Vive La France!!!

November 23rd, 2015 § 0 comments

HG/BSK are in the historic city of Reims. The renowned cathedral lives up to expectations. Glorious. And, HG/BSK haven’t been inside yet. Have only seen it at night. Nicely illuminated. The sleepless quintet (HG/BSK; daughter Lesley R. and son-in-law Massimo R.; granddaughter Arianna R.) had a happy reunion with granddaughter Sofia who is studying international relations at a Reims university (It’s part of a four-year program. Two years in Reims and then two years at Columbia University in New York. A lucky, gifted young woman.). The group lunched at a rough and ready bistro that caters to neighborhood regulars and students. The food wasn’t memorable but the atmosphere was lifted out of a late 1930’s French movie. Red leatherette banquettes. Bright lighting. Old guys playing cards. Weathered women. Dreamy youngsters. Big difference. No cigarette smoke. Patrons have to smoke on the terrace. The bistro is Sans Souci. It creates instant happiness. (Forget the food. Order a cheap bottle of wine. A bottle of Beaujolais is 12 euros). The visiting group is staying in a spacious 3-bedroom dwelling. Dining room. Big, modern kitchen. Garden. And, an oddity for France, a shower that hits the bather with high pressure hot water from three directions. Surprising. France may lead in cuisine and style but usually lags behind in plumbing. After naps and a happy encounter with the shower, the group was ready for a major league feast at Brasserie Boulingrin. This is a traditional place with the classic brasserie virtues: Lively ambience. Traditional dishes. And, an abundance of fresh oysters, fish and crustaceans. The group demolished a vast plateau de fruits de mer. Some of the best, biggest, briniest oysters. Large pink shrimp. Clams. Bulots. Tiny grey shrimp. Much sharing and lusty eating. Salmon on a bed of spinach. Sole meuniere. Skate with a shower of capers. Cod. And, one rare steak with sauce béarnaise. Side dishes were gratins of potatoes and zucchini plus boiled and buttered spuds. The fruits de mer platter was accompanied by champagne (Reims is in the heart of France’s champagne district). Then, there was very good, fruity Beaujolais Nouveau. Giant portions of creme brûlée for dessert. The euro is having a weak spell so this lavish array of food and wine for six persons cost about $220 US.

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