Friday, 4 October 2013

Another 3 days goes by in Paris........

Tuesday morning, we were up bright and early (well, by our standards, 8am in Paris is early!).  We were meeting friends for lunch in the 5th, so after a light breakfast of almond croissants and coffee, we left the apartment to stroll aimlessly for a few hours, stopping by one of our favourite restaurants in Paris, Au Vieux Comptoir, to make a dinner reservation for Saturday.

We made it to Roniece's hang out, Le Petit Cardinal, about 20 minutes early, but Joe and Chuck were already sitting outside in the sunshine, enjoying a coffee.  I recognized them both from Roniece's FaceBook posts.  They are a wonderful couple who spend a month in Paris every September.  We chatted about the different things we've been doing in Paris and Roniece came along a few minutes later.  We all sat in the sun and watched Paris go by while we got to know each other better ~ well, I feel like I've known Roniece for years, even though I only really met her last night.  We've been on the same Paris websites forever and once we became friends on Facebook, we seem to "talk" almost every day. She is such a gregarious, beautiful lady who collects friends from around the globe and has an ability to make everyone she meets feel instantly at ease.

Once Jane and Joel, and the elegant Lilia arrived, we moved our party inside where we had a long leisurely lunch full of great conversation, good wine and typical Parisian food.  Everyone laughed and talked, ate and shared stories about Paris or how we all knew one another, drank and spoke warmly about other friends who couldn't join us that day.  Another of Roniece's friend, Michael S, joined us and the party ramped up a notch.  We had so much fun hanging out with everyone and getting to know them, 4 hours flew by in the blink of an eye and before we knew it, we had to say au revoir.

Since we had Johnny Lang tickets tonight, we were having an early dinner  and we had to make our way to the 10th for 6pm.  We reluctantly left le Petit Cardinal a bit past 4pm and made our way home, where we rested for about an hour (hey, it's hard work sitting, eating and drinking for 4 hours!).  We had made plans to meet Stefan, a poster on the foodie website Chowhound, at Pleine Mer, a tiny place in the working class 10th arrondissement.  We decided to walk since it was a beautifully balmy evening.  We made it to Pleine Mer right on time and Stefan was waiting for us outside.  We were the only customers in the place, but many people stopped by to order or pick up the incredibly fresh oysters.  The owner lives in Cancale, Normandy and goes home every weekend, bringing back crates of oysters with him on Tuesdays.  We devoured 3 dozen of these beauties with a bottle of muscadet and ended our feast with a kouign amann.  We caught up with Stefan and had a cozy, easy dinner.  This couldn't be our typical leisurely meal since we had to get to New Morning where Johnny Lang was playing. 

 After saying our goodbyes, we walked over to the club where we were treated to a 2 hour concert by one of Den's favourite blues guitarist.   New Morning is a tiny club where many of the greatest jazz/blues/rock artists have played.  It's a standing room only hall, and fits about 300 people.We scored great places just by stage left, and Johnny and his band were about 10 feet from us the whole time. Mr Lang certainly gives his all to his fans and as the sweat poured off him, he played his heart out and sang the blues, gospel and rock for 120 minutes.  It was a night to remember and I know we both will for a very long time.

After the concert, we walked slowly back to our apartment, going by the newly redone Place de la Republique and down the small, twisty streets of le Marais.  What another great day in Paris!

Wednesday was spend walking around Paris, with stops for food and wine, lol.  We started the day with still warm almond croissants and freshly squeezed OJ once again.  When talking about what we wanted to do today, we both came up with going back to Les Petit Carreaux on rue Montorgeuil for lunch.  This is a place we've been going to for the last 5 years and it never disappoints.

