Why Monet, Foie Gras and Dreamgirls have alot in common - An English girl in Paris Society - i-Tales from a Brit chick in Paris

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Why Monet, Foie Gras and Dreamgirls have alot in common


Hotel Costes © Brit Chick - Why Monet, Foie Gras and Dreamgirls have alot in common
Hotel Costes © Brit Chick
It was the last day of my best friend John's trip to Paris so we wanted to send him off in style. My beau had been invited to a private view of the new Monet exhibition at le Grand Palais and that seemed a perfect fin de son séjour.

Being a consummate publicist he managed to get in before us and we found J and J (John and his boyfriend, John) entranced at the start of the exhibition. Sydney is more beach than Beaux Arts so this was nirvana for them.

The collection was incredible - a full exposé of Monet's prolific work. We drifted through Normand scenes of wild seas, lost ourselves in the Seine and were hypnotised by colourful nympheas. The famous hung alongside the little-known works so it was a real priviledge. John being a sensitive soul shed a tear at one of the early morning studies.

We'd planned to have dinner elsewhere but on seeing some delicious nibbles at the cocktail reception we struggled to restrain ourselves. When foie gras slabs and big bowls of cep risotto were brought out we our resolve disappeared altogether.

My beau was hobnobbing with clients and contacts so John, John and I had an orgy of delicious food and champagne. There were oysters, scallops, vitello tonnato and beef carpaccio, everything was mini sized so it gave the impression of eating just a little.

We felt like wedding crashers, gorging ourselves on an umpteenth slice of vanilla and orange flavoured foie gras.

The micro macaroons were being brought out for desert which spurred on our eating and drinking. We got louder and the room quieter.

I felt like I was back in Sydney - snorting with laughter, cackling about anything and everything and energised by gay boy humour. There were a couple of cute guys who the Johns were convinced played for their 'team'. I did not have the heart to say that they were just immaculate Parisian businessmen.

My beau swiftly escorted us to the car and we decided to head to Hotel Costes for the last hurrah. I had actually discovered Costes through John - he used to play the CD at his famous candlelit soirees so to go there with him was a special moment indeed.

His dinner parties usually ended with Kylie's greatest hits and us dancing on his marble kitchen tops. Costes greeted us with its usual blend of arrogance, sophistication and elitism.

We were ushered to a back corner of the bar and ordered a batch of cosmos and dirty martinis.

A table nearby became free so we moved along to have a good view of the spectacle - canoodling couples, snooty singles and haughty hostesses.

No sooner had we done this than a greying middle aged man and two very blond blondes were led to our vacated table.

The guy started caressing one woman - we assumed his wife given a prominent ring - and then he kissed the other!

Ok, so these were clearly his dynamic duo for the night. After quickly knocking back their vodkas they headed off, no doubt to his room. No sooner had they left when a guy took his seat with an asian girl and an effeminate boy. Now in the groove of people watching the gloves were off. We guessed they were a client with a couple of transsexuals. Clearly this corner was hooker corner.

So why on earth had we been seated there? Maybe we looked like a swinging gay and straight couple!? We were about to go when a Jennifer Houston lookalike asked us to take a picture of her and some friends.

We saw a gaggle of elderly and middle age black ladies all dressed up to the nines for a girls night out. One of them yelled that it was her 60th - she didnt look a day older than 40 which we told her.

You know why honey, she said, because black women age so much better than you white sugars. I asked her to guess my age and disappointingly she was spot on. The honesty was refreshing. She had in fact paid for her all friends in hometown Philly to celebrate her big day in Paris.

My friend John - very tipsy by this stage - was convincing one of them that she was actually a deadringer for Tyra Banks. Last time at Hotel Costes he had seen Naomi. This time Tyra. I asked them if they were gospel singers and they burst out laughing. We swapped shoe stories and I gave them hot Parisian shopping tips. One of the more elderly women said she only bought Louboutins. I high fived her.

We promised to visit them though Philly isn't exactly high up on my places
to visit. More pictures were taken, photos of hunky boys back home shown and we said our good byes. My beau as a naturally kind and charming soul bought them a bottle of birthday champers. We rounded off the evening at the hotel shop stockpiling candles and cds.

In my euphoric state I tried what I thought was body cream only to see my leg froth up with shower gel lather. It was like showering in the middle of the Costes foyer.

After big hugs with J and J and drawn out good byes we dropped them off at their gay loft in Le Marais and headed home.

I was, in truth, a little tearful but was pleased with myself for offering my Aussie mates a rich experience - from Argenteuil to Philadelphia no less.

Brit Chick suggests:

Le Grand Palais
1 Avenue Géneral Eisenhower
75008 Paris, France

Brit Chick says: "This magnificent museum is the Paris equivalent of the National Gallery. It stands proud next to the historic Invalides and the breathtaking Place de la Concorde. Visit it for all major art exhibitions."
239 Rue Saint-Honoré
75001 Paris, France

Brit Chick says: "The chain has monopoly on some of the most scenic cafes and bars in Paris. Top of the Pompidou Centre, Cafe Marly in the Louvre building and the Esplanade restaurant opposite Napoleons tomb. Lounge music and plush,  candle lit bars. It's great when you first arrive but sometimes it's a bit like groundhog day. Try Chilean sea bass or weeping tiger. Rounded off with darkest chocolate sorbet. No dairy so it's only a semi naughty treat."


Elizabeth Kesses
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