A day off in Paris. My son Nick is spending a few days with me here in this fabulous city as he has just completed the first leg of his own bit of touring. Nick's been playing guitar with club DJ Philippe Cohen Solal and his latest record, The Moonshine Sessions. They've finished up three weeks of promotion touring in France, Switzerland, Rome and returned to Paris last night. As we are basing out of Paris for the next few days I thought it would be great for him to bunk in with me while we're here and hang out a little. He's completely knackered from his touring and of course we didn't arrive until 5 o'clock in the morning, so we both slept in until 2 this afternoon. We immediately staggered out onto the boulevard in search of espresso and breakfast. It didn't take long to find a nice little cafe that had the most incredible omelettes, toasted sandwiches, baguettes, pomme frittes and cafe au lait and it was just the meal to make one feel very glad to be alive. Nick and I walked along the Champs Elysees staring in shop windows filled with amazing clothes, sidewalk crepes chefs and enjoying the smell of vendors roasting chestnuts. Unlike Granada, Paris was blustery, cold and overcast with a burst of sleet now and again. We found a brilliant Virgin Megastore on the boulevard and wandered in to get lost among the records...still one of my favourite ways to spend an hour or two.
Back at the hotel we had a couple of glasses of wine courtesy of Guy, our guiding light to all things luxurious. From there it was off to what was the best dinner of the tour so far and I'll predict it will be at least in the top 3 by the end of the tour. A very simple, off the main street Parisian restaurant called Allard. Food critics have books filled with adjectives to describe a meal and a flare for bringing an experience to life. I'm no critic and will have to do my best, but heavenly is the word that comes to mind. This place was so unpretentious, quietly tucked away and the food was prepared perfectly, not in a fussy way just very simply. We had an assortment of starters from green salad and cucumber salad to foix gras, white asparagus, escargot and string beans. We all tried each others choices and every one was better than the other. For the main meal Nick and I ordered filet of beef with mushroom sauce and sliced potatoes in a creme and cheese sauce. This food was so good that it never made you uncomfortably full even though we all ate quite a lot. Guy and Danny split what appeared to be an entire side of beef that was expertly grilled then sliced at the table. Every morsel of food including the bread simply melted in your mouth. Oh yeah, then there was dessert which I won't even attempt to set it down in print. The name of the restaurant is Allard and it is located at 1, rue de l'Eperon-75006 Paris. Call for reservations and directions at 01 43 26 48 23. You may remember me writing about a stunning restaurant in Rome called Lagana, Allard is the Lagana of Paris!
Back to the hotel and a drink in the very exclusive, pretentious and fabulously expensive bar there. Really crap music that aspired to be hip when really Ella Fitzgerald would have been just the thing. It was the polar opposite experience of Allard so we made a hasty exit for a cup of tea in Guy's luxuriatti lounge. It has begun to snow quite heavily now and as I look out my window I see the Eiffel Tower through a thick flurry of snow that is clinging to the awnings and trees. April in Paris.