Last bank holiday weekend, myself and Mr Man hopped on the Eurostar to Paris, and so this + the next post are going to be dedicated to what we got up to. =)
We arrived on an overcast Saturday afternoon and headed straight to our AirBnB flat. Cute little place near the Champs Elysees. Sorry, completely forgot to take some pictures, but the ones on the site are an accurate depiction. (Since we signed up for AirBnB last year, we’ve never really looked back. Discount on your first booking available here if you’re interested.)
After settling in we headed out to explore and find some dinner. Bit glum:
After the sheer amount of rain we faced in our trip to Rome earlier this year, I won’t lie, I was a bit frustrated but it soon brightened up.
Absolutely adore the balconied flats and tree lined streets.
Recommended by a friend, we ended up at a place called Les Enfants Terribles for dinner. We hadn’t booked in advance and the place was heaving, the waiter actually asked us to come back in an hour and a half, to which Mr Man somehow convinced him there must be somewhere we could sit. He gave in and led us right to the back of the restaurant, in front of the kitchen. There was a bit of clanging around and noise but you know, I’ve sat in worse places and eaten. I was also starved and I’m not sure I could have held out for 90mins so I’m pleased he was so accommodating.
The place had a nice vibe, packed out, hipster looking waiters, quite a diverse crowd. Our waiter was really quite helpful, and so attentive. He loaded the English version of the menu for us on his phone for us to peruse.
First up, drinks. I went for my usual, sparkling water, whilst Mr Man opted for something called Diamant éternel, a coconut, banana, guava and strawberry syrup concoction which came with a lollypop topped cocktail stirrer. Nice touch.
Mr Man went for the duck foie gras terrine, served with toast. Himalayan salt and onion chutney. Rich, buttery and creamy well balanced with the chutney.
I went for the shirred egg in mushroom sauce. It tasted lovely and was served with bread but unfortunately, it was underbaked. I love a gooey runny yolk, but no one needs a snotty egg white with their dinner… Bit gross.
Next up, our mains. I went for a chicken ballotine with more mushrooms, fresh thyme, roasted cherry tomatoes and a stack of potato gratin. Overall, again, the flavours were there, nice mushroom sauce, (possibly the same one as my starter?) burst of sweet tomato, herby thyme, creamy potatoes. Lovely. But the execution was a little lacking. The chicken was a slightly overdone, making it dry and the potatoes lacked seasoning. Luckily we had salt and pepper mills at the table to compensate.
Next up, Mr Man’s main. He really enjoyed his maple syrup candied lamb shank, slow cooked for three hours till fall apart tender and served with a slightly sweet creamy sauce and a pile of potato gratin. Deeelicious.
Finally, dessert, Mr Man went for the traditional L’île flottante, a soft meringue served over custard and topped with chocolate. This one came with a helping of almond shavings which were lovely but we both thought that the custard was nowhere near thick enough.
I went for the mille-feuille, a crisp layered pastry sandwiched together with Madagascan vanilla cream on a bed of berry coulis. It tasted great, though a little more coulis wouldn’t have gone amiss, but then I’m pretty obsessed with anything berry so possibly just my personal preference there.
Full to the brim we headed on back to the flat for a semi-early night before a day of exploring the next day. We got out the station and were treated to this delight:
Every hour, on the hour, the Eiffel Tower lights up with sparkling lights for 5 minutes, it’s such a pretty sight, this picture does it absolutely no justice whatsoever.
We pretty much picked up where we left off the night before, with a walk down the River Seine.
The sun was shining, it was the perfect day, minus one small niggling fact… I idiotically brought a spare pair of glasses instead of my shades, and before you ask, no, I couldn’t have just bought another pair as I need prescription lenses! =(
We turned inwards to check out some of the architecture.
We found ourselves on the Champs Elysees. Arc de Triomphe from the place de Concorde.
Such a beautiful day!
We headed into Jardin Tuileries located nearby.
In need of a break, we headed into Angelina’s. They have a dining area as well as a little shop / take away area. There was a bit of a queue for the former but thankfully we weren’t kept waiting long.
Picture perfect: all the pastries, chocolates and baked treats!
The whole place has a really dainty feel and we both felt slightly underdressed in our jeans! Also, the tables were really close to one another which wasn’t ideal.
We ordered a couple of pastries and I just had to try the famous hot chocolate while Mr Man opted for a coffee.
The hot chocolate was dreamy. Thick, creamy, dark and all I hoped and dreamed it would be. Perfection. It was served with a little cup of chantilly cream but in all honesty, I preferred it unadulterated.
Mr Man’s coffee which I forgot to take a picture of, was also really enjoyable, a good smooth roast. However, it was served with the coffee and milk separately, and because the milk wasn’t heated through, it got cold too quickly. Not ideal.
