This is the second post in my 2013 trip series to Paris and Budapest. For the remainder of the series, please see below.
Paris – Hotel Esprit Saint Germain
Paris – The Marais, Le Bon Marche, Le Comptoir du Relais
Paris – St. Germain, Hermes, L’Avant Comptoir
Budapest – Four Seasons Gresham Palace
Budapest – Andrassy Avenue, Onyx
Budapest – Taste Hungary
Budapest- Christmas Markets, Bock Bistro
During our few days in Paris, Mr. Feather and I mostly walked around, ate, lightly shopped, and generally enjoyed the beautiful city while avoiding any of the tourist crowds. In my next few posts on Paris, I’ll be taking you through a few of our days there.
On one of our first mornings, we woke up, had breakfast at our lovely hotel, and then headed out the door to walk over to the Marais. On the way there, we had lovely clear weather and enjoyed our walk across the bridge.
The neighborhoods were still largely empty.
Our first destination in Marais was the Place des Vosges – the first planned square in Paris!
We were heading here because I had plans to meet the wonderful Carin for a coffee date, while Mr. Feather wandered around, with promises of an eclair if he came back in an hour. I was thrilled to finally meet Carin in person, after having interviewed her twice, and it really felt like we were old friends by the time we sat and chatted.
We met at Carette, which was right across from the Place des Vosges. I’d highly recommend it for a drink and a baked treat. Prices are of course high – if you look carefully in the menu there is an “express” option that gives you a tea/coffee and a pain au chocolat or croissant for a reasonable price!
After Carette, we hugged Carin goodbye and then went on to our next stop. On our way there, we passed through some crowds eyeing flea market goodies.
Our next destination however, was lunch! I love crepes and always try to have them while in France – I haven’t found anywhere that compares to Parisian creperies in the Bay Area, and believe me – I’ve tried. For crepes, our concierge recommended Breizh Cafe, also in the Marais.
Inside it was already very busy at 1 PM, and we were glad to have reservations. They’re highly recommended if you want to go, both for lunch and dinner. Otherwise, I imagine that it’d be a torturous experience, waiting to eat while watching all the crepes being made.
We shared an appetizer, dessert, and each had our own savory crepes as entrees. Our smoked salmon appetizer crepe:
And one of the mains – a classic from Breizh Cafe, this crepe had ham, cheese, eggs, tomatoes, onions, sardines and I’m sure I’m forgetting much more!
We also shared a larger pot of cider.
After we had sipped our last dregs of cider, we headed back outside to walk off the calories and enjoy more of the neighborhood. I love the Marais area and a great plus is that it is open on Sundays as well (not much of Paris is).
After we wound through the Marais, we headed back over the bridge to the Left Bank to do some shopping. This particular day was really dedicated to Mr. Feather’s shopping (you’ll see mine in the next Paris post). He needed a coat and shoes, so we went to my personal favorite department store in Paris, Le Bon Marché.
I love Le Bon Marché because it always has a great selection (their buyers are very good), it’s location is near lovely places to eat, and it generally isn’t as crowded as some of the other famous department stores.
I also think the interior is quite stunning!
The fall/winter items were fantastic as always and Mr. Feather quickly found a beautiful wool coat that I wished out loud they also made for women. I think he was secretly very relieved that they didn’t, for fear of being one of those matching couples (which I find awesome).
Anyway, apart from the coat he also found some trainers. Mr. Feather is the type of guy who would wear Patagonia fleeces and Nike trainers for all occasions if it were socially acceptable, and generally dislikes anything very “fashiony”, so I’ve always had the hardest time finding him casual shoes – he rejects everything! I finally had success with some Dior and Hogan pairs years ago so now I just go back to those brands. Ladies, if your significant other is refusing your Lanvin and Saint Laurent entreaties, I would try Dior Homme!
The task of shopping for two items for himself was already a monumentally tiring task of shopping for Mr. Feather, so we ended there. I did get to spend a little time wandering the other floors – I fondled some Alaia dresses and also passed through the furnishings areas. I love Le Bon Marché’s selections here – it’s always reminded me a bit of Liberty’s own furniture floor. A cool button display, below.
After we left Le Bon Marché, we swung by a nearby favorite chocolatier, Georges Larnicol. I would highly recommend this shop, we didn’t get any photos inside, but they have a wonderful selection of all kinds of chocolates. I also like their macarons, and they are reasonably priced at one euro! We came back here several times during our trip.
Then, we headed back to our hotel, and grabbed a quick drink.
After a little rest, we headed back outside to look for some dinner. We didn’t make any dinner reservations this time around in Paris, so were a bit limited. However, we were lucky – since it was the weekend, Le Comptoir was open for drop ins and it was only a few minutes walk from our hotel!
We arrived around 7 PM, and didn’t have to wait. Around 730 PM a line started forming though, so I would recommend arriving earlier if you aren’t okay with waiting.
Some dishes from our evening, starting with a haddock roe dish that I ordered. Delicious and I loved it as a spread on top of bread. Perhaps not how it was meant to be eaten, but perfect in my mind!
A squid risotto dish.
A cod with seasonal vegetables – the broth was amazing!
Dessert was a shared rhum baba – with a very generous pouring of rum over it. I thought I was going to get drunk just eating it!
And that was one of our first days and evenings in Paris – I hope you enjoyed. Next time in my travel series, I’ll be covering a bit of my own shopping, more of our St Germain neighborhood, and more. Thank you, as always, for reading along!