Hey everyone! Ryan and I just returned from a long weekend in Paris. Since I had a few days off for fall break and Ryan had some frequent flyer miles stored up, we just decided to seize the day, and book the trip, and it was completely fabulous. Long enough to feel like we had a “break” from the daily routine, but short enough to eat whatever we wanted for every single meal without too many longterm effects
This weekend, I was reminded why I love Paris so much. I love how they value the “finer things”, as in delicious coffee, hand-crafted breads and pastries, homemade desserts, quality wine at basically every meal, sitting in the gardens and just enjoying the afternoon, fresh fruits and vegetables, and a slower pace of life. Now granted, it was probably mostly tourists that I actually witnessed valuing these smaller things since we did spend lots of time in the touristy section of Paris, but that is even more testament to the fact that all of us need to slow down.
In the cafes, I didn’t see people on their laptops or smart phones.
Walking through the streets, I didn’t see anyone talking on their phone or texting (ok…there were a few, but not every single person I passed like I sometimes feel here!). Even I appreciated the fact that my phone did not work there and I could not check emails or text messages every 1.5 minutes.
Even in the rain, people were out and about with their umbrellas, sitting at the cafes, walking the streets, and spending time with family and friends.
Paris just has such an energy to it, so much so that I wish I could have bottled it up and brought that home with me.
So now, how did we spend our time? Well both of us were fortunate enough to have already seen Paris, so while we did pass by many of the main attractions, we didn’t feel the pressure to “check things off the list” if you know what I mean. We wandered the streets for three days, taking pictures, window-shopping, and eating our way through Paris- probably the best way to see it!
A few notable stops that we made along the way (all but one of these restaurants – Angelina – can be found in the St. Germain “quartier”):
“La Cremerie“: this is a restaurant that came highly recommended by my friend, Carli. It is a wine shop that will seat 10-12 people total. There is no menu- the owner just seats you and then asks you what types of wine you like. He then picked out wines for each of us and described them at the table. Their “menu” was spoken aloud to us and consisted of cheeses, meats, and terrines. Reservations are recommended!
“Cafe de Flore“: my friend, Nicole, who now lives in Paris (jealous…) recommended a stop here. This is very busy cafe located right in the heart of the St. Germain neighborhood where we stopped for lunch. You sit literally inches from the people beside you, but we appreciated the fact that there were lots of “regulars” that seemed to be recognized by the wait staff as they entered the cafe. We had French Onion Soup and Croque Monsieurs followed by an apple tarte that was just to die for. I think the crust was sugar cookie (not really, but it might as well have been).
“Angelina“: Parisians are probably going to cringe when they see that I wrote that, but too bad- it was GOOD. This is a tearoom not too far from the Louvre and Place de la Concord that by 4pm, has a line of 20-30 people out the door. We happened to wander in for breakfast one morning (not a cheap breakfast, by the way) of piping hot cappucinos, croissants, and freshly squeezed orange juice (another finer thing that I forget about!). The most well-known item is the hot chocolate. If you are passing by, I recommend just grabbing a hot chocolate to go and sipping it while walking the streets. Very “un-french” thing to do- you don’t see many people sipping drinks on the go, but it was absolutely heavenly.
“Chez Fernand“: our friend, Xavier, also from France, recommended a stop here for “typical french food”. It is open on Sundays and didn’t require a reservation (although, reservations in Paris are always recommended since they don’t turn over their tables quite like we do here). We were seated in the “cellar” which had stone walls and a very cozy feel to it. We split a bottle of wine, and both ordered Boeuf Bourgignon (when in France…!!). The food and ambiance was just exquisite and I didn’t want the meal to end. I highly recommend a stop here if you are in the neighborhood.
Two non-restaurant recommendations:
Musee Marmottan: my friend Ann who also now lives in France highly recommended this museum. It is located in the 16th arrondissement in an old house and contains one of the larger private collections of Monet. We loved this museum because it was small, quaint, and had a manageable number of paintings to stop and appreciate as well as antique furniture.
O Chateau: ok, so for the “tourist” in you, Nicole also recommended a champagne river cruise through the company, O Chateau. We hopped on a boat around 6:30 on Friday night and cruised down the Seine River, under bridges and and right past Notre Dame before turning around. We sipped three champagnes along the way and just absorbed every possible minute of the evening sunlight. So – touristy, yes…but worth it
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