I have landed—and eaten!

I didn’t miss much my first day here, even though I got no sleep on the plane (I watched two movies: Joker and Lawrence of Arabia) and am a jet-lagged wreck. Still, I soldiered on and had a big meal and went to the da Vinci exhibit in the Louvre—on its last day.

I have no pictures of Leonardo’s works, but it was a huge exhibit with paintings, drawings, and his famous notebooks. It was also horrifically crowded, to the point where you couldn’t enjoy the art. It was so jammed that people were packed shoulder to shoulder and the doofuses were standing right in front of every piece of art capturing photos on their tablets They should not permit photography in art museums. Still, Leonardo’s notebooks alone (written in mirror script) made it worth while.

My first meal was where I always have my first meal in Paris: at Chez Denise (also known as La Tour de Montlhéry), located in the first arrondissement near Les Halles. The food photos are a bit wonky because my flash was misbehaving, but I’ve since fixed it.

The restaurant:

The menu (outdoors):

The wine list (the house wines come in liters; you pay for only what you drink. Consumption today was miniscule: only a quarter bottle of Brouilly (8 euros).

Appetizer: the terrine du chef, served with the famous bread pain Poilane: it was an excellent coarse terrine, and you could taste the different meats.

My main course: Onglet de boeuf (skirt steak), cooked rare and covered with a mountain of shallots. Also served with a mountain of delicious crispy frites. I don’t think I’ve had better Freedom Fries anywhere.

Other main course: Lapin à la moutarde (rabbit in mustard sauce), a French classic. My dining companion pronounced it excellent.

And a split dessert. For once it was the millefeuille instead of the baba au rhum:

I hustled over to the da Vinci exhibit to make my 3:30 entrance time. The only pictures I took were of a statue from that era (not a da Vinci work) and its weird shadow.

Statue, weird shadow, and ghost visitor.

A view through the entrace of the Louvre’s famous glass pyramid by I. M. Pei. The old part of the Louvre (once a palace) is in the background.

My favorite view of Paris, from the Pont des Arts, the footbridge across the Seine to the Louvre. You get a head-on view of the Ile de la Cité, and can see the medieval Conciergerie, the Pont-Neuf bridge, the spire of St. Chapelle, and you used to be able to see the spire of Notre Dame. Sadly, the last spire is now gone.

The Pont des Arts is also known as the “love lock bridge“: lovers used to paint their initials on padlocks and then lock them to the wire railings that lined the bridge. There were tons and tons of them (45 tons were taken away at the first removal!)—so many that their weight was damaging the structure of the bridge. The removal didn’t work, and the love locks went up again. Finally the city put Plexiglas panels instead of wire to prevent love locks from being affixed.

But love always finds a way. . . .




  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 24, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    “Other main course”

    Is this a French phrase? I kid.

    Delightful post

  2. Rita
    Posted February 24, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink


    And, yes, the doofuses taking pictures do spoil things for the rest of us. I wish they were banned from every museum!

  3. Posted February 24, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    “da Vinci” puts my teeth on edge ever since somebody (who was dismembering “The Da Vinci Code”) pointed out that it was not Leonardo’s name and simply means “of Vinci”.

    This is clearly a battle I have lost, given that even the Louvre is now using it.

    • Ann German
      Posted February 24, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Kind of like “Baja California” being called “Baja.” (drives native Spanish speakers crazy)

    • Posted February 26, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      On the other hand, the Germanic “von” also means “of” literally too, but often used as an honorific. What a world!

      Leonard von Vinci? 😉

  4. Reggie Cormack
    Posted February 24, 2020 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I really am not a “foodie” but every time you’re on your travels the sights and descriptions you give of your meals make even me salivate. Keep it up, Prof., and enjoy Paris, as I’m sure you will. But try to keep posting.

  5. rickflick
    Posted February 24, 2020 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    It’s fun to read the menus and drool on my keyboard. 😎

    • darrelle
      Posted February 25, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink


      Exactly what I was doing.

  6. Posted February 24, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    “Love laughs at locksmiths,” they say…but the locksmiths can still make a bit of extra money on the side from it, I guess.

  7. Paul S
    Posted February 24, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Happy travels. My jealously will increase if we get the expected snow.

    • Simon Hayward
      Posted February 24, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      Ugg, don’t. My phone says a couple of hours of snow this evening and then snowing most of tomorrow and Wednesday. The penalty for a couple of days above freezing.

      Jerry, you aren’t missing anything!

      • Posted February 25, 2020 at 1:42 am | Permalink

        I always seem to leave town when the worst snow comes. My luck is holding.

  8. Posted February 24, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Enjoy! 🙂 Glad you are on the ground and well.

  9. Jenny Haniver
    Posted February 24, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    I love that shadow of the statue. It’s so evocative but of what I can’t say.

    • Posted February 25, 2020 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      The name Alfred Hitchcock keeps coming to mind … on the catwalk perhaps?

