Last November I went on a whistle-stop trip to Paris. It was a company bonding trip where we were lucky enough to bring our other halves. We were only there for 36 hours, and with a couple of company meals planned I was keen to find some little gems of our own in between all the sightseeing in this beautiful city.
Paris has a reputation for being over priced and like many European cities it’s easy to fall into the tourist trap restaurants. Whilst I was there I found some great little places that will keep you going from breakfast through to dinner. The majority of these are near to the Odean metro stop as this is close to where we were staying. But this is a lovely part of Paris and right by Jardin du Luxembourg which is beautiful and perfect for a picnic or breakfast.
We took the Eurostar late Friday afternoon and arrived in a sparkling Paris in time for a late dinner. After a little night cap we headed to bed so we could be up bright an early to explore the city. We woke up on Saturday morning to glorious sunshine, It was such a beautiful day! We headed to a local cafe for breakfast, and obviously has to start our day with freshly made croissants and coffee. One thing I love about Paris is the option to eat outside at most places, even through the winter months. Everywhere has outside heaters so you can wrap up and watch the world go by.
As we were so lucky with the weather we decided to skip all museums on this trip and just walk, I think we walked about 7 miles over the day! We walked all the way from our hotel by Odeon metro up to Sacré-Cœur – be warned, there are lots of steps.
Our first stop was Notre-Dame on the banks of La Seine, it’s just beautiful. Probably one of the most well known cathedrals in the world, the architecture is so intricate. If you make a trip be sure to look at the western facade from the square.
A short walk up Rue du Renard and you reach the Pompadu Centre. An extremely different picture to Notre-Dame. One of the architects to design the building, Richard Rogers, also designed the Lloyds Building in the City of London.
We then meandered our way up to Sacré-Cœur. On our way up we walked down one of my favourite streets, Rue des Martyrs. It is filled with pâtisseries, charcuteries, grocery stores, any food related shop you can think of! Also, there are some great little restaurants. It was hard for us to choose where to have lunch on our way back down from the views at Sacré-Cœur.
We decided on Le Cul de Poule as we could get a table, and well we walked past about three times and the food looked great! There is a small prix fixe menu which is very reasonably priced, I think it was 20 euros for 2 courses. Wine was also great value by the glass – a glass of red with lunch is a must, you’re in Paris after all. We had the french onion soup to start. It was not at all like the ‘traditional’ recipe you would think of, it was a clear, light soup. It was delicious. Again my husband and I went for the same main, salmon fillet with lentils. The lentils were smoky and the salmon juicy. This was extremely good. It was refreshing to see other options on a menu other than typical French cuisine. And it was a good break from steak! I am guilty for ordering the majority of the time whilst in Paris…I imagine it’s a great place for dinner too.
We had already agreed we would pick up some pastries as our dessert and find somewhere pretty to sit and eat them. I wanted them alllll. But even I knew it wasn’t possible to eat all of them and still have room for dinner. They are works of art and I could just look at them all day! I had to go for a mille-feuille, it’s one of my favourites and I’d not yet had one on our trip. Though, it’s officially the hardest thing to eat in any sort of ladylike manor, especially when eating it with your hands out of a box! Yep, I bet my husband had never loved me more.
After our little pit stop we very much needed a nice long walk, to at least make us feel a little better about all the food we’d just consumed! We meandered our way across to the top of Champs-Elysees and down through the gardens and past the Grande and Petit Palais. Such stunning buildings, we were walking past at sunset and the light was just beautiful. We crossed the river and walked down along the Seine back to our Hotel.
After a lengthy meal catching up with colleagues and their partners, finding out what treasures they found that day we headed over to Le Hibou by l’Odéon for cocktails. We ended up here the night before too. Le Hibou is a very trendy restaurant and bar with a large terrace and lots of heaters so it is the perfect spot for people watching. It’s definitely a place to watch all the beautiful people. It is pretty pricey, but they do some pretty damn good cocktails. This was one of my favourite spots from our trip, I could had sat there for hours!
The next morning with slightly fuzzy heads we needed a full on carb-fest. A friend of mine who previously lived in Paris said we must try Gérard Mulot. This was a short walk from our hotel and again right by l’Odéon. We arrived just after 10am and there was a queue out the door, mainly local ladies. It was manic in there! Again the sun was shining so we decided to stock up and head to Jardin du Luxembourg to enjoy our breakfast. The cakes and pastries looked so delicate, like ornate pieces of art. There was also a whole counter full of savoury treats too, terines, salads, sandwiches. If I ever return in the summer I’m heading straight there and buying a feast of a picnic to take to the park.
We picked up some tea and made our way to the park, found a bench and watched all the families and runners whilst we gorged on our sweet breakfast. I also did the obligitory macaron purchasing too. I’m not sure how, but I managed to save these until I returned to London – it made my Monday that much more bearable! The passionfruit really stood out for me.
We spent the rest of the morning wandering the streets, oooing and ahhing at the picture perfect streets, there really is something so magical about Paris. With a couple of hours free before our train to get some lunch we headed back towards the hotel. We were thinking about getting lunch at Le Hibou, which I know would have been very boring, but the beautiful people!
However, on our way we walked past Le Comptoir just across the street. There was a long queue outside, on further inspection the food looked very good and we wanted in! This place is tiny, but the queue moved fast. Once sat down we were handed a long menu, all in French, no english at all. I can speak spanish, but unfortunately my French is very basic so there was a lot we didn’t recognise. The staff also don’t speak much English… so we asked what the waitress would recommend and we just went for it! A bottle of red wine ordered too. It was very fast paced in here and a great atmosphere. To start we had squid ink risotto, I loved this. The flavour was so deep and rich, I didn’t want it to end. We also got bone marrow… Now I normally like this but I’d never seen it served with a ‘foam’. It was rather strange. But I was still happy from the risotto and a glass of red wine kept me very happy. We both went for pork for our mains. We saw someone else having this and so we could point and order – god I felt like such an idiot not being able to at least try to use french. It was shredded and served on lentils. I really enjoyed this, nice and hearty and felt a little more traditional. Everything that was coming out of the kitchen looked enticing (minus the foam covered marrow!), next time I just need to take a frenchie to help me order.
After a simple poached pear dessert at Le Hibou, now our local, we headed to the train station and bid farewell to Paris. I thoroughly enjoyed our whirlwind trip as we really got to explore by foot thanks to the weather. I look forward to my next trip there so I can explore all the museums. Reading this post back, I feel it is rather long – if you made it this far, thank you! Au revoir.