Saturday, May 25, 2013

Our first 24 hours in Paris

The great thing about returning to Paris over and over is that there's no punch list of "must-sees." For us, it's about wandering aimlessly, visiting with friends, interacting with merchants and residents, making new discoveries, and going back to favorite places.

So the first thing we did after settling into the apartment was to go to Chez Julien, our favorite wine bar from the last trip on Rue Lepic. The owner wasn't there, but the bartender was friendly, and we sipped some Beaujolais and Gaillac.

Next, off to pick up supper. I wasn't in the mood to cook tonight, and I always wanted to try one of those ubiquitous roasted chickens (and the yummy potatoes with the chicken drippings all over them). So that's what we did, among all the Parisians picking up either supper fixins or actual suppers, like we were. Those are sun-dried tomatoes and bay leaves on the chicken. It was good, very satisfying.

After dinner, we went in search of a wine bar I had read about which was very nearby. Le Dit-Vin was a nice, cosy, little neighborhood joint with a great selection of wines by the glass and very friendly service. We'll be back.

Thursday morning, we had to be at the Chagall exhibit at the Musee du Luxembourg at 10:00AM. (While I love the concept of tickets in advance so that you don't have to wait on lines, I'm not crazy about having so many "appointments" on vacation. Oh well, this is the way of the world these days.)

Even with advance tickets, the exhibit was packed! But it was very well done, called "Chagall, between war and peace" and highlighted his paintings that were clearly affected by the trials of war. It also celebrated his Jewish Russian roots and his life with his wife, Bella.

By the way, we actually did make a list of some things we wanted to do (it just gives some structure to the day) and one of the things on my list was the Tour Montparnasse (I had never been!) It was nearby, so off we went to the observation deck on the 56th floor. They say the best thing about vieiwing Paris from Montparnasse is that you don't have to see the ugly Montparnasse tower in it!!

I love this picture. The Eiffel Tower is bathed in light, but you can see the storm coming! It started pouring, so we grabbed a glass of wine at the cafe, and waited it out.
Lunch time! I'm going to cheat on this next part and copy and paste a quick review I did on this restaurant for a site called "Chowhound" where I found the recommendation. It was about a 5-minute walk from the tower - an old-timey bistrot called "Le Templier."

But first the pictures.

This place just screams classic in every way: from the wait staff (owner?), to the patrons (many regulars) to the food. We were seated within 5 minutes, only to be told we had to move to accommodate a party of 8. N'importe quoi - it was a better table.

For entrees, I started with white asparagus with vinaigrette. This is the 2nd or 3rd time I've had asparagus on this trip, and well, it's been cooked to mush! That's really not a complaint, and I understand that white is tougher than green. It's just unusual for us is the only reason I mention it - we barely cook most of our vegetables (unless I'm smothering okra, of course) at home. Anyway, I enjoyed it. Tom had the pickled herring fillets. He was served a salad with potatoes and then a huge bowl was brought over so he could help himself. I grew up with pickled herring and love it - this was a very good version.

I then had the escalope de foie gras in a mustard-honey sauce. Wow, that sounds sickly sweet, but it wasn't. A large portion served on toast points, which got wonderfully soggy with the addictive sauce. I was in heaven. Tom  ordered the tete de veau (veal head for those who don't speak French!)  and although disappointed that it didn't have more "pieces and parts," he did enjoy it. Served with boiled potatoes, it was about as simple as you can get - total peasant food.

No room for dessert, but people around us were being served gargantuan portions of Tarte Tatin. Overall, it was a wonderful lunch. While we love “modern” food, it's nice to have the classics from time to time.

No comments:

Post a Comment