Having lived in Rome for more than a few years now I have learned a few secrets from the Romans about how to enjoy life. One of these secrets is the weekend getaway. Usually it is to a nearby spot in the countryside or by the sea, but every now and then the desire for something a little different strikes. Luckily all it takes is a some time spent on a low cost airline site and boom a winter escape is in the works.
Paris is a sentimental destination for Mark and I. Paris was one of the first places outside of Africa that we explored together and we would spend our days there searching for Mexican food and films in english. Paris is where I bought all of my maternity clothes and most of the stripey outfits that made up Noah's first wardrobe. Noah is in college and I have been back in my skinny jeans for a while now. It was time for another visit.
We revisited old haunts, saw friends we haven't seen since before children and walked, ate, shopped and walked some more. Here are some of my favorite things in Paris.
Where to Eat in Paris
60 rue du Cherche-Midi Paris 75006
Just like the old days we dropped our bags at the hotel as soon as we landed and headed straight out onto the streets of Paris without a plan or direction. The chalkboard sign I spotted that announced Omaha Beach oysters sounded like a good place to start. The owner recited his offerings in patient French and soon we were slurping oysters and delicious clams accompanied with a pile of fresh bread, a slab of salted butter and a glass of natural Sancere. As a brief flurry of snowflakes appeared we polished off plate of cheese and a glass of rich red.
52 rue de Saintonge 75003
Old habits die hard and we really wanted Mexican food in Paris. I knew things had vastly improved since our mediocre meals near the Pompidou Center decades earlier. We headed to the Marais to Candelaria, a place I had read a lot about. It is tiny, like a food truck with a few tables squeezed in tiny, but the very friendly manager makes it work. I went through the unmarked door to the hipster bar and got a perfect spicy tequila cucumber spiked cocktail to go with my lamb and fish tacos.
109 rue Vieille du Temple 75003
Lacy crisp edged buckwheat flour galettes. I have been dreaming about them since summer when I read my pal Ann's wonderful book about eating in France. Since she said this was the best crepe complete in Paris that is where went. Wow was she right. We started with a tiny snack of algae tinged brittany butter filled bites. The crepe complete was gooey, crispy, eggy wonderfulness. The salad had that perfect french vinaigrette bite and the earthenware bowls of cider were the perfect fizzy foil to everything.
25 rue Saint Victor 75005
I toyed with booking a Michelin starred place for a meal during our visit. Blocking out an afternoon for a long theatrical lunch in a palace. At the last minute I changed my mind and decided to just go with the flow and see where we were in town when we felt like eating. Run by Yannick Alleno who has a few stars to his name, this affordable spot sources it ingredients from local producers to create a classic bistro menu. We ordered steak frites, our Parisian pal ordered a bottle of red and we reminisced late into the night.
Les Deux Magots
6 place Saint-Germain-des-Prés, 75006
Outlandishly expensive baskets of pastries and pots of tea served by uniformed waiters in a sun filled cafe are what make a visit to Paris special. A slow Sunday morning here is worth every centime.
Where to Shop in Paris
26 rue de Four 75006
Yep it's still crowded and Avibon has tragically been discontinued but no visit to Paris is complete without filling a plastic shopping basket from the narrow well stocked shelves of CityPharm. Much loved faves like BiafinAct, Bioderma Crealine H2O Micelle Solution and very well priced boxes of Nurofen and Allergy meds (compared to Italy) made their way home with me.
78 rue de Seine 75006
I have always been a Dyptique girl. The walk down the Boulevard de San Germaine for my annual purchase of a Feau de Bois candle or two no matter the climate or continent where I have lived has been a constant in my life for many years. This trip I changed it up and headed for the Rue de Seine instead to the historic Cire Trudon whose wax creations have been proved since the 1600's. We sniffed and pondered between the scent of polished floors in Versailles or leather and tobacco evoking an old Havana hotel before finally deciding on an variation on a familiar theme of wild juniper and bush.
La Grande Epicerie de Paris
38 rue de Sèvres 75007
I think this is one of the most elegant grocery stores in the world. My grocery list included fois gras, vacherin de mont d'or, roquefort, Pain d'espice and salted french butter. My Valentines day dinner shopping in practically done!
Where to Drink in Paris
Prescription Cocktail Club
23 rue Mazarine 75006
This is definitely a place to be on a weekend night. There is no sign outside and you know you might to old to be in a place if it is too dark to read the menu, but the trick is get there early. The super friendly staff gave us our choice of spots in the small space and created delicious, creative cocktails for me. I loved their take on a bourbon sour made but found The Chet Bacon was a little on the sweet side for me. Mark enjoyed some very smooth Japanese single malts.
Paris Apps to Buy
Travel by Art
Food Lovers Guide to Paris