Saturday in Paris ….. Observations by Fred

New Yorkers before me, LA moguls behind, to the right the road, to the left; Le Steak

Millennial children, children no more; narcissist still. The photo, then photos, then surfing.

The line wraps around, 20 people 20 minutes. One car towed. Almost worth a photo, that. Why a New Yorker thought it was worth a video I don’t know but I do know it was sunny and 78 in Catalina. Poor Roderick, he forgot the gin. Important information for those in LA to  transmit to their colleagues in Paris. How little did Alexander for see the evolution of his invention.

Black dress, white apron, formal service with a semi forced smile. I’ll receive a real one later tonight. Relais de l ’Entrecote. Paps frites, steak, walnut salad. That’s it. Well there is wine and desert. The cuvee I think. Yes the full bottle. This is Saturday night in Paris.


Dinner arrives: the steak, the frites, the wine. First scent, first sip. The aroma of spring, fresh berries with a hint of oak. Who needs tea and madeleines when one has frites?

First frite, first temptation, first memories. I close my eyes, yes, memory lives. It is 19Reagansomething. Toulon. Christmas Eve. Le Fleet Mediterranean is afire with lights. A celebration at anchor, at home. What time is it in Paris? In Washington they know, “The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!” They must be at dinner in Paris.

Thomas, Nolan, John, Fredrick. Shopping bags scented with perfume, stomachs agrowl.  An ally, a lighted menu. Five steps down, a door. Five words of French between us. Steak, frites, le adventure. The four Americans, after days of scrubbing, still slightly scented of 37 days of diesel and amine and sweat. Perfume de submarine.

She’s eight months if a day. She waves us to a table, the last table. Four menus appear. Needless for what do for young red blooded American men desire for dinner in a strange, strange land?  Like ravenous wolves we make short work of a fine meal and chew up a lovely language all the while; but in innocence, like the wolf.

Thomas glances at his watch. Mickey is pointing to 11. The hour approaches. The mousse and coffee are gone, as are the other guests. The bill arrives. Her smile has faded, her hair is damp, her belly full to bursting.

The balance paid yet still pockets empty. Duty beckons. Duty. Francs, who needs francs when duty calls? Babies need francs, to bath them, to cloth them, to love them.

Time has flow by in an instant. It is Saturday in Paris. A rumble grows from afar, from Place de Monge. Generation Indentiare, closer now, closer they come. “France for the French!” Is it “Hammer time” on Rue  de Ecoles? The volume is a roar as they march by my hotel window. The rain is soft. Tears? Tears from Joan perhaps, the Maid of Orleans? No. From Jesus, who weeps for he knows what is to come.

Life, life must be lived. The diner must be eaten. The New Yorkers and the Moguls; they must be endured. Such are our trials. Easy trials to pass when one in Paris on a Saturday.

The waitress arrives. I tell her to bring desert for the New Yorkers and put it on my tab. It is their first anniversary I explain. They are still newlyweds. Seven years in June as she gestures to herself. Her smile is genuine now.


The Moguls? In the back, with the expense account crowd. Lost in the ravages of superficiality, in Paris on a Saturday. Phones still in hand. The internet; strangling the mind of man as easily as nets in water strangle fish.

Click, click click. Heels strike the sidewalk as I turn left a Foucquet’s. It is only a short stroll on the Champs Elyse, towards the Etoile, watching the crowd. A glance at the watch, not Mickey’s hand this time. The time of the child is past. Onward I stroll. Past wealth, past crowds, past joy, past homelessness.

Questions arise: Which beggar to grant charity, which to deny? What duty beckons now?

What time is it in Paris? Don’t they know “The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!”? What time is it in Paris? In Washington it is a dark hour and the year is 20Neoconsomething.

