Paris:- Friday, 19. January 1997:- I was stationed at the American Embassy as a communications specialist for the Vietnam peace talks.
I arrived in Paris at the end of August in 1970 and left in February of 1971. I lived at 10. avenue Carnot right off the Champs-Elysées near the Arc. For a young man from South Louisiana who grew up speaking Cajun French it was quite a thrill. My Cajun French, tempered with a few semesters of college French proved invaluable.
Loved the food, wine, people and everything else about Paris. I've promised my wife that I'll take her there one day before we get too old to enjoy it or before the terrorists make it unthinkable.
Is a Pub called the Winston or Winston Churchill still in existence? Had many a great time there in 1969-70. I think the food upstairs was okay but the ambiance, booze and women were great downstairs. It was hangout for various embassy crowds. Lots of foreign nationals.
We also spent a lot of time and money at a place that served Whitbread Ale and great food and I can't remember the name of the place.
The Winston Lives On
The name 'Winston Churchill' - in the context of Paris' drinking lore - not the statesman, not the historian - struck a dim reference in my memory. I spent a lot of time around that part of town - the Etoile - about 10 years after you, and I think I may have spent part of a Sunday afternoon once in the Winston, er, Pub.
After coming out of the Irish Embassy today, I asked about the Winston in the bar on the corner of the Grande Armée, and was assured it is still there - just follow the rue de Pressbourg, they said.
This rue, which is concentric to the Etoile and has a matching rue de Tilsitt on the north half - is a long way to go around the Etoile but is good if your nerves are not up to the sight of the traffic in the Etoile itself.
The Winston, with its stand-up take-out in the rue de Pressbourg and its other long side in the rue La Pérouse, does not fit well into my camera's viewfinder. I try different sidewalks to shoot from and finally I back into the street. This requires not only looking through the viewfinder, but looking for cars about to run me over.
One, a little yellow Fiat, a new 500, rolls its window down and the passenger asks for the avenue d'Iéna. Other cars are whizzing by while we try to settle on a language, either Italian - me, no - or French? German? And we settle for my 'Robert in La Dolce Vita'-Italian and he goes for French. His map is upsidedown, but before I can get it right, the driver shouts out that we are in the avenue d'Iéna, and so we are.
As they whiz off, I forget 'Ciao' and get off a lame 'Adios' instead while the passenger shouts something I don't hear, maybe in Swiss. Then I take the photo and get out of the street.
I think you can understand that after this I am in no shape to search for pubs with 'Whitbread Ale.' I'm sure it or they exist - possibly around the rue du Bac on the Left Bank - and there are a number of bars in Paris that serve dozens of beers on tap, from all over the world.
There are also a large number of 'Irish' pubs now that have terrible light beers, but have good dark beers like Guinness or Murphy's from the barrel, and they are popular because they are less 'stiff-upper-lip' than the 'English' places and more in tune with a Celtic wildness that also has a home in France. The nearest thing to these are the Belgian bars, which have the extra advantage of having hot moules and frites as well.
As for terrorists; if they are around you needn't worry if you are in one of these bars, because I don't think they drink alcoholic beverages as a rule.
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