Wednesday, November 26, 2008

PDP dinner at General Lafayette's

OK, I'm late... But it's for a good cause! I'm just back from a Paris PDP dinner, where, as usual, I had a wonderful time. I finally got to meet Carrie (who was at the South California PDP gathering, if you remember), and I had the pleasure to greet newcomers: Michelle, Elisabeth and Stuart. Of course the loyal attendees were there too: Guille, Thib, Michael and... Jeff via email and telephone! All this took place at General Lafayette, a restaurant near my place were I took this shot. But of course, there is the usual "family photo" - plus a little extra! - to discover here...


  1. It was so nice to meet you all!
    I was expecting an other photo, but this one is so good that I'm not disappointed at all...
    Nite nite!

  2. Wow, what a large gathering! Looks like loads of fun. I really like the black and white.

  3. ZAZZLE!

    This is an amazing photo, Eric!

  4. Geez, GF for a PDP gathering, it rocks! I add an andouillette too the crown.
    Carrie, I would have loved to speak with you a little bit more, but the table was so huge...and Michael was quite exclusive: he didn't want me to speak with other PDP fellows. LOL

  5. "Family photo" LOL. Which one will you use for your Christmas card, Eric? So many to choose from.

    Glad you all didn't have to sit outside in the cold. I don't see any heaters.

  6. Oh, what a fun time you all must have had. The food looked great too.
    Carrie will let us know what Michael was really up to! Keeping Guille all to himself...Tsk.Tsk! Michael ;) Share!

  7. It only just occurred to me how appropriate General Lafayette is for the French and Americans to enjoy together!

  8. I love the B&W shot outside the cafe and of course you all know the importance of LaFayette to America don't you?!! Perfect choice for a dinner of paupiette...[errr excuse me..Andouillette..]..LOL!!!

    You all look color coordinated in the "family photo"...Super!! So Michael didn't want to share Guille??? krazy kidzzz!!! LOL!!! Glad you all had fun! Will Carrie pen an entry about this night?? Hint..Hint....!! LOL!!!

  9. This black & white is gorgeous. I agree with my twin about the Zazzle!

    Guille you were monopolised then? Naughty Michael. Share nicely, now. :)

  10. May all the PDP gatherings in all the various cities continue on and on into the far future!

  11. I'd probably want to keep you all to myself, too, Guille!

  12. Hi everyone - Yes, we had a wonderful time!! We raised a glass to all of you (and then we had another glass or two just to make sure the toast held). : )

    Wait -- Guille was there??!! I only saw Michael hiding something off in the corner! ;} (Guille - yes, its too bad, but I guess that's the other side of the coin - the table was so large because Eric has started something that draws so many people).

    Thib's given you a little bit of our menu. Since I was feeling adventurous, I tried the boar - which I don't think I've ever seen on an American menu - it was good! (To continue my adventures, before I leave on Tuesday, I want to buy the sausage Eric told us about awhile ago - the one made of horsemeat! (If anyone knows where I can buy it, can you tell me?)

    I'll give you a little bit of the restaurant. The General Lafayette has two large, comfortable rooms with dark woods, brass railings and large mirrors interspersed with art nouveau influenced wall murals in soft greens and browns and accents of color. The smells of the food, the diners laughing and talking, and the faint chiming of silver on plate, glass to glass, filled the evening. It was chilly outside but warm and lively inside. With a waiter who joked with us while he kept us well stocked with wine and food, we stayed till nearly midnight. What an accomplished, thoughtful, and very warm group of people Eric has drawn to PDP - its an unbeatable combination.

    Little did I think, when I decided to sign on to my first ever blog in March, that half a year later I'd be eating in Paris with friends from half way around the world. As I get older, because I've really come to know that there will only be one today, one Tuesday the 25th, 2008 in Paris, one dinner here with these people, I cherish the memories I can take away with me. That memory includes everyone not sitting at the table, though, too -- all of you who joined us here in the comments. Thanks, Eric for inviting us to share at such a big, big, table!

  13. this pic is very stillllllllll. Like it!

  14. Photos of the gathering please! This is a marvellous image. You say you're not really a photographer- oh yes you are. I make a living out of photography and I would be proud of this one- very sellable. Night all, past my bedtime.