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23 Responses to Saturday in Paris ….. Observations by Fred

  1. turcopolier says:

    Unfortunately “Fouquet’s,” the old “Fouqet’s” is long dead, sold to some Philistine and now a mere mournful echo of the Paris of the Lost Generation. pl

  2. The Beaver says:

    As soon as I saw the frites, I knew it was l’Entrecôte.
    Wonder if you will be going to Brasserie Balzar on rue des Ecoles 🙂

  3. Rob Waddell says:

    That’s really good Fred.. I can’t help trying to sync it to a beat (i.e. NY 1960’s) and I’m sure Alexander never envisioned the surfers.

  4. Fred says:

    So far yet so close. I was staying in a nice boutique hotel a five minute walk away. Next time…. Hopefully not another few years.

  5. Fred says:

    Thank you Rob. I had this in my head for a week, had to put pen to paper and tried not to over edit the feeling.

  6. kooshy says:

    I don’t know if you already tried, but if not, next Time in Paris, you may want to try “La Fontaine de Mars” a very old Paris restaurant near Eiffel tower, famous for their Duck dish (made very differently) , they were visited by Obama and wife when he was there last.
    there is a small fountain near by that is where Napoleon watered his horse. If I remember correctly, hope Patrick can conform if I am correct?

  7. Jack says:

    Awesome Fred. Enjoy!

  8. steveg says:

    Fred the Michigander
    Shades of Kerouac maybe Kesey.
    Go Navy. Oxygen deprivation??

  9. SAC Brat says:

    Are you still looking for a foie gras mule? I may know a ratline…

  10. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Fred, you have no idea how much I have enjoyed thinking of you indulging at l’Entrecote.
    Living life well.
    Hat tip for that.

  11. David says:

    Fred, that was fabulous. A place, past and present, so much captured by so few words.

  12. Fred says:

    The amine was in the O2 scrubbers. Having a 110 guys on a ship designed for 95 didn’t help much.

  13. Fred says:

    Well there I was, when, to quote Captain Renault from Casablanca, in walked this “breathtaking blonde”. But then she was young. I saw the real elegance at Salle Gaveau during a concert by Stéphanie-Marie Degand (violon) and Marie-Josèphe Jude on piano. Think Catherine Deneuve.

  14. LeaNder says:

    I agree, and concerning the Fred, I thought I vaguely knew, admittedly a surprise. If he is the Fred, I met around here early, that is. Somehow it approaches a poem. It feels.
    Will store the link. I love cryptic messages. But yes, then I stayed far off the verbally condensed types of literature, like poems. No expert in the larger verbal field of impressionism.
    Some poems no doubt fascinated me, but I also never felt an impulse to “dissect” them with the respective tools on offer.

  15. Fred,
    That was wonderful. I feel I have experienced your enjoyment and reminisces through your words. You’re damned good at this. I hope I read more of your musings here in the future.

  16. YT says:

    “I close my eyes, yes, memory lives. It is 19reagansomething.”
    “In Washington it is a dark hour and the year is 20neoconsomething.”
    Thank you, Fred.

  17. fasteddiez says:

    Outstanding Post, mais les frites son Belges. Created in the 1600s.
    I and the Missus & friends go to a small spot in Laguna Beach for some Moules/Frites/Pastis/Grimbergen Tripel….. hold the dessert! except on birthdays….. beats Pizza.

  18. Fred says:

    Same Fred, though a different Fred after all this time on SST.

  19. optimax says:

    Much enjoy your dispatches from the Land of the Frogs. Have you read A MOVABLE FEAST? Is Shakespeare’s still open? Think I remember hearing it had closed.

  20. Fred says:

    Yes, I read that one. I think bookstore moved to another part of the city.

  21. Walker says:

    Watch out, Proust.

  22. BabelFish says:

    Fred, late to reading this. A very nice read, indeed!
    And, does the smell of diesel ever really go away? My dad worked on one of the Barbel class and I believe my mom threatened to burn his work clothes, after the first run through gummed up the washing machine.

  23. very nice information and give the details also good .

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