Now that the rose from Saturday night has worn off, I can let you in on a few little Paris gems I discovered last weekend.
Its just a quick two-hour train trip into Paris from Bayeux with just one stop at Caen and then express to Gare Saint Lazare. We often do it as a day trip (Saint Lazare is just one block from the ‘grand magasins Printemps and Galeries Lafayette), but this trip was special. My lovely lovely good friend Janine was heading back to Canberra after her three year stint at the Australian Embassy in Paris. So Mike agreed to hold the fort at La Pommetier while I tripped into Paris for the night.
First stop was lunch with another Aussie gal at the tucked away cafe in a florist that is, Cafe Fleuriste. Mismatched bistro furniture, iron tables, trays of seedlings, and blackboard menus all happily coexist here. A local and his French bulldog wandered in for an espresso. Outside a video-shoot was going on for what looked like a music video. On the opposite corner is a tiny fenced park and playground. It was all very Parisian. The dish du jour was “tarte” of which I think they reeled off at least five varieties – carrot and cumin for me and salmon and broccoli for L. Followed by orange cake for me and rhubarb tarte for L and great coffees to fuel us for a few hours of shopping and wandering in the Marais before the evenings festivities.
Fast forward to 4.30pm and our all Aussie soiree has upped to five of us and we’re installed at Le Meurice in the oh so handsome Bar 228. Leather chairs, low lights, wall murals and ceilings so tall its almost hard to see them. Add to that a backlit bar that goes right up to the ceiling behind which immaculately turned out waiters shine glasses and pour cocktails. The drink prices are eye-watering at 30 euro for a glass of house champagne (albeit Lanson’s Alaine Ducasse selection) and similar for cocktails. But this was a very special night that deserved the best of Paris and soon we were so comfy our thoughts of moving on to the Hemingway Bar at the newly reopened Ritz Hotel were tossed aside and another round of drinks was on its way.
Our dinner reservation was just a short walk down the rue de Rivoli and into the Musee Arts Decoratif. The museum itself is closed now, but Restaurant Loulou is open and on a perfect summers night you head straight through the chic dining room and out to the terrace. The terrace – wow. It is its own little piece of the Jardin de Tuilleries – the beautiful gardens across from the Louvre that run along side the Seine and right up to the Champs Elysees. Likewise the view also stretches from the Louvre to La Tour Eiffel and all the greenery of the Tuilleries and the rooftops of Paris between them. The only thing we needed now was a bottle of rose. A big one. And our magnum of rose from Provence at 88 euro was an absolute bargain after Le Meurice.
We sipped. We told stories. We watched the Parisian couples out on date night come and go. We shared a platter of charcuterie and zucchini flowers. We watched the sun set and the lights come onto La Tour. We ate big plates of pasta and fish and steak. We drained the bottle of rose and at some time after midnight sauntered off to take photos of the Louvre all lit up. We put a lock on the railings and threw the keys into the river to claim a little piece of Paris for our departing friends. On it we wrote, you’ll always have Paris.