On our second day in Paris we decided to venture into The Touristy Part™. We had exactly 3 goals: 1. Eat ice cream, 2. Walk by the Louvre, 2. and 3. Drink wine in front of the Eiffel Tour.
Once again we indulged in pain au chocolat for breakfast from Le Grenier au Pain. This one didn’t get photographed because I destroyed it in mere seconds.
After breakfast, we did some shopping in Montemartre and snagged a quick lunch quiche at Le Fournil de Gérando at 16 Rue Gérando. The tiny unassuming bakery had a great variety of desserts and savory fare, and the service was super friendly and gracious.
We then ventured downtown with no real plan. We figured we would just wander, glimpse some landmarks, eat some snacks. Just keep it laid back since the day prior we had a more planned out sort of day.
I cannot overstate how happy I am that we decided to wing it, because upon arriving downtown we realized we were right in the middle of Paris’s Pride Day celebration.
We had just learned that morning that the United States had legalized gay marriage on a federal level, and after I had cried some joyful tears that morning, stumbling upon Paris Pride was a blessing. I was so happy to be able to celebrate an important step in the direction of equality in the US while halfway across the globe.
See that umbrella? I bought the hell out of that.
After a some celebratory beers and soaking up the awesomeness of Pride, we snagged a quick espresso at Fondation Cafe (thanks to the incredible advice of Good Coffee in Paris) and made our way across the Seine.
With baguette in hand, we took a breather in front of Notre Dame. Our 2 1/2 day stay in Paris did not allow us time to go inside, but I can tell you this area is overwhelming. You’re more likely to hear a Texas accent here than French because of the density of tourists. That said, it’s damn gorgeous and absolutely worth a stop even if you don’t have time for a tour.
At this point, it was time to get to our day’s goals. First order of business—ice cream. At Berthillon of course. The 60 year old family-owned business is situated on Isle Saint-Louis just a short walk from the perfect spot to sit and eat by the Seine. They use all-natural ingredients and offer over 70 flavors of ice creams and sorbets. There is always a queue, but it moves fast so don’t be deterred.
On the way to the Eiffel Tour, we made sure to swing by the Louvre. We didn’t have time to actually go through (the museum is about the size of 10 football fields with 35,000 pieces of art), but we knew we had to at least see it.
The architecture of the museum is really art in and of itself, and of course the Louvre Pyramid is utterly jaw dropping. I’m sad we weren’t able to find time to go inside, but I see another Paris trip in our future so I’m sure we’ll visit eventually.
The next stop was the Eiffel Tower.
The lawn was packed with Parisian families, 20-somethings, and couples. Some had entire picnic meals with dishes being passed clockwise like a family dinner. Others snacked on charcuterie and cheese while the wine flowed. Men with grocery bags snaked through the crowd offering beer and wine for sale for surprisingly reasonable prices. From what I could tell, there were very few tourists on the lawn—I assume they were at the Tour itself.
This may have been my number one highlight of Paris. Sitting in the lawn, drinking wine, and people watching was the perfect way to end a day of walking. We were having such a great time that we actually purchased an additional bottle of wine from a “vendor.” 1
After draining a the bottle we brought and a third of the one we bought, we headed back to the flat to rest for a while and decide upon a dinner plan.
We were exhausted after a day’s worth of walking, so dinner wound up being rather late and very close to the flat. On a lovely cobblestone street just a quick jaunt from the Abbesses Metro stop sits le Potager du Père Thierry. This tiny (and I do mean tiny) restaurant is known mostly for two things—foie gras and duck. So obviously, that’s what we ordered.
Their star dish, the the oeufs en cocotte foie gras, is utterly ridiculous. A gooey-yolked baked egg is nestled underneath a generous round of foie gras. The ramekin is surrounded with toast points, presumably for dipping, but we found it nearly impossible to stop ourselves from eating it directly with a spoon. This is the sort of plate that’s so delicious, uncontrollable laughter is a direct side effect. Our neighboring table had just finished their portion when ours came out, took one look at the delirious joy on our faces, and immediately ordered another.
Our second appetizer was the pear and blue cheese terrine, a perfect light complement to the richness of the egg and foie gras.
We doubled up on the duck for our mains, and as you can see the portions here are huge. The duck du jour came medium rare with a simple but perfectly balanced fig sauce, while the gratin oozed with salty, cheesy goodness.
While the foie gras appetizer was amazing, my favorite part of Le Potager du Père Thierry was the price. The appetizer portion of the menu (including the foie gras) was all under 7 euros. The priciest main course—knuckle of lamb—was just 16 euros, with everything else falling under 14 euros.
Le Potager du Père Thierry has got to be one of the best and most affordable restaurants in Montmartre. The service is extremely friendly and they offer unpretentious French food at prices that rival some American gastropubs.
Stay tuned for our final day in Paris and our arrival in Barcelona—5 euro bottles of cava by the beach, a seafood feast, and lots and lots of dogs.
- While drinking in the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tour is perfectly legal, I’m not 100% sure the guys settling bottles are. But what the hell, live a little. ↩