Portugal and Paris, Day 1 – September 19, 2017

Flights to Paris typically leave New York at night. That way, after a “restful night’s sleep” in  your seat  in the plane,  you can begin your vacation as soon as you arrive in the morning. Actually, tourists are so excited to be there that staying awake is not a problem.

We have been to JFK Airport many times, yet on this day, it seemed very different. Lines were short. The airport staff used pleasant vocal tones. Few of the other passengers were Americans; typically they were French citizens returning home. They started conversations with us in French!  How wonderful to be traveling when it was not tourist season!

I grabbed a meal for us to share at Cibo: a chef salad and  lime yogurt (our favorite) with  white chocolate sprinkles. The meal on the plane was chicken and rice with an awful brownie. Breakfast was blueberry yogurt with a blueberry muffin top. It was not too exciting, but French food was ahead of us!

Going through Passport Control was quick and easy, as was retrieving our luggage. At the airport we found the RER train, which was also easy. We remembered, from previous trips, the location of the #91 bus stop, and the bus awaited us there. Soon we were at our friends’ flat

We were greeted warmly by Jose-Maria. Asked if we would rather rest or eat, we definitely chose the latter! We walkedto one of Jose-Maria’s favorite restaurants, a small place in which everything is prepared by the chef, using only fresh ingredients.  Not knowing what time we would arrive, we didnot have a reservation, and there was no room for us. We went on to Plan B.

Plan B, Simone,  was a the same kind of restaurant. Fortunately, there was an empty table. I really enjoy that Nick and Jose-Maria have the ability to get together after two  years and pick up a conversation where it ended then. They talked about computer languages. J-M apologized because I was  excluded from the conversation, but I explained that I was happy that they were in their familiar pattern. He told us that he was leaving on the 5 PM train for a coastal town in order to attend a wedding, and that Agnès was already there. We would be on our own in the apartment until the weekend, when we would be leaving and and other friend would be arriving.

Our lunch: Each of us ordered pork tenderloin with polenta and mushrooms. This casual meal was exquisite. Nick’s dessert was cottage cheese with baby plums and lemon verbena. We typically share one  dessert, but I ordered my own, a passion fruit torte, which was heavenly.

We returned to the apartment for a nap while J-M left for the coast. We awoke in time for dinner. Our favorite street in the neighborhood is Rue Mouffetard, a very lively street that features a diversity of shops that offer the freshest cheeses, produce, fish, meat, and pastries as well as delightful restaurants. We chose Le Mouffetard, the street’s namesake restaurant, because it was full of locals. There, we each ordered boeuf bourguignon, a classic French meal that melted in our mouths. We had no room for dessert.

Ah, Paris!

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