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Sex, graffit and more eating! Oct 6 & 7

Wednesday was our friends' last full day in Paris and they still had things on their list they wanted to do, including getting a massage like the ones Den and I enjoyed last week. We parted ways in the morning after promising to meet up at the Erotic Museum in Montmartre sometime in the afternoon.

Den and I realized we hadn't had our fallafel fix yet, so we walked over to l'As du Fallafel where there was almost no line up (!) and devoured those huge sandwiches on the sidewalk along with everyone else. Well sated, we took the bus to the 9th where we spend the early afternoon just walking around, enjoying rue des Martyrs again and where I decided on the spur of the moment to have my hair cut! Sporting my new Parisian head, we then met our friends at a franchise bar on rue de Clichy (they were already there and I'm too ashamed to name it ~ suffice it to say our 2 cocktails cost us 20 euros!) We then walked over to the Musee Erotique, a very, ahem, different type of museum. We spent about 90 minutes giggling and pointing at the very candid exhibits and even watched some snippets of really old pornographic films which made us realize there really is nothing new in sex! We then took the metro home and Den and I got ready for our dinner at Spring. Jo and Luc had decided not to join us and I had asked our dining companion from Slow Travel/Chowhound to see if she could find 2 people to join us for our table of 6. This being one of the hardest tables to book in Paris, she had no problem getting 2 wonderfully interesting foodies to join us. (There will be a separate entry on our meal as Daniel's brilliance deserves its own space.)

Thursday morning came too fast and our friends had a 10:15 Eurostar to London to catch. After many hugs and kisses and cries of "We'll always have Paris", Den and I were left on our own for our last 3 days. We had made plans with a fellow poster on another Paris website, Our Paris Forum, to give us a tour of various parts of Belleville. I had made reservations at La Baratin since we would already be in the area and off Den and I went on the 96 bus which is right outside our door. We got off in lower Belleville and spent the late morning wandering around, exploring this very working class, but no less fascinating part of Paris. Our lunch at Le Baratin was really good. This tiny cafe on a tinier street is owned by an Argentinian female chef who has built up a well deserved reputation for delicious, reasonably priced and down to earth cuisine. There's lots of great wine available by the glass and there's a cute little cat who rules the roost and goes to sit by whoever shares a morsel with it. Lunch is 16 euros for 3 courses. We started with a beet salad and a slab of foie gras (which was a 10 euro supplement but since we hadn't had fois gras in a few days, we were powerless to resist!). Den had the skate with capers and parboiled potatoes for his main and I had a delicious stew of lamb (it was the neck, but as strange as that sounds, it was so tender and melt in your mouth) on a bed of citrus flavoured rice. Dessert was a decent creme caramel and the asmosphere was of old world Paris with nary a tourist in sight. Full of deliciousness, we continued to wander Belleville until we made our way to our meeting place with Peter, who has been coming to Paris for years by himself for 3-4 days at a time. He was a wonderful tour guide who showed us the Mouzaia area, parts of Buttes Chaumont which we had failed to discover on our walk last year, the beautiful view from the top of Parc Belleville and the wonderfully wacky rue Desnoyers, where graffiti artists have covered both sides of a long alleyway with their distinctive works of art. Peter shared a lot of history and fun facts with us over the 3 hours we spent with him and time flew as we discovered a part of Paris few tourists will ever see. It was so nice of him to give us part of his precious time in Paris to give us this introduction to Belleville and we will always treasure this day and meeting such a sweet, generous person. Den really loved rue Desnoyers and took many pictures and videos of the artists at work. We ended up at a very cool bar on the corner where we all shared a beer and enjoyed the great people watching. 3 beer cost us less than half of what we had paid for our cocktails on rue de Clichy the day before, proving that Paris doesn't have to be expensive if you are willing to live, eat and drink as regular Parisians do.

After saying our goodbyes to Peter, we took the metro back to the Marais and had dinner at Breizh Cafe, a creperie I had wanted to try after reading many great reviews. It was the perfect way to end our long day of walking ~ it was in the neighbourhood and it was good, simple and relatively inexpensive. I devoured 6 wonderful oysters for my appetizer and Den had a small crepe entry with the Bordier seaweed butter that Daniel Rose introduced us to last year. I had a mushroom, ham and cheese buckwheat crepe for dinner and Den had the Normandy one (sorry, I can' remember the ingredients, which is why I really should blog as we go along!). We shared a bottle of cider during our meal and a Dame Poire crepe for dessert. The place was full and again we saw people being turned away, proving that you should make a little bit of an effort in researching and reserving restaurants if you want to ensure you eat really well in Paris. Contrary to popular belief, it's easy to eat very badly in Paris, especially if you don't get away from the heavily populated tourist areas.

We strolled back home, delighted with our day of discovering a new arrondissement of Paris and meeting a wonderful new friend.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 12, 2010 6:37 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Shopping and Walking ~ Oct 4 & 5.

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