"Are you happy to be in Paris?"

10 April 2014

Last weekend I was lucky enough to go and visit Paris, with my best friend Grace (check out her blog here) and my family. I thought I’d give you a little insight into our trip and I warn you now, there are many pictures of food below (because who doesn’t like French food?)

Day 1: on the Friday we left St. Pancras on the Eurostar at about two in the afternoon, so by the time we arrived in the beautiful city it was early evening and so didn’t have much time to do anything before dinner, other than have a little walk around the area. We stayed at the Hotel Bedford, which is in the Madeleine area of the Right Bank, and for dinner we walked to a little gem of a restaurant/bar called Willi’s Wine Bar. The red wine was lovely, and after my mum recommended their burger, all four of us ended up having it as our main. The picture below doesn’t do the burger much justice, and I’d go as far as saying it was THE best burger I had ever tasted. When it first came out, I was a little disappointed not to see anything accompanying it (other than rocket) but it was surprisingly very filling by itself. The beef wasn't minced so perhaps thats why it tasted so good, and was accompanied with sundered tomatoes, a little pickle, cheese, and onions between oil drizzled toast. Sorry for the ramble it was that good. And for desert, my Dad opted for the lemon and orange tart, and us girls shared the chocolate terrine. After dark, a lot of Parisian cafes turn into lively bars and so on our way home me and Grace went into one for another glass of wine before heading back to the hotel. 
Willi's Wine Bar, 13, Rue des Petit-Champs, 75001 Paris

Day 2: After breakfast in the Madeleine area, me and Grace headed to Montmatre. I had never been before to see the iconic church or hill, which has featured in so many films. So playing the tourist role, we went round taking pictures. Inside the Sacré Coeur Church itself, there were beautiful stain glass windows, and with many prayer candles dotted it had a calming atmosphere.

For lunch we headed back across the river to find somewhere to eat for lunch, and after wandering around for quite a while we ate at Le Saint Germain near Rue de Bac. Grace opted for a Croque Monsieur with chips, and I went for an Omelette Mixte (with ham and cheese) and chips on the side as well. After some more walking around, we headed down to Champs-Élysées, before finding a cafe for a sit down and a drink. We then headed down the main street and popped into the biggest Sephora I've seen in Paris. Feeling a little peckish we then cheekily headed to the Häagen-Dazs store, where I had an ice cream with Bradley Cooper. I went for a scoop of Chocolate, Pralines and Caramel and Banana Chocolate Brownie, and I'd strongly recommend the later.

Not really sure what face I'm pulling here

For dinner, we met up with my parents again and headed to the Brasserie Balzar, which has been a family favourite for years. The interior decor is classic of a French brasserie, and the restaurant is a favourite for Parisians themselves - and that's when you know French food is good. The waiters are also funny and some are known for their curly moustaches. For starters, I chose the French onion soup. My Dad claims it is the best he's ever tasted, and it is indeed lovely. Though when it first came out I did find it to be a bit too hot, but the melted cheese on the soaked toasted French bread was divine. For my main I chose the rump-steak in peppercorn sauce, which was served with creamy potatoes. Being quite sensitive to spice, I found the pepper-sauce quite hot, but the potatoes balanced this out nicely.
Brasserie Balzar, 49 Rue des Écoles, 75005 Paris

After this, me and Grace stayed in the area to see what the nightlife was like. After reading reviews we tried Le Carven Club, which was quite bad and so we left. We then went down to Rue Princesse, where we found a buzzing Irish Bar called Little Temple Bar and then everyone headed around the corner to the nightclub Le Pousse au Crime. Though it was a good night, Paris clubbing prices make Central London seem cheap, but me and Grace had no idea it would be that expensive, so you have been warned!

Day 3: Despite being a bit hungover, on our third day me and Grace went to Disneyland. I may be 19, but I am a big kid at heart and who doesn't love a cheer up from a good ol' bit of Disney? For breakfast we went around the corner from the hotel, to Cafe Madeline, before jumping on the metro and then the train to Disneyland. 
After souvenir shopping ran a little overtime, and as it takes about an hour to get from Disneyland into the city centre, me and Grace were a little late to dinner with my parents. We went to Le Suffren, which is quite near the Eiffel Tower and always has a cosy yet sophisticated vibe to it. The restaurant does daily specials, and so my starter of Parma ham and melon was a possible one-off for a Sunday. I also really enjoyed the dressing on the side bit of salad, which was creamy and accompanied the starter well. For the main I opted for the Salmon with Pesto Tageteille, and when taking your order they ask how you would like your salmon cooked (posh, eh?) and I chose well done. After dinner, we strolled around the corner to watch the Eiffel Tower do its flashy light thing (that's the best way I can describe it!). It properly lights up every 15 minutes, so we watched it sparkle before heading back to the hotel for some packing.

Day 4: Our final day in Paris! For late breakfast we went around the corner to the aptly named Les Caprices de Charlotte, and so I'd like to think of it as my own personal bakery (just kidding). We had the Continental Breakfast, which included eggs, bacon, bread, croissant of choice (I went for a pain au chocolate), hot drink (a café au lair pour moi) and freshly squeezed orange juice. Me and Grace then went off for a good browse around the shops in hopes of finding her mum a birthday present. The big department stores Printemps and La Fayette in the Opera area were only walking distance away, and we also looked in the high street shops along that main road. For lunch, we went to a creperie behind La Fayette, where we both had galettes (savoury crepes). I chose the smoked salmon one, and a refreshing peach ice tea was much needed as it was especially warm that day. After lunch we had a quick trip to the supermarket Monoprix, and then into the funky shop Citadium. But Grace was looking for a soap shop for her mum, and we still hadn't found the perfect place. Luckily, my mum was on the Left Bank and saw a little shop called Durance. The woman that worked there was lovely and gave loads of free little samples. I bought a candle, but all of the candles, body lotions and soaps smelt wonderful, so we were in the shop for ages trying to decide on what to buy. 
The famous dome in La Fayette

We then headed to the train station Gare du Nord, but before getting the evening train back, we went across the road for an early dinner at Terminus Nord. The brasserie is owned and run by the same people as the Brasserie Balzar, and has the same sort of 1920s theme. For the dinner we all opted for a starter and a dessert as there was no way we could have had a main. I went for the French onion soup again, and I preferred this one to Balzar's as it was made with brown bread and had a whole lot more of melted cheese at the bottom. For dessert I chose the melt in the middle chocolate cake which was accompanied with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. Overall YUM, and I think this was my favourite meal of the break.
Terminus Nord, 23 Rue de Dunkerque, 75010 Paris

Hope you enjoyed this post! I do realise this is the longest post I have done on here, but the food was worth rambling about, and I hope this helps anyone who is going to Paris sometime in the future and is looking for any restaurant/visiting suggestions.

Later in the week I'll put up a post on what I bought in Paris. It's not much but there are a few products that need blogging about!

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