City Lounge: Paris (Book Three, Chapter Five: Lunch on the River)

Chapter Five: Lunch on the River:

Around noon, Simone turned around with a smile on her face.

“Are you ready for lunch?” she asked. I raised my eyebrow.

“What do you have in mind?” I asked.

“Eating lunch on the Seine river,” Simone said. “We’ll see the view and enjoy a nice meal.”

“Oh?” I asked. I’ve heard of these type of tours, but I’ve never had the money or the time. She took me by the hand.

“My treat,” she said. Once again, her words put me back under her spell. I just had to see where this lunch on the Seine was going.

We made it to Port Mirabeau. The maitre d waited as a small crowd started to form. I looked at the heads of the people.

“Are we going to be able to get in?” I asked.

“I know we can,” Simone said. She led me through the crowd. The maitre d  looked to be about in his forties and looking for something exciting to do. He only perked up when he saw us.

“Welcome to Le Calife,” he said. “How are you two this afternoon?”

“Two please,” Simone said.

“Party’s name?” the maitre d asked.

“Leroy,” she said. The older man took down the information.

“Alright,” he said. “The boat will arrive in ten minutes.”

“Thank you,” Simone said. I am getting better at understanding French. My girl handles situations to so well. That’s how we managed to get into different places so easily. I wonder how she does it.

Just as the man said, the boat pulled in ten minutes later. Luckily, Simone and I managed to get on the boat. Our table got a view of the river. I turned to my girl, smiling.

“Okay, how did you find this place?” I asked.

“Just looking around,” Simone said. “I always wanted to eat on a boat.” I gave her a strange look. She tilted her head.

“What?” she asked.

“You’ve never eaten on a boat before?” I asked.

“No.”

“Not even on a cruise?”

“No. Have you?”

I shook my head. “No.” Simone rested her hand on her cheek.

“Well, there is going to be a first time experience for us both,” she said. “Let’s see where this boat tour takes us.”

“I love the sound of that,” I said. Once the people were seated, the boat took off and began its trip down the Seine. A waiter came by our table. Simone ordered a smoked duck breast, foie gras, gizzards, pine nuts, mixed salad leaves. I ordered warm goats cheese, mixed salad leaves, walnuts, honey. She ordered us Kir Royal.

“You sure we should be drinking in the afternoon?” I asked.

“It’s okay,” Simone insisted. “Neither of us are driving.”

“True…” I said. We passed the Statue of Liberty. That’s right, she was a gift from the French. I wonder what we gave them in return.

“You can see all of the tourist spots on this boat,” Simone said.

“Really?” I asked.

“They aren’t that impressive if you live here,” she said.

“I can see that,” I said as we passed the statue. The waiter arrived with our drinks and appetizers. I am not a fan of goat cheese, but the taste is growing on me. Simone’s appetizer looks good.

“How’s the duck?” I asked.

“Good,” Simone said. We passed the Palais de Chaillot and Eiffel Tower. The latter is just the same as in the pictures. Why do people find it so romantic?

“Hey, Simone,” I said.

“Yeah?” she asked.

“Why do people find the Eiffel Tower so romantic?”

“I don’t.”

I shrugged. “Me neither.” Next came the main course. Simone ordered served with roast marjoram potatoes and crisp seasonal vegetables. I ordered guinea fowl supreme with mushrooms sauce with herbs, potatoes and roast apple. I looked up to see the Grand Palais.

“You know what this reminds me of?” I asked.

“What?” Simone asked.

“Back in America, there is this channel called PBS and they do travel programs all the time,” I said. “This tour would probably appear on that channel.”

“I see.”

“What are the travel programs on America like here?”

“Okay, I guess.”

“You don’t sound so impressed.”

“Not really.”

“I see.” Are we Americans really that boring? As we passed the Invalides, Assemblee Nationale, and Musee D’Oray. This river tour was going to last us for close to two hours. The food is good though. I didn’t know mushrooms could taste so good. What else will I possibly end up liking today?

“Can we do this again sometime?” I asked with my fork in my hand. Simone glanced up at me.

“Sure,” she said.

“Nice,” I said. I took another bite of my mushroom. The boat passed the Louvre and the Institut de France. We’re about down with this tour before we circle back. By that time, Simone and I order dessert. We both order apple crisp with caramel. That’s fresh apples in phyllo pastry with savoury caramel ice-cream. Something a little more familiar to me. I just let Simone pick the dessert and I followed her lead, as usual. Finally, we reached Norte Dame. We’ll be done eating by the time we circle back.

“I don’t think I could eat anymore,” I said. “I thought I was used to the rich food here.”

“There’s still more to eat here,” Simone said.

“More?” I asked with big eyes. She smiled like a cat.

“Of course,” she said. “France has some of the best cuisine in Europe.”

“What about Italy?”

“Yeah, yeah. France is still best.”

“Okay, whatever you say.” I looked out as we started to turn around. “What are we going to do after we get off the boat?”

“Whatever we want to do,” Simone said.

“I’ll drink to that,” I said. We toasted and took another drink. Another thought came into my head.

“Do I tip?” I asked.

“Yes,” Simone said. “Don’t worry, I will help you out.” I took a deep breath.

“Thanks,” I said. She smiled and giggled at me. I might have picked up some of the language, but I still don’t know how to tip right. Lunch and the boat ride were good though.

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