As you might have noticed, I’m trying not to let you forget we had a few days in Paris last month. Day Two, Sue’s birthday we had lunch at the excellent Brasserie Balzar.
There is a reason I didn’t crop the Pharmacie out of the photo. We were walking up the appropriately named rue de l’École de Médicine towards Boulevard St Michel. The road and the pavement get very narrow towards the top and they’ve stuck a line of bollards along the pavement to stop pedestrians getting pulverised by the traffic. I gallantly stepped to one side to allow people coming the other way to get past and bashed my forearm on a bollard. Shit, I thought, another bruise. Walked up to the corner where there was a bit more space. Looked down, and there’s blood streaming down my arm, through my fingers and onto the pavement. Couldn’t raise a tissue between us. Eventually found a handkerchief (Baden Powell said you should always carry a clean handkerchief) and mopped up as much blood as possible. Sue tipped out the contents of her bag and managed to find a lone sanitary pad which she stuck on the cut.
By this time we could take note of our surroundings and realised that, not only was Balzar just the other side of the junction, there was a Pharmacie right next door. What you can’t see is there’s a nice down-to-earth bar opposite Balzar. So we did things in the proper order; Bar for a drink and washing facilities in the toilettes, Pharmacie, Balzar.
Walked into the the Pharmacie, and, indicating the arm with the attached sanitary pad to the woman behind the counter, said in my best French, “J’ai coupé mon bras, Madame.” She gave me a look that said, another Monday, another stupid Brit, went and got the antiseptic, cleaned me up, stuck a plaster on. No charge.
I like Balzar. It’s proper but not formal. The waiters are correct but look after you and are not above a little joke. The food is traditional not adventurous and the cooking pretty perfect. It went; 2 Coupes de Champagne: bottle of Saumur Champigny: fabulous plate of Charcuterie: Terrine; Sirloin Steak/Pepper Sauce: Boeuf Bourguinon/Tagliatelle. Deep breathe. Well, if I see Coupe Colonel (lime sorbet + vodka) on the menu, that’s my little indulgence, and this was a nice plain one, just the two ingredients. Sue had to be persuaded to a Mousse au Chocolat and I had to help her and the two of us still couldn’t finish it. The waiter showed professional disgust.
The bollards were a distant memory.