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Texas Tattoos
Here's a Smart car with a bunch of em, in Montparnasse. (Oh, what a war zone it is waiting for a table at fine dining rush hour at La Coupole.)


Here's the Smart's tattooed sister (granny?) across the pond. 1964 Ford Fairlane 500, shot in Ft. Worth, Texas, September 2006.


Getting back to Paris, here's another Smart car with no tattoos...but très snappy, no? And reasonably priced. Wish we had cars like this in the USA.


Of course, at the Ft. Worth auto show, I did get to sit in this pleasingly parkable thingie by BMW.


And, in the parking lot of Ft. Worth's Railhead Smokehouse, a legendary BBQ place I somehow sniffed out, I saw this alien-green twin of my own little battery-assisted hybrid car.


...and a different sort of patron than I've been seeing at my favorite Paris café.


Posted by aalkon at October 31, 2006 2:44 PM

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Hi Amy !

/*/Oh, what a war zone it is waiting for a table at fine dining rush hour at La Coupole/*/

Amerloque has always loved Amy's sense of humor ! (grin)

Sudden thought: you _are_ joking, aren't you ?!

"Dining" at La Coupole – simply a chain restaurant, of course ! – bears as much relationship to "fine dining" as "music" bears to "military music", in Amerloque's view. (wide grin)

LC is a tourist trap for the SylviaFitzHemingway crowd and the food is hardly what it used to be. There are far better restos in Paris.


Posted by: L'Amerloque at October 31, 2006 3:22 AM

I go primarily to the café there to sit along the boulevard and work on my column, although I did eat lunch there last Sunday with Lena when there were no sandwiches available up front (just desserts). By the way, they do have a lovely tarte aux pommes.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 31, 2006 6:02 AM

The Angola tee shirt reminds me of that fancy new fence we're putting in down by Mexico.

Posted by: Michelle at October 31, 2006 12:00 PM

As usual I'm in agreement with L'Amerloque in his assessment, but his comment "simply a chain restaurant" deserves a little amplification, because it's an interesting tale.

Back in the innocent '70s there was a nice Brasserie in the 10eme called Chez Flo -- it rather specialised in Eastern French (choucroute garni and similar food mountains). Flo became first trendy, then hugely successful, then the owner of an embarrassing amount of spare cash, and by the end of the '80s Flo was gobbling up well-known brasseries all over Paris. The Bofinger -- one of Paris's very oldest -- the Balzar, Julien, Le Boeuf Sur le Toit, and, yes, La Coupole. Right now the Empire Flo extends to 10 large restaurants in Paris and 5 more elsewhere.

Adam Gopnik wrote in great detail about the takeover of the Balzar, and the "sit-in" of the scandalised regulars that ensued. As a mere American he was privileged to be invited to join the revolution, and it was a terrific piece but I can't find an excerpt on the web (I did find his other excellent piece explaining why nobody frequents that ridiculous fake Les 2 Magots, but I digress and maybe you will too).

This predatory behaviour on the part of Flo makes the people of Paris tsk-tsk because the prices rise and certain favourite waiters are pensioned off, but you know, the final result ain't that bad. I've never set foot in the Coupole personally, but I still love the Balzar, and I've had good times at both Bofinger and Le Terminus Nord (right opposite the Gare of that ilk) this very year 2006.

Just thought you'd all like to know what "chain restaurant" means in this context....

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at October 31, 2006 3:40 PM

I'm very much an en haut at Flore girl myself, but I once met James Gandolfini and the guy who plays grandpa on the Sopranos after I sat next to Peter Weller at Flore. Naturally, I had no idea it was Peter Weller. He had to tell me -- and did. And then he asked me to meet him and some friends later. Little did I know the occasion would be Tony Soprano's Excellent Paris Vacation.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 31, 2006 4:16 PM

I want one of those sporty smart cars.

Posted by: Crid at October 31, 2006 5:11 PM

If I didn't have my Insight, I'd be trying to buy one. Zap cars in the USA sells them, I think.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 1, 2006 10:47 PM

Hi Stu !

/*/Just thought you'd all like to know what "chain restaurant" means in this context..../*/

Yes, Amerloque wrote about this in his blog on September 11, 2006: (

// …/… Ah, yes, Paris … the restaurant world in Paris has changed exceedingly over the past several years, and it's not just all the fault of McDo and KFC. With all the private capital groups gobbling up the choicest plums, i.e. the "name" restaurants, Amerloque, in self defense, has been following the continual shakeout in Paris for quite a while. He simply does not feel that "chain restaurants" run by hedgefunds and private equity groups – whether in the USA or in France – can be considered in any way as the epitome of gastronomy. He is of the opinion that the concepts "chain food" and "excellent dining" are mutually exclusive; he is frankly astonished to see so many of the chain establishments being fulsomely recommended in allegedly "independent" guidebooks and on many gushy "oh-isn't-Paris-great !" blogs and websites.

During the summer, Amerloque's favorite French morning daily, Le Parisien published a revealing "who owns which restaurant" article.

When one sees that a single company owns: Au Pied de Cochon, Le Grand Café, L'Alsace, Charlot, Le Procope, La Fermette Marbeuf, La Taverne, L'Arbuci, La Lorraine, Le Petit Zinc, Chez Jenny and L'Appart, and that a second company's portfolio contains Bofinger, La Brasserie Flo, Julien, La Coupole, Le Bœuf sur le Toit, Les Grandes Marches, Le Vaudeville, Les Beaux Arts, 80 Hippopotamus restaurants, 40 Bistrot Romain restaurants, and 6 La Table à Pizza restaurants, one is entitled to ask oneself in all seriousness if traditional Parisian dining has not been thrown into the trashcan of history, preceding the traditional small French farmer, perhaps, by only a few years. //

Amerloque remembers when La Coupole was a real place. The staff used to have a private tennis court right next door. Of course, when Flo took over, it razed the courts and built a building.

Flo is big. Stu might agree with Amerloque that one goes to Julien for the wonderful decor.

One certainly does not go to any Flo establishment for food. (sigh)


Posted by: L'Amerloque at November 3, 2006 10:24 AM

BEST info!


Posted by: louise at July 11, 2007 2:24 AM

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