France: Paris (vol 2)

After lunch at a small café, we set out for Le Fouchon to find my aunt’s favorite tea. Holy moly, that place is amazing! Tons of beautiful macaroons and ornately decorated eclairs. Flavors and variations of all kinds. I bought three different kinds of tea, sausages to smuggle back for my uncle, and B bought meat and a delightful Beaufort cheese. It was very pungent, but creamy and flavorful. The little Frenchman, Olivier, explained to us that it is made at a special time of year when the cows eat flowers and herbs in the mountains. One of my favorite aspects of this particularly cheese is that there are these sort of crystalized spots so that the cheese has just the slightest bit of a crunch. So tasty!

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We met B’s crew at Le Baron Rouge. It was a very small wine bar with several large wine barrels against one of the walls. You can choose your wine and they’ll fill up a glass, a bottle, or a jug for you. Outside the bar there was a girl selling fresh oysters and crevettes.

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We took a 40 minute stroll to the Latin Quarter for dinner at Grains Nobles et Plus. Our group was seated in a private room beneath the restaurant which we called “the cave.” It was stone and brick, circular like a tunnel. Most of us opted for the “surprise” menu with a wine pairing. Such an excellent option! I had a prawn ceviche with Champagne, ahi tuna with a red, mango panna cotta with a sparkling rosé. So much wine. So much laughter.

Sunday was beautiful and sunny. We walked along the Seîne river, past the Louvre, through a park (or two), saw a bird man, gypsies getting roughed up by some police, the bridge where people place a lock on the fence and throw the key into the river to symbolize their eternal love. I feel like we pretty much saw it all.

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We ended up at a café called Ma Salle à Manger. The waiter and waitress were cute and fun – like the might be pantomime performers and this was their side job. We split ad lovely white wine, so dry that it seemed to bubble. Pâte Basque with a small side salad and yummy cornichons. Duck tartin (pie) with leeks and a confit sauce poured over. Wowza.

After lunch, we took the metro (it was free my entire stay as there was a pollution warning) to meet Mik and Sydney by the canal before they returned to Lyon. We took a stroll along the canal before stopping at a cute bar with an enormous black and white mural of an octopus. After we bid them goodbye, thanking them a thousand times for their hospitality in Lyon and Le Grand-Bornand, we roamed on to a bar in the 11th called Ketch which boasted a top notch Gin Fizz. It has a great, hip atmosphere. Tons of tiny disco balls hanging from the red ceiling. From there we moved on to Chez Paul for our last meal of the trip. Escargot in a garlic butter sauce. Risotto with foie gras. We fell into bed at midnight (at the very latest).

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The alarm went off at 5am, giving us 30 minutes to pack and get to the train station. We locked up the apartment, dropped the key in the mailbox, and walked through the dark courtyard. Goodbye, Paris.

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