I left you on the tenterhooks a bit there didn’t I?
Je suis désolé
But I just couldn’t just give it all away in one post. That would have been tres coquine of me.
Anyway, enough chatter. Let’s head back to Paris.
Okay, so first and foremost the most important rule of your trip to Paree is simple: don’t make any plans.
And definitely DO NOT make any reservations.
If you don’t get turned away from a restaurant because you don’t have a booking, how on earth will you accidentally end up at a menu-tasting evening, sampling a variety of strangely wonderful combinations and pretending to know what you’re eating?
We stumbled upon Septime completely by chance. A low-lit, trendy and intimately set arrangement, which after some research I have discovered to be one of the hottest restaurants in town and almost impossible to get into.
But as luck would have it, there just so happened to be a spare table, big enough for two (just – I had eaten many a crepe that day), up for the taking which we happily nestled into, desperately trying to fit in with the wine-swishing-food-critquing-tiny-glasses-wearing patrons which occupied the other tables.
Now, to say we were pretty confused by the whole evening would be an understatement, alas it was spectacular nonetheless.
Some servers thought we were English, others assumed we were French, so we had a wonderful mixture of introductions to the 6 courses from the exclusive taster menu we had unknowingly signed up for.
Of what I can remember (my memory is le fuzzy from the rouge), the first course combined a mild yoghurt dip with thin, crisp, cheesy breadsticks and were an absolute dream. Like Cheeselets for rich people, I’d happily eat them every day for the rest of my life.
The Sea bream tartare with lemon and ginger was light, fragrant and a total hit with us both.
(Note the complimentary bread basket – you should be very familiar by now with my passion for free bread).
Unsure of the next two courses…they were both an infusion of….things – and exceptionally tantalising.
Truffles were used in one course, I got so excited by the sight of them I forgot to take a picture, trust me when I say it was quite splendid.
Your guess is as good as mine with that one.
The night overall, was a complete success. Get a table if you can, (we swanned in around 9pm to secure our spot), get blind drunk and devour everything that’s placed in front of you – I promise you’ll have a fabulous time.
There’s something that feels quite wickedly naughty about dining so late at night, walking through the ghosted streets which are aglow in soft yellow light, tip-toeing back up the stairs to your Chateau apartment, (unceremoniously getting locked out of said apartment so you have to awaken the very rich Frenchman which lives downstairs). And collapsing into your plush double bed following several unsuccessful games of Gin Rummy, it’s really quite marvellous really.
You’ll no doubt have forgotten to draw your curtains and will be awoken slightly earlier than you care to be by a stream of morning sunlight. You’ll be tempted to bundle back under the covers, but resist! You are in Paris! You must simply force yourself to leave that handsome creature you’ve shared a bed with and set off to find yourself the perfect Croque Madame.
Okay, so this Croque Madame may not have been the Croque to end all Madames, but it was still bloody good.
Thick buttered bread, meaty strips of ham covered by a layer of bubbling melted gruyer cheese and a chucky egg, fried just right.
Oh and a hot chocolate – always hot chocolate.
There’s really no better way to start your day, (okay, but it’s a very close second).
Spend the day wandering, take in the sights and walk off the night before.
Take in as much of the tourist traps as you can manage, before quickly escaping again.
Take a stroll, hop over the Pont Saint-Louis bridge and you should find yourself on one of Paris’s most sweetest islands.
Quaint, a slower pace and most importantly, home to Berthillion.
What is Berthillion I hear you ask?
Well, only the most famous ice cream cafe in Paris. Stroll for a minute or two and you’ll find it tucked away, almost hidden amid an abundance of bistros and charcuteries.
So what are you waiting for? Get inside!
It was busy, but enjoyably so. We spied a table and quickly cuddled up by the window, taking in the menu and ordering much more than our bellies needed but no more than our (my) appetites desired.
Just wait till you get a load of the Hot Chocolate…
Thick, velvety and almost bitterly sweet, served with a mountain of whipped cream to use at your disposal (or to shovel in your mouth in a very ladylike fashion).
Please go here and tell me how much you love it too.
Next, up came the sundaes…and if you thought the beverages were something – just wait till you see these fellas…
Creamy, delicately rich and positively irresistible.
Generous scoops of Praline, chocolat and pistachio with more lashings of the softly sweet whipped cream filling the classic silver sundae cups.
A joyous and sumptuous experience, right down to the last lick.
I could happily live in Berthillion, scooping ice cream and wiping down the jade green cafe tables for my keep and paid in mountainous portions of their glorious creations.
Alas, all good things must come to an end.
But hopefully you’ll have time for a quick stroll round Montmartre one last time.
And pop into a cafe for one last hurrah.
A trip to Paris is no trip at all in the absence of Steak Tartare and Moules Frites (okay, they were teeny weeny roast potatoes, but we’ll let them off).
Take your complimentary bread (trust me, you’ll get it), and pop it in with your mussels, nestle it right into the pool of wonderful white wine and garlic sauce swimming at the bottom of the pot.
Let it soak in all the good stuff, and enjoy.
It’s truly divine and a perfect way to end the trip.
Sigh, time to reluctantly grab your cases and head for the Eurostar. Just don’t forget to pick up some fresh baguettes from a Boulangerie along the way to keep your hands warm (it’s been the coldest winter in Paris this year!)
Oh! Before I go, just a few things of which I didn’t manage to take snaps of but certainly deserve notable mention;
The Foir Gras from L’entrée des artistes (humane? Maybe not. Delicious? Most definitely – so order it and enjoy every bite, it’s what the goose would have wanted).
The Oysters from L’entrée des artistes (quite possibly the only time I didn’t mind having my mouth full of sea water)
Cocktails from Lulu Whites (cosy, enchating and you’ll most likely lose the use of your legs after round 3)
Anything in a Tiki Glass from Dirty Dicks (just try not to get your eyebrows singed off…)
Au revoir Paris, you were, as always, truly magical (and most importantly, delicious).
Should you decide to venture to Paris this year, I hope you have the most fabulous time (it would be near impossible not to). Eat every croissants, glug the wine and don’t even think about returning until you start slightly smelling like Brie.
Bon appetit mon friends!