Hotel Lutece (191€)*
A bit groggy after a night flight from L.A., we board the train from the Charles de Gaulle airport into town, and, whoops, a contingent of train operators is on strike! We reroute our plan and it takes 2 ½ hours to reach our isle on the river Seine. Our hotel is lovely. We have ice cream and coffee for lunch and stroll the Ile Saint-Louis. Of course we must have our little jar of ceremonial mustard (an antidote for rare bland meals), and then we check out the puppets in the little shop down the street. French folk figures abound… but not San Jacques/St. James of our pilgrimage walk, who just might qualify as the most legendary of all. We have dinner at L’ilot Vaches, a restaurant I had my eye on last time here in June. The meal is excellent. We each do prix fix… Nick starts with a Caesar salad, then has a lamb with potato casserole along with zucchini and pureed carrots. I start with an avocado cream terrine and then move on to duck comfit with layered potatoes. Desserts: crème brûlée and tart tartin with fresh cream… tres French! Our room is tucked away and cozy.