  15. When I first saw this photo Eric I thought you'd been stood up!! So glad to see that everyone was actually inside for the dinner. What a wonderful group gathering! Carrie I'm so glad you got to go to a PDP dinner while you were there! Thanks for your detailed description of the event. Normally I'd say, "wow, you were up late!" but since I never went to bed before 1 am when I was in Paris, it 2 am doesn't seem that late. Have a fabulous last few days of your trip (sniff!!).

    And Guille, great job on the GF for tonight!

  16. Someone should quarantine that smile of Guille's. It's positively infectious!

  17. Carrie...That was a lovely comment! I think it may have brought a tear to my eye, really sweet!! Enjoy your last few days in Paris!!! You are so right about only one day, only one Tuesday, only one dinner...and you made it count! Good for you!! ;-)

  18. What great shots, Eric. The only thing missing is you. Thank you for including us in this event.

    Carrie, your writing is wonderful. Thank *you* for including us on your trip! I've loved every minute of it. I'm so glad "we" have another week in Paris with you.

    You all look great!

  19. Carrie -- like Tonton, I'm a bit verklempt over your comment, so beautifully expressed.
    Guille -- felicitations, ma petite GF! Une couronne d'andouillettes?
    Eric -- Black & white AND a tabletop version of the famous Tenin perspective. I love it!

  20. The phone rang. I knew it was them. You don't stay alive in this business long if you can't identify people by the phone call. Without even answering, I could see the golden light, the art nouveau decor, the beautiful women, hear the waiter take the order, hear their voices laughing, smell the escargot, the beef, taste the wine. I knew it all, but when I heard the voices, it was even better. Ah, I hope I'll always have Paris.

    And with friends like this, I always will. Merci beaucoups, mes amis.

  21. What a great evening we had meeting new friends and sharing stories. Ask Michelle to tell you about her adventures at the BNF and Galleries Lafayette! Scandaleux!

    Carrie is exactly how she reads...charming, smiling, and a glow. So glad you enjoyed your trip here.

    Stuart and Elizabeth have settled into Paris after moving here and seem to manage the French bureaucracy quite well.

    Thib gave us a lesson on wine from his village and region while Guille was, well, Guille. Someone who works and studies very hard, but always finds time to have a social life. My dream.

    Jeff made the rounds by telephone from Minnesota and will certainly be owing me a couple more glasses of wine on his tab at the next PDP Picnic. Always a pleasure to talk to him.

    And Eric? In the centre of the table taking care of everyone. He even impressed us with his mathematic skills while figuring out the bill. A new talent we have never seen before.

  22. I'm a little jealous of Jeff. But I suppose if we all gave you our phone numbers, then socializing with the people actually present would never happen. So I shall wait my turn, and hope that when I take my next trip to Paris you will all have a moment free to join me in some lovely cafe for an evening like the one you all shared last night.

  23. J'hallucine, Michelle, j'hallucine!
    OK, morning everybody. The night was short. I'm in my train to Lyon, and reading all these comments makes me realize that yesterday evening was not a dream, but a real, nice, friendly dinner with great people.

    Carrie, I,m impressed by your description of the dinner. It is so real.

    Stuart, sorry for the wrong spelling in my previous comment ;-)

    Jeff, sorry we could not talk.while you were on the phone, I was concentrated, typing my PDP comment on my Blackberry, sharing the menu with you all.

  24. Whahou! Carrie, your way to describe the dinner is so real, so true. I loved the Art Nouveau atmosphere too, it was warm and charming. What's more, the waiter was great (rare enough to be said!).

    Lucio, so let's smile! :)

    Alexa, une couronne d'andouillette, oui. A little bit smelly peut être? LOL

    Michael "while Guille was, well, Guille".Er...really? ;)

    Michelle used to fight with the French civil servants when she lived in Paris, the story was funny, even more when she used this very French expression "Non mais j'hallucine"!!

  25. I just Loveeee B&W photo's!
    Wish I could be there.

    Can't wait to go back to Paris, Just 15 nights sleep... !!

    (I'm such a kid sometimes!! )

  26. What a perspective!!!! Well done.
    The B&w choice is also excellent.

    Happy you all had a good time. The bonus is crispy. I enjoy a lot following your daily adventures. Keep on the good job. :)

  27. Carrie that was a wonderful description, I loved it!
    Michael - re; your dream. Is you dream to be able to work hard yet have a social life, or is Guille your dream?
    he he I know, I'm a terrible minx, but I couldn't resist. It wasn't quite clear... ;) (mischievous giggle)

  28. I am enjoying Carrie's postings of her stay in Paris. The descriptions almost feel like being there.

    It is almost unreal to think that I will be there in only 19 more days and nights.

