Paris, a city I hold close to my heart. Some people dislike paris, but for those who enjoy rich food, culture and perhaps arrogant members of the Public, you cant compare it to anywhere else.
An architectural master piece, with not one corner forgotten. Every quirk and charm adds to the pure allure of The French capital. I was beyond excited not only to be going for Valentines day (What a cliche) but to show my boyfriend Paris for the first time. This was going to be a challenge in itself. Italian man, against the french with a set mind on how the trip would go.
Arriving first thing of the Eurostar, already a win for paris. We jumped a cab went to the hotel dropped our bag’s and headed straight out to consume the first of many french meals. What better place to start than ‘Du Pain Et Des Idees’. The outside alone is enough to draw attention. A traditional boulangerie, glazed in a pastel colour and gold decor accompanied by a smell of freshly baked treats. Crowds gather to get the daily dose of beige, and you can see why. Their most famous pastry, a snail shaped, flakey and soft croissant, filled with either Praline, Pistachio & White Chocolate or Raspberry. Obviously two were sampled, as well as a trusty cioccalatine. Blue sky, pastries and a parisian morning. What more can you want. Desperate for coffee at this point while surviving on zero sleep, two cappuccinos and a chunk taking from our bank accounts we were feeling much more awake.
Strolling along another ‘Rue’ we got to lunch time. I had researched (as usual) and discovered a much beloved lunch spot called Le petit Vendome. Tiny, not in fit with the surrounding decor, people and noise flooding out the door swiftly followed by a strong smell of french cheese, we knew we had (well I) found a gold mine. Clearly a spot for city slickers, mostly grabbing a sandwich to go. Situated just of Le place du vendome, we waited for a table at a near by cafe, quenching our thirst before to consume the delights of this rustic wine and sandwich bar. Cheese, meats, pigs trotters, foie gross and steak tartare guzzled down with copious amounts of red wine. Each delicious, with the feeling of being at a family home with grandma cooking for everyone. The pigs trotters were a surprising star of the show. Not to our surprise we had a large nap, and finished the day with a bottle of wine and alligotte at a nearby bistro.
After a wonderful sleep at The LAZ Hotel and spa, we headed for the brunch of all brunches. Discovered last time i was in Paris, I had to go again. Angelina’s. Opposite jardin des Tuileries, a long portico filled with expensive shops, and bistros. The window stops you, filled with refined dainty pastries, smothered in creams and chocolates you will be walking inside before you realise. Transported into the era of La belle époque. High ceilings, large mirrors and golden painted ceramics. We sit and order Aneglinas Brunch. A set menu including a starter, main, and a sweet. Small fresh breads and pastries, with jams. A coffee, tea or signature hot chocolate to accompany. Then a decision of eggs.An eggs Benedict, and for myself a croissant filled with scrambled eggs and ham. There is a reason we say, ‘the best till last’ as that will always be dessert. A choice of 2 are given, Pancakes or a salted caramel French Toast….. obviously the latter was had. Every mouthful was sumptuously sweet, drizzled in the perfect ratio of salted caramel onto of a perfectly baked brioche. So in love, no words were exchanged during this brunch.
After enough eating and drinking (for the moment) it was time to see the artistic wonders starting with the Louvre. The building equally or perhaps more beautiful than the art, followed by The Orangery for Monet’s masterpieces then the Musee D’orsay. We marched the champs elysee and realised how far we had walked it was time for some well deserved wine.
Wine is served everywhere with vast menus, but not all quite like O Chateau. Known to the industry as “The most irreverent wine tasting in Paris”, I knew we had to go and experience it. A kept secret, we walked into chic, industrial styled wine bar. We perched at the counter, and perused the menu. Something for everyone, from five euros to a small 429 euro. Starting with a glass of Rhone Crozes -Hermitages, and finishing on a Merlot. As well as wine, their is a restaurant which was fully booked for the evening, and a small bar menu. So naturally we took a cheese plate, which has gone straight to the top of our ranks from our travel of cheeses (a cheese bored is always an aperitif never dinner). So, now dinner. With no reservation, we started to give up. But we persisted and found ourselves at La Bella Epoque, and so glad we did. Probably one of the best Burgers I’ve eaten, more similar to a steak tartare, juicy and flavoursome, with classic frites we were both extremely satisfied. A modern interior, but with classic antique charm. Clearly a local spot, filled with young couples and groups all eating the same burger.
Valentines day, after a small quarrel, the only answer was Montmartre, and a baguette. Montmartre, a small haven of boutique shops, cafes and small buildings. A separate oasis to the centre of Pairs. With the Sacre Coeur leaning over it, it really is a special part of the city. Along a cobbled street we hit our next feeding point. A raclette shop called Savoie ou Quoi? The smell of cheese will keep you with oder du frommage for hours. Probably one of the best baguettes I’ve ever had, and thats a lot. The baguette, crunchy, filled with delicious ham and an amazing herb flavoured cheese. They do different servings of raclette, each looked amazing as well as there waffles.