We left the apartment a little before noon and just wandered through the streets of the Marais, past the Beaubourg Museum and the whimsical Stravinsky Fountain, through the maze of construction that is now Les Halles and up the foodie heaven that is rue Montorgeuil.  We scored a great little table on their outside terrace and both had our "usual" ~ a humongous chicken caesar salad with huge shards of parmesan and a poached egg for Den and my salad campagnarde ~ a large disk of melted brie, roasted potatoes, serrano ham and a green salad with a light vinaigrette (the only light thing about this dish, lol)  A half litre of rosé completed a perfect lunch.

After our lunch, we continued our stroll, stopping in at G Detou for some chocolates to bring home (maybe, as long as we don't eat them first!).  We ambled this way and that, making our way to the Frey Wille store on rue St Honoré.  Den had bought me a beautiful bracelet from here last year when we were in Paris with Seb.  It was a present for our 30th anniversary.  A few months ago, I noticed a small chip on one of the panels.  We  were hoping they could fix it for us here in Paris but the saleswoman told us they would have to send it to Vienna for repairs and she couldn't guarantee it would be back before we leave next Sunday.  I was disappointed, but what can you do?  C'est la vie, and I'm still in Paris, so we continued our walk, making it to the Louvre where Den was fading fast.  We took the metro home for a well deserved rest before our reservation at Le Bistro Paul Bert later that night.

Bistro Paul Bert is a well known traditional bistro in the 11th arrondissement.  We decided to walk again to take advantage of the beautiful fall evening.  We managed to score a great outside table and proceeded to eat our little hearts out.  Den started with a velouté de cepes with foie gras and I had an egg with girolles and serrano ham.  Den's soup was a creamy marvel and he ate every last drop, mopping up any remnants with the fresh country bread.  

Den then had a typical steak frites, served perfectly rare and I finally indulged myself with a steak tartare.  I've had raw meat before, my friend's Lebanese mom used to make us raw kibbe which is similar to steak tartare.  It was very good and I managed to eat most of it.  Dessert was roasted figs served with honey and vanilla ice cream for me and a decadent chocolate cake smothered in creme anglaise for Den.  We polished off a bottle of Cote de Rhone between the two of us and managed to waddle home before midnight.

We slept in on Thursday, not making it out of the apartment before 12:30.  We decided to keep things light and easy today, especially after our heavy meal last night.  We were supposed to have lunch at Au Petit Sud Ouest in the 7th, which specializes in foie gras and duck, but we just couldn't face another meat centric meal so soon after our feast of the previous evening.  We decided to walk over to le Jardin Luxembourg in the 5th, picking up 2 baguettes jambon fromage along the way for a picnic lunch.  We both love this beautiful park in the middle of Paris ~ it houses the French Senate, as well as the Medici Fountain, a great playground for kids, a marionette theatre, tennis courts, chess hounds, boules players and a multitude of flowers and trees which are currently exploding with fall colours.  We ate our baguettes, watched the throng of Parisians and tourists go by, Den had a little nap, and explored the park at our leisure.

After leaving Luxembourg behind, we slowed walked our way through a good part of the 6th arrondissement, stopping along with way for a little café creme and dessert at a little café on the corner of rue de Bac and St Dominque.  Again, we enjoyed the people watching as much as our little treats.

Since it had started to rain and we were only a few blocks away, we decided to revisit the D'Orsay Museum.  We've been here a few times before, but I never tire of the Impressionist masters, especially Van Gough.  We spent about 3 hours looking at some old favourites and enjoying the new exhibit of male nudes as depicted throughout the various historical periods and art mediums.  The rain had stopped once we left D'Orsay and there was a gorgeous rainbow overlooking the Seine.  Tired from our little walking extravaganza, we decided to take the 69 bus home and look for a Happy Hour to sooth our tired feet and thirsty throats.  We found a great little Mexican bar, La Perla, just a few blocks from our apartment, and decided we would stay put right here, at another coveted little outdoor table.  Dinner was a pitcher of icy cold margaritas and some nachos with fresh guacamole and salsa.  We stumbled home around 10pm and it was lights out for this tired but happy old couple.