For our one year wedding anniversary/my husband's birthday, we decided to take a trip to Paris and Belgrade. We have not been back to Paris since 2015 and were so excited to finally be back again. Paris is one of my favorite cities and the place I have been to the most outside of the USA. SInce I have been here a lot I decided to try and do Paris like a local. It is actually amazing what you can accomplish in just two days in a city (if you try).
For the first two and a half days we stayed in the Rive Droite this time at the W Hotel near the Opera. The hotel is just around the corner from a ton of shopping too. On the 8th floor of Printemps there is a beautiful and free view of the city with a great food marketplace. We also decided to try some of the smaller museums that are a lot less touristy like Musée Gustav Moreau and Musée Jacquemart-André. The museums are always wonderful in Paris, but strolling through the city is the best thing to do! As we were walking we stumbled upon an amazing Cathedral called Eglise de la Trinité and had the entire place to ourseleves!
After Belgrade we went back to Paris for just one day in order to catch our direct flight back to DFW. We stayed at the quaint Le Dokhan near Trocadero. The location was very different. It was in a local neighborhood even though it was so close to the Eiffel Tower. I liked this hotel and location a lot better than the W. The room was small but it felt like I was living inside a French novella in the 1600's. Another fun part was the Louis Vuitton elevator! It felt like you were being transported in a large Vuitton luggage.
Now on to the food and drinks:
Coquette- Inside of the W hotel. We ate there for lunch while waiting for our room. It was very solid but not amazing. I had the Coquilles Saint Jaques and Milan had the truffle flatbread. We also had the breakfast buffet here in the morning which was again good, but not great.
Comptoir de la Gastronomie- We sat outside here for lunch on the most beautiful afternoon. This is THE place to order anything with duck. I ate the fois gras ravioli and Milan had the duck. The ravioli was probably the richest thing I ever ate in my life, but wow!
Les Afranchis- We stumbled on this Michelin Star restaurant near Pigalle. It was superb french cooking! I had the fois gras, chicken, and for desert an incredible dish with wasabi. I never had anything like that! I also ate most of Milan's mashed potatoes. Oh my, they were amazing! I have a thing for french mashed potatoes. I especially love them at Joel Robuchon and these were just as good!
L'Atelier Joel Robuchon- Of course we had to go here to celebrate Milan's birthday! This is one of our favorite restaurants in both Las Vegas and Paris. The food at the Paris location is very different than the one in Vegas so it is worth checking out both. We ordered the eggplant, spaghetti, shrimp ravioli, chicken ravioli soup, le burger, and a side of the best mashed potatoes in the universe! When I describe the food in English it doesn't sound at all that interested or special, but just imagine the most amazing kind of dishes you ever had.
Le Dokhan's Bar- On our last day we spent a few hours at this amazing Champagne bar in our hotel. They have a Champagne Sommelier who brings you 3 different glasses to pick for your Champagne. I got the coup glass each time. They also have these amazing cheese puffs.
Restaurant Victor- On our last night we wanted to stay close to our hotel for dinner. We had reservations at another place but our hotel messed up the time. While looking for another restaurant stumbled upon this place and it had good reviews. After waiting about 45 minutes for a table on a Wednesday we got seated. The food was very good, but VERY traditional french. I had scallops with some kind of mashed side dish. I had the hardest time figuring out what it was because it was not potatoes. I found our it was actually mashed Jerusalem artichokes, how weird! They were very good but so different. Milan ordered veal but didn't realize they were veal hearts. They were not for him. This was probably my least favorite of the bunch but still good, and unique!
A few takeaways/realizations about Paris:
- I guess I forgot how busy a city can be! Paris has a ton of relaxing corners but it is still such a bustling city that it can be overwhelming. It reminds me so much of New York.
- When you speak French or at least try to, people are REALLY nice! The French in general are mostly nice polite people. They say Bonjour, Merci, etc. to everyone in a restaurant or shop. I feel that in the US people a lot of the time do not say hello, please or thank you.
- Even though you try to speak French ( My husband's French is amazing) They still know you are American. We got ripped off by a cab driver one night. It was our fault though we hailed a cab on the street which you should not ever do, but it started raining.
- Paris seems even more touristy than it used to. I know it has only been 3 years but even in low season it seemed to be bursting at the seams with tourists (Probably because of Instagram/Social Media) A lot of the lesser known spots a few years ago were now packed. I wanted to take Milan to the Opera and in the morning there was a huge line out the door! I remember walking right in three years ago and it was empty.
- I love Paris, but it will probably be a while before we return. We went very hard!