After we had savored the last of our drinks at Le Mary Celeste and lingered as long as we could, we finally left and took the metro up to Sacre Couer, climbing the three maybe 12 flights of stairs to the top of Montmartre. It was a very warm, sunny day and we enjoyed just sitting on the steps at the top, people watching and being entertained by the street performers- one who was quite agile with a “football” (soccer ball) while balancing precariously on a lamppost. It’s certainly one of the very best vantage points in all of Paris and a great place to just and relax for an afternoon. It’s especially lovely to see the sun setting from here. Some of my best photos of the Eiffel Tower came from this spot a couple of years ago.
While the neighborhood at the bottom of the Montmartre is very touristy (Pigalle and Moulin Rouge) and should be avoided, the neighborhood behind Sacre Couer is lovely, quiet and has some terrific cafes and parks. It is definitely worth a stroll around here where you can see and feel a real Parisian neighborhood. Wander over to rue Caulaincourt and hop the metro at Lamarck — Caulaincourt (of Amelie fame) back to the central Paris, but stop into Chez Ginette on the corner above the metro station for some super hamburgers if you are feeling peckish.
After a good rest back at the flat we went in search of dinner. As it was our last night in Paris, we wanted to finally be near the Eiffel Tower and have it within view to see it sparkle as it marked the evening’s hours. We took a taxi but the restaurant we wanted to visit turned out to be closed for vacation when we arrived, so the driver took us to one that he recommended- an Irish pub. Oh no! We didn’t want to offend him, so we hopped out but once he pulled away from the curb, we knew this was not where we wanted to dine (and certainly not since there was a game on!). We decided to walk a bit down the block and ended up at a nearly empty neighborhood bistro. There was just one family there when we arrived and soon we had the entire place to ourselves. It was great! Completely unexpected. Especially since the menu came in a tourist version! The manager was quite fun to speak to and he saw me admiring the Audrey Hepburn advertisement on the wall and he brought it down for me to snap a photo of. While this was not the best meal I have had, it was not the worst and it was fun evening regardless.
My friend tried the escargot encased in a puff pastry for their appetizer and no matter how good or earthy he said they tasted, to me, they are still bugs. I just could not get past that thought to even try the sauce. It was his first time having them and he rather enjoyed them. Bravo for them trying something new. I just was not going to have any part of it!
I had a filet with green beans wrapped in bacon and really liked how the smoky meat flavored the crisp beans. We tried the flank steak, simply done with a spiced rice and finished with crème brulee.
The real delight of the evening came when we walked all the way to the park under the Eiffel Tower. We literally sat right at the base and when, on the hour, it lit to sparkle it was truly magical. It sounds hokey and cliché, but it sort of sums up Paris. Absolutely Spectacular!
I was sad to leave. It’s always hard. But I know I will be back soon.
We arrived just in time to have a traditional Sunday Dinner at Punch & Judy, a pub in Covent Garden before taking the train back to Ely. The Yorkshire pudding and roasted beef with two kinds of potatoes all swimming in a sea of gravy was incredible! The ultimate in comfort food! Even the traditional fish and chips looked great here. We washed it all down with a pint of Thwaites from Blackburn, Lancashire. Something about pub food just calls out for a pint or two.
My last meal in England was at one of my favorite places, GBK in Cambridge. It’s just a chain of burger joints that features creative flavor combinations. But it’s really good! I love trying a new one each time I go- not to mention their onion rings and fries are fabulous! This time it was the Persian Lamb burger with minted feta, harissa mayo and pickled onions, rocket, tomatoes and relish and the Camemburger- a beef burger on a brioche bun with Camembert cheese, truffle mayo, a hash brown, onion jam and relish. Both were huge, overstuffed and just messy good eating.
Overall, I had an amazing summer. Full of traveling, fun, lots of food, yummy drinks, music, great friends and love.
I hope yours was just as fulfilling!