Obama and his daughter Malia at the Pompidou Center for
art in Paris, June 7. The President stole a few hours to tour
town with his family before leaving his wife and daughters to
in Paris without him.
Le Figaro, France
Food Taster in Tow, the Obamas Visit Paris
"'The atmosphere was quite
relaxed. They were very happy. They said they had had a wonderful meal … There
were five at the table: the president, Michelle Obama, one of the two girls, an
American writer and a fifth,' said waiter Gabriel de Carvalho. A taster from
the American Secret Service tested the president's plates."
By C.J. with Agencies
Translated By L. McKenzie
June 7, 2009
- Le Figaro - Original Article (French)
An exploration of
the monuments of Paris, sheltered from cameras and photographers. ... On Saturday, after attending ceremonies for the 65th anniversary of the allied
landings in Normandy, Barack Obama began his private family visit to the French
capital. The first stop of his "relaxing" stay was at Notre Dame. Arriving a little after 8pm, the presidential couple and their two
daughters, Sasha and Malia, spent just over an hour in the cathedral, which was
closed to the public for the occasion. They were greeted on the spot by Monsignor
Patrick Jacquin, rector and archbishop of Notre Dame, who showed them around
the premises. "It went very well; it was the visit of a family on
vacation," confided a spokesman of the archdiocese.
A children's choir was in the
cathedral. The American president lit a candle and mounted the steps to the
roof with his wife, the first lady's press service reported. Toward the end of
the visit, part of the delegation, led by Sasha and Malia, appeared on one of
the building's balconies, greeting onlookers from a distance and being photographed.
Crowds of tourists and Parisians filled the surrounding area along the banks of
the Seine, loudly cheering the passage of the presidential convoy. The first
family then returned to the residence of the United States Ambassador, where they
stayed during their visit. At 9:30pm, the
Obamas went out to La Fontaine de Mars on rue Saint-Dominique [Saint-Dominique St.], a hundred-year-old
bistro, one of the oldest establishments in the capitol, which serves southwestern
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"The reservation for their
visit to La Fontaine de Mars [photo below] was made over a week ago but wasn't confirmed until 7:15pm.
Several other restaurants were in the
lists [in the running]," indicated Gabriel de Carvalho, one of the waiters
at the bistro, frequented regularly by personnel from the American Embassy. It
wasn't until Saturday that the staff learned the identity of their prestigious
the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, the La Fontaine
Mars at 129 Rue Saint-Dominique is where the
and his family spent part of Saturday.
"The atmosphere was quite
relaxed. They were very happy. They said they had had a wonderful meal,"
the waiter continued. There were five at the table: the president, Michelle
Obama, one of the two girls, an American writer and a fifth," he added. A
taster from the American Secret Service tested the president's plates. "Barack
Obama was extremely nice to the staff. He ate a leg of lamb and a floating
island. No wine, just water. The other guests had beef tenderloin and crème
brûlee." The resident of the White House paid the bill of nearly €300
Before leaving for Washington
on Sunday afternoon, the American president paid a last cultural visit. On
Sunday morning, Barack Obama and his wife went to the Georges Pompidou Center for
Modern Art. The American presidential family briefly appeared on the
terrace of the fifth floor of the building, made of glass and colored tubes, designed
by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers in 1977.
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The first lady didn't return
with her husband. Michelle and her children lunched at the Elysée Palace with
Nicolas and Carla Sarkozy. Michelle Obama was then spotted shopping at
Bonpoint, an upscale children's clothing store in Paris. She then went to the Louvre museum before
a last family dinner at La
Cigale Récamier, another chic restaurant in the 7th arrondissement of Paris.
The first lady of the United States and her two daughters, Malia, 10, and
Sasha, who celebrated her 8th birthday on Sunday, were to leave Monday at the
end of the morning for Washington.
Questioned Saturday on the
brevity of his visit to France, Barack Obama insisted that, "I
would love nothing more than to have a leisurely week in Paris, stroll down the
Seine, take my wife out to a nice meal, have a picnic in the Luxembourg
Gardens. Those days are over, for the moment." At the start of the week,
the American president had already affirmed his "love for France."
"Americans love everything French," he said,
citing pell-mell "the food," "the wine … Paris" and even "Provence,"
where he had stayed while he was a student, something he confided during an
exclusive interview with Canal+.
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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US June 8,