Just a little drive through the mountains from Denver is the charming little town of Georgetown. A little main street lined with brick and wooden "pioneery" buildings is the main attraction, and the most adoreable chocolate-box houses dot the green lawns throughout the town. Just behind those rise the mountains- as close as they can be to what was once a bustling little mining town.
As I ambled along the streets, I stopped in a sweets shop to buy some fudge (aromatically still made by hand by the people behind a long, old-fashioned glass counter), and sat and watched the people pass. Cowboys, families, an older British couple- it was lovely to sit on a bench in the middle of America in the warm sun, peoplewatchiing.
I continued my perambulation and stuck my lens in dusty old windows, and at people that took my interest. I came across a hotel- named The Hotel de Paris, and walked down a narrow side alley that looked rather fascinating. I ended up behind the hotel, one of the grandest in the West at its peak, and was delighted to find...INFORMATION SIGNS! You guys, I love when I want to know about a place, and someone has placed signage (with old-timey photos, swoon!) to do precisely that.
It turns out that this hotel was owned and nearly solo-operated by a mysterious French man who went by the name of Louis Dupuy. He, along with a skeleton staff of one Chinese immigrant and his French housekeeper, Sophie, ran the hotel in its entirety. Louis was very well-read and charismatic, and was fluent in French, English, German and Latin. He was a studious philosopher as well, and coming from a mining background, this made him even more mysterious. It turned out that he was really born Adolphe Francois Gerard, a translator and military deserter who had lived in London, Paris and New York before becoming enamored of the mining life, and deciding to reinvent himself as just that- a miner. He was injured in a blast after shoving his partner out of the way, and for his bravery the town started a collection which allowed him to begin his hotel business. Out back, in the little courtyard I discovered after pushing open an ajar gate, Louis would slaughter the beef he raised in his ranch a few miles away. So not only was he an astute polyglot, philosopher, and business man- he also knew how to butcher a cow! The actual iron hooks are still there, built into the walls, and the meat was then served in the restaurant that occupied the entire lower floor of the hotel- presumably cooked up deliciously by Sophie! It must have been quite a spectacle- this lavish European-esque hotel, smack in the centre of a mining town, in the middle of the Old West.
As the sun began to dip behind the mountains, the temperature dropped sharply and the mosquitos came buzzing after me. I ducked into a restaurant I happened across, the aptly named Eurocafé, and ordered a huge deep-fried Camembert with cranberry sauce. As I sat munching, dipping my bread into the gooey, fragrant cheese, I could see the lake in the distance with the setting sun reflecting off the surface. I wrapped my cardigan around my shoulders and felt quite cosy, indeed.