Paris pt. II – Walking all of Paris
After arriving in Paris on a Saturday morning and spending most of the day exploring Montmartre, we met up with my boyfriend’s sister Sunday morning for what turned into a massive walkathon across the city.
We started in the Marais – pretty much the only area where stores are open on Sundays – and walked along the narrow cobblestone roads, taking in all of the Paris atmosphere. We stopped here and there for a yearning little peak into a window. There are just so many cute stores there!
We took a first little break at the beautiful Place des Vosges, which is surrounded on all four sides by beautiful buildings that all look the same. There are trees, statues, and benches that invite to sit down for a minute to take it all in – which is exactly what we did.
We continued our little window shopping session, until our legs got tired and our stomachs started growling – after all, we’d only had a little pain au chocolat for breakfast! Time for a lunch stop! Our choice fell on one of the typical little streetside cafés called La Favorite on Rue de Rivoli. I opted for a classic carpaccio with fries and a glass of rosé – just look at the three huge chunks of parmesan, yum!
No French meal would be complete without a “café” to finish – plus, I really needed the fuel for all that walking!
We continued our walk on Rue de Rivoli towards the East, until we arrived at Place Colette, right by Palais Royal. I always enjoy people making soap bubbles!
Entering the courtyard of Palais Royal is like entering a quiet oasis in the busy center of Paris. The architecture is absolutely stunning.
I really enjoyed this installation of silver bowls – I always love seeing old-fashioned and modern work together. One of the coolest art exhibits I’ve ever seen was Jeff Koons’ statues displayed at Versailles. I’ve never seen so much old-school pomp and modern kitsch in one place, but it totally worked!
From Palais Royal, it’s only a short walk over to the Louvre and the entrance to Jardin des Tuileries. Due to the climate conference that weekend, the Tuileries were closed for visitors that afternoon.
What a strange picture to see the gardens completely empty!
We crossed the Seine and caught this beautiful view of Musée d’Orsay, which must be one of the most spectacular buildings in all of Paris (and that’s saying something!).
After strolling around a bit south of the Seine, I could really start feeling my legs getting heavy, so we decided to take a well-deserved break before dinner. In the evening, when we got back to the hotel, my phone claimed we had walked over 15 kilometers that day – and let me tell you, that is not a normal figure for me (I have an office job)!
For dinner, we picked a restaurant that I’ve been reading great stuff about and that my boyfriend’s sister had been to as well: La Fontaine du Mars, located not too far from the Eiffel Tower. This place oozes Frenchness, from the red-and-white checkered tablecloths to the dapper waiters in impeccable white shirts and suspenders. The menu is also classic French.
The main dining room is downstairs, but we were lucky to be seated upstairs, where there are two small rooms with about five tables each. It’s super cozy upstairs, it basically looks like you’ve just walked into an elderly French lady’s living room – colorful, structured wall paper, thick curtains, dark wooden tables and cupboards.
We started out with some charcuterie – tangy salami, a delicious foie gras terrine, and an excellent ham.
But my favorite part was probably the big stoneware pot with homemade pickled cornichons and pearl onions. I just love pickles!
As soon as I’d glanced over the menu, I knew I had to order the confit de canard, confit duck leg. The skin was amazingly crispy, while the meat just fell from the bone if you so much as looked at it. Instead of the fried potatoes, I ordered the gratin dauphinois, which was simply to die for!
For dessert, the boyfriend opted for the classic vanilla crème brûlée – is there anything better than cracking that caramelized sugar coating?!
I stayed true to my theme of French classics as well and chose a baba au rhum, a small yeast cake which is soaked in rum and served with whipped cream. So good!
After this feast, we could only manage to wave down a cab back to the hotel. How happy we were that we could sleep in the next day!