JetSet Coco

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Leisure Day In Paris

While Paris is a grand city full of sights, it can also be just as rewarding to fall in love with the city by leisurely wandering around shopping and eating (and drinking) your way through the city. In our two day stop in Paris, we decided to kick the sight seeing to the curb and just enjoy Paris for all its charm and exquisite cuisine. I already highlighted our first day meandering the streets of St Germain and the Latin Quarter.

Church in the Opera

The first afternoon, we stumbled upon the famous restaurant Le Comptoir de Relais in Saint Germain and decided to sit down for a much needed wine break. Sitting outside at the tiny table of the bistro, watching flocks of people and vespas zip by was so enjoyable that we decided to take a chance in seeing if this Anthony Bourdain recommended bistro had any openings. Despite its usual 'reserve months in advance policy' we managed to snag a dinner reservation at this hyped up foodie establishment. The dinner commenced with a lobster ravioli emerged in a frothy bisque... amazing! Next a white fish cevice course was served, followed by the main course of seared tuna. What followed next was the most spectacular course of the evening, a cheese plate that was so grand it required its own table. The cheese plate consisted of about 10 types of cheese, and I don't mean a slice of each- an entire wedge of each cheese. They were so rich and unusual it was quite a treat! It's hard to believe after four courses there would be any room for dessert, but of course somehow we managed to complete the meal with a cup of homemade ice cream covered with berries. Le Comptoir was a culinary treat and I would highly recommend it not just for the food but for the overall experience, and of course weather permitting, sit outside to take full advantage of the sidewalk bistro experience.

The second day, we began the day at Cafe Le Depart near the Seine River with a large cappucino in hand and a hefty dose of people watching on this busy corner of the Latin Quarter. Once caffeinated, we strolled to the Opera section of Paris, which is full of excellent and designer shopping. We passed through one of my favorite parts of the city, Palais-Royal, with its gorgeous architecture, quirky striped pillared courtyard, and beautiful gardens.


Gardens of Palais-Royal

After relaxing by the fountain, we headed to the infamous Galleries Lafayette, the most spectacular department store in my opinion in the world. While you could spend an entire day there browsing the high fashion departments and getting lost in the food court of specialty worldly and French cuisine, we kept it to a few hours of exploring since we were on a time restriction.

Display of Karl Lagerfeld's Coke at Galleries Lafayette- what doesn't the man do?!

All that shopping worked up the desire for a bit of culture, I mean we were in Paris after all! So we headed to my favorite museum, the Centre Georges Pompidou museum of modern art, where we caught the beginning of an interesting exhibit comparing art of Paris, Delhi and Bombay. Besides showcasing some of the most amazing modern artwork of the likes of Kandinsky etc., the Pompidou offers some of the most spectacular panoramic views of the city.

Glass of wine in the square on Centre Pompidou

View of Montmartre from the Pompidou

For dinner, we returned to Les Bougresses, our favorite little restaurant in Le Marais that we discovered on our last trip to Paris. This place is fantastically hidden amongst the windy streets of Le Marais, tucked away at the back of a square, and although it was our third time dining here, it was still difficult to find. Once you're there, it's well worth the search! The menu is ever changing, and hand written on individual chalkboard menus, and the best part is that the 3 course selection is a steal at 24 Euros! Les Bougresses is a cozy tavernous restaurant that is consistently packed with young french people, so you know it's not a tourist locale. The food is reliably amazing- this time I had a warm chevre cheese salad followed by cod, and a creme brulee for dessert. It was just as delicious and quaint as I remembered in previous travels. This was the perfect way to close our short but sweet stay in Paris.

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