“There are only two places in the world where we can live happy: at home and in Paris”
– Ernest Hemingway
I may have mentioned before, but I have a thing for the country of France in general and the city of Paris in particular. It’s not the lure of the Eiffel tower or the high end shops of the Champs-Élysées. No, it’s more an affinity for good (and often simple) food, an appreciation for quiet beauty and that certain je ne sais quoi of French life that calls to me. Time and again, I find myself walking its streets and inhaling the magic that this city effuses. One of my favorite things – aside from baguettes slathered with butter, heaped with salami with a cornichon or two – is sharing it with others. This trip was the first overseas venture for my sister-in-law and her husband – and we did it up. With special thanks to Staci and Todd Lescarbeau for sharing extra photos with me to develop this post.
While my last post focused solely on food, let’s revert to the former format as I have a couple updates on getting there/staying there since my previous trip.
Airport: Most recently based in Dublin, Ireland lends itself to using Ryanair quite frequently (who doesn’t love a budget airline) and they have extremely reasonable flights to Paris Beauvais. Curious, as I had never heard of Beauvais airport, my research proved that it was not *exactly* in Paris – the drive is a little over an hour via shuttle. The good news? There are buses that bring you straight into the heart of Paris that leave regularly from Beauvais for 17 euro per person. Bus tickets can be purchased directly in the arrivals terminal of Beauvais and the stop is just outside the airport. Moral of the story – if you don’t mind Ryanair and a slightly longer commute than to other Paris regional airports, fly to Beauvais. The airport itself has very little to offer, but its still a very budget friendly option.
Where we stayed:
39 rue Saint Louis en l’Isle, 4th arr., 75004 Paris, France
Booking.com yielded this gem of a find. Yes, it is pricey (where in Paris isn’t?) but you are in a historic apartment smack in the middle of the Seine, on an island behind Notre Dame. The apartment itself is delightful – let me preface what I’m about to say with the following -we absolutely loved our stay. We only interacted with the caretaker/cleaner, but she was very pleasant and helpful (note she speaks French & Spanish, not much English). The shabby chic decor matched the photos and we loved the old building. Very important – the apartment is on the top floor of a historic building and does not have an elevator. While this was not an issue for us, it would be not be accessible for those with mobility issues. There were other minor issues: we found that the kitchen dishes were put away dirty, which was slightly off putting. There were open items in the fridge (mostly condiments) and several bottles in the shower – we were unsure if these were for guest use or were simply not thrown away after previous guests. Neither would stop me from booking this apartment again.
Dining Establishments We Frequented:
Creature of habit that I am, we hit up some old favorite haunts along with a mix of street food (salami baguette, anyone?) and new establishments to add to our repertoire.
30 Rue Guy-Lussac
Reservations a must. Be ready to commit to a set menu that will knock your socks off and take advantage of their extensive wine list. This time: we had a fabulous creamy potato leek soup, veal osso bucco, cheese course with an onion chutney and then speculoos! NOM!1 rue Dante | Close to Notre-Dame Cathedral, The Ile Saint-Louis, 75005 Paris, France
A lovely little wine bar just past the bridge as you enter le quartier latin – they have a wonderful selection of wines and small snacks to share (we split some very fresh beef carpaccio as we killed time before heading to les papilles)
64 rue Veille du Temple – 75003 Paris
I’m a firm believer in the following dogma – good food, fresh ingredients prepared simply is one of the best ways to enjoy life. Chez Robert et Louise embody this down to the finest detail. Everything is delicious.
What we did:
I cannot recommend the Paris Museum pass highly enough. It’s a fantastic bargain that involves skip the line access and entry to almost all of Paris’ key attractions (full list here). You can literally use the pass to see it all and tailor to fit your trip dates – they have 2,4 or 6 day passes. So as usual, we got passes and stopped by the Cluny, the Pantheon and Versailles. And – as mentioned before – you simply cannot beat just strolling around Paris and seeing what you see.