How do I condense an entire week of Paris into two posts? Easy. I'll bombard all my readers with twenty million photos of food. I had good intentions of doing more fashion orientated activities but this fell wayward when I got distracted with.......f-o-o-d. This will explain why I have two chins instead of one. #dietbeginsNOW.
The glorious sunshine continued in Paris. The temperature spiked from a freezing 12˚C to 16˚C during the week we were there. Thankfully, I came prepared with two sets of clothes (winter and spring) which meant I didn't pack as lightly as I normally do. But hey ho, who am I to complain about having endless sunshine?
We were half starved at one point when we missed the traditional 12-2pm lunch deadline in Paris. Thankfully, the kind folks at Le Relais de L'Entrecôte was open. The steak was still as sublimely tender as I'd remembered and the special sauce was......as special as before (anything doused in butter tastes great) which we mopped up with slices of baguette. We lucked out with a wonderful waitress who kept a cheerful demeanor and didn't bat an eyelid when I butchered the entire French language to bits. Conversations died a natural death because we were too busy chomping down our incredible meal.
Le Relais de L'Entrecôte
20 Rue Saint-Benoît
Metro: St Germain
Kids and bribery go hand in hand. Want an ice cream? Clean your room. Want a ride on the carousel? No whinging. In short, bribery ROCKS.
I literally stumbled upon this little jewel of a restaurant on my way from the metro station to our rented apartment in Montparnasse. It's nestled amongst rows of shops off the main street, miles away from the well beaten tourists traps. The staff were unbelievably kind even though kids are not normally part of their usual clientele and happily translated the menu when my French failed me. A smattering of English, French and plenty of sign language ensued....... Surprisingly, we understood each other. They brought out complimentary appetizers (tuna crostini and olives) and drinks which were inhaled in a few quick minutes. The lightly flavored gnocchi and crisp spring asparagus went down a treat. My pork fricassee was so tender and well flavored, the meat literally melted in my mouth. I wasn't so keen about their odd tasting rice pudding/cake/salted caramel concoction. On the other hand, everyone fought over the creme brûlée......... (the kids won).
C'est Mon Plaisir
53, Rue Didot
Lil L was so excited about the prospect of having a proper mom-daughter date in Paris. We strolled and people watched in St Germain before popping into Le Bon Marché to check out the food hall. Lots of oohing and aahing over the delectable patisserie display. Yes......we're both food obsessed. Next stop...the new shoe department where we played shoe critics.
Lunch was at Rose Bakery, a place where chic Parisians convened. I had the best cauliflower soup EVER (and I don't even like cauliflower). I wished I had the courage to ask for the recipe. Lil L was in squid heaven. Her passion for seafood knows no boundaries. We were dying to try out the dazzling display of cakes but we simply could not take another bite.
Le Bon Marché
24 Rue de Sèvres
Metro: Sèvres – Babylone
We explored the little streets of St Germain and poked our heads into little boutiques for an ogle. I managed to burn off enough calories to have my next meal. It was so warm that we decided to nip into Ladurée for an ice cream. Notice the lack of chantilly cream on top of our large bowl of rose ice cream and raspberry sorbet? I would've had to run from one end of the Seine to the other to burn THAT off or grow a third chin. Neither option is appealing.
Kids are so easy to please but I guess it's the adults that make it complicated. It wasn't the Eiffel tower nor Sacre Coeur that Lil L remembered. It was the day spent with me giggling uncontrollably over the silliest things, sharing an ice cream at Laduree, jumping on a trampoline at the Tuilleries, making a video on her iPad with her cousins and the date that we had that is seared into her memory bank permanently.
21 Rue Bonaparte
Just so you know.....I did the clichéd thing and took gazillion of photos of the red Fiat in front of Merci's front entrance. I'm amazed the staff and customers at Merci cafe didn't roll their eyes when I took yet another million photos of my coffee and cake......... I'm Asian...I take photos of anything and everything.
111 boulevard Beaumarchais
Métro : Saint-Sébastien - Froissart
Outfit: Rick Owens leather jacket, Zadig & Voltaire sweater and Zara jeans.
I was thrilled to finally catch up with Grace after we bonded over the Sisterhood of the Traveling Jacket project last year. We were grateful to be able to sit down face to face to have a meaningful conversation despite living in opposite ends of the world.
Carin, Hana and Grace were incredulous when they found out that I pretty much lugged all the ingredients for our dinner from the U.K. I'd invited them over to our rather spacious Paris apartment in Montparnasse for a combination of traditional southern Chinese and Korean meal. There were 4 photographers in the apartment but none of us managed to snap a photo........ These days, I'm all in favor of dining at home with friends so that we can chill, take our time with our meal while the kids run around and knock themselves out with whatever games they want to play with.
I've made close to a dozen trips to Paris over the years. I don't tend to romanticize Paris nor do I have my blinders on because if you scratch below the surface of any seemingly perfect city, you'll find problems abound, be it bureaucracy, unemployment or lack of customer service. Despite my rather shocking grasp of French, I've been truly blessed with a warm welcome and kindness from strangers and friends alike in Paris each time I've been back. To all the Parisians that I've met over the last ten years, thank you for your gracious hospitality.