I now know what Audrey Hepburn, (Sabrina) meant by this statement. My husband and I went on a belated honeymoon last year to Paris and we’ve been dreaming about it ever since.
We stayed in a pied-a-terre in the 3rd with a teeny tiny elevator built for two; this sounds romantic but is more along the lines of terrifying. Our front door was a beautiful iron and glass gate that opened onto a stone foyer with a garden in the back and a stunning spiral staircase to the top. The view from the terrace was remarkable, we tried to enjoy it as often as possible. Dom stayed up until 4am most nights to watch the Royals playoff games. Around the corner we had a little coffee shop, Ob-La-Di, that served the perfect bowl of granola and yogurt and a hidden bar behind a taco joint, Candelaria, for our late night spicy margarita cravings. Everything you would need to start and end your day right.
1st - 2nd Arrondissement.
Walking around the Royal-Palais gardens was a nice reprieve after “experiencing” the Louvre. Living in NY you become accustomed to crowds and tourist traffic, but this was something else. Surly patrons with selfie sticks, herds of loud/unapologetic sightseers with no sense or regard for personal space all while being surrounded by some of history’s greatest artistic achievements. The building and ground alone are sensational, but I may have skipped had I known the real price of admission. // We felt right at home at Frenchie Bar à Vins, waiting in line for a half hour down the dead end rue de-nil before they opened. We lucked out and caught the last two seats to make the cut for the first seating. They poured funky French wine from Jeroboams while we ravaged small plates of mussels, tete-fromage, and tortellini with itty bitty fried zucchini flowers.
3rd - 4th Arrondissement.
Rose Bakery is a lovely balance between practicality and design. Upon first walking in you may think you have stumbled into someone’s over-sized pantry as sacks of flour, confectioner’s sugar and sea salt line the walls. Beautiful tarts are invariably leaving the kitchen on sheet trays to replenish those rapidly vanishing from the display case. To accompany the crisp buttery tarts are heaps of perfectly prepared vegetable salads, not to be ignored! // The chicken salad pita at Miznon was full of perfectly roasted chicken, fresh herbs and and crème fraîche. I have since tried making it a few times at home using this recipe but it’s not quite the same. And when someone sells a whole roasted head of cauliflower you have to order it.
The tasting menu at Sola gave me a taste for mushrooms. Their Japanese-French fare was plated beautifully and served impeccably as expected at a Michelin starred restaurant. And in true Japanese style no shoes allowed downstairs in the stone walled vaulted cellar. // Spending a few hours at the Museè Rodin at dusk was one of my favorite things we did. We went late one afternoon just before closing and had the garden almost all to ourselves. Once the sun had set we had a great view of the buildings all lit up around us. The colors that emerged in the photo of the light in the window is one of my favorites.
I stalked HolyBelly on instagram for a year before ever stepping foot in Paris. They have amazing savory pancakes they serve beneath fried eggs, bacon and bourbon butter. They serve their scrambled eggs just the way I like them, just barely cooked with a heaping portion of salad and good bread with butter and jam. // Not too far from HolyBelly is a bakery you could only hope to dream about, Du Pain et des Idées. This is also where HolyBelly gets their le pain des amis from, a bread with a thick crust and dense center (pictured below with the scrambled eggs). It was apparently created by accident when the bakery didn't have time to roll out the dough into baguettes so they baked it on a tray instead and cut it afterwards. The escargot was unlike anything I've had. Their flavors change with the season, I had the pistachio which left me speechless. // The window displays were stocked with antique biscuit and candy tins.
Au Passage was not the easiest to find but in the end was worth getting lost over. We ordered from a large chalkboard menu displayed on the back wall and watched the chef send plates out from beneath the tempered glass that enclosed the kitchen. It’s the kind of place where you watch what the tables order around you and ask for the same. We ordered so much that it caused the couple next to us to comment, but they said they wished they ordered as much as we did, I’m sure they were just being polite. Anyway, we’d rather have the option to taste more and maybe not finish it all than to order just enough (but really, Dom finishes it all either way).
If you are even slightly claustrophobic do not attempt the 300 steps to the top of the Sacre-Coeur. I had a bit of anxiety on my way up and you can't go down the same way, so there's no bailing. After all, the views were so worth it. I wouldn't do it again but I'm glad there was something redeeming when we reached the top.
The light in Paris is unreal, I felt like I was transported to another planet where colors are a little more vibrant and the food tastes better. Being in a foreign country causes a little panic not knowing what to expect or what's coming next but it's good for my creative thinking and gives me a little spark. And a spark is what you need every once in a while.