiers). I heard there was a subway station underneath that was abandoned during WWII. Sadly I didn’t find this subway. But the museum was really cool – a thermometer invented by Galileo. The original Foucault pendulum resides here, and is active. I wish I wasn’t so tired. Oddly enough, it was the only place I spoke entirely in French to the staff and they didn’t bat an eye. I still can’t do a very good job – but have gotten down the basics.
Afterwards, we meandered the streets. We headed to a famed chocolate shop, but when entering, it was the most overwhelming and sterile place. And the chocolate was insanely priced (130 euro for 1 kilogram). I opted to buy my chocolate in Brussels and left. We went to Merci next – a concept store that is everything Urban Outfitters wishes it was. Incredibly expensive, but definitely fascinating. We wandered around for a good 30 – 40 minutes before our dinner reservation. There were many books I wish to purchase, but of course they were only in French. Hopefully I can find the English translations back at home.
For dinner, we had made reservations at Frenchies – a highly recommended place by multiple people. Frenchies serves a tasting menu, and everyone receives the same five courses. I stopped taking notes after the second course, so here it is from memory: a thinly sliced fish with some sort of citrus salad, foie gras with beet and rhubarb jelly, monk fish with a coffee cream, duck, blood orange sorbet and the most amazing mint chocolate dessert (think a sort of ice cream on the bottom, melted brownie in the middle and sugar circle on top). We left satisfied and I would echo everyone else’s sentiments: go to Frenchies!
During dinner we heard that the unions that work for the trains were on strike – so here’s to getting to Brussels tomorrow. According to our train’s website our train is unaffected. Fingers crossed. I have chocolate to buy and James has waffles to eat.