Under normal circumstances we would never be able to eat at a place like Taillevent. Not without, say, selling one of our cars, or taking out a small home equity loan. But for one thing, it was our anniversary. And for another, the restaurant is doing this amazing kick-butt summer special for its prix-fixe lunches. Three courses off a limited menu, including wine pairings, for 80 euros. Still an expensive lunch, of course, but it’s an affordable expensive. And as it turns out, it’s worth every penny.
I was more than a little nervous, going into one of the bastions of French traditional cuisine. Continue reading
Despite having a kitchen in Paris, we still ate out most of the time. We would have breakfast in the apartment, then venture out to some new part of the city to explore and have lunch. In the afternoon we might rest, have a drink in a cafe, or wander around our local neighborhood, then head to dinner around 9 pm along with most of the locals.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had done a ton of research on Paris restaurants, and to some extent it really wasn’t necessary. Once there, we were much more interested in finding something that looked good wherever we happened to be, rather than going out of our way to go eat at a particular place. We may have missed out on some great food, but nothing beats a relaxing stroll home after dinner without having to get near a cab or the metro, plus the fun of discovering a great place on our own.
Here are some restaurant dishes we particularly enjoyed:
On Sunday we made sure to make it up to the Bastille open-air market on Boulevard Richard Lenoir. It begins at Place de la Bastille and stretches for several blocks, four aisles wide and teeming with people, dogs and little wheeled shopping carts.
You can buy everything from tomatoes to underwear. Not to mention foie gras. And wine.
I hardly know where to begin with my Paris reports. We ate, and walked, and drank, and took long naps so we could go eat some more. We went to museums and parks and grocery stores and shoe stores. We sat in Notre Dame and listened to polyphony, danced to African pop music in the Place de la Bastille, watched the Montparnasse Tower put on a light show, saw the Eiffel Tower explode in fireworks, and sat in cafes at midnight. We were just in time to see the Friday evening roller blade procession, and tried out perfumes in the Salons du Palais Royal.
And, of course, we ate.
We’ve been in Paris for a week now and are almost due to come home. We’ve eaten many good things (macarons, croissants, terrines, fromage blanc, braised rabbit, et cetera et cetera) but interestingly enough it’s been the falafel sandwiches that have really made an impact.
Just a few blocks from our apartment, on the Rue des Rosiers in the Jewish quarter, is a collection of competing falafel shops. They also serve schawarma, merguez sausages and other sandwiches to go, but falafel is really the star attraction here.
L’As du Fallafel is the granddaddy of the falafel shops, and the one that gets all the attention in guidebooks. As promised, there was a fairly long line, plus a falafel hawker out front doing everything but actually grabbing people off the street and shoving them into line. I had heard, though, that another place was actually better, so we resisted the hawker and eased our way through the crowds to the other side of the street.
After months of quietly obsessive research and preparation, we are finally going to get back to Paris! On our previous visit (for our 10th anniversary) we were only in Paris itself for a few days at the end of our trip. This time (for our 15th anniversary, wow!), we’ve rented an apartment with a kitchen (a small one, but a kitchen nonetheless) and are ready to storm the markets and food shops.
Being a bookish sort of person, I’ve done way too much reading to prepare for this trip. We’ve got our copy of Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris, and I’ve read David Lebovitz’s The Sweet Life in Paris and Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, as well as The Book of Salt and The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry, just to get myself in the mood. I have maps up the wazoo, and a list of all the Paris open-air markets with their hours, plus a list of restaurants so long we couldn’t possibly eat at them all. It boggles the mind.
Have you been to Paris? And if so, what was your best-ever food experience there? (Or even a non-food experience?)