Travels with a Gourmet

a food lover's travels, memorable meals, culinary trials and gastronomic experiences

Ernest Hemingway once told a friend – “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

I am fortunate to have experienced exactly what he said after living in Paris for three years in the early 90’s when I was at studying at Le Cordon Bleu and completing the Cours de La Civilisation Francaise at the Sorbonne. Since then, Paris has always remained my favorite city and I try and go as often as I can.

Now, that we are living in Marbella, it has been easier to go and spend a few days there whenever we get the chance. We were there for a long weekend last year in July for my birthday and had a luxurious stay at the Park Hyatt on Place Vendome. In January, we rented an apartment on the Rue de Grenelle for a week through Just France. This time, my mom’s flight to Marbella stopped in Paris so we decided to meet there. Coincidentally, my good friend T‘s 45th birthday was on the 3rd of October so we also agreed to celebrate together in Paris.

I took a late evening flight from Malaga to Paris on Vueling, a relatively new Spanish low-cost airline with return flights starting at 70 euros. The flight was delayed for almost a hour and we landed in Charles de Gaulle at the futuristic terminal 1 past midnight. after a half-hour wait at the baggage carousel, I left and went straight to the hotel in the 6th arrondissement, Hotel Le Saint Gregoire. The ride into the city was quick and the roads were empty but as soon as we left the peripherique, which circles around the city, I immediately felt the difference.
The city of light, as Paris is often called, was beautiful and buzzing with cars and pedestrians even at that late hour. We drove through the place de Republique and the Bastille, continued on past the Hotel de Ville before crossing the Seine and arriving in bustling St. Michel and St. Germain. Looking at the beautiful facades of the buildings and the architectural monuments on the way gave me goosebumps as it does every single time. Soon after, I arrived at the hotel located on a charming side street just off rue de Rennes and a block away from the quintessential Parisian department store, Le Bon Marché. T was already asleep so it was straight to bed for me as well.

The next morning, T and I got up early and explored the neighborhood and sat at the busy café on the corner, Le Nemrod for a café crème and a tartine beurre et confiture. The place was full with local residents stopping by for a morning espresso or an orange pressé. It’s the best way to start the day in Paris – a bit of breakfast with lots of people-watching. The quartier (neighborhood) we were in was mainly residential but close enough to the trendy boutiques and famous cafés in St. Germain.

After a leisurely breakfast, we walked towards Le Bon Marche through the rue du Bac’s furniture and interior design boutiques towards the rue de l’Université for a meeting at the office of a+b kasha. I had arranged to meet American husband and wife team, Betsy and Alon, to see a few of their renovated apartments. They showed us two: one on rue de Varenne and another on rue de Verneuil, both in the 6th arrondissement. I wanted to see what was available since my husband and I are considering to buy a pied-a-terre.

The rest of the afternoon was spent accompanying my friend on her routine medical appointments at the American Hospital of Paris located in the leafy suburb of Neuilly, just after La Defense.

We went back to the hotel afterwards and walked over to La Grande Epicerie – the gourmet supermarket of Le Bon Marché My visits to Paris are never complete without a stop at this gastronomic boutique even just to walk around and see the wonderful food and produce displays. We bought some fresh juice and a little snack to tide us over till dinner that evening.

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2 thoughts on “There’s nothing like Paris: part 1

  1. Hi Cooking Ninja,I know it’s expensive but looking is free and we may find something nice and in our price range.if you’re going to Paris soon, have a look at some of my favorites. You NEED to go to restaurant 21 – I’ll post my blog on it tomorrow.

  2. I love Paris too 🙂 You buying an apartment in Paris … very expensive. We hope to go there end of the month.

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