My Photo
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Dempsey is a Golden Retriever puppy who is in training to become a Helping Paws service dog for an individual with a physical disability. He lives with his parents Doreen and Paul, and Bailey the cat. None has ever trained a puppy before. These are their adventures. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the blog author. The contents of this blog have not been reviewed or approved by Helping Paws, Inc.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Chez Paul et Doreen

You would think, with free lodging and built in tour guides – albeit somewhat illiterate – we would be inundated with guests, ultimately begging people to go home. Alas, we have not had one. Clearly, we need to do some marketing.

We finally had our first guests this past weekend. Feeling the need to deliver a perfect April in Paris, I began monitoring the weather a week prior. The weather channel showed storm clouds and rain for the next seven days. Fortunately, as the week went on, I noticed this report consistently had an accuracy of zero. I can’t blame the weathermen - they are just playing the odds. It rains an awful lot in Paris.

Saturday morning, Steve and the lovely Judy K., friends from DC, boarded a train in rainy London and a few hours later arrived to blue skies, sunshine and perfect sightseeing temperatures. After they checked in their hotel, we decided to stop at the café at the end of our street. It may be a stereotype, but the outdoor cafés are packed and nary a word of English is spoken, so we assume it really is an authentic way to relax and people watch. We felt obliged to participate and interrupted our sightseeing with numerous café breaks.

Judy had been to Paris when she was in college and wanted to return to see the église Sainte Marie Madeleine. Paul and I had actually passed the église before, but mistakenly believed it to be a city hall. Apparently, the church was designed with the traditional cross-shape in 1764 but work was interrupted by the Revolution. Napoleon commissioned a redesign in 1806 as a "Temple of Glory" producing the Greek temple façade that exists today. The inside is truly beautiful and, I assume because of the Pope's then-failing health, was illuminated by hundreds of candles.

As we continued down the Place de la Concorde and wandered through the Jardin des Tuileries, Steve – a fanatical carnivore – started eying Parisian pets. We began to search for meat and happened on le Relais de l'Entrecôte. We knew it was a good choice when we saw people eating steak. We entered, assuming it would be a typical slow-paced Paris restaurant and a relaxing end to our day. We had barely seated ourselves when salads appeared and platters of beef and fries flew over our heads. Soon after, a waitress appeared and asked how we wanted our steak cooked. Umm…preferably without the meat for me. No luck, we had happened on a true steakhouse.

Soon, the waitress appeared with the platters and refilled the plates. Steve and Paul were practically giddy. Was this really an all-you-can-eat restaurant in Paris? As they were contemplating the attainment of dining nirvana, the waitress swiftly gathered plates, utensils, and even my meal - the bread basket - and asked about dessert. As I finished my 5 Euro soda, we were quickly brought back to the reality of living in one of the most expensive cities in the world, where the American version of the buffet does not exist.