on seeing the newly covered arc de triomphe & eating at a fave franchise
The Arc de Triomphe sits at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle which is at the western most reach of l’avenue des Champs-Élysées.
On the day I went (Saturday), the Champs-Élysées was closed to traffic, foot traffic was allowed as well as bicycles, and all the artery avenues and streets that lead into the Place Charles de Gaulle were blocked to prevent traffic onto the Place.
When I say that the Place Charles de Gaulle was blocked, I mean the entire Place was cordoned off, even for pedestrians who may have wanted get closer to the Arc de Triomphe and look at the installation more closely.
In order to get past the security and move onto the Place Charles de Gaulle, one needs a passe sanitaire, which states you have been vaccinated for Covid with two doses, or a Covid test within the previous 72 hours. Several testing tents were set up around the Place to aid those who are not vaccinated. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
The French government is serious with its efforts to fight the virus. No one can eat in a restaurant in France without the passe sanitaire or without a recent Covid test. Despite the open space on the Place Charles de Gaulle and the moderately crowded area near the Arc de Triomphe, the government was taking no chances and, at the same time, telling its citizens that they have an obligation to help protect others if they intend to congregate. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
The installation is not permanent, of course. Christo’s art projects never are. It will be removed October 3. I have yet to learn whether the streets will remain closed until October. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
After spending some time on the Place Charles de Gaulle and strolling along the Champs-Élysées, I decided that I should think about where I would eat lunch. Certainly not on the Champs-Élysées. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
I looked through my collection of restaurant addresses on my smart phone and saw that a Relais de l’Entrecôte was nearby on rue Marbeuf. It is my favorite restaurant franchise in France.
If you want to feel and be somewhat French, learn to order and eat at a Relais de l’Entrecôte. No menus are provided. No menus are posted on chalk boards. Everyone who goes knows what will happen, what they will eat, and it is always the same thing for everyone. Sort of. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
You go to the Relais de l’Entrecôte to eat a salad, beef covered with a special, secret sauce, and French fries. That sauce is good. The meat is always tender.
When the waiter arrives, most often it is a woman, she will first ask how you want the meat cooked (saignant, s’il vous plaît ), and then she will ask what you want to drink (une demi-bouteille de vin rouge, s’il vous plaît). That’s it. She thanks you and leaves.
Later, after you have finished your salad and most of the French fries and steak, she will return and offer seconds of both. The first serving of fries is always enough for me, and I take a second slice of steak out of politeness. The first portions are often sufficient for me.
And, of course, there is dessert. You will see a menu for the desserts.