Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vive la France! Jeudi

I just spent five of the most delectable days in Paris with my sweetheart. Good fortune arrived in the form of a hassle-free flight and it was, quite honestly, the most delightful time I've ever had at an airport (une victoire given the volcanic ash debacle). We waited to board our plane at a great little wine place in Newark Airport called Vino Volo where I sipped the most delicious Cabernet from Obsidian Ridge Vineyard. The only reason I remember the name is because it's printed on the coaster they give you...ingenious! I can't believe I'm raving about an airport depot but trust me, it was that good.

Once at Charles de Gaulle, we hopped on the RER and rode it straight into Paris....the fastest (and at 8,50 euros, the cheapest) way to go. Even a confident french speaker can get flustered post-international flight, so I brushed up on the train information before we left. Our beloved hotel was happy to greet us and only a five minute walk from the Saint-Germain metro stop. Hôtel Verneuil is nestled on rue de Verneuil, a quiet street two blocks from the Seine. It feels removed while still being in the heart of the 6eme. The rooms are teeny-tiny mais tellement charmants. The hotel boasts post and beam ceilings, classic decor and genuine warmth. Je l'adore!

Lunch hit the spot...warm goat cheese tartines served over salad. Divine. We meandered around Saint Germain and stopped by La Grande Épicerie de Paris on rue de Sèvres, as it's always ideal to browse a french grocery store after you've already eaten. This store is impeccable - a feast for the eyes dotted with bottles of wine and beautiful displays. Speaking of wine, I especially loved their collection of demi-bouteilles (half-bottles) and I'm inspired to seek them out at home. The cheese department at Épicerie brings a whole new meaning to the word department. I've never seen so much cheese in my life. Brilliant!

Bon Marché, my favorite department store of all time (and sister store to La Grande Épicerie), is located right across the street. This Parisian landmark is beyond chic and a must-see on your tour through la Rive Gauche. I bought some more Chanel lipstick (I'm on a lipstick kick) and wandered through the home goods on the third floor. It was orange, orange everywhere...definitely the color of the moment.

On our way back to the hotel we passed by Deyrolle, the famous taxidermy shop on rue du Bac. It reminds me of a french Natural History Museum where you can buy everything from gardening tools to books on butterfly collectors. After the devastating fire in 2008, Deyrolle has emerged from the ashes as the always beautiful house of curiosities.

A hidden flower shop on rue du Bac caught my eye. Have you ever seen anything so gorgeous?

That evening we stumbled upon our new favorite restaurant, Le Bistro de Paris, on rue de Lille (one street from our hotel). I can't say enough about this gem - in fact, you're allowed to go but just don't tell anyone else! The food was exceptional, the ambiance typiquement francais and the service beyond compare. Our waiters made the experience so memorable that we returned every evening for dessert and wine and good cheer.

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