Here’s the second half of my Paris adventures!
We woke up a little late the next day and looked outside the window of our AirBnB flat to find another glorious day outside.
We picked up where we left off the day before, the Arc De Triomphe. This famous monument stands on the grave of an unknown soldier, who lost his life in WW1.
^ Those are the surnames of people who fought in the Napoleonic wars. Any underlined names signify lives lost in battle.
A huge 50 meters tall and 284 (a hellovalot) of stairs high! Good thing we had a bit of practice in Rome! These stairs weren’t nearly as bad, although, they did still have a dizzying effect.
The view was totally worth it.
Here’s a little pano.
It stands in the middle of the roundabout, Place Charles de Gaulle, an intersection of 12 straight roads. As you can imagine, it can get pretty crazy on the road, Parisians don’t seem to have a lot of patience on the road! Don’t even try crossing to the middle at street level, be wise, take the stairs down to the connecting underground tunnel.
^ Sacre Coeur in the background.
^ Eiffel tower.
^ Champs Elysees.
After enjoying the view some more, we headed back down the endless stairs to the metro station.
Paris has a lot of African immigrants / expats and I was keen to try out some of the food they brought with them so we made our way to Osè. They’ve got a nice space, very minimalist with some cool artwork and a chalkboard.
The concept is simple, it’s almost subway-esque. Decide from a number of different options.
- Base – white rice, red rice or attieke (made from cassava)
- Meat – chicken, beef, veg or a mixture
- Sauce – rasta, coco, yasa, ndizi, mafe
- Chilli – ginger, mango, tamarind or the ose house chilli
Unfortunately, not all the options were available on our day of visit so we were limited a tad. We more or less ended up with the same – half rice, hald attieke with chicken. I opted for rasta, which had a nice little kick to it whilst Mr Man went for mafe (peanut) sauce, again packed with great flavour. I went for a side of plantain, which I really enjoy but don’t really ever eat often whilst Mr Man went for wings. Delicious!
The guys in here were super friendly and offered great service with detailed recommendations. We ended up having a long chat with them, they’re even considering maybe one day expanding to London so maybe keep your eyes peeled!
After lunch, we hopped back on the metro and headed towards the South of the city. A couple of my colleagues from work, including one from France, recommended checking out the catacombs so we headed over to investigate. Again, we really should have done a little more homework, because we arrived to find the place closed up! On a Monday! So, so frustrating.
We ended up randomly strolling and fond ourselves in le Jardin du Luxembourg, a pretty park, great in the sunshine and a little escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
We found a few seats and kicked back for a while, admiring the view, and uh, I may or may not have conked out for a little while and got slightly sunburnt.
As we exited the park we stumbled upon the Pantheon. So beautiful.
I can’t get over buildings like this. Seriously, such a sucker for towering pillars and huge domes.
Next up on the list, another recommendation from a work chum, Shakespeare and Company bookshop.
This place is so magical, there’s such a charm about the whole thing, even Mr Man said it was pretty cute. It’s not made it into “the top bookshops” list for nothing. It was, however, pretty busy, seems like it’s quite popular with tourists. Such a shame they don’t allow pictures, I really could not help myself when I saw this staircase, I saw a quick opportune moment and whipped out my phone. So great!
Onwards we walked.
Next stop, Notre Dame, take 2.
As we were close by, we decided to head on back and climb the towers that we’d missed out on the day before. It was getting pretty gloomy and I was a little worried it might rain on us by the time we got through the long queue and actually made our way up there but luckily it was fine.
Mr Man’s iPhone panoramic pic. Look how grey it is!
The slightly overcast weather was in fact quite a blessing as it added to the slightly gloomy mood in the pics. The one below is one of my faves. He looks like he’s gazing directly at the Eiffel Tower!
We also had a chance to check out the bell tower. The old metal bell is truly huge and these days only used a few times a year.
Onwards we ploughed in search of a mid-afternoon snack. Mr Man mentioned that he wanted to try a crepe and so we ended up at a little place called Culture Crepes.
Such a good choice. Seriously.
Seriously, just look at that monstrosity. Nutella, 2 bars of kinder maxi, lotus biscuit crumbs, caramelised apples and cinnamon, strawberries, icing sugar – soo00 much going on, but in all honesty, it worked, and it worked well. Personally, I only wish nutella did a darker chocolate version with a higher cocoa content.