We sampled their signature pastry, Le Mont Blanc – whipped cream and meringue topped with sweetened chestnut cream, very enjoyable and unique.
However, myself and Mr Man both much preferred the Paris-New York. A circular choux pastry filled with pecan praline cream with a caramelised pecan centre. Seriously, probably my favourite pastry sampled to date.
Completely sweetened out, we continued our walk towards the Louvre.
The famous glass pyramid:
We didn’t go inside, though:
a) it was closed (public holiday)
b) it seemed far too nice a day to spend in a museum
c) I’m probably nowhere near cultured enough to appreciate good art anyway.
Onwards we walked.
We made our way to Ile de la cite, an island in the Seine.
^ Palais de Justice
And stumbled on a little plant and bird market.
Cutest white chickens. Mr Man wanted to buy some. His dream is to keep our own for the eggs. Maybe one day.
The magnificent Notre Dame.
Just look at the detail!
Inside was even more magical.
Stain glass windows galore.
^ Seriously stunning.
Found myself wanting an even wider lens for my camera. Just couldn’t capture it in the ways I wanted. (Why are lenses so expensive?!
We really should have done our homework because we headed around the corner to try and climb the towers only to find they were closed because of the public holiday! Drat!
Next stop, lunch.
I read about L’as Du Fallafel beforehand, as a must try street food in Paris. Sounds weird that this stuff was paired with the likes of crepes, but I’ve got a lot of time for falafel. A few blocks away from this place, it seemed that every other person was carrying a pitta pocket with a yellow tissue, they looked and smelt phenomenal.
The line was long, but it moved quick, very efficient!
Here’s the finished product. Fresh white pitta pocket, smeared with hummus before being filled generously with fresh warm falafels, fried aubergines (so yum!) and ‘Turkish salad’, a medley of cucumbers, tomatoes and red + white cabbage, topped with a huge spoonful of yoghurt tahini and chilli / piquante sauce.
It was so, so, so good. I only wish I’d had room for a second one to be honest. Round the corner we found the longest queue for gelato, and I couldn’t resist finding out what the fuss was about.
Hazelnut and pistachio.
Bit disappointing overall to be honest. I mean was good, slightly icy and definitely not worth queuing for. Nowhere near as good as the stuff we had in either Rome or Venice.
Next up, Centre du Pompidou.
Such a cool building.
Unfortunately for us, it was another one that was CLOSED! We really didn’t do enough homework in advance.
In the end, we ended up plonking ourselves outside to enjoy the sunshine while listening to the buskers for a while.
We had plans to climb the Arc Du Triomphe at sunset which also massively failed, as it too was closed!
Instead, I took a few pics and we went to look for some consolation in our dinner!
^ Beautiful sunset over the Champs Elysees.
We ended up at a place called Le Crystal Paris nearby.
It was pretty empty when we got there but soon got busy. Overall, the service was good but very slow and unattentive. It may have seemed worse than it actually was because of our experience the night before.
First up, drinks, I opted for an apple mojito, whilst Mr Man went for his usual Pina Colada. The former was pretty good, minus all the brown sugar having had settled at the bottom of the glass. Lately, I’ve started making my drinks at home with simple syrups to avoid this as it really annoys me. Mr Man’s drink was also full of flavour, good balance of coconut and pineapple, but could have been thicker.
Bread in France is basically always good. No complaints!
We decided to share a starter – goats cheese sliders, three ways.
Sharp creamy cheese coated in breadcrumbs and fried, placed in black sesame seeded mini rolls, served with three different sauces – asparagus, red pepper and mushroom. Surprisingly good. So much so that Mr Man requested that I try and recreate these at home, keep your eyes peeled in the coming weeks / months!
Mr Man chose the fillet of beef with a potato and onion rosti, creamed aubergine and green pepper.
It was almost perfect, but the uneven cut of beef meant it wasn’t cooked through as medium rare all the way through.
I went for the fish of the day dish – dorado. It was cooked to perfection topped with crystallised oranges and lemons and served in an amazing pumpkin, coconutty, citrusy sauce with a side of wild rice. So, so good.
The only complaint I have is with the plate. Why do restaurants insist on serving food in decorative, impractically shaped contraptions or slates lately, just give me a damn plate and I can happily get on with life!
Mr Man went for these praline mousse stuffed choux balls on a bed of meringue, served with edible flowers and physalis. Lovely but too much!
I, on the other hand, went for the chocolate hazelnut fondant. So good. So rich. Call me basic, but I would have preferred a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream in place of the physalis to balance out the richness. Classics are classics for a reason.
And with that, we headed on back to the flat.