Le Train Bleu

I joined a friend for lunch the other day at the Train Bleu, a luxurious restaurant found in the train station, Gare de Lyon. Trains from this station head towards the south of France and all of the paintings on the walls are of the various destinations most painted around 1900.

 

 

 

A train ready for departure. Train stations are always freezing cold in the winter as there are high roofs and large openings.

The stairs on either side leading up to le Train Bleu.

The bar. People were pouring in, many with suitcases and you needed a reservation for a table although I think there were some low tables near the bar available. They were turning people away. Most of the clients seemed like businessmen to me.

Just part of the stunning interior.

The view from my table.

If you like rum, the dessert of Baba Rhum is right up your alley. It’s sort of a pound cake which soaks up the rum. I read that it began when the exiled king of Poland was in France. The cake that was to be served for dessert was too dry so they poured rum on it.

I dropped into the nearby CitizenM hotel to look at their fun lobby. It’s a very lively place.

Chez Panisse

Chez Panisse is a very famous restaurant in Berkeley founded by Alice Waters known for starting the fresh food movement-farm to table. It is incredibly fresh food. We joined my friend for lunch there. The tomatoes on my plate were fabulous. We met a man outside the restaurant delivering fresh vegetables that came directly from a Sonoma farm, one that had escaped the fire.

These were setting on the counter overlooking the kitchen as we entered.

The outside entrance.

They make their own bubbly water so there aren’t tons of bottles to be disposed of. I like their glasses too.

This huge incredible tree stretched high over the entrance. It was called something like a BuiBui tree. Whatever the name, it was gorgeous.

Fusion

I’ve heard of restaurants serving fusion food but haven’t had any. I get sort of suspicious when I see a place that offers both Japanese and Mexican food. How could both in the same place be good? I was with my son who is on a business meeting here in Scottsdale and we were looking for some chinese food when we saw the name SumoMaya and decided to try it and, indeed, there was Japanese and Mexican food and it was good. I especially liked the interior. It wasn’t cheap though.

The front door.

See? Mexican and Japanese.

An interesting cocktail, sort of a mix between a Pimms and a Moscow Mule.

The bar.

I especially liked this tree which looked live but I suspect wasn’t as who wants leaves and sap dropping into their food?

Eating in Style

I joined a friend the other day at a new place in Paris for lunch. It’s an Alan Ducasse restaurant called Champeaux, a modern take on the Paris Bistro with a railway theme going on too. It is under the new glass canopy of the les Halles shopping mall which was converted last year at an enormous cost. They have drawn in famous chefs and designers like Ducasse and Philippe Starck to bring in people to eat and admire. I’m not a fan of the les Halles area but it is near my favourite street, rue Montorgueil, and you can make a stop at the church of St Eustache. The food was good too.

One wall has those signs like you find in railway stations that go clickity clack when turning over letters to put up notifications of trains leaving and arriving. In this case it had menus and various announcements.

We had their speciality, souffles, one asparagus, one cheese. Very good.

And we shared this pistachio souffle with caramel ice cream to insert into the hot middle of the souffle.Yummy.

The cute bartender with his chic hat.

This sculpture, l’Ecoute, is nearby outside of the St Eustache Church.

Wisteria in Paris

I love wisteria, the sweet fragrance, that fabulous purple. In the past I have found some great vines in Paris so, on a very pretty day, I set out to where I had found it before. I only found a few rather sickly blooms. I guess this is one of those years where they aren’t doing well. It happens. In any case, being around Notre Dame, I enjoyed what I did find.

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I found pink flowers blooming on a chestnut tree in front of Notre Dame.

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This restaurant, Au Vieux Paris, right around the corner can have wonderful flowers on that wisteria vine but not this time. It’s a colourful place in any case.

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This was in a window of a kitchen at the back of a restaurant seen from outside.

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I love this sign.

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I’ve never eaten there but it does look tempting.

Funky and Fun

I spotted an interesting interior the other day on Instagram and since I was already going to be in the Canal Saint-Martin area, I wanted to check it out. It’s a huge place, maybe a former factory or storage unit called the Comptoir General, found behind a wall down a long walk way to the entrance. It’s full of old shabby (non)Chic furniture, lots of plants and antiques and has a Caribbean vibe going on along with happy music. There were two bars, a coffee bar and even a grounded ship.I think they serve caribbean food but I forgot to look at the menu. I wish I had known about this place when my grandson had visited as it was full of young people wandering around taking photos with the iPhones, probably for Instagram too.

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The entry.

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Did Hemingway write a novel here?

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A huge room full of comfy furniture.

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Here is the “ship” made into a bar.

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Good lighting from the other direction down the hall.

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Closeup of the mermaid on the ship.
There was a very nice guy who worked there making the coffee drinks and, when he heard it was my birthday, he gave me a free hot chocolate and even put my age on the top in the decorative foam and didn’t even blink when I told him I was 48.