After our trip to Greece we had a several day layover in Paris before flying back to Seattle. We used it as an opportunity to site see and further our culinary adventure. While the food in Greece was simple, fresh, and delicious, the food in Paris is at another gastronomic level. We had several exceptional meals. I’ve highlighted a few of the plates and restaurants below.
Our first culinary experience in Paris was Monday night when we arrived in the late afternoon from Athens. We walked from our hotel (Hotel Minerve) to the Pantheon, but arrived 5 minutes after the last group is allowed in. So we went to a local bar call Bar Le Village and bought Clara her first croque-monsieur, perhaps the best one I’ve ever had. Its was a cheesy emmentaler bliss and a couple of delicious Belgium beers (although shocked at the Euro to Dollar conversion that made each of these beers $10 each).
Our first full meal in Paris was also Monday night. The hotel recommended we eat nearby (in the Left Bank) at Le Petit Pontoise, a brasserie featured in the Top 100 Parisian Restaurants Guide. While the prices shocked us (having just come from eating in Greece seeing 26 Euro entrees was unexpected) the meal was delicious. After eating here we decided to splurge all week and eat well while in Paris.
Given the high cost of the meal the night before we stuck to amazing French croissants and cafe au laits the next morning. But after walking the Pantheon we stopped for lunch at a little sidewalk cafe when we size an American football-sized meringue in the window. We HAD to have it. As it turned out we also had to have another croque-monsieur (not as good as last night’s, but still delicious) and a ham quiche.
Its a good thing we did lots of walking. We toured Notre-Dame, then went to the Louve (not knowing it was closed on Tuesdays) and then walked all the way back to our hotel. Tawny had spotted a little bistro earlier in the day near the Seine on a cute little side street and we decided to check it out. It was a French restaurant, but the owners we from Corsica so it had an interesting flair – Bistro de la B
Their pre fixe menu was very reasonable (20 Euro a person for 3 courses) and the wine reasonable too (24 Euro a bottle – and great!). Since the pre fixe only had 3 choices for each course and there were 3 of us we decided to order the whole menu. It was one of the best meals we had, but the I have to admit (and hopefully the owners never read this blog) the sausage was difficult for us to eat. I’ve eaten a lot of challenging food in my travels around the world and will eat most everything, but the “rustic” texture and periodic “crunch” of the sausage was more than our American palate could take. Not wanting to insult the chef we wrapped the sausage in a napkin and later on during our walk in Luxembourg Gardens we slipped it to a very appreciative dog.
Wednesday we went to Versailles and had an absolutely disappointing meal in the gardens. I won’t bother discussing it. But that night we met up with colleagues from my work and ate at another restaurant from the Top 100 Parisian Restaurants Guide called Restaurant Victor. Another fantastic meal. My cod was to simply die for. I must try and recreate this.
Thursday was our last day in Paris and we did a lot of walking. Seeing the Towers of Notre-Dame, Saint Chapelle, and Musee d’Orsay. We stopped for lunch behind the d’Orsay and found a packed out restaurant called Café de l’Empire. We had to wait nearly 45 minutes to get a table and almost gave up, but it smelled and looked so good we stuck it out. This may have been my favorite restaurant and meal in Paris. It was SO good. We had a simple meal of roast chicken. some open face cheese sandwiches, and a great little dessert plate. Everything about it – every bite – was perfection. Would love to return and eat dinner here.
Our last meal in Paris was at Le Buisson Ardent. It was exquisite. We had two pre fixe menus and they were so nice to split the one pre fixe for Tawny and Clara to share, lovingly plating each half plate of food split as if it was a full order. Very classy. It made the meal. Highly recommend.