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Villa Lys/Palais Royal

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Naturally, I heeded my resolution to stick with recommended restaurants for, oh, about a day. On our way to a touted Japanese place in rue Sainte Anne we took a shortcut through an unassuming entryway and walked into the gardens of the Palais Royal, and went on to spend the most idyllic hour of our trip wandering around, watching boys play football in the arcades and admiring the tipped-back green metal lawn chairs (back legs shorter than front) that seemed an acme of a civilization.

My steps grew heavy as we made our way to the northwest corner and I examined with interest the tagines and generous bowls with ladles dotting the tables before the Villa Lys. Inevitably we gave up our plans of gyoza and noodles to linger in the hushed tranquil air of the garden. The vegetable couscous and chicken tangine were competently prepared if uninspired; we were there, of course, for the hush.

The waitress spoke to us in a sweet medley of French and English, and the woman behind us with the impossibly red lipstick interrupted us ("I think you look nice") to ask if she may borrow David's jacket, which he was not wearing, as she was cold. Das ist aber frech David stage-whispered to me after consenting. On the dot of ten o'clock, the fountains in the courtyard switched off and we rose to make our way to the Petit Palais.

Villalysparis

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