Saturday, June 25, 2011

Paris with Jaap... & David Lebovitz

Our Parisian holiday continues with some more beautiful sites, romantic moments, and more importantly some incredible culinary adventures. Delicious food in Paris (and Europe in general) is just another reason why I am forever needing to lose 10 pounds. But, it's okay. I've tasted things I have never thought could taste so good! 

I did a lot of research before we left and planned much of what we did based on recommendations from one of my favorite blogs David Lebovitz: Living the sweet life in Paris. (He's an American pastry chef, food writer, and cookbook author who lives in Paris now). This blog has become one of my new favorite daily reads. There's so much great culinary information about the city on here. So, the subtitle for our weekend should be, Paris: A culinary tour with David Lebovitz. His recommendations did not disappoint!
After the cemetery, we hopped back on our bikes and cycled over to another neighborhood. It's so much faster to get around on bike and cheaper. I wanted to make sure that we had good, affordable French food on our trip. I just didn't want to go to Paris and eat at over priced touristy restaurants when you know there are so many amazing choices out there. It just requires a little time and research. :) 

We went to Breizh Café for some delicious gallettes, crêpes, and sparkling apple cider. We ate some savory gallettes made with really fresh ingredients followed by a sweet crêpe with rhubarb and strawberries. My favorite reaction of the meal was after Jaap sampled the fizzy apple cider and said, "I could drink a whole bottle of that." 
Galeries Lafayette
When my mother was telling some family friends that we were going to Paris, they recommended that we go to the rooftop of Galeries Lafayette. It's a large department store that  is a cross between Bloomingdales and Macy's at Herald Square...but French. 
The rooftop is free and open to the public. We were able to take some great pictures and see Paris from a different angle. I'm glad we took the time to go there. The beautiful views were definitely worth it. Not to mention the interior was quite beautiful as well. Here are some pictures of us in front of the Opera house. 
After a long day of bike riding we went back to the hotel for a little nap before dinner. Jaap made us a dinner reservation at La Petite Chaise. (Another great recommendation from David Lebovitz's website). He described it as a place to come for if you if you want classic French food done right. It's also the oldest restaurant in Paris. I was very excited for our romantic French dinner!
We enjoyed an amazing three course meal complete with some delicious white and rosé wine. This meal was incredible. The pictures don't do it justice. We both chose fish for our main course and mine was made with a beurre blanc sauce. Followed by a much too big portion of crème brûlée. Not to mention the service was great. Free carafs of water for everyone! We didn't even have to ask. You won't find this service in the Netherlands. The French know how to dine. The whole evening was special, not because of the food, but because I got to spend some quality time with my Jaapie.  A relaxed and slow paced evening full of good conversation, good food, and romance. 
Our third and final day in Paris began with some beautiful sunshine and stroll along the Promenade Plantée. It's a green walkway created from an old 19th century railway viaduct near the Bastille area. (Almost like elevated train tracks turned into a public park). It's full of rose bushes, arches covered in vines, various herbs and other flowers. It's really quite peaceful. Lots of benches to relax on and have a quiet moment. Walking along the promenade gives you some interesting views of the neighborhood architecture as well. 
Promenade Plantée
Fountain outside our koffiepauze café
Our last afternoon in Paris was spent at the Musee d'Orsay and walking along the Seine. The Musée d'Orsay is quite the site. Even though we had to wait an hour on line to get in, it was worth it. Unfortunately, I have no pictures to post here. They were pretty strict about no photography. I was excited to see some impressionist paintings of Monet and Renoir that I have never seen in person before. That' always exciting. 
'Romantical in Paris' ends with a lovely stroll along the Seine. We were kind of tired after our visit to the d'Orsay, so we enjoyed some lunch and wine first and then headed over to the river. We sat down on a bench to take it all in. I told Jaap that I wish we had some music to listen to at the moment. He pulls out his Ipod touch and plays some tunes. Haha! 

What a great trip! I can't wait to go back. :) Here's a little video of our rest on the river. 

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