Le Dimache des Rameaux. Palm Sunday in Paris. We are off to the American Church on Quai d’Orsay not to be confused with the American Cathedral near the George V hotel. (The Hotel Geoge V is so luxurious and posh that Deanna made a special trip just to photograph the flower arrangements. She was immediately greeted politely by a woman asking to help her – namely help her out of the hotel. The flowers are over the top, Deanna says!)
Last Friday night, we met my British friends, Ken and Annie, at Cafe Verlaine in the Latin Quarter near the Pantheon on Descartes St. In the cafe building both Paul Verlaine, the Symbolist poet, and Hemingway lived at various times. Verlaine had a stormy love affair with Rimbaud and drank himself to an early grave with Absinth, that anise flavored spirit beloved by Picasso and so many other artists.
When we arrived at Cafe Verlaine, Bridget, one of the owners and friends of Ken and Annie, opened the door, welcomed us and pointed us to K&A seated by the front windows. The cafe is quite narrow and deep with a kitchen and large room for groups in the basement. The decorations include photos of Verlaine, guitars, photos of famous visitors such as Paul Newman and quotes such as the following: “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it will stay with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” Hemingway, natch.
Well, feast is the right word. The chef has been with them over 20 years and trained as a patisserie chef so the desserts are scrumptious. My last two desserts there were creme brûlée and an Apple tarte with coffee ice-cream and creme fraiche.
If you come here for dinner, flip to the next-to -the last page of the menu. For 21 euros, you can select from a list an appetizer, main dish and dessert. Best deal in town for a delicious meal. The best parts of Cafe Verlaine though are the owners, Nicos (Greek) and Bridget (from Brittany) and their son (who considers himself Greek) and the waiters – a friendly, attentive bunch. Plus, you never know who you will meet.
We had just sat down when 8 British men came in the door. They had no reservation, but one of them had been there before. Ken, a Brit from Peckhem in London, immediately talked with them. They had just flown over from London to attend a French vs. English rugby match, and they were happy! “If we can crush France in the first 20 minutes of the game, we’ll win!” Then they went on to drink vast quantities of champagne, sing Swing Low Sweet Chariot and order a bottle of wine for OUR table. (Rumor has it that the Brits did win the match the next day, but did they crush them in the first 20 minutes?)
More later, must go to church.