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Europe, Food, France, Paris

Eating My Way Through Paris

June 29, 2015

I was hoping to write about all the great restaurants that I ate at in Paris. Unfortunately, each place only really did well in some areas and failed in others. So instead, I am going to tell you what food I did and didn’t like.

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First off they seem to do smoked salmon really well. Not that I had ever had it before! It never looked appealing to me. However, I accidentally ordered it on my first night in Paris at my hotel.  The picture above is what I got and it was amazing! If it hadn’t been so expensive, I would have ordered another! This was on a bed of some kind of soft bread with a chive cream cheese spread between.  It literally melted in my mouth. I am now hooked on smoked salmon.

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Meat! They love it! I hardly saw chicken on the menu. While I enjoy meat, I don’t like to eat it very often. I found this to be a huge challenge. One night, I sat down and ordered the plat du jour, which is usually the chef’s choice. Little did I know I was getting veal! I usually don’t eat veal. However, it was too late. It was okay. The best part about it was the bed of cous cous it was sitting on and the olives. As you can see it looked great! IMG_2784

Another night of meat! Although it was started off with another round of smoked salmon on top of a cabbage salad. I was on a tour for a part of my trip and the menu was set at this place, otherwise I wouldn’t have ordered meat.  Since there was no menu, I don’t know much about this except that it is marinated for hours in wine. Might have been beef bourguignon. This was better than the veal. The meat was really tender. I did not enjoy the fact that the meat was served with all the fat still attached. I kept having to eat around it. Overall, I enjoyed this meal!

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Of course, wine! The French are known for their wine. This one pictured, Tradition by Les Vignerons de Buzet, was really great and not too expensive. It was suggested by our tour guide and was only 14€. It was smooth and not too strong of a red. We didn’t know it at the time, but the winery uses no chemical fertilizers on their vines. All the French wine I tried was great. I really got to like Cotes du Rhone region wine the best. Even the cheap bottles were good!

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This was by far the best thing I ate, although it wasn’t in Paris. It was in Giverny. The restaurant called it a Summer Freshness in Feta Cheese Salad. One layer was tomatoes, spices and sauce and the next layer was feta cheese with chives. I am really not sure what the pink stuff was on top and it didn’t have much flavor. May have just been for looks.  The taste was indescribable, but exactly as described as it was light and refreshing! I wanted them to bring me more, but I knew I had two more courses coming.

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Fish is what I kept ordering in place of meat. I was disappointed twice and stopped ordering it. The fish was usually flavorless and the sides were also plain. The fish above looked so good, but had no taste and was really expensive! The night I had the Summer Freshness salad, I had ordered salmon and it was also very plain. I would say cooked fish is not something they do well in France. Stick to the smoked salmon!

IMG_2817One afternoon I passed by a Mexican food restaurant and I thought, as a Texan, it is my duty to try it. Had to be better than what we have in Doha. The menu had very authentic things on it like enchiladas and tacos. There were a few people inside, so it couldn’t be that bad. They brought chips and salsa which was a good sign. The salsa tasted homemade. I ordered the pork taco. Instead of several small tacos, I got one large taco. The pork was almost bbq pork, but it tasted really good. However, the taco was too big to pick up and eat. The star of the dish was the peach “salsa” they served on the side. It was more like a salad though. It was peaches, jalapenos, cilantro and spices mixed together. Another thing I wanted more of, in fact, I saved it to finish after the taco.

IMG_2832Sometimes after over a week of rich food, you just want something normal to you to eat. I googled my way to a cheeseburger. While it wasn’t bad, it was served on an English muffin! The fries were actually pretty good too.  I had also decided I didn’t want to pay 20€ for a burger, so I found my way to a chain that was decked out American Diner style with pink and blue chairs and booths with oldies playing in the background.  It didn’t matter cause it hit the spot.

A few tips about eating out in Paris. Ask for tap water or a carafe or they might bring you expensive bottled water. Coffee is cheaper ordered at the bar of a restaurant and drunk standing up. You will have to ask for the check, as the French are never rushed to eat a meal! Bon appetit!

Art, Europe, France, Museums, Paris

My Must See and Do in Paris

June 23, 2015

Paris Must See and Do

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There is so much to see and do in Paris. Many people have already asked me what I recommend, so here are the things I recommend you see and do! Not all of these things are tourist attractions either!

1. Musee de l’Orangerie – This was the highlight of Paris for me! I love Claude Monet’s impressionist paintings, and this is where his full-size Water Lilies are on exhibition. They take up two rooms and are magnificent. There is also a great impressionist painting collection on the lower level containing many works by Cezanne and Renoir. It was very busy when I went, and I asked when it wasn’t busy, and the guide said around 4 pm as they stop admitting people at 5:15. It is located inside the Tuileries Gardens

Paris Must See and Do

2. La Crypte Archeologique du parvis Notre Dame – This is the remains of ancient Paris or Lutetia, which was a Roman town. It was fascinating to hear how Paris developed and actually to see medieval remains of a town. It is located in front of Notre Dame down some unassuming stairs. I saw it when we visited Notre Dame but didn’t get to explore it then. I am so glad I went back!

