Last night was our final evening in Rouen. We scheduled a sitter and David found some restaurant options online, so we headed out with possibilities in mind, but no real agenda. After about 20 minutes of walking we came to the first place, L’Auberge de Saint Maclou, which we decided was a good choice since we were a) starving and b) short on time (the sitter was getting picked up in less than 2 hours).
We got seated right away which was nice, with me facing a large party of about 10 people. Almost immediately I could tell something was off, but it took the duration of the meal to fully appreciate the scene. We chose one of the prix fixe menus, which allowed an appetizer (entrée), a main course (plât), et le dessert. For the 1st course, I had mussels cooked in butter and garlic, which were then broiled with gruyere cheese on top. (Yeah, this is pretty much how we eat all the time in France. Have I mentioned how fat I’m getting?!) At about this point, I noticed that one of the women at the facing table was sucking her thumb. Okay, she looked about 45, but whatever.
For the main dish I had salmon and daube cooked in a cream sauce (see previous fat comment). With these dishes we first had a white burgundy and then a Saint Emillion. During this course one of the men at the table kept turning sideways (so that I was able to see his profile) and was doing this sort of clicking thing with his mouth, repeatedly. The man on the receiving end of said clicking kept jumping up to go outside, presumably to have a smoke.
Meanwhile, while I was watching these events unfold, David had a view of a teenage couple out on a date. So he was kept entertained by watching this French, skate-punk boy with black hair in his eyes and a virtually identical girl figuring out how to order, talk, and chew while still appearing too cool for words.
Finally, over dessert (fromages et tarte aux pommes (apple tart—Normandy is apple country, hence all the cider, Calvados, and tarte aux pommes)), yet another man at the large table got up, walked to the middle of the room, and burst into tears. I’m not sure if anything provoked it, but he was lead away by one of the seemingly less challenged at the table.
At about this point, a young, blond woman and a huge, old man who looked like a cross between Jaba the Hutt and the Godfather came in, apparently thought better of it, and turned around and walked out. It was definitely a diverse crowd, us included.
All in all it was an excellent meal and a really great end to what has been a wonderful experience. I have lots of thoughts about so many things I need to put into words (lessons learned, house swapping, travel with kids, blogging, goals for the new year) as well as many more photos to share. Next stop for us is Paris for a final farewell and then the flight(s) home on Monday.