BUON JOUR AMIS! We finally spent our gift weekend in Paris this weekend and we are back and exhausted! Can’t say it went all that great but you can’t deny the city’s astounding beauty and character. Sometimes when I travel I feel as unlucky as Steve Martin in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”. It runs in our family. I guess I will write about all that later and focus on the positive.

We decided to spend our money and time, walking Paris and enjoying the French cuisine rather than waiting in long lines and going to museums. I guess all the walking with our heavy backpack and camera worked up our appetites and kept us going…

FIRST FOOD DAY
 

As soon as we arrived at our hotel in the Montparnasse area, we changed rooms, skipped a nap and were ready for a pick me up for lunch. We were surprised to see a row of one Japanese restaurant after another, and you know us, we never say no to sushi. So we decided to choose one randomly and that’s where our bad luck started. Claudio found an eyelash in his miso soup and soon after I discovered a bug at the bottom of mine! Not the best first meal.

We were feeling pretty grossed out and plodded along for about an hour until we got to the even dirtier street in Montmarte area where all the x-rated action was going on. I stood in a crowded supermarket line to get another dose of energy from Red Bull. We made our way to the beautiful Sacre Coeure and I wanted to check out the historical only working vineyard in Montmartre. Are you impressed?

The redbull was wearing off so the perfect solution around 7 pm was to go get an ice cold beer facing the street and people watching. I love that the French don’t try to deny the fact that EVERYBODY LOVES PEOPLE WATCHING and Paris is one of the best places for that. But when you look specifically for something you can never find it. We searched for hours for a pub but all we found were restaurants. Finally we found a chain pub that was still serving Happy Hour drinks, 5 euros a pint. That doesn’t sound like happy hour to me, but that is when we realized how expensive Paris is.

I wanted to freestyle this trip because I have realized that sometimes you have more fun that way. However, for restaurants I mapped them all out by area and knew where I wanted to go that night behind the Sacre Couere. It was called Au Relais ( 48 Rue Lamarck) and needless to say we had to wait for one hour in yet another line. The good thing is that it was full of locals. Unfortunately we were so tired that Claudio and I started getting impatient with each other and we bickered over what I knew was a delicious meal. We just could not appreciate the food under those circumstances. Naturally we made up and joked about this being the most romantic city in the world:)

layered tomatoes and goat cheese on greens and claudio ate a lamb dish

We practically fell through the hotel door at midnight with dry eyes, and aching feet.

A BRAND NEW DAY!
 

We slept in, got a decent “expresso” and let the Eiffel Tower be our guide. On our way we stumbled upon a market (Ave de Saxe) which stimulated our senses.

 

We were inspired to picnic under the Eiffel Tower with soft goat cheese, brie and of course our baguette!

 

Crossing the bridge we set off for the touristy Champs-Elysèes, dropped our NEW NIKON REFLEX AND BROKE THE LENS, which resulted in major depression. We sulked our way through Rive Droit (Right Bank) and found the most famous and ritzy Macaron shop Pierre Hermè (4 Rue Cambon). We decided to splurge on 6 of these small cookies (9€) even if I don’t like sweets. Saved them for later which was a bad idea because as you can see they got totally smashed.

What they’re supposed to look like and what ours looked like!

We searched for solace in beer and again walked for at least an hour without finding a pub. Finally we found the first place we could and paid almost 10 € per Amstel. Good thing because it started POURING!!

It was then time to meet up in the Latin Quarter for drinks and sushi with my college friend Kelli who lived there for 6 years. She took our minds off the tragic event and drank wine at one of her favorite bars. (must mention that every time we ordered wine in Paris they served it at the table with it already open.not good.)

 

EASTER MORNING

Easter morning was reason enough to search out the best coffee in Paris. It just starts your day out right! We traipsed all the way to Coutume Cafè (47 rue de Babylone) and were not disappointed!

We walked the rest of the Seine with Kelli and stopped to feed my hungry Italian. Onward we went to obviously visit the Notre Dame therefore being able to say we went to “church” on Easter. Always an amazing site! From there we checked out the bustling and trendy area of Marais. Again craving another beer, we just could not find one and decided to head towards the Left Bank. We were surprised to see it be so touristy, not Bohemian at all. We sat down at the first bar we found and walked out 2 seconds after looking at the menu. Another tourist trap at 10 € a beer made us go on the lookout again for another bar!

And for dinner… this is the moment we had been waiting for! Another restaurant on my list in the area. Again we spotted Le Relais du Comptoir when we saw a stagnant line outside. After waiting 1 hour without even having a menu available to look at we finally got swooped inside. What a nerve-racking experience! This might be the best bistro in town and it definitely fit the French stereotype of not explaining anything on the menu even if the prices were high. No time to wait for our order so we basically took chances and ordered the unexpected! We got a Beaujolais, which I was familiar with and at 30 € was the most affordable. We frantically asked our neighboring tables about the menu but they had no patience for us either. I asked what was “Végétarienne” and the only thing they had was nicoise salad and seared tuna. Of all fish, I am most against eating tuna but I made an exeption. Claudio randomly picked the first meat on the menu which looked like the French words for pig’s feet! Everything was EXQUISITE! We found out from our American friends at the next table that this restaurant was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations 100th Episode! Definitely worth it but will make sure to brush up on meat terms for Claudio.

We worked off the meal by luckily finding a free city bike and drove it all over the city, me on the handle bars!

TIME TO SAY GOODBYE
 

Monday rolled around and we wanted to save money from the dinner the night before and do a simple picnic in the park Il Jardin des Tuileries for our last meal. Again, no luck finding food shops while we were looking for it. We stopped in the first gourmet shop we found. Stupidly we chose food without knowing the prices and were shocked when literally a handful of salad, a slice of cheese, and a mini slice of quiche rang up to be 19 euros! We left feeling ripped off and still hungry afterwards but we learned our lesson!
Au revoir till next time!

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