I’m interrupting my normal recipe programming to recap our favorite snacks, meals, treats, and sights of the first leg of our European sojourn: Paris.
If you know me in real life (or have read this blog for more than 5 seconds) you won’t be surprised when I tell you that after dreaming about and planning this trip for years, the very first thing we did in Paris after traveling for 18+ hours was to find and eat ice cream. Berthillon ice cream, which was conveniently located about 4 floors down and a few meters over from our perfect little Ile-Saint-Louis apartment. Looking back, I’m not entirely sure I didn’t subconsciously pick this airbnb for its proximity to Berthillon. If I didn’t, I certainly would fully, consciously do so in the future.
After ice-cream snacks and wandering around the city in search of our Paris Museum Passes (highly recommend, by the way), we honed in on some delicious falafel at L’As du Fallafel and concluded our first evening in Paris strolling the Seine and discussing really serious things like where to find more falafel.Our first full, non-traveling day in Paris began with a delicious breakfast at Frenchie-To-Go, a cute little anglo-american inspired eatery on the Rue de Nil in the 2nd. We enjoyed our breakfast sandwiches and noisettes (possibly the best coffee I had in Paris) so much we actually ended up back at Frenchie-To-Go for another meal a few days later when our lunch plans in Montmartre fell through. If I had any regrets on this trip, it was not a return trip to Frenchie-To-Go and it was definitely not the reuben I ate the second time around.Right down the road from Frenchie-To-Go is Rue Montorgueil. So many cute restaurants, bakeries, flower shops. I could probably happily spend an entire day on that street, but given that we were only in Paris for a few days, I stopped at only one shop: L’Eclair de Génie. One look at those perfect rows of rainbow-colored éclair confections and it was game over. Like a moth drawn to the flame.After peeling my face away from the brightly colored display cases, I exercised what little self-control I was able to muster and walked away with only two éclairs that I would later stress-eat on the Champ de Mars while trying to avoid a full on panic attack at the thought of ascending the Eiffel Tower. Which, for the record, is actually the most terrifying tourist destination in Paris if you are embarrassingly afraid of heights and tall buildings.
I actually took zero photos from the very top of the Eiffel Tower. Probably because I was too busy quietly sobbing in a corner by the elevator while Mr. Peach very helpfully pointed out the “interesting wear patterns” on the big iron structure suspending us a million feet in the air.Despite my aversion to most vertical structures, we ended up on top of a lot of monuments in Paris including the aforementioned Eiffel Tower, the towers of Notre Dame, and the Arc de Triomphe. My personal favorite was the Arc de Triomphe. Partly because the view was incredible (but mostly because it felt the sturdiest).Other non-food highlights included the Musée d’Orsay, the Conciergerie, and an early morning (read: deserted) visit to Notre Dame Cathedral. If I’m completely honest, most of my pre-planning on this trip was around food. And it paid off. We really didn’t have a bad meal the entire trip. And because we left everything except for meals pretty open-ended, it left us with a lot of time to just explore. With the Paris Museum Passes, we were able to quickly visit some of the tourist and cultural attractions and leave plenty of time to just wander around and get a feel for the city. Marvel at the architecture. Do some people watching. Drink too much wine at lunch and nap it off. Eat macarons.
As far as quick meals or snacks are concerned, Berthillon, L’As du Falaffel, Frenchie-To-Go, and L’Eclair de Génie were definitely our favorites. We also thoroughly enjoyed a really delicious Lebanese dinner at Le Loubnane. Aside from the delicious mezze and my first experience of arak, a traditional Levantine alcohol, we were also witness to some type of birthday celebration a few tables down, replete with amateur pyrotechnics and a very large sword.
We also really enjoyed more traditional french fare at Les Antiquaires and Cafe St. Regis, both of which I would highly recommend. Another food highlight for me was a French Macaron class we took with La Cuisine Paris. It was a 3-hour long class where we learned some of the more technical aspects of macaron-making, including both the French and Italian meringue methods. I’ll post more on this later — I’ve been experimenting since we’ve been back 🙂
And last, but certainly not least, a last minute visit to Franck Kestener Chocolatier was very nearly life-changing. If I could only eat one chocolate bar until the end of time it would be Franck Kesterner’s Atlantique. This unassuming dark chocolate bar hides within its depths a thin layer of crunchy, salty shortbread and gooey caramel. It. Is. Everything.
TL;DR Paris is beautiful and delicious.
I’ve been back for over a month and I’m still not over it and I don’t think I ever will be.