Mesdames et Messieurs, je te présente Clément. He is the bartend at Le Palais de Tokyo Monsieur Bleu restaurant, which sits almost as an art piece in itself at the end of the gallery. In a contemporary world promoting minimalism and austerity, gold, marble, green leather and velvet would put one off as ostentatiously vulgar. However, this interior has been executed with perfection. Complimented by the fashionable waitstaff in crisp shirts, blue ties, and black braces, the image is one of poise and regality. Which prompts us to tip-toe in and hesitantly ask if us mere mortals are allowed to sit at the bar.

They graciously seat us; the bar corner is strategic for drinking in the beauty of the spatial qualities. The three of us try various appealing cocktails. As we order our selections for a second round, we shake hands with the bartend and ask Clément for a future recommendation. His English is conversational, smoothly accented with French, “It is not on the menú, but my favorite? Is a cucumber martini.” But as for me, the choice is unquestionable: champagne. The simple elegance of this one drink does well in this context. Alas, the esteemed cucumber martini will have to wait for a future visit. Merci Clément pour les boissons délicieuses.