Thursday - day 6 (continued)
For tonight's meal we took the Metro and then walked to Chez Denise, a fairly well known, old fashioned bistro located near Les Halles.
We did not have reservations, but at 7:30PM we were early and were shoehorned into a tiny table which we shared with another party. The tables were along a long padded bench with chairs on the other side. The tables had to be shoved over to let people get to the bench side and we ended up with other parties within inches on both sides of us.
We were pushing our comfort level slightly with this restaurant - the menu was totally in French, on a chalk board with no descriptions to give us more words to guess at their meanings. The waiters spoke more English than I do French, but language was still a barrier.
We looked at the menus trying to decipher what was offered, with glances at the food on other people's plates for more clues. Linda picked the haddock au beurre blanc (baked haddock in a rich sauce made from an acidic reduction with chunks of fresh butter) and I had the Onglet de boeuf grillés (pan seared hanger steak).
Linda's haddock came with a couple of large, very good new potatoes. My recollection is that she found the sauce a little too buttery. I liked the garlic on top of my steak, but it was much tougher than I care for. The pommes frites (French fries) that came with my steak were good.
Neither of us ordered a dessert, but Linda was sitting next to a gentleman who was taking photos and does reviews on brooklyneats.com who offered me a chance to try the baba au rhum - a spongy cake soaked in rum. It came with a bottle of Rhum Malecon (a rum bottled in Panama) and I really tasted only the rum, not the dessert.
After dinner we walked to the river and arrived at Bateaux Vedettes du Pont-Neuf just in time for the the 10 PM cruise. The boats have large banks of flood lights on one side and the tour starts west, going down the Seine, past the Eiffel Tower, back and past the other side of both of the islands (Île de la Cité & Île St.-Louis), then finally back past the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall), and passing under Pont-Neuf at the end of the tour.
We sat on the boat's upper deck so we could see and photograph the many monuments and buildings by night. The banks of the Seine were lined with many young people partying. They would often wave or call to the boat as we passed. Near Notre Dame, one group of 4 turned and mooned us.
After the hour cruise, we walked along the river on Île de la Cité to Notre Dame, then crossed the 1853 Petit Pont (Little Bridge) to the Latin Quarter. As we walked along the Left Bank there were many beautiful night time views and I wished that I hadn't left the engagement ring back in our room. If it had been along, I would have proposed at one of the bridges.
We crossed back over the Seine on the Passerelle Léopold Sédar Senghor (footbridge) and attempted to cut through the Jardin des Tuileries to our hotel. But the gates to the garden were permanently locked.
Se we walked along the right bank of the River Seine to the Place de la Concorde (Harmony Square), which we crossed to the rue de Rivoli and back to the Hotel Brighton. We stopped for a couple of minutes on the square to watch a photo shoot. The police were diverting part of the traffic and a fashon model was posing on the edge of the street with the Obelisk of Luxor in the background.
copyright 2010 by Keith Stokes.