Our personal driver was back to escort us to JEC day 2. It was quite cold, rainy, and windy out so it was nice to be indoors. We finished up touring all the booths and went to a conference on Phenolic resins for fire resistance and low smoke. It is an old material used extensively inside trains and airplanes where fire safety is critical. We were also informed that Bakelite is still quite popular in Europe but has a stigma in the US as being old school. Caroline always says that I am a bit old school. I still program in Fortran so there you go. I will need to find a use for Bakelite!
By this point in the trip, Adam’s wife Adrienne joined us. Three is company so we headed to restaurant Allard, which ended up being a bit classic and that was the point. Old school! It was good but I do not think it is a must visit. We finished up the night at the Rosewood Bar at Hotel de Crillon near Champs-Elysees. It was Thrusday and as anybody from Palo Alto knows, Thursday night at the Rosewood Bar in Palo Alto is Cougar Night! It did not seem to be the case in the Paris version. Perhaps the $20 beers keep it low key.
Adrienne’s friend Adrian is the night manager of the hotel so we got to tour a room a nice courtyard and a banquet hall with views of the Eiffel Tower. The room had historic painted walls in it that have to be removed when they work on the interior. It is only $1295 per night in winter so I was thinking of booking one for my next week in Paris.
Friday stared off with a visit to our supplier’s Paris headquarters. On the walk from the metro we encountered a small street fair where we got crepes and an omlette sandwich. Yum. We had a French café lunch at their 8thfloor café. The chef was a bit intense. I think he probably joins the yellow vest protests even though he probably doesn’t have a car (fuel tax protest). We finished up work early so it was off to the Catacombs of Paris which happened to be nearby our hotel. The wait was about an hour. If you book online then you can skip the line.
The Catacombs start off with a spiral staircase going down into the ground and it never seems to end. Then a long narrow tunnel leads to what was once a limestone mine that got turned into an ossuary. It is like a wine cellar but stacked with human bones instead of wine barrels. The mines were used to “build Paris”. In the late 1700s the then abandoned mines became the perfect place to begin moving remains from cemeteries. At that time Paris was looking for room to expand and it turns out that the living needed the land more than the dead.
Friday finished off with a stop at Ker Beer, a new and hip beer bar full of Brittany style beers. Apparently the 14tharr is all Brittan themed. Adrienne met us there and we headed off to a “Michelin Star” pho at Pho Tai in the 13tharr. I am not convinced of this rumor but it was very tasty. They did have a few Michelin guides in the restaurant. The broth was a bit more rich and less clear than traditional pho.
Saturday was our last day and I struck out on my own to walk the Luxembourg garden. If there is one thing I like as much as old school it is tiny countries. While not Luxembourg proper, the garden was nice. It has rows of trees and a big palace of the same name. From there it was off to the airport. On the flight, I read Bad Blood cover to cover in one go. It is a riveting true story of Silicon Valley drama at the company Theranos. I am currently working in the old Theranos Newark lab. Some of it still has the old lab space left untouched and some quotes on the wall by none other than the protagonist herself.
My flight landed in Oakland 11 or so hours later at about 7:00 pm and it was straight off to my friend’s birthday party in a newly gentrified and millennial feeling bit of Oakland at a restaurant/brewery Drake’s Dealership. They made better use of the place than the car dealership it replaced. It was a long Uber ride back to MP and I slept a good 12 hours that night.