leave your inhibitions at the door
As I mentioned in my post about Europe’s disturbing Michael Jackson obsession, the fam took a weeklong trip to Paris and Amsterdam. Since then, I’ve been trying to figure out how I wanted to post about our experiences. My usual method is a series of posts, each devoted to a different day or restaurant much like I’ve done with our trips to Miami and Puerto Rico. But my recent bout of laziness with this blog has led to a YUGE backlog of half-written post. Some of them are so old they’re still wearing bellbottoms. Mixing in a dozen posts about this last trip would further delay those.
So I figured I’d write a post that’s a direct reflection of our trip in general – completely unorganized, wandering aimlessly, and missing a lot of major highlights. Yet so much fun.
I’ll still have a post or two about specific restaurants and will post separately about Amsterdam soon. For now, here’s Paris.
Where We Stayed
We rented a 2 bedroom apartment in the St Germain/Odeon area using VRBO. We picked the place because it would comfortably accommodate the five of us, it was in a central location close to Metro stations and major sites, and IT WAS INCREDIBLY CHEAP. Can you tell which was the deciding factor? It came to about $180 a night, which is the same if not cheaper than the shitty Courtyard by Marriott here in Ann Arbor. But alas, it was like many a dating site profile – the pics were from a few years ago and it wasn’t nowhere near as good-looking.
But unlike that guy you met on Tinder, it was clean and safe.
Coffee and Donuts
Every morning we’d have the French version of the classic cop breakfast of donuts and coffee. But instead of donuts we’d grab a bunch of pastries from either Carton
or Eric Kayser
I don’t know how we Americans got suckered into settling for Dunkin Donuts.
You know that picture in your head of those cool little cafes all over Paris? With the little round table where you can sit and enjoy a nice cup while watching the oh-so-chic natives go about their day? We had one right across the street from our rental…
Yeah, there were authentic Parisian cafes everywhere. But who had the time to spend a couple hours at those when there were places to see. Besides, we didn’t have berets.
Random Observation 1
I love going to French restaurants in the United States. But you know what they call those places in Paris? Food. It’s totally obvious, but I’m not sure why this amuses me.
You know how we have a Subway or McDonalds everywhere you look? On just about every street corner in Paris there’s a crepe stand. And on just about every corner was my family wolfing down crepes.
My favorite is the ham and cheese crepe, with carmelized onions if they had them. The kids usually went with Nutella and banana or strawberry. Sure they weren’t the most nutritious meals but, hey, we were on vacation. Many of the stands also had grilled sandwiches and quiches.
I don’t how we Americans got suckered into settling for Subway and Jimmy Johns.
Random Observation 2
It’s not unusual to see people bring their dogs with them into a restaurant. I don’t know if I’d want to see that here in America, especially after seeing a waiter clean-up a puddle under one of the tables. I couldn’t see whether he washed his hands afterwards. Luckily we were done by that point.
Anyway, I was on the lookout for a French Bulldog like our beloved Lulu.
I was wondering if it’s like the food thing – did they skip the “French” part and just call that breed “dog”? We only saw one and the owner was on his phone, so I couldn’t ask. I ended up Googling it and they call them “Bouledogue Francais” which translates to “French Bulldog.” Yeah, kinda anti-climactic.
The Louvre is an art lover’s paradise, filled with so many iconic pieces and relics.
But it was almost too overwhelming. Especially since we went there after climbing the stairs at the Eiffel Tower.
Speaking of the Tower, yes, it’s as stunning as you’d think it would be. Day or night.
Tip 1 – at night you can buy some sparkling wine from a whole bunch of street vendors to enjoy the romantic view.
Tip 2 – lower your expectations on the quality of the wine.
But my favorite place to go was Notre Dame. I was in total awe of the outside…
…and especially the towers
Our rental was right around the corner from Le Procope, one of the oldest restaurants in the city
It’s been around since 1686, so they must be doing something right. But the thing they did very wrong – treated us like shit. It took ten minutes to even get menus, and another ten to get water – both milestones involved having to physically tackle the waiter to get his attention. Figuring it would take another generation before they took our order, we left. We gave the hostess le stinkeye on the way out.
We ended up at…
For our first meal in beautiful Paris, with a thousand French -er I mean “Food” restaurants available, we went to an Italian place called Marinera.
We were illogically apprehensive about whether an Italian restaurant in Paris would be any good. Which leads me to…
Random Observation 3
Of course it was good. It’s not like Italian food was a novel concept in Paris – the damn Romans were there at least a dozen centuries ago.
There were so many other wonderful things we experienced in Paris. We wore ourselves out every day we were there – and loved every minute of it. I could seriously keep writing for days. But, like the trip itself, there’s only so much I can fit in.
Have you been to Paris? What was your favorite part?