Je T'aime Paris

>> Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Eiffel Tower
For our final honeymoon destination, we arrived back in France (almost to the day that we were there the year before). As excited as I was about returning to the city of lights, I really didn’t want to face the fact that we only had one week left of our vacation before heading back home. Don’t get me wrong, home is great, but traveling and eating exotic foods is just that much better. So I tried not to let it get me down too much since, after all, I am in France, a culinary mecca, so I really shouldn’t feel too bad just yet.

Le Papillon
Shortly after landing in Paris, we already found ourselves faced with our first baguette sandwich and as I recall, it was delicious (not unlike all the other baguettes consumed while in Paris). Of course this time around I was purely going to eat my way through Paris, so baguettes were definitely not the only things we consumed. Add in the many croissant au beurres, pain au chocolats, macarons from Laudreé and crepés. I couldn’t leave out the savory dishes either, like French onion soup, beef bourguignon and galettes, which are essentially a crepe but made with buckwheat and are usually more of an entrée rather than a dessert.

Steak and Potatoes
It was hard to pick our favourite meal and best restaurant since there we so many, but if I had to, it would be a tie between Le Papillon found on Rue Mouffetard and Le Louchébem near the Forum des Halles underground mall (which we just happened upon while roaming around). Le Papillon were on numerous best of lists when we were googling restaurants to try in Paris, so we figured why not? When we finally found the place, after walking up and down the street a couple of times, we were glad we didn’t give up (it was hidden beside quite a large fromagerie!). This restaurant was the quintessential French dining experience. The menus were updated daily based on market fresh ingredients that are bought at the stores just down the road and written on little chalk boards all around the front of the restaurant. Most of the tables were placed outside since the interior was so small and the all the food, no matter what you ordered was cooked fresh. I could say that it was the best mushroom stew I’ve ever had, the mushrooms were all so juicy and flavourful that I had to slow down and savour every bite even though all my body wanted to do was to eat it as fast as possible!

So if Le Papillon was so amazing why was there a tie? Well, simply because the mussels at Le Louchébem was equally so. We only stumbled upon this restaurant after walking for hours and were famished; therefore we really didn’t expect to be so pleasantly surprised. When they brought out our food, each plate just kept outdoing the one before it, with the highlight being the mussels. There were so many of them in this pot and each one were cooked to perfection. Paired with a refreshing white wine garlic sauce, it didn’t overpower the mussels but complimented them. Did I mention how many of them there were and the fact that they were all equally juicy and succulent? Who said the French eats only small portions?

Raspberry Tart
With our tummies nice and full we were able to fit in more sightseeing: starting from La Defense to the Eiffel Tower to the Panthéon, catching a show at the Moulin Rouge, roaming the underground catacombs, dodging people on the Champs-Elysées and a yummy dinner on the River Seine (not all on the same day of course). There are endless amount of sights in Paris and it truly does win a place in my heart (and stomach) but we weren’t done with France just yet. We still had to head up North to a place with quite a bit of historical significance: Normandy!



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