When We Went to France: Paris

When we went to Paris, yea, we ate a lot in Paris, too. 

Funny thing is, neither of us gained a pound (or kilo would be the proper way to address the situation, right?). Anyway, that's because I'm pretty sure we walked enough to burn the soles of our shoes right off. Worry not, we drank enough wine that we didn't feel the pain!

So, Paris. What to do in Paris? The Louvre, check. Le Tour Eiffel, check. L'Arc de Triomphe, check. Notre Dame, check. Okay, now that we have all the obligatory pictures out of the way, let the fun begin. You know, the whole eating and drinking experience. Where do I even begin? For all of you out there that have been to Paris, and love, or even just like food, I can stop here.You know what it's like. But for the rest of you, I want to share my love affair with la baguette and all things French (well, food at least).

To begin, I would like to admit that Brian and I suffer from a perpetual problem when traveling. We ask the concierge for a good recommendation. With my French skills all ready, I ask the concierge for a restaurant pas trop touristique. After complimenting me on my excellente French skills, and agreeing that we should absolument not go to a touristy place, he sent us to the most touristy place on the block. The menu probably had French Fries, French Toast and French Onion Soup, with waiters wearing cowboy boots, swinging American flags. Not cool, Monsieur Concierge.
So we got it together. The best way to find a good, authentic, local place is to search for the local people! Duh. Why do we always forget? Where are all the Francophones? Well this particular evening we found the perfect spot. No English menus, no Americans looking for cheeseburgers, just a good little brasserie. The only problem, they didn't want Americans there! Not my problem. I'm here, I speak French and j'ai faim. They ended up caving in and feeding us some amazing foie gras, boeuf au poive and boeuf bourguignon (all the beef coming from Normandie). 

Okay, what else? Let me get back to the baguettes. Ohhhh the baguettes. It's not just the baguette that I salivate for. It's all the baguette implies. Stinky cheeses, dried meats, olives, sauces, moutards, mussels, the list goes on and on! Everything you eat needs a good loaf of crusty bread. We ended up with a big patio in our hotel room where we brought back wine, cheese and, of course, baguettes to enjoy before heading back out to dinner.  I really took for it granted all my life that my mom had a loaf of hot ciabatta bread on the table with dinner every night. Thanks for that, Mom. Now that I'm back in Chicago, I'm on a quest to find a daily baguette supplier close to home. I stumbled upon the fact that my favorite local bakery, The Twisted Baker, will make fresh baguettes to order on request. Jackpot!

I was lucky enough to find a fantastic food and restaurant guide before heading to France. I printed out this guide from David Lebovitz, my favorite American living in Paris. Categorized into Bistros, Wine Bars, Ice Cream Shops, Chocolatiers, etc, we mapped everything out, so no matter what corner of Paris we were in, we had a destination.

Our favorite spots were the ones on the Restos a Petits Prix (budget dining) list. La Cuisine de Bar and Le Petit Saint Benoit were two of our favorites. Great bistro food and wine for really, really cheap prices. Check out the list if you ever venture to Paris, you'll be glad you did.

Where to next? Stay tuned, we get too antsy if another trip isn't planned soon! Au revoir mes fidèles lecteurs!


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