Mr. Selfish and I had our best meal in Paris in the 17th Arrondissement at Le Relais de Venise. The line outside is always ridiculously long and they don’t take reservations, but it’s worth of the wait.
I previously posted about the night life in the 18th Arrondissement, which is the red light district of Paris, but you can also spend your daylight hours in the 18th. Of course, the Sacre Coeur is beautiful, and it always fun to lounge about and enjoy the view. We even saw an amazing dancer/acrobat/street performer right in front.
Other than being a mostly residential area, the 13th Arrondissement has the largest Chinatown in Paris. Mr. Selfish and I shopped at a grocery store in Chinatown during our first Sunday in Paris since all of the other grocery stores were closed at the time. Of course, we also sampled some Asian food in the area.
The most memorable meal we had was at Lao Lane Xang, which is primarily a Laotian restaurant. In fact, this restaurant is so good that there are two on the same street – right across the street from one another. Despite having two locations on the same street, we still waited for about 45 minutes for a table on a Thursday night.
Mr. Selfish and I loved walking around the 1st Arrondissement, especially around dusk. The lighting was beautiful, and we really enjoyed the Jardin des Tuileries, which is known as the place where the “Parisians celebrated, met, promenaded, and relaxed.” We especially enjoyed relaxing around the fountains.
The 7th Arrondissement, of course, has the amazing Eiffel Tower. But there is other stuff to do in the 7th as well.
One of the most beautiful sites is Les Invalides. It contains museums and monuments relating to the military history of France and, most significantly, is the burial site of Napoleon Bonaparte. Across the way is the École Militaire, which is a military school at which Napoleon studied.
While our apartment in Paris was in the 18th Arrondissement, we were quite close to Gare du Nord in the 10th Arrondissement. We accordingly did lots of transfers from Gare du Nord and discovered the Church of Saint Vincent de Paul was nearby.
Mr. Selfish and I enjoy saying the term “Chumps Élysées” instead of just saying “chumps.” So, we definitely ventured to the Champs Élysées in the 8th Arrondissement and said “Chumps Élysées” as often as possible. We didn’t buy anything but just window shopped. We also stopped by Paul for a croissant. Paul is a prolific chain but it has consistently good pastries.
Mr. Selfish and I rode the metro all the way to the end of Line 1 to go to Bois de Vincennes and Château de Vincennes in the 12th Arrondissement. The Bois de Vincennes is a park that is three times larger than Central Park in New York.
We arrived at Château de Vincennes, which was a favorite second home to 14th century French kings. They used it as hunting accommodations due to its proximity to Bois de Vincennes. Mr. Selfish and I had brought some banh mi from Saigon Sandwich with us to eat. The weather looked like it was clearing up, so we sat down in the château grounds and enjoyed our banh mi.
Mr. Selfish and I discovered three interesting specialty stores in the 2nd, 9th, and 10th Arrondissements.
The first was G. Detou, which is a specialty store for bakers and cooks. The name is a play-on-words meaning “I have everything”. It indeed looked to have most everything a cook or baker could want. Mr. Selfish and I purchased a kilo (2.2 lbs.) of dried strawberries and have been munching on them ever since. Our friend purchased pearl sugar to make liege waffles.
Mr. Selfish and I love macarons. We therefore decided to search for the best macarons in Paris. It was a hard task but someone has to do it.
First, we tried the macarons at Stohrer, which is supposedly the oldest bakery in Paris. Stohrer is near Les Halles and Saint Eustache. Stohrer only offered traditional flavors, so we purchased chocolate, vanilla, pistachio, and strawberry.
Verdict: The macarons were pretty good, but not much different from the macarons we had tasted in the States.
Mr. Selfish and I went all the way out to the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Center in the 15th Arrondissement to attend the Salon du Chocolat. It is billed as the largest chocolate event in the world. How could we resist?
It is an exhibition of all things chocolate. There were so many chocolate samples – lots and lots of samples. It was amazing. I never thought that I could get sick of chocolate but I actually did get a little sick of it toward the end.
Mr. Selfish and I were constantly in the 4th Arrondissement. Not only because we love Notre Dame but because there is plenty to do in the 4th – particularly musées.
On our last free museum Sunday, we decided to go to the Centre National d’Art et de Culture George Pompidou, which is the modern art musée in Paris. It is quite large and extensive. There were two primary floors – one floor focuses on modern art from 1960 to the present and the other floor has pre-1960 modern art. We started with the post-1960 modern art and found it (as usual) to be not our forté.
Even aside from the Luxembourg Gardens, it is nice to just stroll around the 6th Arrondissement. Mr. Selfish and I enjoyed walking on the bridges and admiring the different views – particularly that of the Institut de France. It houses six different academies and was opened in 1795.
I have mixed feelings about the 14th Arrondissement. On the one hand, Montparnasse Tower was quite nice. On the other, we weren’t able to go to the Catacombs because it was closed.
I dragged Mr. Selfish to Montparnasse Tower, because I wanted to see a nighttime view of Paris. I’ve seen Montparnasse Tower from afar many a times and discovered that you could see Paris from 59 floors up. Plus, if you’re up the Eiffel Tower, you can’t see the view with the Eiffel Tower.
To go up Montparnasse Tower, you have to take a lift that only takes 38 seconds. It takes you to the 56th floor, which has a cafe and is encased in glass. You can take photos but the reflection from the glass and lights makes the photos not too ideal.