Thanks so much for all your love about my last post. Your support and love means so much!
I’m flying back to the US tomorrow to celebrate the baby and cannot wait to see some of my very favorite people! But back to our recent travel, or, as my doctor would put it, the main reason I should “rein it in” in the weeks forthcoming when it comes to caloric intake. Ouch.
THE LITTLE SCOOP: [THE BULLET POINTS]
EAT & DRINK:
- On a chilly day, brave the line to enjoy a hot chocolate (basically a steaming cup of liquid chocolate) at Angelina along the Jardin de Tuileries
- Brave another line for cheap and excellent dinner at L’As du Fallafel in the Marais. Plan accordingly- they are closed on the Jewish Sabbath!
- If you’re an Amelie fan, push past the crowds at Sacre Coeur in Montmartre to enjoy a coffee at Cafe de Deux Moulins, where she worked in the movie!
- Save room for the Bistroy Les Papilles in the Latin Quarter – very close to the Luxembourg Gardens. Its literal translation is “bistro of the taste buds.”
- Savor an afternoon at the Jardin du Luxembourg Gardens with a build-your-own-lunch at the Le Grand Epecerie – the nearby enormous gourmet grocery storeLe Grand Colbert (yes, from Something’s Gotta Give!)
Champs-Elysee Marriott was perfectly located, perfectly comfortable – and not surprisingly, packed with other Americans!
In Paris, eating and playing is sort of the same, but a few other thoughts!
- If you’ve never gone before, climb the Eiffel Tower as high as you can muster. The best view of the Tower if you’re not keen to climb is at the Trocadero. Make sure to see one of the light shows on each evening hour.
- Jardin de Tuileries also has a great view of the tower and a good place to linger after Angelina.
- Visiting the top of the Arc de Triomphe rewards with a great view of the Champs-Elysees
- If you think you might be bored by the Mona Lisa, skip the Louvre and see the impressionist’s works at the Orsay instead.
- Marvel at the stain glass in Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle even if you are not Catholic.
- Montmartre is touristy but lovely and once you get beyond the crowds, getting lost in the back streets is other-wordly.
- Paris is BIG. Get a metrocard. We love to walk, and even with a vital metrocard card we easily put on 20,000 + steps everyday (and thank goodness for that.)
THE BIG SCOOP: [THE WHOLE STORY]
Let me say first that Paris isn’t for everyone. Part of it is the impossible expectation. Americans have truly been culturally conditioned to get weak knees at the Eiffel Tower, which is, at the end of the day, just an enormous steel structure. With lots and lots and LOTS of vendors selling toys with crazy lights and fidget spinners all around the surrounding area But like most things, if you appreciate things for what they are and not for their series of imagined meanings- you will still be amazed. And yes – some of the French people, just like some American people, are rude, arrogant, and hate tourists.
But roll with the punches – if you simply go to eat, drink, and wander wistfully with someone you’re crazy about (even if that someone is just you on your own) I think you’ll feel the magic if you drink it all in. Because at it’s best – it really is magic and one of my favorite places. Just don’t go and expect your life to change, or more importantly, for someone to change it for you.
We first visited in the spring of 2009, just a year after we met, to celebrate the conclusion of our semester-long LDR (that’s long-distance relationship to you, Generation X) while I was studying in Rome and my husband was doing an internship at the firm that nine years later brought us to Geneva.
At the time, I had just weeks left to go before going back to the US, and as a result, nearly zero dollars left. So I remember deeply exhaling with not so silent judgement each time my husband got a third beer or declared a desire for a seafood platter. So it was nice to be be back as adults!
We hopped on a train Thursday evening and three hours later, had arrived in the City of Lights. This is still the thing that stuns me about living in Europe the most. As I mentioned here, in our previous life in Philadelphia, we couldn’t get to Pittsburgh in that amount of time. We hopped on the Metro to L’As du Fallafel and enjoyed a cheap chickpea dinner crouched on the curb in the Marais. I was initially skeptical – I’m in Paris for pastry, why am I in a falafel line stretching down the block?! But it held up. We got two spicy sandwiches but I’d happily go back and just get the falafel balls as a snack!
We stopped by the Notre Dame Cathedral and wandered the streets back to the gorgeous Champs-Elysees Marriott.
The “purpose” of our trip was to attend the Ryder Cup, which we devoted a day to in the outskirts of Paris. The next morning, we were up early and spent the morning hours being herded like cattle to the event on trains and buses. It was great! It’s probably golf’s most informal event and there was lots of costumes and cheering “Happy Gilmore” style.Bistroy Les Papilles (Bistro of the Taste Buds.)
They offer a daily, fixed menu of three courses, no substitutions – but not fussy or pretentious, and very reasonably priced. We had the most incredible carrot and cumin soup starter, braised and perfectly seasoned pork shoulder that fell off the bone, and speculoos (yes, like the Belgian gingerbread) pudding. You also pick your wine right off the shelf, if you are partaking. A truly top 10 meal. So good I have no photos!
The next day, we wandered Montmartre …Angelina …
took in the outside of the Louvre (don’t judge us, we have been before!) …
and enjoyed the Jardin de Tuileries …
and built a lunch of a barrel of beignets, (pasteurized) brie, and baguettes at Epicerie to enjoy in the Jardin du Luxembourg.
We visited the Tower twice – during the day..
and in the evening, we returned to the Trocadero to see the Eiffel Tower Light Show at sunset…on Instagram if you follow me) before our final dinner at Le Grand Colbert.
I adore essentially every genre of food – but my death row meal might be Paris bistro food – a mouth watering bread basket, hearty beef bourguignon, crisp roast chicken, salty pommes frites, decadent desserts. Le Grand Colbert is the perfect place for this – you can linger in this beautifully lit restaurant for hours enjoying all these delectable foods and chat for hours.
Lest I forget, if you are reading this and planning your own trip to Paris – let me encourage you to relax. Make a few reservations, but book lots of time to hang out. There is a great email exchange often shared between comedian Patton Oswalt and the late, great Anthony Bourdain about Paris where he basically tells Patton to ignore what everyone is telling him about where to go and what to eat. It’s not a contest or a race to gather Michelin stars like brownie points. No one is going to give you a grade upon your return – just eat and drink what you like and live your life! I’m so grateful we were able to return, and for my husband, my dream co-pilot who always leads the way in the metro and carries my bags (when I’m pregnant.)
Posts about Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini are next!