You know one of those cities which you just don’t click with? Well, I kinda felt that way about Paris. Last time I went I did enjoy it but it wasn’t that city which everyone is obsessed with. So I wasn’t really planning on going back, but when my dad said he was coming over from Australia to Paris for the week for work, I knew it was time to take a little trip. And honestly, I’m so glad I did as I think I fell a little bit in love with Paris and ended up having the best 36 hours including an amazing Parisian market food tour.
I headed over on the Eurostar on Friday morning. I haven’t gone on the Eurostar for ages but I was really impressed – a couple of years ago it was a little dated. Since then, it’s had a total refurb and has free wifi – it ended up being a very enjoyable couple of hours whisking through the tunnel and the French countryside. I arrived at the Gare du Nord and headed to my hotel. For Friday evening we kept it as a casual one, having a drink in the cocktail bar whilst we caught up on the months since I last saw my parents in January. We then headed to Champeaux over by Les Halles for dinner.
I wanted to go to an Alain Ducasse restaurant but one which wouldn’t break the bank and this was a great choice. It had a giant train board on one side with the little letters ticking over every half an hour. I embraced France with a lovely bottle of French wine and a giant steak and peppercorn sauce. Plus, creme brulee for dessert as it is one of my all time favourites.
On Saturday, we wanted to pack in as much as we could! We were staying in the 16th arrondisement which gave amazing views of the Eiffel tower. I had been to the base of the Eiffel tower in the past couple of trips but I actually much preferred the view from near Trocadero – you can actually appreciate it as a whole. We took a wander down to the Arc de Triompe and the Champs Elysee (and a quick stop at Sephora of course), before jumping on the Metro to the Latin Quarter for our food tour.
I wanted to do a food tour in Paris as I haven’t done one before and I love French cuisine! This one was a little different to ones which I’ve done previously. Instead of going to several restaurants to try dishes, we instead went to a traditional Parisian shopping street. We went to all the little artisanal shops and purchased bits and bobs, we tried a little on the street before moving onto the next. We then settled at a little French wine bar to drink some wine and eat all the bits and bobs we had picked up!
After meeting the group, we grabbed a croissant at the bakers before heading to the butchers and picked up some traditional sausage and meats along with a goose rillette which is like a pate. It was honestly amazing, can’t say I often eat goose but it definitely worked with some crusty rustic baguette. We then headed over to my favourite – the fromager. I could just eat cheese all day and I loooove French cheese. They literally have hundreds of different types and as they can use unpasturized milk, they are all so flavourful. We tried 4 different cheeses from sheep, cheddar to a stinky camembert and some blue.
Next up was the fishmongers and there was so much amazing seafood! I love me some seafood and it was awesome to see such fresh produce. We sprang for oysters this time which are not my thing so I kindly gave mine to my dad who enjoyed it. We wandered up the market street with the traditional french music playing in our ears. We had a quick stop to get one of my total favourites – a traditional crepe! Of course, I had mine filled with nutella and was rather stuffed after that.
We got to the wine bar and with a lovely little Chablis, and laid out our purchases whilst chatting about Paris. It was sad to hear that since the Paris attacks, tourism has taken a hit (there were only 4 of us on the tour) and less were coming to Paris. There was also a much bigger presence of security, with armed military wandering down a lot of the streets and our bags were searched when going into shops and restaurants.
Our final stop was a little chocolate shop to get a little parcel of chocolates to take away with us. We also went into a little park which just gave the best view of Notre Dame (and we really won with the weather that day!). Overall, the food tour was a little different but I loved it! I wish I had a little shopping street like that right down the road from me.
We now needed to walk off all that food and there was one thing which I hadn’t seen in Paris – the Sacre Coeur! We jumped on the metro and trekked up the hill in Montmatre and I was glad we did! The church itself is totally gorgeous, with it’s white facade. The view off over Paris was also gorgeous, it is such a low rise and flat city that it was really nice to be able to get the impact of the whole city.
By this point, it was getting late in the afternoon and it was time for Dad to head off to the airport – I’m seeing him again in a few weeks in Aus so not too long. I jumped back on the tube and got the Eurostar back to London. I was home by 10pm which I thought was pretty good – I managed to fit a whole lot into a whirlwind Parisian 36 hours! And I will be back in France before you know it for my sisters wedding next year!
Have you been to Paris? What do you think about the slow down in tourism over there?