June 27, 2013

Checking Out: Paris - What to Eat, Drink & Do

View of Trocadéro from the top floor of the Eiffel Tower, Paris / June 2013
I've officially been in Europe for a week. Yesterday I left Paris and landed in Barcelona, and up to this current moment, I have walked 82.9km (hopefully enough to burn off all of those nutella crepes).

This was my second visit to Paris, and I feel like I saw most of the main tourist attractions on my first visit. This time around I wanted to stick to my budget and see Paris a little more off-the-beaten track. We stayed in an apartment in the 15th arrondissement, not far from Montparnasse, where we had views of the Eiffel Tower and Montmartre from the balcony. There are so many amazing places to eat and drink in Paris, not to mention the gorgeous architecture, endless number of gardens and museums. Here is but a few of the places that really stood out for me, you can find more of the sites I visited on le instagram.

La Table Libanaise - I am very fussy about good customer service, however I am willing to look past their less than ideal treatment of the non-French speaker because their Lebanese food was the best I have ever tasted, and such a reasonable price. I had a vegetarian mezze plate which had falafel, lady fingers, sambousik, tabouli, and a range of dips, and drank rosé ksara (I was feeling adventurous.) The only thing that could have improved this dining experience would have been if the waiter had given me a smile. 

La Perla Bar - The 4th arrondissement is full of overpriced tourist traps, finding La Perla was like finding a gold mine. This little bar serves Mexican tapas and burritos, but is renowned for it's margaritas. (The menu lacked selection and the food was very bland, I wouldn't recommend eating anything but the salsa and chips here.) I drank cheap Kir, they served Coronas, and happy hour tequila cocktails were 4€. Visit this bar.

Marché Edgar Quinet - This market is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7am selling a range of everything you could possibly dream of, but in particular some amazing local fresh fruit and veg, cheeses, fish and the world's most delicious nutella crepe. The colour of all the fresh produce was mesmerising, and the fact that the market was already bustling at 9am in the morning is testament to the quality of the food sold here. Whilst there were stalls selling flowers, clothes, jewellery and various trinkets, nothing could really dull the endless ringing in my ears which was the cheese and olives calling my name.

** One suggestion when you are booking flights in and out of Paris - if you are using a budget airline like WizzAir or Ryanair, they will most likely be flying in/out of Beauvais-Tille Airport which is about 90km out of Paris (1 and a half hour drive). There is no train to the airport, and unless you are willing to pay the cab fare, it's quite a mission catching the airport shuttle bus in the morning - we left at 4am to arrive at the depot for a 5.17am departure - consider booking a later flight so there are more frequent buses to get you to the airport shuttle point. 

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