Ooh la la, un week-end à Paris!
As Paris is just a one-hour flight direct from Nuremberg via Air France, the City of Light was a natural candidate when Johan and I decided to book a weekend getaway on a whim. J has been traveling quite a bit for work this year and while I've been thoroughly reveling in all the alone time, I've also been envious of his every-other-week dates with the airport. I get antsy without adventures.
Fortunately, I have a loving partner who sometimes says things like, "well, let's book something then," when I'm whining over a weeknight dinner that it's been a while since I've gone anywhere.
Fun fact: There are four (4) public holidays in Bavaria in May, three of which are national and the fourth one may as well be, so basically all of Germany is on Urlaub at any given point. May is also the time when travel season starts to slide from mid to peak, so flight and accommodation prices aren't necessarily ideal. But after thoroughly exploring various options around Europe—both of us on our respective computers, wine glasses topped up post-dinner—we found a flight to Paris that would have us in the city early Friday morning without having to return until late Sunday evening, and for a reasonable price to boot (at least, given the aforementioned circumstances). I snagged a room near our beloved Montmartre in Place de Clichy via Booking.com (yes, that's an affiliate link) and four weeks later, I got to go to the airport, too.
After a delayed flight and exceedingly long lines to purchase tickets to get into the city via RER train, we dropped our bags at our hotel around 11:30 on Friday morning. I'd say we had no plans for the day as "show up and see what happens" tends to be our typical travel style, but this time there actually was a plan, and it was for one of my least favorite activities: clothes shopping.
A friend here in Nuremberg, who lived in Paris for many years, had referred me to one of her favorite private-sale places to shop, assuring me that it would be a magical wonderland of hope for my dismal wardrobe. Between my disdain for the act of shopping itself and my stocky, decidedly un-French body, I had my reservations; but this lovely friend had even gone so far as to call the shop directly to tell them I was coming at her recommendation, so I felt it best to approach the opportunity with as open a mind as possible.
I'll spare you the details of the two+ hours I spent browsing and trying on numerous items from a handful of Italian brands (much of which indeed did not fit, quelle surprise), but I managed to find a few pieces I feel rather glorious about owning now. There may be hope for the future of my closet just yet. Big shoutout to J for his patience and support through this difficult time. <3
The rest of the weekend passed in a pleasant blur of walking, eating, beveraging, street art-admiring, and people-watching. And sweating, thanks to the 30°C/85°F temps.
Aside from the heat, we were also treated to a downpour on Friday evening. Fortunately, not before walking by the charming storefront of Lucien La Chance on Rue des Dames. That's the owner in the doorway below, who was enjoying a smoke when Johan stopped to take a photo of the shop. We paused long enough that he grabbed a business card and walked across the way, greeting us with a friendly, "if you're going to take a photo, you should also take my card."
We subsequently made our way inside and stayed for two excellent glasses of a 2016 Viré-Clessé from Domaine Gondard-Perrin—which I scribbled in my notebook as tasting "apple-y, well-rounded, crisp yet smooth, notes of sourdough? perhaps toasted and lightly buttered? with hints of prosciutto?" We paired the wine with two cheeses (a wonderfully chalky, bright, earthy Giotto from northern Italy, with a slightly bitter rind that tasted nicely of cellar; and a rather mild, melty Gouda de Printemps, aged 13-14 months in 90% humidity in the north of France) and a bit of conversation before the tables began to fill with dinner patrons.
As we made our exit, the clouds unleashed and we sought dinner refuge of our own in a spontaneously chosen restaurant by the name of Chez Poupette. While my parmesan risotto with roasted chicken was very nice, Johan's entrecôte was A+, cooked beautifully and paired with roasted, parmesan-topped vegetables. :chef kiss:
On Saturday, we ventured over to Saint-Ouen, which has been a favorite area of ours since our stay in 2016 during the UEFA European Championship when we went to Paris to watch the Sweden v. Ireland match at Stadt de France. The sprawling flea markets and numerous antique shops are a treat to walk through in this artsy, rough-around-the-edges neighborhood.
Lunch took place at Le Voltaire, a most delightful little Saint-Ouen restaurant that we've now been to four or five times. The croque-monsieur is a personal favorite of mine, though we've never had anything that proved to be less than delicious. If you're in the area, do snag a table outside (weather permitting, of course) and sip a cold Stella while watching passersby and eavesdropping on conversations about the market finds of your table neighbors.
Johan's confit de canard, my croque.
Saturday proved to be a full day of culinary highlights, as beyond our lunch at a beloved cafe, we had also a fabulous dinner at Seb'on. Located in Montmartre on Rue d'Orsel, this tiny restaurant with a rustic-chic, almost Scandinavian vibe has just one person in the kitchen: Sebastien Heloin, head chef and owner himself. The menu changes often, but my guess is that it's hard to go wrong as both of our starters, both mains, and our shared dessert (a heavenly salted caramel clafoutis) were all fantastic. Sadly, I neglected to take photos of the starters, but Johan's in particular was a revelation—a concoction of gravlax (of which I am generally not a fan), crunchy biscuit, and parmesan ice cream that came together in such a way that the dish made me feel as though I'm a schoolgirl again and the boy I've had a crush on for months just said hello to me in the hallway.
As our Sunday evening flight did not depart until 20:35, we had the majority of the day free to continue roaming around Paris. We ended up on the the lively Rue des Martyrs, where I found another new dress at a boutique shop called LE 54 before we made our way back up the hill to Montmartre's Rue des Abbesses for a sit and a sip at La Cave des Abbesses, a wine shop that our aforementioned, former Paris-residing friend had insisted we visit.
And where there is wine, there is eventually cheese, non?
I am kicking myself for not taking a photo of the *inside* of that menu where these gorgeous cheeses are identified, because ooh la la la la la.... The brie sitting at the 6:00 position is probably the best variety of brie I've ever eaten, the lengthy wedge at 12:00 was a mushroom-y, earthy treat, and the hard cheese at 1:00 was absolute magic when paired with the 2017 Château Favray Pouilly-Fumé that I fell so deeply in love with we bought two bottles to bring home with us and I wish we'd been able to take a case.
After the wine and cheese lunch, I may or may not have ended up with a new pair of eyeglasses at the Jimmy Fairly across the street before we returned to Rue des Martyrs. There, we watched people and pigeons until it was time to fetch our things at the hotel and catch the RER to the airport, concluding a most splendid weekend getaway.
Au revoir pour le moment, Paris.
(Click to enlarge the grid photos.)
(Thanks to mon mari for some of the photos in this post! I was a little caught up in Instagram stories and didn't end up taking as many pictures as I'd have liked...)