Saturday, January 26, 2013

Europe Part II: Paris


Ah, Paris. The city of love. I have an obsessive fascination with French culture. From my years of French class in high school and college to my first visit to Paris in 2006—I have a great appreciation for all things French. Despite the dismissive behavior towards Americans and my elementary level language skills, I love being in Paris. This trip was vastly different than my first visit. I was intent on enjoying the simplicity of the Parisian lifestyle and of course the food. My travel companions had not been to Paris before so we went to a few of the famous sites, which I didn’t mind seeing again at all. Paris architecture is so grandiose and has such historic presence that it never gets old. No matter how many times I see the Eiffel Tower, I'm still impressed.

notre dame

eiffel tower

ferris wheel

For me, Paris is waking up to a café au lait and a fresh croissant from the local boulangerie. Wandering down cobblestone streets and admiring locals going about their business. Enjoying a nice long meal at an outdoor café.  I was adjusting to European lifestyle with ease and loving it. I didn’t mind the incessant smoking. I could easily have a 2-hour lunch with wine and no cell phone or distractions. I noticed that everywhere in Paris, there are benches. Taking a moment to sit outdoors and relax is a luxury I haven’t allowed myself in a long time. A few days in Paris—I consider myself an expert in bench sitting and fully plan on incorporating this hobby into my life.


Now, on to the food. Food in Paris is amazing. Sure, I had a couple mediocre meals but everything else I ate made up for it. Pastries from Du Pain et des Idees. Coffee from just about any café. A baguette sandwich with butter, ham and cheese. Macarons from L’aduree. Terrine and veal from Le Comptoir du Relais. C’est magnifique! I could go on and on forever but it still wouldn't capture how much I enjoyed eating in Paris.

du pain et des idees
croissant and pistachio chocolate escargot
the one and only l'aduree
macaron heaven 
beautiful desserts 
I went to Le Comptoir after 3 different foodie friends recommended it to me. Of all the places to eat in Paris, what are the chances that they all recommend the same place? I had to go. The minute I sat down, I knew I wouldn't regret it. The restaurant was on a busy cobblestone street in the trendy Saint Germain neighborhood---perfect for sitting outside and people watching. All outdoor cafes have heat lamps and some like this restaurant even given blankets! California could really learn a thing or two.

le comptoir du relas complete with blankets and heat lamps for outdoor seating
happiness
duck and fois gras terrine
veal and carrot puree

On our last night in Paris, we ventured to the Montmartre neighborhood, more commonly known as the home of the Moulin Rouge. After looking through countless reviews, I settled on Lui L'insolent for dinner. I loved the cozy intimate vibe and the fact that the waitstaff hardly spoke English. It was a challenge ordering but a welcome change from touristy places.

goat cheese and pesto
"slippery little suckers!"
meat on a stick
threesome dessert
only in paris is absinthe considered a night cap

Despite the lack of sunshine during this trip, I had a great time in Paris. I will always love this city and can't wait to go back (hopefully during warmer months!)


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