    I hope there might be a gathering while I am there. You all seem to be a fun group.

  29. Well, you PDP people in Paris (say that three times fast! Or better: Mes amis PDP à Paris) must plan another party in about two weeks: 15 days until Nikita's arrival and 19 days until Karen's. Newbies! (NewPDPs? NewPs?)PHX may be there, too, you never know about that bird!

    I'm glad you all had fun. Contrary to her comment in the famous film, Reine Guille's English is now perfect.

  30. "Is you dream to be able to work hard yet have a social life, or is Guille your dream?" Lynn you're priceless, LOOOOOL. I'll let Michael answer!

    Another PDP gathering? Oh noooo, please. :p

  31. Carrie nailed it. A good time was had by all. And nice shot of the tables, Eric. The contrast inside and out couldn't have been greater.

  32. he he is your head hurting Guille?
    Oh and talking of priceless, I am 'phone bidding' at the auction again tomorrow, dear Guille...!

  33. Michael there's a little something to make you laugh over at mine!

  34. No Lynn, I'm never hangover (hm hm). At least, I was not today.
    No, but you know, being sociable is quite tiring. LOL

    (Let's be honest: I would love to have another PDP gathering!)

  35. Is that Au General La Fayette at 52, Rue La Fayette in the 9e?

  36. Yes, it was, Starman, I found it on Googlemaps Streetview, though the interior in the PDP photo is lovely.

    And I note a new photo of notre reine. Tres 'film noir'. Something like:

    The dame was hanging out on the balcony, a dreamy but not happy look on her face. Was she missing him, or wondering if they'd find the body? In the dark I couldn't tell, and those French dames can be hard to read in any light. I didn't know if her waiter friend was hiding in the closet, so I left it for the gendarmes. I needed a drink anyway.

  37. Jeff, I'm thinking the dame may have gotten caught spying on an old lover...

  38. "Was she missing him, or wondering if they'd find the body?" Man, Jeff, but you can read a woman's mind. ;)

    Carrie: your description of the evening was lovely.

  39. Jeff, that's too funny - did you write that or is it from something?

    Michael - lovely comments on the evening.

    Michelle - I forgot to tell you that I read that Parisians call the BNF the TGB for Tres Grand Bibliotheque - I'm sure you can relate!!!

    Petrea - I tried to get Eric to join in the photo, but, like all those Hollywood types, I think he wants to keep artistic control!!

    I'll lump yesterday and today together. I could only handle dinner last night!

    I began yesterday with 3 very old churches in the 5th: St. Severin, St. Julien le Pauvre and St. Nicolas du Chardonnet. The 1st has amazing art and architecture; it also has a Madonna and Child known as The Madonna of the Exams. The Sorbonne students would pray to her for their best grade! The 2nd is perhaps the oldest church in Paris - a beautiful, small Romanesque structure at the edge of a small park with a dramatic modern fountain by the banks of the Seine. The 3rd is a very well endowed ancient church off the Rue Monge (I could tell not just from what was inside but because, after days of shivering in frigid stone churches, it was actually too warm in there!) Each was well worth the visit.

    Next, I raced to the Hotel de Ville, where I saw a multimedia show on Jacques Prevert - poet, bad boy, playwrite, surrealist, lyricist, friend to Picasso, Miro and Carne. Wonderful - look for all of his work.

    Then I bolted for the Cirque d'Hiver - a centuries old circus in the best European tradition --like a theater show with a live orchestra, funny clowns, huge tigers, trapeze artists and contortionists. I thought I'd relive my childhood with a thousand kids. Well, about 5% of the audience was under 12 and rest were over 60! I guess they were all reliving their childhoods, too! But, I learned from the woman next to me that St. N. de Chardonnet is the only Paris church to still use a Latin mass.

    (Then, off for dinner!!)

    Today, I first recovered my license from the H. de Ville, where I had left it for an audio guide. After I left, I was very happy not to fall prey to a gold ring scam that's practiced on the tourists here. I knowingly waved off the woman who picked up the ring from the ground, asking if it was mine, just like I was on to her - because I was! (You can read all about this scam on Fodor's Travel Talk Forums.)

