After our ride on the Chunnel and finding our hotel, our first priority was a bite to eat! Super nearby our hotel, we found a cute little restaurant called Cafe D'Augustin where we got to sit outside, and we shared a croque-monsieur. A staple in many French restaurants, this sandwich has ham and melted cheese, and came with frites (fries) and a simple salad. Nathaniel had an apéritif and I had a glass of wine. This perfectly hit the spot before we started exploring.
That evening for dinner we went to Le Poincare near the Eiffel Tower. Here we split some steak tartare and a small carafe of wine. Nathaniel also had a French blonde beer, and I opted for a hot chocolate because I was still a bit chilled from the wet weather. We very much enjoyed the proximity to the Eiffel Tower - we were looking for something that was a bit more of a hole-in-the-wall, but as we got hungrier, we decided to go in, because we knew we'd be satisfied with beef and fries. I would go here again but I do wish that we'd done a little more research on where to eat near the Eiffel Tower - this felt easy and safe, which isn't a bad combo, but when you've got less than three days in Paris, it's nice to know you're getting the best (food) experience possible.
The next morning for breakfast, we found Le Ronsard Café right next to Sacré-Cœur, where we had huge crepes for breakfast. While Nathaniel went for a nice and simple honey crepe, I decided I wanted Nutella, almond and banana. 😋 And of course we got some caffeine, too - I've gotta have my coffee! My order of choice in most restaurants/cafes is café au last (coffee with milk). I think it's more of an American thing to make your coffee crazy flavored and super sugary.
Also near Sacré-Cœur is Maison Georges Larnicol, a beautiful chocolaterie, where we grabbed a couple truffles and caramels for a snack later. Not only were the chocolates delicious, but they had beautiful chocolate statues of Parisian landmarks, like Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and The Arc de Triomphe. 😍 Go here if you go to Sacré-Cœur. It's on the way from the Metro stop to the church, so it's not out of the way at all!
On our walk along the Seine later that day, we found a shop called Paris Baguette to buy a baguette to munch on at Notre Dame, and some coffee to give me a little boost. This baguette was perfectly cooked (at least to my American palette). It was crunchy and hard on the outside and wonderfully doughy on the inside. I had forgotten what this shop was called, so I virtually wandered the streets with Google Street View to find it! We also stopped for a glass of wine along the way at Le Reynou, mostly because I had to pee, but it ended up being a lovely place - and they even gave us popcorn to eat! The view out the window was lovely - you could see the beautiful castle-like fortress of Conciergerie (where Marie Antoinette's cell was during the French Revolution), and a bit farther out you could even see the bell towers and steeple of Notre Dame! So happy we stumbled upon this place 😊
For dinner our second night, we decided to take our friend Anthony Bourdain’s advice again, and we went to Chez Denise in the Les Halles area of Paris. This area used to be the home of Paris' biggest market, which was closed down in 1971 and converted into a mall - but this restaurant stays true to the feeling of proximity to the market. It specializes in taking less desirable cuts or types of meat and turning them into delicious entrées. I very much enjoyed my skate - which is a fish that most people wouldn’t choose to eat (it had bigger bones than I've ever had in fish before). It was prepared with capers, lemon and butter, and potatoes on the side. It just goes to show that simple dishes can hit the spot no matter where you're exploring. Nathaniel had beef cheek stew with pasta. I didn’t even know that cheeks were a part of a cow you could eat! But they were very tender, and the “stew” was more like a dark, rich veggie gravy. You also get to drink table wine and only pay for what you drink. The space is crowded (we had to move our table back and forth several times to let other people around us sit down or get up to use the restroom), but the service is good, and the food is amazing. I will definitely go back the next time I find myself in Paris!
The next morning, we grabbed coffee, pastries and a baguette nearby our hotel at L’Atelier des Pains on Boulevard des Batignolles to take with us in the car as road trip snacks :) Again, we figured we couldn't go wrong with more fresh baked French bread!
Since we only had limited time in Paris, we didn’t get to explore that much - I would have loved to find a market to eat at, but Chez Denise was definitely the highlight, and I’d recommend just eating as many fresh baguettes as you can 😉