Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Let's start off with the most important: I found the file I needed most in the archives. It's all the letters Rabinovitch (the Hebrew translator of Graetz) sent the Alliance, including his request to renew their underwriting of his translation. While I don't (yet) have the original offer by the Alliance, I now know who made it and when it was made, so I may yet find that too. I photographed so many documents, I ran out the batteries on my camera in one morning.

I celebrated with a chicken sandwich from the local boulangerie. It came with my choice of dessert, so today I chose something called the Martiniqoise (it had coconut and raspberries -- yesterday I had the coconut flan -- both were delicious).

Last night, I had a terrific dinner at Le Boule Rouge (1 Rue de la Boule Rouge), a kosher Tunisian restaurant. I had the mergez starter (two spicy sausages), but even before they came, I had a nice mezze with spicy carrots, etc. I ordered the couscous de la maison for my main course. The couscous was the best I've ever had, and it came with a plate of meats and vegetables that was clearly meant for a table of four. I was bursting by the time I put my fork down, with much still left on the plate.

I was too full to eat dessert right away, so I ordered tea. It was mint, sweet, and with little pieces of almond (I think) soaked in it. Then I got my dessert. I couldn't make out the name; something like "pastis" or "galette." It tasted like almond cake soaked in a sweet sauce with rosewater. It was very, very good. By the time I left (only 25 Euros lighter) I felt I was about to burst.

This afternoon, I went to the Musee d'Orsay. The line was much shorter and I got in in no time at all. I rented the audioguide, but was disappointed with it. Instead of putting the paintings in their historical context, it would focus on irrelevant information (such as "the harbor depicted in this painting reverses the way it actually appears), but omits things such as pointalism, or how the painting fits into the larger artistic trends of the time.

Afterwards I went to the newly reopened L'Orangerie. There was a long line and for a while I didn't think I would get in, but after about 40 minutes, I did. The ground floor contains the famous waterlily paintings. They didn't look any different from when I saw them 14 years ago. After touring them, I thought I might pop downstairs and see what the new stuff they added was. Well, it's great. I actually liked the collection of Derain, Utrillo, Cezanne, Renoir, Soutine, Picasso, etc. there much more than in the D'Orsay.

Now it's off to dinner at my favorite bistro in Paris: Chez Maitre Paul (Odeon metro stop). I already know what I'm getting: it's something with the words "poulet" and "gratine" in the name. I once saw a recipe for it in Patricia Well's book on bistros of Paris. The recipe went on for 3-4 pages and had over a dozen steps. I've never made but it's their signature dish and I love it.

Tomorrow morning, I'm up early for my flight to Vienna.

A Bientot

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