Dispatches from July 26
9 AM: Getting ready to catch the train to Versailles, to see the famous palace built by Louis XIV.
Louis XIV thinks he’s kiiiind of a big deal. Whatever, “Sun King.”
We pause in the town of Versailles to grab a petit dejeuner. For a set price, you get a hot drink, a flaky croissant, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and eggs with ham.
Noon: Touring this behemoth of a building. Versailles was the first “settled” palace, meaning that the furniture stayed put, rather than being hauled to whatever castle the king decided to visit next.
Look how huge it is! This is just one of many “hallways.”
Louis XIV received visitors from this bed. Anybody could come see him, which was quite rare for kings.
The royal family ate dinner here every night, and the meal was open for public viewing. They had no reality shows back then.
Grand as the palace may be, my favorite part was the gardens, which stretch miles in every direction.
3 PM: We wander to Marie Antoinette’s personal quarters, in which she made numerous architectural and design choices. About a mile from the main palace, it is certainly nice, but after the splendor of Versailles proper, we’re too dazzled to appreciate her chateau.
Instead we pop off for a light lunch of savory crepes and ice cream before catching the train home. Melted leeks and cherry tomatoes on a buckwheat crepe – delicious!
6 PM: Chillin’ at our favorite WeeFee cafe.
9 PM: Dinner at Market, a trendy restaurant in the highbrow Champs d’Elysee area. We arrive early, so we browse a few shops.
Guess what this place sells? 70€ t-shirts and 107€ plastic sunglasses! The luxury cars are just for display purposes.
I’ve seen Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Market’s chef, on TV, and was pretty excited to taste his wares. He did not disappoint. I started with crispy calamari dipped in bright yuzu-sesame emulsion. Next, the sourdough-crusted salmon was cooked well, but the creamy minted fava beans surpassed it, in a luxurious puree.
Lastly, dessert. “Cardinal peach” must be French for “peach of sufficient status to dictate the divine word to other peaches.” Half a peach, resting atop a thin almond-ish cake base, covered in sweet light meringue and bathed in tart raspberry sauce. Dad thought he didn’t want dessert, and then he ate half of it.
12 AM: Reading in bed.