Saturday, February 13, 2016

Paris- Left Bank

Trip date: September 2014

After a wonderful week spent in Lyon and Beaune , Forest and I drove back up to Paris. Unfortunately, what should have been a 3 ½ hour drive ended up taking over 4 ½ as traffic was an absolute mess and rain storms did not help the situation.

We lucked out and found a parking spot right in front of her and Thibault's apartment in the 15th, or Vaugirard, hurriedly hauled up our bags and wine purchases, and got changed for dinner. We were meeting friends at Terroir Parisian, the newer of the two locations, in the 5th.

The space here is great, super convivial, energetic, and modern. The menu is made up of traditional French dishes with a little new world twist added in, for the most part. All of our food was good, nothing was a super stand out for me though, and our service was bad. Not snotty bad, just kindof dumb bad! But it was a fun dinner with friends and sometimes that is what counts for the most! And I'd probably try it again, or even the other location as well.

I stayed at Forest and Thibault's apartment that week, it was my first time since they had moved in. Their apartment is very traditional Parisian, with crown molding, gorgeous leaded windows, a (non-working) fireplace in each the dining and living rooms, and great peak-a-boo views of the Eiffel Tower. I hadn't spent much time in the 15th before so it was fun to check out a new 'hood.

I had a whole week to run around on that visit, and I covered a lot of ground. I'll start with all the fun I had on the Left Bank.

I headed out my first full day to have lunch at my absolutely favorite restaurant, Le Comptoir Relais. At lunch they don't take reservations (they do for dinner but they book up 3 months in advance so unless you are staying at the Relais hotel call wayyyyy in advance!) so I got there right when they opened and still had to queue up. Finally seated at a sidewalk table, I had the most amazing pied aux porc with sinful potatoes along with a couple glasses of white Burgundy.
It all comes with a healthy dose of Parisian attitude, but I don't mind. People watching, outside table, decadent lunch... this is why I love Paris!

I also had a list of some new-to-me places I wanted to check out on this trip and first up would be my dessert. Just a short walk away is La Tarte Tropezienne, with their specialty tarts. They offer a variety of sizes of the delicious treat, layers of brioche cake filled with an amazing pastry cream, looks like a macaron but is completely different. I had a Baby Trop with a cup of espresso and some free wifi.

I needed to walk off lunch so I went on one of my favorite strolls thru the Saint Germain area, along the Seine, and over to the Pont d'Arts (which many of you know as the Love Lock Bridge).

Can I just take a moment to point out that these locks have damaged the bridge so badly, parts of it were completely boarded up when I was there. In 2015 the walls and locks had to be removed in order to save the bridge from further collapse. Here's a little thought, if you love someone so much just tell them, do nice things for them, be with them, don't put your ugly lock on a piece of architecture. Ok, rant over. But the walk is lovely.

From here I continued down to the Berges du Seine, a mixed-use area right on the left bank of the Seine, towards Pont Alexander III. I passed outdoor gym setups for both adults and kids, lots of seating areas, stages for events, food kiosks, and casual cafe/bars. I grabbed a lounge chair and a drink at Flow "Beach" Bar and enjoyed the Fall sun.
Another day I stopped into La Patisserie des Reves on Rue du Bac, starting my day off with one of their amazing brioche. Brioche doesn't get much better than this! The shop has a revolving table in the middle, showcasing all sorts of deliciousness; best to go with a few friends and get a selection to sample!
And in all the (eleven!) trips I've taken to Paris I had yet to shop on the famed Rue Cler. I made time for it on this trip, wandering the produce, fish, meat, and sweet shops. It isn't that much different from other market streets (and maybe isn't even quite as good as some) but right near the south end of the street there is an amazing cheese shop- Griffon Fromagerie. I had a hard time not buying (and tasting) everything inside! Highly recommended if you are in the vicinity.
Whisky Live happened to be going on when I was in town so we headed to The Maison de la Mutualité conference center and checked out a ton of booze. We started and ended downstairs with cocktails made by the bartenders at Mabel and Syndicat.

I wandered the show tasting interesting spirits that were either newly released or not available in the States yet. Then we found the Collectors rooms where you could purchase tastes of incredibly old and rare whiskeys or rums; we chose the rum room.

After going over the menu we decided to purchase tastes of both Rhum Clemant 1976 and Bally 1975. It was an incredible treat to try both of them, it would have been really interesting to try them next to modern day equivalents just to highlight the differences that all those years can make.
Someone with deeper pockets than us had a taste of this Saint James 1939 which was uncorked right in front of us. Amazing.
An afternoon at a big, boozy, convention? Who wouldn't like that? Even this little guy was in on the action.

Of course I spent some time shopping with Forest in her neighborhood shops. As with most Parisians she's got it all just a few blocks from her front door. A lovely florist, a meat shop with great sausages, a fantastic bakery, wine merchant, a snail shop (bien sûr!), etc. And there is the lovely home of the arrondissement's Mairie.
One night we stopped at a random corner cafe just across from the Mairie and had some absolutely delicious aligot. If you haven't had this dish before it is similar to Robuchon potatoes but incorporates Gruyere cheese giving the potatoes a really good stringy consistency.

The 15th also has a spectacular terrace bar where the views are pretty much unbeatable, on top of the Novotel. Girlfriends and I had aperos, caught up, and took in the city views before heading back to Forest's for a little girl's dinner night. Go for dusk when the Eiffel Tower lights up, order a bottle of champagne, and viola! Paris je t'aime!

I've got a little map of places I love and places to try here.

Next up, the Right Bank. You guessed that right?

All Paris photos here.