    Next I went to a store that sells French jeweler's smocks; I thought my brother might like one. I was surprised to see a very long robe, like a graduation gown. I didn't think he'd use it. Little did I know, I'd see them again before the day was out.

    From there I walked through the Marais down to the Seine and across to the dramatic Hotel de Sens on the rue de Figuier. Built in 1475, it has a dungeon and corbelled towers and a beautiful white stone gothic exterior which today houses the Fornay Library and an exhibition space. There's a formal garden bordering the Seine where you can soak up the scent of boxwood and look over the lavender and through the branches of crabapple trees at the fortified residence. Inside, a charming exhibit of farm product advertisements over the last century took me back to a more innocent time.

    Finally I went to meet the art student who'd promised me a tour of her school. From the Place de la Nation, I walked a few blocks to the Boulle Art School. Sure enough, she showed up! We looked into the moldmaking studio and she told me about the upholstery shop. We toured the engraving and woodworking shops and the metal work and sculpture studios.

    There were classes going on in most of them and we whispered our way through working students. She showed me projects of great ingenuity as we walked through halls lined with very old sculpture fragments used for drawing and sculpture models. The professors never raised an eyebrow, and when she pointed them out to me, I saw they were wearing those very same smocks I'd seen earlier in the day. They looked like medieval artisans at work.

    Then we made our way out into the chilly night air and onto the subway platform. I'll never know what made a twenty year old Parisian girl want to include me in her conversation as she sat with her friend in a cafe, or to invite me to see this slice of life in Paris that I never would have had entree to, but I let her know what a special gift she'd given me and I could tell she felt good that she'd done it. I hope I have the chance to do the same with someone in Los Angeles, some day when I least expect it!!

  40. Carrie -- what a full, fantastic day you've had! Thanks again for sharing (and for reminding me of 3 more beautiful churches in my old neighborhood.

  41. Ah I see. Ok.

    She'd been hurt. Hurt bad. It had to be tonight. She knew what time he'd be home. Then she'd give it to him. Straight. She heard a noise. It must be him. She sucked in the cold night air. Footsteps. Two sets! He wasn't alone. A feminine laugh. She held her breath. Took the letter from her pocket. Held it in her hands standing in the shadows, waiting to hand it to him. As she watched them, so close, so perfect... so right, she had a moment of clarity. Retreating, she watched, barely moving, trembling. He, so loving, helping her up the step, letting her go first, as he'd always done with her. Her with a sweet smile, so in love, gazing into his eyes. A second's hesitation and she let them close the door behind them. Turning away, she folded the letter, tore it once, dropped it in a puddle and walked quickly away, her own footsteps echoing inside her head.

  42. I like yours, Jeff!

    Carrie another fine day. Your feet must be on ice right now!

  43. Ah, yes, the cruel moment of clarity strikes its fatal blow once again.

    Nicely done, Lynn!

  44. "Atmosphere, atmosphere. Est-ce que j'ai une gueule d'atmosphere?"

    I always love a different perspective, LynnUK. There are a million stories out there in the naked city. These were two of them.

  45. "A moment of clarity," says Suzy. Or, as a past acquaintance of mine would say: "a glimmer of lucidity". I love that.

  46. Think how many slants on this pic, which we could all turn into a tale!
    We ought to call it the Twenty Line Challenge (in small comment window!) LOL.

  47. I have this odd habit of doing this. When I'm at a restaurant alone, at a bar, at an airport, a café. Watch the people. Invent a tale of intrigue, love, crime, all of these. A couple of times I was with somebody and started reciting a story: "See those people?... . One thought I was serious. "What? Really? How do you know them?" The other laughed the whole time but thought I was nuts. She was right, of course, but that's what makes me lovable!

    I really need to go buy dinner to go with this Bordeaux I opened last night. A bientot.

  48. Oh me too all the time. That's what makes writers! The plot, the characters, are all around us.

    Come on Eric I want to grab my crown and go to bed. I'd like my crown to be soft and silky please as I want to wear it on my pillow...zzzz

  49. Oh, Lynn! Great follow up! You guys really know how to do this stuff!

  50. hello!! Very interesting discussion glad that I came across such informative post. Keep up the good work friend. Glad to be part of your net community.

  51. I love to go to any restaurant looks like this one beautiful and modern