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Un vrai marriage en la belle France...

I'm starting to wake up at last, despite being apparently functional in the Knowledge Management project meeting earlier. I blame it all on good food, wine, and the availability of cheap Eurostar tickets.

Friday morning was a relatively early start, as we (marypcb and me) had to catch the 10.20 eurostar to Paris. It's a non-stop service, so we were walking down the streets of the city, looking for our hotel by just after 2 pm. Trundled suitcases make an interesting noise on the cobbled back streets of the 9th Arrondisement. The walk down to L'Opera was through a street full of open fronted food shops, selling everything from fresh almonds still in their green flesh and punnets of the sweetest succulent fresh raspberries to saucisson sec from the mountains of the Auvergne and fresh dim sum ready to steam. We quickly found our way to a branch of Album, and stocked up on the latest BD - tho' unfortunately there weren't any copies of the integrale of the 1ere Cycle of Les Mondes De Aldebaran, so I'll have to pay a visit to amazon.fr for that...

Clutching a carnet of Metro tickets, we travelled east to the Pompidou centre, where we explored an exhibition of Belorussian phtography. The pictures of the children still suffering from the after effects of Chernobyl were especially moving. From there we walked down to the Ile de la Cite, and sat in the sun in the square in front of Notre Dame. We wandered on, finding a lovely little restaurant for dinner. I ate a foie gras de canard salad, and poulet au quarante ail, followed with a selection of cheeses and an orange and saffron creme brulle. Mmmmm. Urp (Pardon!).

The next morning we dashed around the Galleries Lafayette food hall, collecting tins of cassoulet before hunting the church where David and Delphine's wedding as being held. This was in what looked like an apartment block, with steps down to a beautiful little modern brick chapel. The wedding itself was a quiet affair, with a few friends from all over the world. We then piled into a hired coach to take us to Evreux, and the reception at the delightful Manoir d'Aulnay. It was raining as we It took quite a while for the coach to find our hotel in Evreux (despite the vast number of signs that pointed directly at it), so we took a taxi out to the reception.

The caterers put on an excellent spread. Good foods, good wines. And the company wasn't too bad either! The evening flashed by, and the speeches managed to be entertaining. And it seemed that every few minutes another course appeared in front of us... Highlights included the lamb, the apple sorbet drenched in Calvados, and the vast array of desserts. The only problem was the difficulty in getting taxis back to Evreux - there only seemed to be 3 taxis that worked after midnight in the area.

We returned to the manor the next morning for a brunch, which ended up as a picnic on the lawn. The last few survivors relaxed with fresh brie and bread, washed down with the last couple of bottles of red wine from the night before. Finally we had to leave to go to the station and get a train back to Paris. The non-stop was a little on the full side, so I had to stand all the way. Once back in Paris we went and sat at a boating pond near the Louvre. I'll post pictures of the brightly-sailed little wooden boats that were being hired out for 2 euros later - the disk drive from the camera isn't in this PC...

Finally it was back to the Gare du Nord and the train back to London. A weekend well spent, and suitcases full of cassoulet and BD...


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 13th, 2002 07:51 am (UTC)
Sounds fabulous!
The photos of the Manoir d'Aulnay are gorgeous! I love the roof angles from the back side. Astonishing.

I'm envious of the food porn experiences. But really, the San Francisco Bay Area has just as much fresh produce and fresh crusty bread and such. And it doesn't have French people being nasty to this non-francophone American. So whilst I'm envious of the food and the beautiful manor, I'm not as jealous as I might be!n
May. 15th, 2002 12:41 am (UTC)
Ah... You remind me of the conference I went to in Le Croisic, Brittany back in the 'eighties. The guy running the conference was (allegedly) a tad embarrassed by the quality of the accommodation (I ended up sharing a fairly minute room with a guy from Moscow Uni who was also a member of the Duma) and so massively overcompensated on the catering side. The conference dinner beat almost every other meal I've ever eaten into a cocked hat (I include a couple of Oxbridge colleges and Burlington House in that), but the bit that sticks in my mind, 'cos it confused so many folk, was the trou Normande, which is to say the apple sorbet and Calvados thing you mentioned. Oh, and it was working in Nantes back then that cured me of milk in coffee -- coffee and Calva in the lab was a wonderful institution that I never quite managed to introduce to the Biophysics dept.

And the new deli near us had Auvergne sausage the other day. Simple, but effective! Thanks for the heads-up on it.
Sep. 20th, 2003 02:18 pm (UTC)
Le Manoir d'Aulnay
We were pleased to read your bit on the Manoir d'Aulnay as we are going to a wedding near there on Saturday and the reception is at the Manoir. It was so useful and interesting to read about it and see the pictures before we go. A bit worried that too much food is going to be put in front of us though!
At least we know now where we are going.
Thanks for that.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )