The Best Food In Paris
Yesterday morning we got up in the dark, awakened by mosquitoes before the alarm, breakfasted on day-before bakery treats, and headed out for our first trip to Paris. On the 7:02 train out of Nîmes most everyone slept all the way, perhaps because the bar car was closed and there was no coffee to be had. Famed for on-time travel, our TGV arrived in Paris some 12 minutes late, causing us a minor panic.
We had to take three Metro trains and a bus to get to our appointment at a pretty famous medical center, which to protect its reputation shall go unnamed here. Just email me if you want to blackmail them with the sordid details. All of these transfers, plus the fact that it was raining as we walked to the bus, plus the fact that the medical center is surrounded by a construction project of vast proportions that very effectively camouflages the front door, caused us to arrive 15 minutes late. We were stricken with remorse and apologized profusely.
Michael Moore, if you are reading this, please drop me a note! We signed in and got a dossier. Uhm, do I need to remind you that this all took place in French? We took that to another window, handed it over, and waited in a packed waiting room. Finally we sat with a nice woman, whose computer was down, as she tried to create the data base entry that would allow us to proceed. She collected a blank, signed check from us. Ulp. Then she sent us to the lab for blood work, where we waited. Once in the vampire seat they couldn’t draw any blood because now the computers were back up and our dossier wasn’t in there because, oops, I had missed this detail the first time around, all the computers in the entire medical center had been down for an hour. Back to the nice lady who walked us over to the lab where she and the lab ladies proceeded to have a small yelling match. Nice lady lost and we went back to her office where she had to re-enter all the information. Back to the lab. Ok, this time the blood draw and un petit pipi specimen went off fine.
Notice that I’m not mentioning food. Or coffee. By then it was about 1:15, our appointment having been for 11:00. We took the dossier up to the clinic and waited. At 1:45 we asked if we might go for lunch if the wait was going to be much longer. A long series of exasperations ensued, including profuse apologies from the person who had forgotten to tell us that it would be ok to go to lunch, a small freak out fit on the part of the good doctor’s secretary when, about 3:00, I mentioned that we were still waiting and she thought we had already been seen and that the doctor had left for the day, and so on. As we waited I mentally planned this post to be about hospital food. I’d noticed coq au vin on the cafeteria menu as we walked past, and it was sounding better all the time. But that was not to be, and we finally saw the doctor at 3:45, stomachs growling, lips parched. They did have water dispensers everywhere, but sadly, no water was in them.
Then we rushed down to the pharmacy, then back to get our bill, then to another window to get the blank check filled in. The good news is that it was only 110 Euros for a doctor visit, a ton of blood work, and a four hour wait. By then we had less than one hour to get back in time to catch our train home, so we put ourselves in the hands of a champion taxi driver, who laughed as I yelped “Je ferme les yeux!” And in fact I did close my eyes and kept them closed most of the way, except for opening them occasionally to make sure we were still alive, and to see if there was any food in sight.
Heroically, he got us to the station with 25 minutes to spare, allowing us to stop at a kiosk in the station and collect as much food and drink as we could decently cart on board. And thus it is that I can report that the best food in Paris yesterday, in fact the only food in Paris, was a tuna baguette, a coconut flan, and a bottle of San Pellegrino, all for 8, 10 Euros and devoured aboard the high speed train exactly 12 hours after breakfast.
So, all of you who were imagining us at Hermé yesterday nibbling daintily at perfect pastries, read this and sigh. Although really, a train station coconut flan is not to be underestimated, given the right circumstances. Oh, and sorry for teasing you with that bottle of wine. That was all in my imagination.