January in Paris

After traveling to Paris for work last November and December, I was lucky enough to head back to the city in January. Since I don’t currently have any work trips to Paris scheduled for the foreseeable future, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic about my time in the City of Light as I write this. No matter how many times I get sent there (or find myself visiting there on my own), I will never take this fantastic city for granted. It’s simply too good.

For two weeks, I called the Westin Vendôme home. My work schedule was pretty intense for much of that time so, honestly, the few blocks immediately surrounding the hotel were all that I saw for large chunks of time. It’s tough to complain, though, as it’s a really lovely part of the city.

Once I had free time, in truth, I didn’t really “do” much. I visited Fondation Vuitton but, beyond that, I didn’t step foot inside any other museums or attractions. Mostly, I just walked, winding in and out of arrondissements, revisiting all my favorite neighborhoods and spaces. I spent a bunch of time in the Marais:

(Charlie Hebdo knows)

And walked along the Seine, even though it was preeeeeetty chilly:

And visited my favorite, Palais-Royal:

And cut through the beautiful Galerie Vivienne, still all lit up for Christmas:

And, of course, had a few really good meals. I revisited Pottoka (I had eaten there before a year or so ago), which serves really good Basque-inspired cuisine. I had the octopus with mustard ice cream (not sure mustard ice cream was totally necessary in this dish), the pork belly miso with bacon potatoes, and the Basque cake to finish, a simple almond cake with a side of cream and chocolate cookie crumble.

Another re-visit for me was Spring Restaurant (I first ate there in October 2015). Part of the Daniel Rose empire and older sister of possibly my favorite restaurant in Paris (La Bourse et La Vie), Spring has no menu: you come, and you eat what they give you. And what they give you is always great!

Some highlights were the sea urchin with lemon and spinach (the broth was so rich and unique), the sole with mussels and clam (again, the BROTH, man! I spooned up every last bit I could), the venison with smoked beetroot, red onions, and pomegranate, and the grapefruit with white chocolate (part of a dessert trio that also included orange sorbet and a chocolate praline tart):

In new-to-me restaurants, I visited Bonhomie, a restaurant that bills itself as “neo-Mediterranean.” It serves small(ish) plates, and all the dishes are basically ideal comfort food. I tried the roasted artichoke & carrots, the pumpkin risotto (LOVED), and the chicken with chestnuts.

The other new (to me) restaurant I tried was Daroco, which serves up excellent Italian: think cheeses and meats, pastas and pizzas. The food was great but even better than that was the interior decor. The mirrored ceiling is gorgeous (and more than a little trippy).

My “coffee shops to try in Paris” list grows ever longer, seemingly by the day, and sadly I did a poor job of ticking off new ones this time around. I did manage a visit to Republique of Coffee, though. Just off Place de la Republique (as the name suggests), this café has a friendly staff, a lot of yummy baked goods, and Instagram-ready pastel blue tables.

By this point in time, Paris feels much like an old friend to me: comforting, familiar, and always wonderful to return to. And like any good friend, I miss it when I’m away. Until we meet again…

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