Monday, May 22, 2000

After breakfast (replay of yesterday, except that we knew where the trays were and they had pains au chocolat), we went to see Sacre-Coeur. Halfway there, we realized that we forgot the camera. We couldn't go back to get it because we had an appointment for lunch with a colleague of Kim's, and if we got the camera we would simply not make it to Sacre-Coeur or Montmartre in general. That was very sad, because the weather was absolutely perfect for pictures of Sacre-Coeur--none of the postcards of it came close, except for one very obviously faked-up picture where they had pasted the sky in, and done a worse job of it than you would expect from the most rank amateur. It really looked like one of those have-your-picture-taken-with-the-president deals they have near the U.S. White House, but much less convincing.

We looked at the art bazaar in Montmartre and thought about buying some, but decided that none of it was really what we wanted. Very touristy--all the artists took credit cards.

In perfect time, we left to have lunch with Kim's delightful colleague Christiane. Lunch was at a brasserie across the street from her office--and she gave us a recommendation for supper as well. She also explained the ATM situation--it is a strike! The folks who put the money in the ATMs are on strike for better pay and better security, and have been for weeks, so only ATMs that are physically located at banks work at all, and those get mobbed so they run out of money quickly in the evening and on weekends.

After lunch, we decided to be quintessential tourists and went to Au Printemps. It was rather fun, actually, and we did end up buying a few things. Then we wandered around, bought tea, looked in various small shops, bought some postcard stamps, and eventually wandered by the Gare du Nord, to our supper destination, Terminus Nord. Absolutely excellent! Extremely friendly, efficient, and helpful staff, warm atmosphere, good food beautifully presented, and such variety even in the menu formule that we ended up ordering formule. This "brasserie" (not even technically a restaurant) that looked like some random touristy place (across the street from the Gare du Nord, remember) was easily better than most fancy restaurants in the US and total menu formule price, including more wine than we cared to drink, came to $30 per plate. Hard to argue with that!

Got back to the hotel a bit earlier than previous nights and had a little time to relax and catch up on work that we needed to do.