Next stop, Pierre Herme.
Aaaall the macarons!
We ended up just getting a box of 12 – one of each flavour, delicious!
Whilst we were shopping for sweet treats we also nipped to la maison du chocolat for a slab of nutty goodness and a sample of their various chocolates. Again, pricey but so, so good!
Goodies in tow, we popped back to our flat for a bit stop before heading back out for dinner. I’d picked a place in line with Mr Man’s everlasting love of burgers. Twas in a slightly rougher part of town – loads of graffiti and a few slightly shady people but nothing happened.
We arrived at Le Bobo and were promptly seated and presented with a menu.
Mr Man went for a can of Fanta whilst I chose berry mojito. Loads of fresh flavours though not quite enough sweetness.
We opted for a starter to share – quesadillas. Toasted wraps filled with cheese, mushroom and a bit of smoked chicken, yum! They were served with some lovely garlic sauce and salad.
Next up – mains. This is Mr Man’s slider trio and cheesy bacon fries:
It tasted even better than it looks! Le Yankee (with caramelised onions, bbq sauce and bacon), Le Bobo (cheese burger with mustard) and finally Le Caesar (a chicken caesar salad inspired burger.)
I went for a full sized chicken caesar burger – with parmesan infused dressing, crispy onions, sun dried tomatoes and perfectly grilled chicken.
My favourite part of the meal was definitely the cheesy fries. Perfectly cooked, crisp o the outside, fluffy on the inside, skin on chips drowned in a generous helping of molten cheese and topped with some fresh herbs. Sat here drooling!
Having looked at the menu, we were tempted into dessert. I went for a berry and coconut tiramisu. It was really enjoyable, lady finger biscuits, layered with a berry infused whipped cream and topped with coconut shavings. The berry coulis it was served with really brought together the flavours.
Mr Man was sold on the passion fruit and mango topped cheesecake. This looked better than it tasted in my opinion, the cheesecake didn’t have enough cream cheese, it was slightly icy as if it had just been defrosted or something and the biscuit base was nowhere near thick or buttery enough.
It was getting pretty late – even the metro was pretty empty, but we headed towards the Eiffel tower to check it out by nightfall.
So pretty. And surprisingly busy – people were sat around in the grass, drinking and chilling out with friends, others with camera gear set up etc.
As it struck midnight we were able to enjoy the light show. Sounds cheesy but it was pretty magical. Also, excuse my lack of night photography knowledge.
And with that, we walked back to our flat.
The next and final day we woke up to another beautiful sunny morning and headed out.
First stop, breakfast at Laduree, another dainty little Parisian cafe.
Mr Man chose a latte, whilst I went for a cafe viennois, black coffee served with chantilly cream. Dreamy. So, so good.
Bread and butter – shame it wasn’t salted.
My cheesy omelette, or omelette du fromage. To be honest, I expected it to be good, but not this good, cooked to perfection, soft, silky and beautifully buttery with a filling of gooey cheese.
Mr Man went for the French toast, again, it doesn’t look like much, but boy was it good. Slightly sweetened, melt in the mouth eggy brioche bread, oozing with maple syrup.
I only wish I’d had room for a pastry!
We bought a selection of macarons to go.
Such pretty colours.
With only a few hours left, we didn’t really have a plan, and just went for a walk.
Picked up some French bread from Eric Kayser. Why are the French so good at baking?!
We ended up at galeries lafayette, a department store with seriously pretty architecture.
Here I saw a little pop up (eclair de genie) with amazing looking eclairs and could not resist.
Vanilla pecan and raspberry and passionfruit. They tasted even better than they looked!
And with that, it was time to head back to the flat, check out, and head on back to Gare du Nord for our train home. At the station, I discovered another little chocolate shop, Alain Ducasse, and I just couldn’t help buying more! A couple of bars of chocolate, a hazelnut and almond chocolate spread and a box of ganaches and pralines. We’ve already nearly polished off the lot. Seriously, some of the best chocolate I’ve ever tried. Be warned though, it is pricey – high-end chocolate comes in at over 100 euro / kilo.
Back to London!