Tag Archives: Paris

Travel Diary: Paris Part Trois

6 Nov Cappucino

On Saturday morning around 8 am, I woke to the sound of rain drumming on the windows. So I did what anyone might do in such a situation … rolled over and went back to sleep. When I woke up at half past nine, the sun was out again! Quel miracle!

We started the day with our new morning ritual: Alex procured croissants, pan au chocolat and a fresh baguette at the local bakery, and we shared them around the kitchen table.

I could get used to this ...

Another morning run, this time to Jardin des Plantes, where we caught l’aroma of — but did not enter — the zoo.

Mike and I took the morning to run some errands and meander along the Boulevard Saint-Germain, where we found a lively street market and a fromagerie where we tasted some samples so good they made my eyes cross. We also met up with another friend and fellow expat, with his enfant in tow! Mrs. Expat was attending a pastry-making class at Le Cordon Bleu (as one does!), and texted her husband to say that it was no less than the best day of her life … after her wedding and the birth of their son, bien sûr.

We found a spot to sit and catch up in the Luxembourg Gardens. It’s a stunning place, particularly now with the changing leaves. My favorite part was the movable public seating! There were literally thousands of chairs, some upright and some lounging; some with arms and some without. The French know how to facilitate a leisurely afternoon in the park.

Can you locate the proud father changing l'enfant's diaper in front of the French Senate?

Alex and Rachel joined us for a picnic … plenty of wine, cheese, some fresh grapes, a baguette, and this unbelievable dark chocolate bar studded with toasted sesame seeds:

After lunch we bid adieu to papa and l’enfant, who needed his afternoon nap. We wandered through more of the neighborhood of St. Germain, which I loved for its narrow streets lined with boutiques, cafes and galleries.

Sculpture outside of the Odeon Theatre

We sampled chocolate-covered red peppercorns at this candy shop ... incredible.

Then, to La Palette, recommended by my friend Juliette as a wonderful place to stop for coffee. Indeed it was.


Quite the popular spot.

Mike and I found our way to the 8th Arondissement, for another visit with our expat friends (who promised to share the Cordon Bleu pastry spoils!). They live in a very pretty two-story flat on the fifth floor of a charming old building with an ancient elevator:

At 8:30, we re-joined Alex and Rachel in the Ile St. Louis for a very, very delicious dinner at a tiny Italian restaurant called Sorza, where we had some of the best risotto I have ever tasted, a very nice bottle of Chianti and a fantastic creme brulee shared among four spoons (While we were eating, the hostess had to run out into the street to stop a minivan from backing into her motorbike). We did, however, manage to save just enough room post-brulee for some glaces et sorbets at the shop down the street.

The next morning, while Alex and Rachel visited the Musee d’Orsay, we spent our last two hours in Paris enjoying the city the way I think I like it best … by wandering on foot.

Les Invalides

We’re now back in London, with the laundry almost done and our bellies full of (low-carb, zero-butter) homemade pho. It was a lovely long weekend, made so much better because we got to share it with friends. We’ve decided that’s the magic ingredient for these European city vacations … as each cappuccino, each croissant, and each carafe de vin becomes that much more delicious when enjoyed in good company.

Travel Diary: Paris Part Deux

6 Nov image080

We actually did wake up on Friday morning and go running … all four of us, along the Seine. We stopped to take in the views from the Pont des Arts:

I fell in love with the “love locks,” placed on the bridge by tourists and others who are feeling inspired by l’amour:

We stopped again at the Louvre …

Silliness a la Louvre

… and took a brief tour through Notre Dame on our way back to the guest house. Because we are in Paris. (If you like photos of stunning churches, you might also enjoy my post about Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia.)

Charming creperie for lunch: so perfect.

Fragrant buckwheat crepe stuffed with spinach & cheese, and topped with a fried egg. And how precious is the tiny personal carafe of tap water?

After we ate, we took the Metro toward Montmartre, the hilly neighborhood known for views, eclectic art, vintage boutiques and quirky cafes (Also the neighbrhood where Amelie Poulain lived in the 2001 film).


A train arrives in the Cité Metro station

... and we're off!

We arrived in the neighborhood of Montmartre, where the cafes had an artistic flair:

We climbed the stairs to Basilique du Sacré-Cœur.

View of the city from Sacre-Coeur (can you see the pigeon on the lamppost?)

We visited the Place du Tertre, where dozens of artists create and sell their work:

One of my favorite things about Paris is how people sit outside cafes, single-file facing outward for utterly undisguised people-watching:

Two Frenchmen engaged in outdoor chess:

Who could not love these streets?

Our first macarons in Paris came from Montmartre: mocha for Mike, dark chocolate for Alex, rose for Rachel and chocolate-passion fruit for me.

I loved this improvised art gallery, hung on scaffolding between two buildings:

We stopped at this cafe for a half-carafe of rosé, and then split up to browse the shops.

For dinner, we found a Moroccan restaurant where we had incredible onion soup:

escargot which were quite delicious:

and tagine — couscous served family-style with a tomato-based broth loaded with carrots and potatoes, and a choice of meats (I mixed mine with ratatouille). This was excellent with hot chili sauce and a dollop of French table mustard mixed in … and a carafe of (I think) Beaujolais.

On the way home, inspired in equal parts by evening chill and Beaujolais, I was overtaken with the need to purchase a navy blue beret for 5 euro. And here I am with my beret in front of Notre Dame …


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