Ah, Paris. Je t’aime. I could probably just leave the post at that, but instead I’ll share some of my favourite highlights with you.
We touristed hard in Paris. We saw every sight we could, except for the catacombs due to a three hour wait, and a lot of the museums. As we were in Paris during free museum day, we thought we’d take advantage and hit up some museums on that day. Apparently we weren't the only ones. We thought we’d get an early start to avoid lines, but we were two hours too late. When we arrived at Musée Orsay the line-up had already snaked its way through the square, around the corner, and all the way down the street. We took one look and decided we didn’t need to get cultured that badly. But we did take note of and comment on the impressive line-up skills in Paris, it seemed so organized coming from Italy! We decided the only way to avoid the lines was to try the non-free museums, and went to the Musée Des Arts Décoratifs to see the Dries Van Noten exhibit. Worth it.
We hiked up through Montmartre to sit in front of the Sacré Cœur Basilica where we were treated to live music, as well as quite the show by a guy who juggled a soccer ball around with his feet while hanging from a lamp post. With the view of the city behind him, it was quite an impressive show.
Let’s get serious for a minute and talk about Parisian food. I’m sure I’ll lose some Italian friends with this comment, but France wins food. Sorry! But, it’s true. Italian bread and brioches don’t really do much for me (unless we’re talking about Pane di Luca focaccia), but our daily croissant and baguette was nothing short of heavenly. It’s hard to say what our best meal was, but the most memorable for me was in Montmartre after our trek up the hill. We had checked out some restaurants on our way up, and the owner of La Cave Gourmande promised us that he had the best bœuf bourguignon in Paris. Sometimes you just have to trust a person, and guess what? He was right. It makes me teary eyed just remembering it.
Another memorable experience was our visit to the most hipster bar I have ever seen, and it took two attempts to get it right. The first night we headed off on a mission to find this place, and at one point, walking past a door that had no sign but where a couple of people had entered, I joked about it being so hipster that was probably it. We all laughed and kept walking. One more block down we checked the map and discovered that I was right. What kind of establishment wants a sign anyway? Not Le Comptoir Général! When we backtracked, we were turned away because it was closing at 1am and we were too late. So for our second attempt, we headed out earlier in the evening and were determined to be successful. Success! We were in, after our admission by donation. What awaited us on the other side can’t even be put into words. It’s a must see, and did I mention it’s actually a museum?? Museum or not, there was a bar, and we were thirsty. We ordered the T Punch, and were given about an ounce of room temperature liquid. Upon asking for some ice, the bartender hesitantly looked at us and finally started to add some ice, but before she could get it close to the glasses, another bartender screamed (yes, screamed) that NO, we couldn’t put ice in the punch, that would obviously ruin it! She did give us a glass of cold water though, only after we promised not to mix them.
Picture mash-up below: