Puking in Paris…

So if you remember, (if not, you can read it here) right after the election I flew to Paris for a birthday celebration weekend.  Just my mom and I.  Since it was a relatively quick trip, we only had carry-on baggage and therefore had a pretty easy flight over…if you don’t mind an unaccompanied minor in the seat behind you kicking your seat ALL NIGHT LONG!  Now, I have a child that often flies as an unaccompanied minor so I know that there are times that it is unavoidable.  And this kid could have been much worse I suppose, I mean, at least he was quiet.  But the constant banging on the back of my chair made sleeping on my overnight flight an impossibility.  Which led to my desperate need for coffee upon landing!

We took a bus from Charles du Galle to Gare du Nord which was relatively painless if you don’t mind hanging on for dear life while the driver navigates Parisian traffic. By then, I was almost more ready for a drink than a cup of coffee, but it was still only just after 9am so we stuck with coffee.

We had rented this apartment at the edge of the Marais in the 4th Arondissment from this site.  They have several pictures of the apartment on the website and I will say that the pictures are very accurate as to what the apartment looks like.  I  did not personally take any pictures of the apartment, so if you would like to see it, head on over to their site.  The location was fabulous.  It was on Rue Saint-Antoine which is what Rue de Rivoli turns in to when it gets closer to the Bastille.  The apartment was situated between two metro stops: Saint Paul and Bastille so there was easy access to wherever you wanted to get to.  There were several cafes and restaurants nearby as well as a grocery store and a pharmacy…which I would need very soon!

Once we got settled into our apartment, we went for a walk around the neighborhood. No real destination in mind, just a quick wander until it dinner time so we could get the lay of the land, so to speak.  Paris has stunning architecture no matter where you stay and this neighborhood was no exception.

We randomly picked a cafe and stopped for some lunch.  Really, the best way to pick a cafe in Paris is to follow your nose.  If it smells good…its probably pretty good.  We ended up at Le Manfred.  A Gastropub at the corner of Rue du Temple and Rue Reaumur in the Marais.  This was a cozy little place with mis-matched chairs and a homey, fun decor. The staff speaks English fluently, if a bit grudgingly and they offer free Wi-Fi.  The food was pretty good.  Nothing spectacular, but certainly good.

After lunch, we decided to head back to the apartment and take a nap before dinner.  After my not-so-restful plane ride, I could certainly feel the effects of lack of sleep and I knew that if I didn’t get a nap, I would fall asleep in my plate when dinner rolled around.

After napping for a bit, we needed to decide where to go for dinner.  We discussed going to Cafe George V on the Champs-Élysées, which we have been to before and loved, but ultimately we decided to stay in our neighborhood and go to a place recommended in Rick Steves Guide, Royal Turenne at 24 Rue Turenne.

This is the placemat on the table, very pretty rendering
This is the placemat on the table, very pretty rendering

The location of this restaurant is fantastic near Hotel-de-Ville and Place des Vosges.  The decor is kitchy and really cute and the menu is written on a chalk board (as are most in Paris).  The one MAJOR standout for this restaurant is the service.  Much is said about the rudeness of waiters in Paris, this could not be further from the truth at Royal Turenne.  The waiters were affable and chatty in either French or English and they created an atmosphere that encouraged everyone to talk to each other, whether you knew each other or not.  The prices were on par with most Paris cafes, the wine list was varied and had something for everyone.  One of the dishes they promote is Argentinian beef, both mom and I ordered that.  The beef was fantastic, melt in your mouth and perfectly cooked.  The source of my upcoming distress, however, is sitting innocently next to the beef.

Beef...Good.  Bernaise...Not.
Beef…Good. Bernaise…Not.

Little did I know what distress that sauce would cause me later in the trip, but boy, it sure tasted good.  Would I go back to Royal Turenne?  Absolutely.  The service alone makes it a stand out cafe in Paris.  But I will probably stay away from the Bernaise Sauce.

After dinner, we walked back to our apartment.  Mom was tired, she had not gotten quite the same nap as I had.  I wanted to go get some pictures of Paris at night, so back out I went.  I felt perfectly safe walking by myself at night in this neighborhood.  Use common sense, stay on the main streets and anyone will be fine.

This night, I walked towards the Bastille.  Beautiful at any time of day, magical at night.

So Pretty at Night
So Pretty at Night

On the way back to our apartment, I passed one of our favorite restaurants EVER, in any city.

Brasserie Bofinger - Eat here if you can!
Brasserie Bofinger – Eat here if you can!

Bofinger is an Alsatian restaurant in the Bastille area of the 4th. While the exterior may look relatively unassuming, I can assure you that the decor inside as well as the food is anything but.  I have eaten here twice and once at Petit Bofinger, the more casual (and easier to get into without a reservation) eatery across the street.  Both are worth a meal if you are in the area.  Even if you are not, it is worth a trip across town to get here. Both meals that I have eaten in the Brasserie are among my fondest memories of any meal ever.  Once because of the company, once because of the meal.

But I digress, we did not eat at Bofingers this trip.  After my little trip down my culinary memory lane, I headed back to the apartment and to bed.  Tomorrow we are doing a walking tour from St. Germain to the Louvre suggested by Girls Guide to Paris!

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