Travels with a Gourmet

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

Scenes from Montmartre – Basilica of Sacre Coeur and steps leading up to the top of the hill

We arrived late on Saturday evening after the short flight from Malaga and went directly to the hotel, checked-in, left our luggage in the room and zoomed off to Mirama for a cheap and cheerful dinner. It might be strange to have chosen an oriental restaurant for our first evening in Paris but since we are deprived of authentic Asian restaurants in Marbella, it was logical to head off to a Chinese restaurant near Notre Dame on the Rue St. Jacques which is not too far from our hotel in the 14th arrondissement.

The next morning, we got up early and were rewarded with clear blue skies. After a quick breakfast at the hotel, we headed off to Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement. It was such a nice day that we decided to walk part of the way up the hill instead of taking the funiculaire (cable car) from Anvers. At the top of the hill is imposing Basilique du Sacré Coeur (Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre). The walk up was pleasant with the sun warm on our backs although it took longer than usual as it was Easter Sunday, the steps leading up to the main entrance of the basilica was so overcrowded. We stopped right in front of church but didn’t venture inside. We then walked around the back and followed the crowds to the Place du Tertre , Montmartre’s main square, where all the cafes and outdoor tables were packed with tourists having a coffee or getting their caricatures drawn. We continued onwards and walked slowly down the hill taking several winding cobble stoned streets until we arrived at the Place du Pigalle where the infamous Moulin Rouge is and took a taxi back to our hotel.

The neighborhood brasserie on the corner near our hotel where we had a typical lunch

We walked to a nearby brasserie and had a typical lunch. bare tables were laid with paper place mats, pots of extra-spicy Dijon mustard, carafes of water and a wicker basket of crusty bread. We had œufs mayonnaise (egg-mayonnaise) and a tartine pain Poilâne (open-faced Poilane sourdough toasted sandwich) for my husband and the plat du jour of rôti de veau (roast veal) for me. The food was classic homemade fare, served quickly and with no frills. For a true taste of Paris, the neighborhood brasserie is the place to go for a simple meal with prices that cater to locals.

Scenes from St.Germain des Prés (clockwise from upper left): the church and it’s tower, the square with Cafe Bonaparte in the background, Place Furstemberg and the facade of Laduree on Rue Jacob

After our lunch, we went to St. Germain des Prés to walk off our meal and stop by the irresistible Ladurée for two macaroons each – café (coffee) for me and chocolat amer (dark chocolate) for A and a luxury chocolate Easter egg for our son. By this time, we were ready for a break so it was back to our hotel for a siesta (nap).

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