The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

Hedonizing in Paris

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

carton lineup

 

or Eric Kayser

 

kayser 1 kayser breakfast

 

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…

le starbucks

 

 

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.

 

Lunches

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.

crepe life

 

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.

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 Sights

The Louvre is an art lover’s paradise, filled with so many iconic pieces and relics.

Louvre victory

Winged Victory of Samothrace (aka the Rolls Royce hood ornament)

Kinda looks like the Venus de Milo got implants. Just saying.

Kinda looks like the Venus de Milo got implants. Just saying.

louvre sphinx

Some random sphinx

Louvre delacroix

Told you Coldplay’s cover art rules

Louve Mona Selfie

You wouldn’t believe how many packs of Asians I had to fight off to get this spot. Btw – those are MY Asians…

louvre hall 2

 

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.

eiffel night 2

 

 

Tip 1 – at night you can buy some sparkling wine from a whole bunch of street vendors to enjoy the romantic view.

tower class 2

 

Tip 2lower 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…

NDP nd magnolia

 

 

…the inside

nd rose

one of the rose windows

nd joan

St Joan of Arc

 

 

…and especially the towers

 

nd gargs 6 nd gargs 2 nd city 3

 

More Food

Our rental was right around the corner from Le Procope, one of the oldest restaurants in the city

le procope

 

 

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.

marinera breseola

Breseola with arugula

marinera ham and mushroom marinera wine        marinera panna cotta

 

 

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?

 

 

 

 

 

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About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

22 comments on “Hedonizing in Paris

  1. Michelle Williams
    May 4, 2016

    I’ve been to Paris a few times. My favorite part is Paris!

  2. Liza M.
    May 4, 2016

    Hilarious post!

  3. Duff's Wines
    May 4, 2016

    Paris? I’m with Michelle. All of it. The food though was maybe the best part. And sans infants, we were able to just sit and watch. My favourite crepe was the Grand Marnier one which I had to instruct them to go a little lighter on the GM after the first one.
    Good post.

    • Thanks Bill! Yeah, the food was great. We had a couple great dinners but it was the overall quality from simple street food to fancy dinners that was amazing to me.

  4. the drunken cyclist
    May 4, 2016

    Paris? Where to start? I have spent quite a bit of time there but mostly on the Right Bank since that is where I used to work. I guess my favorite thing about Paris is the way the city smells; when I get off the train from the airport at Les Halles, it hits me. Just about everyday I am there I relish in that smell for it means that I am in one of my favorite places on earth. I did not always love it though, in fact I used to hate being in Paris, but that is another story….

    • You’re right, there is a certain smell there. It’s not the food, or cleanliness or the occasional non-bather. It’s just…Paris

  5. the drunken cyclist
    May 4, 2016

    Oh, and I do not mind Jimmy John’s!

  6. mildlifecrisis
    May 4, 2016

    So funny…and true. Paris. J’adore. I told my husband “The food in the freaking AIRPORT is better than most restaurants at home…why do we live like peasants?” ha ha ha. My favorite part of Paris is everyone sitting down at tiny cafes in late afternoon for a drink and a cigarette just facing out toward the city sights-being present.

    • “Live like peasants”… Right? Still can’t believe that Wonder Bread ever became a thing. And Arby’s. Thx for stopping by!

  7. anotherfoodieblogger
    May 4, 2016

    Wow great post! I didn’t mind it being random. I’ve never been to Paris so it was all interesting to me. 🙂

  8. Cara Thereon
    May 7, 2016

    I’ve not made it to Paris but I always feel this obligation to do so even though I don’t really see Paris as a place I’d like to actually visit. Your pictures and recap tempt me (and make me laugh)

  9. thewineraconteur
    May 7, 2016

    Thoroughly enjoyable, and I have to admit that I have never been abroad, though my Bride has and she still raves about Paris. Though I did take her to Paris in Las Vegas and we had dinner at the Red Room in New Orleans, which boasts one of the Eiffel Tower bases. Just curious did you bellow out “sanctuary” upon entering Notre Dame? I think I would have.

    • Of course I did!! It’s really a wonderful place. And, oh my, the wine… Way more selection at about a 1/3 the price.

  10. Next Stop: TBD
    May 9, 2016

    Always so shocked how expensive AA hotels are! Um, pretty much adore any and everything about Paris. Favorite crepe stand is on Rue Mouffetard in the 5th called Au Pet’t Grec with the blue and white sign. VRBO or Airbnb is 100% the way to go! Ugh could go on for days….Instead I will shamelessly plug one of my many posts about Paris here: https://nextstoptbd.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/jadore-paris-i-hope-you-do-too/

    • Ok, so I’m glad u put the disclaimer that I’d be missing out on a lot on my post. REALLY wish i saw urs earlier. Oh well, guess I better go back

      • Next Stop: TBD
        May 10, 2016

        Hahahaha always so much to do there! And once you check off the major sites I think the real fun begins!

  11. The Wine Culturist
    May 18, 2016

    Paris, such a cliche in so many ways, but still incredible. I try to go every spring, for the best least tourists to good weather ratio. Just wandering, that does it for me every time, then ducking in to a little bistro for a menu du jour. Parfait!

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This entry was posted on May 4, 2016 by in Dining, Travel and tagged , , , , , , .
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