Lunch at the Imperial Senate or When Louis Quartorze Got Down on All Fours

It took a long time to get over the dream hangover I had yesterday from that nightmare about the man in the car. I didn’t entirely shake the dream until I left around 12:30pm to do yet more unglamorous Parisian grocery shopping. Teeth clenched, I had to step into that insanely good boulangerie across the street. I nearly keeled over again from the absolutely knee-weakening odors of fresh baked breads and apples.

By the time I had lunch, I had totally shaken the unease of the nightmare and decided to go to Le Château de Versailles. Oh, le château! The palace built by Louis XIV is one of those magnificent, hysterically historical places you absolutely must see whilst here in Paris, although I admit that hopping on the RER for the ride out there is a bit intimidating. (It was to me, anyway, the first time I came here.) The RER to Versailles Rive Gauche takes you through the business centers of Paris and out to the suburbs until you reach Versailles (which is where The Frenchman was born, incidentally). As I was walking down Rue de Paris towards the palace, I was startled by how immense it is. “Of course it’s immense,” you say. “It’s a palace!” But really, I wasn’t prepared.

My favorite part of the entire place was not any specific room in the palace, although there were many that knocked the wind out of me. The best part was the time I spent alone in the queen’s dark, lush garden, Bosquet de la Reine. It was once decorated by none other than Charles Perrault, Mr. Fairytale himself, with a labyrinth he allegedly helped design, as well as 39 fountains depicting Aesop’s fables. The fountains and labyrinth are gone, the latter destroyed specifically because it was considered unfashionable by Louis XVI. Still, there was something magical about the place, perhaps because I knew that Perrault spent so much time there.

Today, we are having lunch at the Senate with a retired Senator who was The Frenchman’s mentor long ago. (I’m not sure if this was when The Frenchman was a cultural attaché in the U.S. or not. If so, that would have been a loooong time ago, indeed.) So, I must now run and iron my Phillipe Adec suit. I jokingly said we’d be eating in the “Senate cafeteria” this morning, which made The Frenchman laugh. (“It’s in the Senate restaurant, which has a maître d’, not the Senate cafeteria, chérie.”) Which I followed up with my version of the Eddie Izzard skit of Darth Vader in the Death Star cafeteria. (“This one’s wet. This one’s wet. This one’s wet.”)

Anyway, I’ll try not to make a fool of myself.

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