  10. Vaal
    Posted February 24, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Lovely noms!

    As to this:

    …” even though I got no sleep on the plane (I watched two movies: Joker and Lawrence of Arabia)”

    I definitely get it. We all have to get through long flights any way we can.

    But every time I hear something like that, I get a sharp pain in my film-geek organ. Like a bit of me shrivels inside.

    It’s like when my jet-setting brother-in-law and his wife were in town discussing movies with me and the movie Gravity came up.

    Me: “What did you think?”

    They looked at each other and shrugged. “It was alright I guess.”

    I asked where they saw it. “Actually, on the flight to see you.”

    Ugh. The saw Gravity on the back of an airplane seat.

    Both as someone who has always valued movies on the big screen, and who works in the industry, knowing just how much work went in to making those rich, cinematic experience…
    the thought of people experiencing them on the back of a crappy, small LCD on an airplane seat (or an ipad) just depresses me.

    This is btw NOT meant as a condemnation of Jerry having done so, or anyone else. Clearly, many people are fine with taking in movies this way, and especially if you are on a long flight and aren’t a good airplane sleeper, on board entertainment can be a life-line.

    I’m just constituted to resist this as far as I can. Basically, if I don’t have a book that will get me through a long flight and I need a movie, the geek in me will try to select one that isn’t very cinematic (not demanding of a “big screen” experience), so a new comedy or drama whatever.

    • Posted February 25, 2020 at 12:33 am | Permalink

      Fine. I get it: I watched the wrong movies. I apologize for depressing you, giving you pains, and making you shrivel up inside. My bad.

    • Posted February 25, 2020 at 4:55 am | Permalink

      I think it’s a good test of story and characterisation if a film still works when viewed on the back of an airliner seat.

      If your friends were a bit meh about Gravity, that says something about Gravity to me.

    • darrelle
      Posted February 25, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      There are definitely certain films that I still make a point to go to the movie theater to see. A TV, even a 65″ flat screen let alone the little ones on the back of airline seats, just don’t give the same experience.

      When I consider going to catch a movie at a theater I mentally sort the movie listings by which movies would benefit from the big screen. I’ll almost always pick one that will, even over another movie that I believe could be a better movie over all.

  11. Matthew Jenkins
    Posted February 24, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    I suppose the lovers throw the keys into the river…

    • Dominic
      Posted February 25, 2020 at 3:53 am | Permalink

      Set up a business near the bridge selling padlocks!

      • Dominic
        Posted February 25, 2020 at 4:03 am | Permalink

        That building is very lovely – anyone know what date with the timber frame? 16th century?

      • rickflick
        Posted February 25, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

        To the buyer you could also rent mask and fins so they could retrieve their key.

  12. Posted February 24, 2020 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    I highly recommend a book I bought myself for Christmas- “Leonardo by Leonardo” written by Martin Kemp. It’s full of sumptuous photographs.

    • rickflick
      Posted February 24, 2020 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

      Have you compared it to any of the other, similar books on Leonardo?

      • Posted February 25, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        Only superficially. I chose this one because it has big photographs on high-quality paper, of the most famous of Leonardo’s paintings (something I’ve always wanted), and the author (who is one of the leading experts on Leonardo) was on PBS discussing his approach. However it’s not a comprehensive collection of Leonardo’s paintings and drawings, many of the latter that I find intriguing.

        • Posted February 25, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

          Oh, the clincher was that I got it on deep discount too! The full price is kinda prohibitively high.

          • rickflick
            Posted February 25, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

            I’d love to have a copy of the book, and the deep discount as well. Any suggestions?

            • Posted February 25, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

              I had to wait for a sale on amazon.ca (post xmas sale) so hopefully there’ll be another sell off. Got it for ~CAD$86. Just keep checking or maybe check out the gently-used second-hand copies. You might also check out a copy in a bookstore to make sure it’s to your liking.

              • rickflick
                Posted February 25, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

                Sound advice. Thank you.

              • Posted February 25, 2020 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

                You’re most welcome.

            • Posted February 25, 2020 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

              Just saw it on sale at amazon.com for 82USD.

              • rickflick
                Posted February 26, 2020 at 3:09 am | Permalink

                Yes. Thanks. I’ll check it out.

  13. Posted February 25, 2020 at 4:06 am | Permalink

    Aeroplanes are, I think, great places to rewatch movies you’ve already seen elsewhere.

  14. chrism
    Posted February 25, 2020 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    If you have the chance, Jerry, try the lapin à la moutarde, or better still, some hare (‘lièvre’). Well worth seeking out: the Romans had good reason to introduce the humble coney wherever they went as a plentiful wild food source.

  15. Monika
    Posted February 25, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    *drool* Jerry is posting food porn…

    I look forward to the droolworthy photos to come. And the architecture and art photos are great too.

  16. Posted February 26, 2020 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Freedom fries!

    Or Belgian fries-from-France. 🙂

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