By: Deanna Linder (including photos)
I’ve wanted to go to Paris for years now. Every birthday I have the image in my head of my husband surprising me with tickets for a weekend getaway to what I heard is the most romantic city there is. Like many other unrealistic expectations I tend to have, that one never came true. What did happen is my husband was sent to Paris for work, so I tagged along for the weekend.
I had two days in Paris and one goal: to eat as well as possible. It was not an easy task and a lot of research went into it. But after a little over 48 hours in the city of lights, I did it. Here is my journey:
I arrived in Paris in the late afternoon after rather difficult journey (5 am flight to Switzerland then connection to Paris). Found my way into the city using the metro and decided to start the eating right away rather than go straight to the hotel to rest.
Rose Bakery, 46 rue des Martyrs, Metro: Notre Dame de Lorette (12)
The small restaurant/bakery came highly recommended. I arrived at around 4:30 pm, and they were pretty much already closed for lunch. They had some salads leftover which were delicious, but no bread (I was really looking forward to some real French bread). Before heading back into the cold streets to find my way to my hotel I took a citrus semolina cake which was delicious and an herbal tea (they have many choices). Next time I’ll come a little earlier.
Frenchie Wine Bar, 5 rue du Nil, Metro: Sentier (3)
All of the restaurants I wanted to go to for dinner were fully booked (a good idea to book at least a week in advance in Paris). One of those restaurants was Frenchie, a Michelin-star restaurant with a fair priced prix- fixe menu. Luckily, right across from Frenchie you’ll find the Frenchie Wine Bar, which doesn’t take reservations. On a Thursday night, we waited about 25 minutes before being waited on. Unfortunately, there was nothing (not one thing) on the menu for my husband who doesn’t eat pork/seafood/foie gras. The wine was amazing and slightly made up for the uncomfortable vibe- with me eating and him watching. The menu changes daily and all I can say is this is a place for those who lean more on the adventurous side of the culinary scale.
I was all alone to wonder around the city as my husband was working all day. It was really exhilarating navigating around a city by myself, something I haven’t done for many years.
Le Petit Vendome, 8 rue des Capucines, Metro: Opéra (3, 7, 8)
This place came highly recommended by David Lebovitz, the guru of Paris food. Written up as one of the best places in Paris for a sandwich, I thought it would be fitting as my first meal of the day. The sandwich I ordered was jambon-buerre, a delicious combo of ham and cheese on the most perfect baguette. No lettuce, spreads, just really good quality ingredients. I sat outside, ate my sandwich, and smiled at the fact that the day started on such a good note.
Pierre Herme, 39 Ave de la Opera, Metro: Opéra (3, 7, 8)
Iwas delightedly surprised when I realized that Pierre Herme, which was on my list, was right by Le Petit Vendome. So after I finished my sandwich I strolled down Avenue del a Opera to the famed macaron maker. I limited myself to one, and opted for the caramel salted butter flavored macaron. Having realized I was biting into a little piece of heaven, I decided to save a bite for my husband and put the macaron in my purse. By the time it got to him, it was completely smooshed. Note to self: there is a reason why the sell the macarons in extremely expensive boxed sets.
Huitrerie Regis, 3 rue Montfaucon, Metro: Mabillon (10)
This was the place I was most excited for and unlike other expectations of mine (see first paragraph), this one came through big-time. This is the place that Paris-by-Mouth calls the No.1 place in Paris for oysters. I walked in to this tiny restaurant, and asked to sit. Everyone looked at me strange, and I began to realize why. The minimum amount of oysters you can order is 12, and I bet most people share the dozen. Not me. I sat down after waiting with a glass of Chablis, and got to task. I’m not one to use abstract metaphors when it comes to food, but this was an experience where I felt so close to the sea, a feeling I have only previously had when scuba-diving. Something I thought was incredible was that in Paris in the winter, the oysters don’t even have to be set on ice when on display. It was that cold and they were that fresh.
Café du Commerce, 51 rue du commerce, Metro: La Motte Piquet, Emile Zola, Commerce
After the previous night where my husband couldn’t find anything to eat on the menu, I knew it was time to find a place where they had at least one thing I knew he would eat: steak. I tried to get a reservation at the highly recommended Le Severo, which only serves steak frittes. They were fully booked which lead us to Café du Commerce- a typical over-priced French bistro with horrible service and just decent food. Next time I’ll make reservations ahead of time.
My husband who finished working joined me for the last day, which was dedicated to flea-market shopping and sightseeing, meaning food was on the backburner. Surprisingly, we ate one of the best meals.
Angelina, 226 rue de Rivoli, Metro: Tuileries (1)
This famous Parisian café is located right around the corner from the Louvre, making it rather touristy spot, with a long, yet fast line. The line was worth the wait. I had a delicious onion soup to start and a combo of butter seared scallops with polenta (both served in scallop shells) for my main. For dessert, we shared their famed “le Chocolat Africain”, a gloriously rich hot chocolate. This was quite an expensive meal, but since it was our only of the day, and our last before leaving to the airport, it was well worth it.
Three important thank-you’s:
- Paris by Mouth- for an amazing Paris restaurant site which acted as my guide for the trip.
- David Lebovitz- for on-the-spot recommendations.
- Assaf- for finally letting me have my moment in Paris.