Les Bres in Metz

This weekend, we drove to Metz (France) to visit our friends Laurent and Nanou. They live in a two-bedroom apartment with their three kids, cat, and French bulldog. The kids are 9, 3 and 18 months. Needless to say, add our two and it was a zoo. We stayed in a nearby hotel, but ate all our meals at their place. I need to hit the gym bad when we get back to Seattle.

Saturday, Laurent made a curry for lunch. I watched him scoop an entire container of creme fraîche into it (he was worried it would be too spicy, so he added extra cream). I had two helpings, then we went out for a walk to see the aftermath of nuit blanche, an all-night arts festival across France, with the first installment in Metz. We stopped at a patisserie and ordered a round of pastries for us and the five kids, then got lollipops afterwards. Laurent secretly purchased an entire chocolate mousse cake once he learned Dawn likes chocolate.

We ate dinner around 10 p.m.: cheese, salad greens, olives, bread, and wine from Collioure. This is where we met Laurent, back in the mid-90s when he was doing real estate. He was our agent when my mom and John got their condo there, in Collioure.

We met up with the Bres family again on Sunday, and saw the old Catholic cathedral in Metz, with the nearby German Protestant church. The city traded hands between Germany and France in the 20th century, so there are both styles of architecture throughout. There’s also a dialect Laurent described which is not nice, that sounds like French spoken by Germans.

For breakfast Sunday, we had a pile of croissants, and a tarte au sucre. I had three pieces of the tarte. I watched as the kids devoured their croissants without plates, leaving a mass of crumbs on the table. Laurent just bunched up the tablecloth, shook it out the window, and replaced it with a new one.

He then prepared a shrimp pasta dish for lunch, with a tomato-cream sauce, saffron, white port, and fresh tarragon. I’m allergic to shrimp, but ate some anyway because it looked so good. We had the chocolate mousse cake for dessert before returning to Germany; I ate three pieces. Dawn drove.

Tomorrow, we catch the 8:17 a.m. train to Paris, changing once in Stuttgart.

About pinklightsabre

William Pearse publishes memoir, travel journals, poetry and prose, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.
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