Thursday, June 5, 2014

The first two days in Paris

I arrived in Paris on a temperate Sunday at noontime and got myself to the Airbnb apartment in the Bastille. Despite not having working cell phones, Britta (the birthday girl) and Doug miraculously appeared outside the apartment door and we went off to the Musee Rodin. It was free that day, lucky us! All of the roses in the garden were in full bloom. So beautiful. The best part was finding a little bunny chomping on rose pedals. How wonderful to be a bunny in Paris and get to eat big fat pastel-colored roses. 

We walked through the Invalides, its gold dome resembling a birthday crown for Britta, and decided to stop for un bon vin blanc at a sidewalk cafe. Then we made our way to the Tour Eiffel just as it began to sprinkle a bit. 

Before dinner, we popped bubbly and ate baguette at Britta and Doug's apartment. The birthday girl wanted sushi, so we found a small joint in our neighborhood. Very delicious. Then we went to the most ridiculous bar ever: a deserted jungle-themed rum bar. The bartender named Anise gave each of us two free shots of rum (yuck, but I took them for the team). Needless to stay, the next morning was rough...


 The next morning, Britta wasn't feeling well, so Doug and I got petit dejeuner at a cute cafe... Let me tell you, the traditional petit dejeuner is life-giving: cafe au lait, croissant, demi baguette with butter slathered on and a pot of apricot jam as well.

Once Britta was feeling better, we traveled over to the Pompidou, Paris's modern and contemporary art museum. Unfortunately the contemporary section was closed off which I was sad about. But I did see some inspiring works.

Isn't it great how art museums make you so hungry? Well, we walked over to the Marais for the world-famous L'As du Falafel. It has crispy falafel, grilled eggplant, cabbage, cucumber, tomato, tahini, and hot sauce. It's one of the best constructed meals I've ever eaten.

Next, we had to go to Mariage Freres, a fancy old tea house with waiters in white linen suits, old wood details, and exotic plants. It's pricy tea, but a lovely experience. I got the rose tea.

For dinner, we went to the St. Michel neighborhood and found an old restaurant (founded in 1900!) hidden on a cobblestone side street. We sat outside and had red wine. My dinner was ... eh. I got the steak tartare, and it was strangely mixed with what seemed like grocery store salsa! I've had much better steak tartare before, so it was disappointing. But I also ordered my FAVORITE cheese in the world -- St. Marcellin -- after dinner. It's a magical cheese, I tell you.

We decided to go for an after-dinner drink at one of the "literary haunts" on St. Germain. There was Cafe Flore, Deux Magots, and Brasserie Lipp, which is the one we went to. Hemingway used to hang out there. It's very old-school and completely gorgeous inside. Our waiter insisted we speak in French, so we did our best. "Je voudrais un campari soda."

...days three and four will be tomorrow!

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