3. Eat Pain Au Chocolat – This should be self-explanatory, but if not then let me tell you it is heaven. I don’t even like chocolate that much, but there is something about fluffy pastry and chocolate together. Make sure you get it fresh and have a café with it! You won’t be disappointed.

Paris Must See and Do4. Look for hidden gardens – I kept running across fenced in park areas that had amazing gardens in them. Most of Paris is much like any other big city, grey and dirty. These gardens allow you to sneak away from the crowds and enjoy some great foliage. Everyone I found was open to the public and many had playgrounds and fountains.

Paris Must See and Do

5.Musee d’Orsay – Many people know about this great museum that is housed in an old train station. I went because I knew this is where much of Monet’s paintings are also held. They are all on the top floor. I also discovered some other artists in this museum that I will now be on the lookout for. Seeing the old train station also makes this a must see. Up on the top floor, you can see the two clocks that faced out and you can go out on the roof. The roof gives you views of the Louvre and the Seine.

6. Musee du quai Branly – I didn’t know about this museum until a tour guide told me about it. It houses collections from indigenous populations from all over the world. There are lots of native art and sculpture. The museum is also highly geared towards children and has lots of interactive attractions. Unfortunately, the Americas section was being renovated and was closed when I was there. The sign said opening June 2015, so hopefully, it will be done soon.

7. People watch – Paris is a great place to people watch! Sit at an outdoor café and order a café and a croissant and sit for a while and watch everyone go by. It will also give you a chance to rest your feet. Plus it is a very Parisienne thing to do!

Here is a trip plan that TripHobo designed for my trip to Paris! You can plan your own Paris schedule by using TripHobo, just click on create a Plan new Trip.


What do you recommend to do in Paris?

Art, Europe, France, Paris

Paris Street Art

June 22, 2015

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All over Paris was cool street art. Much of it was up high and if you didn’t look up, you missed it. After spotting the Kraken on the first day, I knew to look up. Most of what I found was in the Marais district near the apartment that I was staying in. Some of it may have been stencils, particularly the Storm Trooper as I saw him several times in different variations. Unfortunately, some street art had been spray painted over in some parts. The last photo was one long piece, but much of it had been spray painted on. I know not everyone appreciates street art, but some of these took time and some skill to get the in the high positions they were located in. Most of it also stood out in stark contrast to the beige and grey traditional buildings of Paris. The next time you are in Paris, look up, you never know what you might see.

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IMG_2845Have you discovered great street art in a city? Share with us in the comments!

Europe, France, Museums, Travel

Paris With A View

June 15, 2015
Paris with a View

Paris with a View

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We all know the famous landmarks of Paris, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre and the list goes on. Other than the Eiffel Tower, most people don’t realize that there are amazing views from many places in Paris. I am deathly afraid of heights, so please appreciate the fact that I have gone up most of the ones I am going to mention! Above is a view from the Eiffel Tower. Not from the top-level, as that was never going to happen. My tour guide actually mentioned that the views are better from the second level. This is where this photo was taken from. I had to get pretty close to the edge to take a photo between the metal fence. Here is another from the Eiffel Tower.

Paris with a ViewThe next place is Montmartre, which if I had thought about it, would have told me it was a hill. We had gone up there to see the Sacre-Coeur Basilica. Montmartre is in the northern part of Paris so it is like you are looking down on Paris. It is also the highest hill in Paris, thus giving it great views! You can see Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower from here.

Paris with a View

Paris with a View

Not only is the Arc de Triomphe an amazing landmark that leads to the Champs-Élysées, but it is also a place with a view. I had no idea that you could go up inside the monument or that you could walk around the terrace. Unfortunately, I did not do this. There are quite a number of steps to climb to the top and I also had my heart set on walking down the Champs-Élysées, my feet were not going to do both. I looked at some images online and I may have to head back and beg to take the elevator! The view is spectacular and gives you a 360-degree look of Paris.

Paris with a View

Even museums have a view! Yesterday, I visited the Musée d’Orsay and discovered that they also have a terrace! Not only that you can see the Louvre and the Seine River from the terrace. There are also some amazing statues carved into the building that you can get up close to by being out there. You can also get a cold drink or an ice cream out there!

Paris with a View

Sometimes to get a great view of Paris, all you need to do is to look out the window! Yesterday, I moved from a hotel to an apartment and the rooftop view is quite lovely and is probably a more authentic view of Paris. I could see into the neighbor’s apartments and hear their dinner conversations. (Not that I understand any of it!) Last night, I looked out and saw two cats sitting on the terrace next door. Day-to-day life in Paris with a view!

Paris with a View

Have you discovered unexpected views? Share with us in the comments!