I love Paris in the springtime....you know the song!
I have never actually experienced Paris in the spring, only in the winter, but I hope to see it at every time of year eventually. I spent about a week in France to top off my European christmassy, wintery adventure.
We spent 2 nights in Annecy, right near the Alps, and a lovely little place it is. Our first meal in France was at a restaurant where we were the only English speakers (as we had wanted), with our very limited French skills and a waiter who struggled to understand aword we said - or so we thought. It turns out that our waiter actually spoke pretty good English, but he was having too much fun at our expense to actually let us know. It wasn't until during our fondue, when I tried to find the words for "Can I please have some more bread?" that he shared his secret. We all had a laugh and the waiter gave us some pretty heavy after dinner drinks, which of course led to some more laughs.
The train to Paris gave us a new food experience - the Croque Monsieur. The Croque Monsieur is basically a ham and cheese toastie, with a bechamel sauce, in most cases. In Australia, we don't really have much in the way of train food, only on certain trains, and normally pretty gross. In Europe, it is incredibly common, and this particular trip I was amazed. How does a train toastie taste so amazing??
In Paris we dined on crepes from little store windows, while our hands were so cold we thought they'd drop off, mussels and chips (where a French woman showed me how to really get a waiters attention, and then have it backfire on her), and steak and chips (real steak and chips). Even the potato seems to taste nicer in France. The quality of the produce is just lovely, and in Paris, food matters.
Our first cold Parisian night was spent in a Tibetan restaurant near our hotel, which I loved, but my partner didn't. I could have had pitchers of the butter tea (traditionally made with Yak butter, not sure if ours was).
A trip to a great little brasserie, Brasserie Balzar was a must. I could have gine back again just to see the waiter with the handlebar moustache. The food was good, honest French food.
We had brunch at Angelina on the Rue de Rivoli. It is famed for it's hot chocolate, and also for the fact that Coco Chanel used to frequent it every day in her later years. It is also widely known that the waitstaff are incredibly rude. Utter rubbish!! The waitstaff were lovely, and our waiter was joking and laughing with us the whole time. We tried the Croque Madame, which is a Croque Monsieur with an egg on top. It was nice, but the star of the brunch was definetly the rich hot chocolate. The decor is lush too.
New Years Eve was spent at Le Train Bleu, where the courses came out almost as often as the champagne, and the noise of people yelling "Bon Annee" or "Happy New Year" could be heard all around.
New Years Day was spent having lunch in the Eiffel Tower, in a restaurant called Le Jules Verne. Perfect. Sublime. Incredible. The service was impeccable, the food was wonderful, and the views.... who can find words for that?!?! It wasn't cheap, not at all, but it's not every day you can dine in the Eiffel Tower. What a special day.
I love Paris. I love wandering the streets and taking in the sights. I love the smell of crepes cooking, the sweet aroma calling me through an open window. I love listening to the accordion players on a bridge. I love the people.
I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles...