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Published: November 8th 2023

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We are now in Paris; I am sitting in my favorite room in my favorite hotel in Paris. Just off Rue Cler, the street where I stayed on my very first visit to Paris (and fell in love) many years ago. We are having dinner at a restaurant one friend of ours discovered on his first trip, and we have been going back ever since. It is now one of our favorite places and just three blocks from the hotel.

The day started early, no time for breakfast and zero offer to pack a picnic for us like every other hotel we stayed at did when we had an early train. The hotel in San Sabastian may have had a nice view, but the service was pretty lacking. They are clearly jaded from dealing with the rich and famous. It was still dark when we left the hotel for our short walk to the train station. The Euskatren card we bought in Bilbao made the cost of our trip to Hendaye .72 euros a piece, normally 2.50 euros. We managed to catch an earlier train, they run every 30 minutes between San Sebastain and Hendaye. No bus transfer was required,

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and the last stop was directly next to the train station in Hendaye. Hendaye is still very much Basque country, just French Basque. Our train was at 9:36, so we waited about 35 minutes. Being the first on at the first stop is a huge advantage, we had prime choice for luggage storage. Very fortunate for us, because by the Time we got to Bordeaux the luggage was in the aisles.

It is a fast 5 hours from Henday (on the France/Spain border) to Paris. I say fast because we went on average 180 miles an hour. The trip did take 5 hours, but there were a few stops until we arrived at Bordeaux, then it was nonstop to Paris. Since we did not have breakfast, I got a small quiche from the café car and a café ole. Jerry slept. The quiche was surprisingly good. Later for lunch we both had a chicken vegetable sandwich on a baguette, which was also pretty good.

There was a brief incident with our luggage, at Bordeaux a man (pretty sure he was American) and started rearranging everyone suitcases, because clearly his was all the matter. When he touched my computer

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bag (two computers and a monitor) I was on him. Said he did not need to be moving my bags and he needed to find someplace else to put his luggage. He was not happy, but he would have been far less happy if he actually damaged my computer and then had to experience my wrath and lawyer voice. That all passed and we made it to Paris safely without further incident.

We have only plans for dinner, so I have just been catching up on the blog. I was relaxing on the bed, when the dreaded text from work came, yes it was a non-emergency emergency from one of the other partners. That caused about 30 minutes of stress having to deal with his nonquestion, how do you discuss something when you’re not even asked a question? Anyway, dealt with that, had some more wine, and found my way back to my happy Paris place.

The moment we got off the train, I felt like I was home. There is just something about Paris, that is calming and comfortable for me. Never want to live here, because I don’t want to end up hating it like I

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do New York, a city I use to liked and now cannot stand. It is very quiet in Paris this time of year, so few tourists, just the Parisians going about their daily lives, baguette in hand as they walk home from work.

You also know your home (or been some place too many time, not possible) when you walk into your hotel and the front desk knows who you are because they remember your last visit. When we went to dinner, the owner also recognized us from our last trip in April. Paris is truly our home away from home.

Dinner was just good French cooking. We knew we would not be disappointed; we never are at this restaurant. We started with champagne (Cava left us in Spain). We also had a very nice Burgundy with dinner. Every single thing we ate was prefect, making choosing dish of the day very difficult. Jerry started with a Veloute Celeri, a celery soup, sounds boring but cream and butter and then the fig oil that was a garnish, it was amazing. Fig oil, they make it themselves from the fig leaves for their friends and neighbors. Fresh fig leaves,

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Dish of the Day

torn then soaked in warm vegetable oil then pressed, so simple yet so tasty. Jerry main was Chou Farci, stuffed cabbage. I know your thinking stuffed cabbage didn’t we grow up eating that and hating it. Yes, I did, but this was stuffed with a pork mix that was moist and delicious. It was the owner’s grandmother’s recipe, so how could that be bad.

I went a bit more traditional, started with Champignons sauvage, sauteed wild mushrooms. My main was Confit de Canard, I am not going to France without have duck confit at least once. It was perfectly cooked, crispy on the outside, moist and flavorful on the inside. The sauce was perfect, rich rich rich. It would have been dish with the day, but Jerry’s stuffed cabbage, yes stuffed cabbage is dish of the day, was the better overall dish.

Desserts were a Millefeuille and a Chocolat Criolo. Just look at the pictures, I can’t really describe them all that well, especially since I am now at the end of our day in London, soon to go to our last vacation dinner.

We said Au revoir to our host and strolled back to our hotel

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down Rue Cler, a chill crisp of fall in the air. I just want to stay and not leave.

Tomorrow will be the last full day of actual vacation. We are off to London for one night then the flight home. We have a pretty busy day planned for London, but more on that tomorrow.



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