I decided to have dinner with the full menu at Hotel du Nord last night and frankly I was a bit disappointed with the food. First of all was my mistake in ordering foie gras again as a starter course because with the accompanying brioche, which I could not resist, it was very filling. From now on only fresh foie gras which is only a few bites and melts in your mouth. My main course was tuna sashimi millefueille, layers of crisp, thin, fried dough with sliced tuna sashimi between the layers forming a sort of tower. The idea sounded great but the tuna and the accompanying shredded vegetables and sprouts were slathered with a rather tasteless, mayonnaise based sauce. The desert of rice pudding with mango and pistachio was perhaps the best dish of the meal. Due to the cold, rainy weather we dined inside which presents a classic bistro interior, a prominent and attractive bar and black and white wall photos as well as a large framed poster which advertized the “Hotel du Nord” French movie.
Today was also a somewhat gray, overcast Saturday in Paris although no rain so far and temperature in the low 60s. My goal today was to explore the route I will take on foot Monday to the Gare de l’Est, the train station from which my train to Metz will depart. I plan to spend a couple of days from Monday to Thursday in eastern France, visiting some of the sites where the US forces fought in World War I. There were 116,516 Americans killed in the so-called “war to end all wars” but they seem totally forgotten in contemporary America. In comparison the total number of Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan is 7,222. More about that during my visit to the battlefields, cemeteries and monuments in the regions of the famous St. Mihel Salient and the Meuse-Argonne offensive of 1918. In looking at my photos of Gare de l’Est, notice in the featured photo, the statue on top of the station and the inscription below it which commemorates the City of Verdun, which the French were able to keep from the Germans throughout WW I, in spite of numerous attempts to take it.
We don’t have many train stations in the USA to rival those in Paris alone and I really enjoyed my visit to the Gare de l’Est this afternoon. You will see in the photos some of the lovely architecture of the building opened in 1849 and located in the Place du 11 November 1918, the Armistice Day marking the end of WW I. The station was the primary point of departure of soldiers to the Western Front in WW I and today services trains going east to cities such as Metz, Nancy and Strasbourg for travelers and tourists such as myself. It is sobering to realize that France lost over 1, 300,000 killed and over 4,000,000 injured in WW I and many of them departed from this same station and on the same route that I will take to Metz on Monday, never to return
On a happier note, I stopped by and made a reservation for lunch tomorrow at Le Verre Vole’ a neighborhood restaurant recommended by my Airbnb host Floriane. An update on that experience to follow!!