Tonight goes on my lifelong top ten best list. Matt and I took Tommy to dinner at Le Train Bleu in the Gare de Lyon. I really wanted to take Tommy out for one special grown-up dinner while we were on this trip, something he would remember his entire life. When I discovered that there was a fancy restaurant at a train station (where I may add, the TGV or high-speed train departs from) I knew I had found the perfect place, since Tommy has loved trains since before he could talk.
The weather was a strange mix of sun and rain and when we arrived, a huge rainbow arched right over the station’s beautiful tower, whose unusual clock has numbers and hands of indigo blue. I’m a deeply superstitious person and I was sure this meant we would have a wonderful time. I was right.
The dining room is stunning. Tommy was a bit intimidated at first, but our wonderful waiter Antonio quickly put him at ease, first asking Tommy his name (in perfect English) and pointing out the children’s menu (which was not really a children’s menu per se, but was a real value, as he got to pick almost any main course off the menu for 15 euros). Then he put Tommy’s pink lemonade into a champagne glass so that it would look the same as Matt and my kir royales.
It was completely magical to sit in that gorgeous room with Tommy. The sun doesn’t go down here until close to ten and the dining room was golden in the evening light. We looked at the painted ceiling and talked about our trip and then tucked into a wonderful meal. I had seared foie gras followed by a sea bream mousse that was to die for. Tommy had cod and a huge pile of frites. Although the child’s meal did not come with a first course, Antonio brought Tommy his food at the same time as Matt and my first course (so smart, this man). Tommy had so much to eat that he was just finishing up when Matt and I took the last bites of our second course.
I think that part of why my food tasted so good was the enormous pleasure I took in Tommy’s excitment. It was clearly so delightful to him to be included in all of that elegance. And I was so proud of how he carefully considered all his choices on the large menu, how he placed the heavy white napkin on his lap, how he eagerly ate all of his fish.
And best of all was that I let him have coffee ice cream, which is usually not allowed because of the caffeine. And when he was done, Antonio asked him to write his name in the melted pool of brown on his plate, which Tommy, giggling, did with his finger.
Then it was out to photograph one of the TGVs before heading for home on the Metro, which is above ground at that point and crosses a bridge on the Seine. We watched the magnificent view of the back of Notre Dame in the setting sun in perfect companionship, my boy and I.
This is why I love to travel with my children–why should the sublime be left only to the adults?