The weather had been foul all day, among the worst Paris can throw at you in November. Bucketing rain, 2C and at one stage the weather on my phone said it was snowing.
After a late-afternoon Louvre visit, my two companions and I were trying to get back across the Seine to our hotel. They favoured a taxi rather than the Metro but on a Friday night like this, there were none to be had.
We had to slog our way along the Rue de Rivoli, shoulder-bracing against oncoming soggy Parisians intent on getting home. And then get on the Metro.
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Back at Hotel Lutetia and after an express dry and freshen up, we apologised to our dinner hosts and explained our lateness.
"But you should have called, we would have sent a car for you."
Welcome to the world of Lutetia, where nothing is too much trouble.
"Wet boots, Madame? We can fix that." Less than an hour later, said boots are delivered, dry, in a grey liveried shoe bag, in a box case.
However, back to dinner at the Salon St Germain des Pres restaurant, a large room of sofas and groups of tables and chairs designed to feel like a friend's living room. Oh, to have such friends.
It's an internal room but light floods in from the sides and, most spectacularly, from the glass ceiling painted by conceptual artist Fabrice Hyber. It would be difficult to feel down in such a delightful room.
Yes, Madame would love to start with a glass of champagne, yes the Taittinger Cuvee Lutetia — Extra Brut — 2008 (€24, NZ$41) would be lovely. It is specially bottled for the hotel, which sort of makes it the house wine — sort of.
In the delight of the bubbles and the surroundings, Madame, who contents herself with nibbling nuts and olives rather than having a starter, fails to note what her colleagues are eating but does know it isn't any of the three caviars available in 30g servings. (One is the Beluga Imperial — €385, with condiments and blinis of course). Madame would have noticed that.
We all choose fish to follow and my Sole Meuniere au beurre d'algues et pommes puree - Dover sole in meuniere sauce, with seaweed butter and mashed potatoes - (€65) melts in the mouth.
Madame allows herself a dessert. Such a dessert. Dessert of the week. Peanut biscuit, creamy lemon, peanut praline, black chocolate strapping, lemon foam, peanut icecream and a sprinkle of grated black lemon (€18). I disturb the sprinkled lemon, crack open the chocolate shell, and spoon into a tangy foam atop a delectable soft biscuit.
Madame basks in her companions' envy.
Is it still raining outside? Who cares.