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Tuesday ~ More walking, where's the Chinese and we meet a semi-celebrity!

We were actually up early yesterday, had a quick breakfast of croissant and pain au chocolat (are you guys noticing a pattern here?) and were out the door a little after 9am.

I had wanted to follow Kerouc's walk of the 13th and go through Paris' Chinatown. We took the metro at Chatelet ~ talk about walking, it must have taken us 10 minutes inside to finally get to the Olympiade line, where we got off. I don't think I read Kerouc's directions closely enough, because the walk really didn't come off as planned. First, we didn't see the signs for the previous Olympic host cities, so we must have come out at the wrong entrance. Then I couldn't temember which street to head towards. I saw a sign for Parc de Choisy and thought it sounded familiar, so we headed in that direction. The park was nice with mature trees and little rectangular ponds, and we exited on Avenue de Choisy. We started walking north (probably should have gone south) and we came across the Tang Freres supermarket. Finally, something I recognized from the walk! We went in for a little while and looked at all the cool dim sum stuff available and thought we might open a Chinese restaurant in Paris ~ great idea, except we're not Chinese and I couldn't even find Chinatown! We decided to cut our losses and head towards Place d'Italie. We still had to pick up our Simply Red concert tickets and there was a FNAC outlet at the Italie 2 mall.

We decided we were in the mood to walk again so we headed north on Gobelins and enjoyed another neighbourhood we had not explored yet. We passed the Manufacture des Gobelins, where they still make tapestries the same way they have for the past hundreds (probably thousands) of years. The building is magnificent and we spend a few minutes admiring the carvings that decorated it. There were no tours until later that afternoon, so we reluctantly kept walking. Maybe next time.

We passed by a tiny destockage place and Den scored some Marlboro Classics shoes for 49 euros and some Thierry Mulger undies for 6 euros each. I love these tiny little places, crammed to the ceiling with all kinds of possible finds. You have to make the time to go through the bins, but you can get lucky if you have the patience. We kept walking north and before we knew it, we had crossed into the 5th and were on rue Mouttefard. As it was almost 12:30, we picked up some pizza squares and drinks and found a little park to eat our lunch and watch some sweet little kids playing and running and enjoying the sunshine. My pizza had eggplant and tomatoes with cheese and was simple but delicious. Den enjoyed his too and we sat for a little while, enjoying the warmth of the sun on our faces.

After lunch, we walked the length of Mouttefard, peeking into the little stores and restaurants along the way. It's a very narrow little street and full of tourists, but it's part of what makes Paris, Paris!

We ended up at the Pantheon and then strolled over to Luxembourg, where we sat at the Medici fountain for a little while. There was too much shade there so we walked over to the area overlooking the small lake and sat for another 15-20 minutes, enjoying our break and just watching all the people taking advantage of a beautiful spring day in one of the most relaxing parts of Paris. I was ready for a little nap, so we walked down Blvd St Michel (talk about touristy!), over Ile de la Cite and back to our apartment for a rest.

As I took a little snooze, Den was looking at our dining options. David Lebovitz was signing his new book "The Sweet Life in Paris" at WHSmith on rue Rivoli at 7:30pm. We wanted to find something in that area since we weren't sure how long we would have to wait to get our books autographed. I had tried to get a reservation at a very new restaurant near Montorgeuil called Frenchies earlier in the day, but they were completely booked. Den had a hankering for some Asian food after our failed Chinatown outing this morning (but we were in Paris and still saw cool stuff, so it's all good!). He found a place in the 6th but I wanted to stay on the right bank to make the walk home shorter and easier. I started looking at the restaurant threads on OPF and found one on Vietnamese restaurants by Happy Going. She recommended Au Coin des Gourmets and when I looked it up on line, I saw there were 2 sites and one was minutes from the bookstore, on rue du Mont Thabor. We made reservations and started our walk to Rivoli.

We wanted to get to the bookstore a little early to make sure we got to see David and buy his book. We strolled down Rivoli, it was packed with tourists and Parisians going home from work. It was a beautiful early evening stroll, just the right temperature and the sun was still shining. A perfect evening in Paris! We took our time and enjoyed the sights and were at the bookstore by 6:45. As I was perusing the Paris restaurant guide section, who do we bump into but Jim and Pat! They were meeting a friend who also wanted to get David's book signed. We caught up and I learned they were also meeting Luc tomorrow. We are having lunch with him and they are having dinner! What a small world it is, even in a big city of millions! We also spotted Heather from the Secrets of Paris newletter and Naughty Paris book fame. I guess she is a friend of David's and was here to support him.

We had a glass of wine in the store while waiting for David (don't you just love Paris!) I had seen him come in and go up the stairs a little earlier and when he came back down about 20 minutes later, we went over and introduced ourselves. We chatted for a few minutes (he is so sweet and funny, Den and I just love his blog), he signed our books and Den took a few pictures (which are blurry, :( ). We were out before 8pm and walked over to the restaurant, which is on the street behind Rivoli. Another recommended restaurant, Le Souffle, was right next door. We looked at both menus and while I was really tempted to try Le Souffle, Den still wanted his Asian meal, so we went with our first choice and entered Au Coin des Gourmets.

The restaurant is very serene, there is a row of tables on each side of the little aisle and it seats maybe 26-30 people in total. There is a little waterfall behind glass at the end of the restaurant and the overall impression was quiet and peaceful. We both opted for a menu choice. I went with the Vietnamese option and Den with the Cambodian one. The dishes were very flavourful but mild, not spicy. Portions were small but everything was very fresh and delicious. We had a very nice rose (I think it was a Ravel, I wrote it down but can't find my notes this morning) and we really enjoyed our meal. Dinner was 82 euros. The restaurant filled up as we dined. There were a few locals and 4 tables of Asian girls, which I took as a good sign. The girls all had soup and tea to start with and then shared some plates of meat and vegetables. I would have liked to be more adverturesome with our dinner choices, but there were so many different options, we stayed with the menu to keep things simple. All the Asian girls (in their early 20's, I think) were decked out in so much Chanel jewlery, purses, tweed jackets and sunglasses to keep Den and I in Paris for the next 6 months! They were all chattering away and enjoying their meals as much as we were.

We left the restaurant at around 9:30 and headed home via rue St Honore, doing some leche vitrine at all the very expensive shops along the way. We were pretty tired when we got back to the apartment and called it a night before 11pm.

It is another sunny morning today, we've just had our pain au chocolat, fruit and coffee and are getting ready to go meet Luc soon. We will spend part of the day with him, visiting his apartment and going for lunch and then will come back to get ready to see the ballet tonight at Opera Garnier! We have dinner reservations at Gallopin after the ballet, so our day is pretty well planned out for us. Another perfect day in Paris.........a bientot!


Comments (1)

Lisa:

That's awesome that you got to meet David! I need to get his book!

Sounds like you are having such a fabulous time. Reading your posts makes me almost ache for Paris. I was there last summer & hope to return in 2010?

Keep posting! I love reading what you are up to!

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