Can you spot me?! Hey guys, it's been a while again. I hope you've all been swell. I really need to up my game again on my little blog so will kick it off with a colourful, mouthwatering travel post. It was my birthday recently and I decided to take an impromptu trip to a familiar part of Europe, my "third home". Pre-warning: there will be a lot of food involved [surprise surprise] so if you're hungry make sure you eat something before reading on otherwise you might want to eat whatever device you're reading this on. OK, ready? Let's dig in [literally] to Paris!
the city ||
When in Paris, walk by the river Seine. It's the heart of the city and I personally find it quite peaceful to be by the water. Although our weekend was more overcast than sunny and the river was murky as you like, the city never failed to look beautiful. All the buildings and bridges look like something out of a fairy tale book. Even the pigeons looked friendly and that's saying a lot given I avoid them like anything in London. [See! Diane even made a friend.]
We walked over a few different bridges over the weekend, as you do. One of which was the famous padlock bridge [or Bling Bridge as I like to think of it] where lovers, friends and family can add on a padlock with their initials, a little mark of their love embedded into Paris forever [hopefully]. A little corny but nice touch all the same and very colourful which I liked!
My favourite part about any city is taking in its architecture. Paris has a very distinct style, often quite romantic, and the level of detail on each building adds a touch of special to every street. The [plants] crawlers, ornate mini balconies, french windows, wooden shutters and level of gold detailing all add character. Wherever you turn, something will catch your eye.
Les Philosophes [4th], is a restaurant I discovered in the Marais a few years ago and always make a point to go back. It is very french. I can't explain why but it's how I imagine a classic french restaurant to be like - waiters with character, classic french dishes and the smell of fresh baguette. I had the Assiette Paysane [essentially a plate of cheese and ham] and Diane had lamb medallions with veggies. We each had a glass of bio red wine with lunch [the Gaillac Bio was quite yummy but they had run out of bottles for Diane]. For dessert, I opted for a moeulleux au chocolat and Diane went for a classic tarte tatin, both very delicious.
Kim Lien [5th], is a Vietnamese gem in one of my favourite parts of Paris. I never would have discovered it if I hadn't been super hungry and tired after some failed flat hunting nearby a few years back. Still one of my favourite discoveries ever. A little pricier than average but well worth it. I had the classic Cha Gio (Nems) followed by Hu Tieu noodle soup. Diane went for some Nems Végétariens and then the Canh Mien Ga Cua soup. Best birthday dinner, I was a happy bunny!
Le Luxembourg [5th], an old regular haunt that serves the classics in style. I had a chicken club sandwich followed by an oeufs à la neige - both extremely yummy and exactly what I needed after a lot of walking in the cold and rain! Probably the best chips I have had [ever / so far] too. Diane went for the classic french onion soup followed by poached salmon and veggies.
Le Petit Chalet [5th], though we would quite like to forget we ever had this experience, we tried out a "local cuisine" restaurant which served raclette and fondue [we really wanted some melted cheese after more exploring]. Lesson Learnt: don't have raclette in a touristic restaurant, it won't taste as good as it did in the mountains… After probably our fastest sit down meal / drink of the whole trip, we picked ourselves up and went for some cocktails.
Germain [6th], was a welcome treat as the rain started drizzling down on our walk around Odéon. They have a cute terrace with overhead heaters which was so cosy despite being exposed and perfect for people watching [an excellent activity]. We first had some coffees which were yummy and then as the late afternoon turned into evening we turned to caipirinha birthday cocktails with some crazy arty frites!
I am generally a big fan of walking. In autumn, it's even more fun because fallen autumn leaves make the streets look all golden and colourful and the walking means the increasing levels of chilliness are kept at bay. This is boots weather people and they are 100% made for walking.
The walking took us from our Air BnB flat just above Châletet to Hotel de Ville, the Marais, île Saint-Louis, île de la Cité, Odéon, jardins de Luxembourg and everything in between. Of course we stopped off everywhere because it's impossible not to between the patisseries, fromageries, cute cafés and chic clothes and shoe shops. They are all extremely distracting and because most places are independent, specialising in something specific, it's fun to check out what's on trend in the various worlds.
Last but not least, I can't not talk about the C A K E. It was my birthday after all which meant I was in cake-mode for most of the trip. Any excuse right? Prepare yourselves for the next few images, this might be the part where your inner cake-monster wants to come out.
Gérard Mulot [6th], this place is a cake and rainbow lover's delight. These are only a few of the photos I took but don't they just look super inviting and delicious. Everything in this patisserie - sweet, savoury, intricate pastries or the classic croissant - just looked beautiful. You have to admire the next level attention to detail and flavours from these food masters.
Stanz [4th], what was actually a specialist bagel shop also made some cute sweet treats - the "baby cheesecake" of many flavour varieties and also the amazingly named "browkie" [the result of brownies and cookies getting together and having babies - genius move].
L'Amoncel [1st], I think this is going to be a big trend as healthy [and conscious] eating gets on more people's radars. Imagine a shop filled with all types of dried fruits and nuts possible. You can also make your own bespoke muesli and yoghurt pot for on-the-go snacking. It's healthy, it's colourful and really fun. If any business is going to encourage healthy eating, take note from this little place.
Patisserie Sud Tunisien [5th], just look at that window… why wouldn't you want to go in? Purely out of curiosity as well as fond memories of childhood treats, I had to check this little place out. Nothing looked familiar and yet they all looked like something I needed to try. As we didn't have all day, I opted for an old time favourite - the Zlabia - a twirly treat of honey honey goodness.
La Maison du Chou [5th], deeelicious cream puffs to order guys. TO ORDER. That is all I can say. Light and airy chou pastry which you can opt to fill with different flavoured tangy fromage blanc fillings [natural, chocolate, praline and coffee]. YES. Winner of all the discoveries in this trip. So here's hoping to another chou-filled birthday next year! A girl can only wish.
Well done on getting to the end of this tasty post.
Any tips for next time I head over to Paris, please share!