If interested in an amazing Food tour of overly indulgent treats, check out The No Diet Club whose photos are below.
Bizarrely, we decided to do the main tourist attractions on Valentines day. Montmartre followed by a walk along the Seine to the Eiffel Tower picking up a couple macaroons from Laduree on the way. After 10 minutes of feeling like being at an amusement Park for couples, we drifted for a bistro and headed back to our hotel. Groomed and made up for dinner, we headed to our only reservation. Le Canard et Champagne. Hidden down Passage des Panoramas, lined with other restaurants and shops, laid our a charming modern bistro. It does what it says on the tin, a duck haven. Three delicious courses, foie grois, duck breast and an apple pie. We left feeling fat and full for valentines evening. They have the option of duck confit and breast, each amazing, juicy and rich.
Our finally day in Paris arrived and it was time to head east. Bastille holds many memories for me, it was the first place I stayed when I came to Paris as a poor and ignorant teenager. Drinking Strawberry Daiquiris and pizza while staying. Even just writing that hurts. Bastille has many restaurants and bistros, but one in particular was on our to do list. Home to one of the top Croque Monsieur’s in Paris (not a figure of speech, it came 2nd in the croque monsieur championships). A tiny bistro tucked away called Vins des Pyrenees. Probably the most expensive sandwich I’ve paid for but worth it, and we were past the point of caring! Reading ‘truffle’ in the description this croque was a bound to be a real contender. Thick slices of bread, melted truffle Gouda, and salty ham. Accompanied with a classic green sandwich and french vinaigrette, it lived up to expectation.
Full belly’s but in need of something sweet, we went to the home of French Madeline’s, Le Bleu Sucre, and an extremely boozy Bubba Rhum. Naples defeated Paris for this sweet dessert, but not for the Madeline’s. Large golden sponge and lighter than air we took a small bag to go. We continued our stroll past the sad remains of The Notre Dame, and reached the Latin Quarter. Such a different atmosphere compared to the north side of the river, we were looking forward to what we would find. Vibrant, music playing and lots of people. We had had enough walking and decided to commence the drinking chapter of our Saturday Night.
We sat ourselves in a sultry parisian Bistro. Waiters adorned traditional white long aprons, bow ties, and a not so friendly face. One bottle of white wine turned into three and a cheese bored. An aperitif cant be had without some small “snack”. We ordered then a special delicacy to conclude our aperitif, extra large garlic buttery snails. So rich and fragrant, I stank of garlic for the remainder of the trip. Thick crusty bread to soak up each ounce of garlic butter. Sumptuous and delicious, even Fabio changed his mind… slightly.
For a final dinner, it was time for steak. My arteries were still not quite feeling congested, so I needed another glutenous dinner. I had stressed over where to find the best steak frites and ended up eating somewhere I had never even heard off. One thing not to worry about, is most places do a very good steak. So we found ourself at Le Procope, a short walking distance form Atlas. Going inside felt like stepping back in time. Dark, patterned interiors with a swirling staircase and lively patterned carpet. A smell of garlic drifting from the dining room… but this could have just been me. We sat at our table, slightly intoxicated and ordered what followed to be a delicious traditional French Dinner. Frogs legs, some more snails and for main, Coq au vin and my steak frites. The steak tender and juicy the béarnaise, thick and peppery. However, it was not the best I’ve had, but gave a good attempt. The star of this meal was the Coq au Vin, served in a brass pot, smothered in a thick rich sauce, it was a meal to remember.
Nothing quite compares to the time you can have in Paris, endless wandering, amazing food and as a souvenir a humongous belly.
- Le Petite Vendome
- Du Pain Et Des Idees
- La Belle Epoque
- Savoie Ou Quoi?
- Canard Et Champagne
- O Chateau
- Le bleu Sucre
- Vins Des Pyrenees
- Le Procope
- Les Deux Maggot – for a light lunch
- Cafe de flore – Steak
- La fontaine de Beleville – Croque Monsieurs
- Astair – Classic but modern Bistro
- Le Bistro Paul Bert – Traditional Bistro Dishes
- Cafe des Musees – Best Beef Bourguignon
- Chez Toinette – Dark parisian atmosphere
- Pain Pain – Butter Croissants & Apple Turnovers
- Mamiche – Orange Blossom Brioche & Warm Cookies
- PAPA BOUN – Erotic brioches
- L’avant Comptoir Wine Bar
- Fou De Patisserie – Rainbow Eclairs and seasonal Tarts
- Chez L’ami Louis – Classic Pome Souffle