A French stroll in Paris
Travel as it should be: no security line, leave your shoes on and your laptop in its protective case. Just arrive ten minutes before departure to board the TGV in Avignon and arrive in Paris two and a half hours later. It is pure magic. Both the train and Paris!
We headed to Paris in early June for a quick two-night trip. Our excuse was to cross paths with some friends from New York and share a meal at a classic bistro. Of course that was part of my motivation, but I had accumulated an ever-growing list of places that I wanted to visit – so we were going to stroll (flâner) the city and do a foodie tour along the way.
The first stop was La Maison Angelina on Rue Rivoli for a late afternoon tea. Tourists and Parisians alike frequent this establishment. Do not be put off by the queue because it moves quickly.
While you are waiting in line, you can drool over the decadent pâtisseries in their display. The long counter is filled with macarons of every imaginable colour and flavour combination, traditional mille-feuille, a rainbow of fruit tarts, profiteroles and an assortment of chocolate truffles.
We awoke to a sunny, breezy Saturday – perfect weather for the walk that I had planned. I had read about an eclectic coffee shop called Kooka Boora. Located in Pigalle, this café occupies a strategic corner with outdoor tables on two sides. They serve excellent coffee and an irresistible menu of sandwiches and sweet treats. They also offer free WiFi so the place was filled with laptops, parked for the day.
If you are a foodie, a wander down rue des Martyrs must be on your ‘to-do’ list. Inviting cafés, fromageries, boucheries, boulangeries and épiceries line both sides of this small stretch of the quartier. Fortified with our coffee, we headed to the Père Lachaise cemetery. It was a long walk and next time we might use the Metro.
The cemetery, which opened in 1804, is the largest in Paris and ‘home’ to many famous dead, including Jim Morrison, Chopin, Jean Moulin, and Édith Piaf.
After the cemetery tour we were starving, and it was time to make our way to La Grand Épicerie – the temple of food adjoining Le Bon Marché department store. I do not know how the size of the store compares with Harrods in London but I am certain the displays are just as enticing.
Sufficiently full and with a gourmet dinner planned, we window-shopped through St-Germain and on to Île St Louis. Our mission was to check out the ice cream from Berthillon – reputedly the best in the city. My husband is the frozen product tester in our family and in his opinion the ice cream was not exceptional. However, we both agreed the crowd-watching was worth the visit.
We only had Sunday morning left before our train left. It was overcast and drizzling on our walk to rue Cler. This pedestrian-only stretch is lined with food purveyors of every description and all of them were extremely tempting. The drizzle had turned to rain, we settled on a café for a quick bite, and it was time to catch the TGV for our return trip south.
What is your favourite Paris promenade?Image credits: All images ©Carolyne Kauser-Abott.