Saturday, November 2, 2013

Paris, France

Since we returned from our trip a few weeks ago, many friends have kindly asked what we did in Paris. We have answers: we ate great food, went to museums,  saw lots of churches, strolled along the Seine.  These things are all true. But, the real beauty of the trip can be explained in our daily routine: wake up (late, because a 9-hour time difference is no joke), eat something delicious for breakfast, walk around, see some art or old buildings, eat something delicious for lunch, walk around,  stop for a glass of wine, walk around some more, take a short nap back at the apartment, go out for an apertif, eat something delicious for dinner, find a place to drink a last glass of wine outside and people watch until midnight or so.  This may seem repetitive, but no two days were alike and every day was perfect.

Here are some things we did and saw.

Admired the many enormous blue doors.

Ate tiny French donuts.

 Went to the Musee d'Orsay.

Ate salty shrimps with creamy mayonnaise.

Admired this brilliant contraption: bread slicer designed like a paper cutter.

Marveled at the tiny gas stations.

Drank coffee.

Pondered life at the Rodin Museum.

Had glasses of wine here.

 And here.

And here, a wine bar and bookstore.

We ate apple turnovers alone the Seine.

And perused the local farmers markets, which were full of beautiful produce, as well as stands selling the usual charcuterie and crepes, but also Moroccan and African food.

We ate here (burrata with mozzarella, prosciutto, olive oil, and crumbled hazelnuts; monkfish with spinach; dourade with tomato risotto).

And here (crab and potato cake; tartare of oysters, salmon, and shrimp; sea bream with pesto and vegetable fritters).

And here...

Where I had haddock vitrine with sweet pepper puree...

And roast chicken with potatoes Dauphine.

We rode the Batobus.

And admired the skyline.

Shopped for books and art along the river.

 And ate cured meats and cheeses at every opportunity.

We saw French dogs and pined for ours.

Sighed over the Hotel de Ville at night.

Looked at art.

 Looked at people looking at art.

Ate American cheeseburgers.

Wondered what this was and contemplated stealing it for a joy ride.

 Stumbled across this guy.

 And practiced looking French.

In addition to the food described above, we had lovely meals at past favorites Fish and Le Comptoir du Relais. But some of our favorite experiences were at new, very casual spots: a tartine of creamy cheese, smoked duck, and walnuts (which were in season and therefore everywhere) at La Tartine; chicken tagine with dried apricots and polenta at Glou; ham and butter sandwiches from one of the many local bakeries. At Les Temps des Cerises, they won my heart from the moment we sat down and they placed before us a plate of perfect French radishes with a tiny wooden bowl of sea salt.

Some of the best food we had was at Frenchie, where we not only enjoyed foie gras with figs, guinea hen with eggplant, squid ink, and olives, and trout with kale and spaghetti squash, but the company of Camille and her husband, Nick. Camille is the pastry chef for Frenchie To Go, which was pretty lucky for us because we were able to ride her coattails and get star treatment that night, including complimentary champagne and the most outrageous last course I have ever had, a small sort of shepherd's pie. I don't often think of eating oxtail stew topped with bechamel (or mashed potatoes, as the husband claims--either way it was deliciously creamy) at the end of a meal, but I can no longer think of a reason why not.

After a second trip to Paris, I am 100% convinced it is the best place on earth. It's not perfect, but it's beautiful, interesting, (mostly) progressive, easy to navigate, and seems to be populated by people who understand that living well is less related to how much you work or earn and more about how much you stop, sit, and look around, preferably while drinking a glass of wine and eating charcuterie.


  1. Oh, man, I'm so absolutely pea green with envy! Looks like you had a fabulous time. Brought back all my Paris memories, too, so thanks for that, as well as for your words and pictures. *sigh* Lovely, lovely Paris!

  2. Thanks, Zoomie! (And thanks for being my last remaining reader, you are a loyal one!) I hope you get back to Paris one of these days. You & your beloved would have a wonderful time!

  3. i'd say you definitely succeeded in looking french and in sampling all that paris has to offer! i'm green with envy, for sure. :)

  4. Paris is indeed one of the best cities in the world. The best food I have ever had was in Paris.You reminded me with this post once again that you can never tire of France.

  5. grace: Thank you...I hope there is a trip to Paris in your future!

    Velva: I agree with everything you said!

  6. Sounds like the perfect vacation to me. I love Paris. And Musee d'Orsay! Fun photos too. Another good thing...all that walking in Paris works off the fabulous food.

  7. Wow, what a fun photo stroll through your trip. Sounds like you had an amazing time. I never had the same feeling when I traveled to Paris, but I can see what you mean. BTW, you both do a great impression of the French in your last two shots!

  8. Barbara: I really love Musee D''s one of my favorite museums in the world!

    Ben: Ha, thanks! We tried.

  9. ahhh, so many amazing sights to contemplate! I've never been, maybe one day... your post is such a visual feast it truly beckons

  10. Great post and my idea of a great vacation, esp. in Paris!

  11. sandy: I hope you get there one day! It is worth the expense, time, and effort!

    Pam: thank you!

  12. Love "skimming" through Paris with you two! Especially the blue door, the French dog, the man popping out from the wall, ALL THE FOOD pics, you lovebirds, street scenes, ART, and those beckoning French cafes! Did I cover all of your travelog, Samantha? MOM

  13. What a great trip! I love the sculpture coming from the wall, real mayonnaise and the pate plate! makes me want to travel

  14. Mom: glad you enjoyed our little travelogue!

    Agrigirl: You should definitely go to Paris if you haven't been, or even if you have!

  15. This travelogue is fantastic and gives us all more than a taste of your trip (though I wish it was an actual taste). I loved the description of the mini things you saw and ate and the pictures of that haddock vitrine. Yum. Here's hoping we can share an international meal together sometime!

  16. Thanks, Ash! Would love to travel with you & Evan someday.

  17. What a wonderful trip HD, absolutely loved all the photos! I need to visit Paris one day. Currently planning our first European trip as a family (to Germany), and we are so super excited :)