36 Hours in Paris

This was my fifth time visiting Paris. It's a city that's never boring and maybe that has to do with how picturesque it is, but more likely, it's the perfect buttery croissants in every bakery.

This was my first time going via the Eurostar and I have to say, it was awesome. It was great to not have to get to the airport several hours ahead of time, it was great going through security without worrying about getting liquids confiscated, and the journey was v. comfortable.
We had to take a cab from our hotel to St. Pancras Station and since it was pretty early in the morning, there wasn't too much traffic to contend with.

The website recommended we get to the train station about 45 minutes ahead of time. This is because there is a security queue (they run bags and people through the appropriate metal detectors) as well as a brief customs/passport control procedure.
Our hotel room wasn't quite ready so we dropped off our bags and headed out for the day. While we were walking, we passed by Restaurant Chartier, which was one of the places D and I went for dinner during our 2009 Euro Trip.
On our way towards the Louvre, we popped into E. Dehillerin, an awesome cookware store chock full of lovely cookery items and baking pans and every practical little kitchen gadget a cook could ever desire.
We didn't actually go inside the Louvre, just snapped a few photos outside, just because it was on our way. We'd both been before (together and separately) so it was just another way to revive nostalgia to simply be in its presence.
For lunch, I wanted to take D to my favorite steak frites place. I've been to this specific location four times now and I love it so much, I know for a fact that I will certainly go every time I'm in town. All you have to do is let the ladies know what you want to drink and how you want the steak cooked (I recommend "á point" which means medium) and they take care of the rest. A salad is served immediately; it has a vibrant mustardy dressing and a bit of crunch from a modest sprinkle of walnuts on top. I always go for the house red because it's cheap and delicious and it's what goes best with the meat.
The first plate of steak frites is brought out and when you're nearly done, they bring you a second portion which has been warming over tealights on a nearby table. I love dipping my fries in mustard and swirling them into the decadent sauce.
After lunch, we needed a little caffeinated pick-me-up so we headed to the nearby Cafe de Flore, which is one of the oldest coffeehouses in Paris and is well-known for its famous clientele. For us, it was just a warm place to grab a delicious cappuccino.
Europe is filled with Christmas markets this time of year and Paris isn't going to be excluded from that trend. Just outside of Cafe de Flore, we ran into this cute little market with loads of handicrafts and classic (albeit a bit cliche) Parisian souvenirs. I was tempted by the lavender sachets, but knowing I'd have to carry them around for another week and a half, I abstained.
I love this little candle shop and wish I could've afforded to buy a bunch (afforded to in terms of financially and in terms of having space in my luggage).
Despite it being rather chilly in Paris, there was still a bit of greenery in the gardens.
Because of the fire earlier this year, I was reading that there will be no Christmas mass at this church for the first time in over 200 years. It's rather upsetting, but when we arrived just to take a gander, I  was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn't completely reduced to ashes. I suppose most of the damage was done to the interior and behind its iconic facade.

This was my first visit to Paris where I wasn't able to tap my toes to Point Zero because it's located just in front of the Cathedral and the area is currently fenced off. There are many rituals associated with Point Zero, including twirling around on top of it or leaving a coin and making a wish. My personal ritual is to give it a couple taps with my toes and it's supposed to bring good luck in the form of a guaranteed return to Paris someday.
I love visiting bookstores wherever I go, not just for the literature but to check out what kind of journals and pens are on offer.
No matter how many times I've been to Paris, I've never actually ascended the tower. I'm just not interested in queueing. Plus, if you want to see an iconic view of the city, don't you want the tower to be a part of the skyline? That's why I would recommend Tour Montparnasse instead, if that's what you're after.
After being out for hours, we finally made it back to our hotel. Our bags had already been brought up to our rooms, which was great. I actually really liked our room and the staff were really sweet and helpful. The hotel was modern and clean and had the classic Parisian wrought iron balcony.
For dinner, we hopped on the metro and ended up at L'Îlot for some super fresh (and affordable) seafood.
We had a half crab, the taramasalata (which is a cod roe dip), langoustines, and mussels. Everything was simply prepared, which really let the seafood shine, and it was a delicious and enjoyable meal.
After dinner, we decided to grab some cocktails and have a little night out on the town. We started off at Little Red Door, which was a three minute walk from L'Îlot. It's a speakeasy, meaning it's a bit difficult to find and you have to knock and ask to be allowed in. The concept was kind of snobby and off-putting and ultimately, the vibe wasn't really our style. However, we both really enjoyed our cocktails.
After sipping our drinks, we quickly paid our bar tab and tried a different venue. Bisou was much more our vibe in terms of the staff, clientele, and aesthetics.
The concept is pretty cool. There's no menu; instead, you just order a drink you like or tell the bartender what your preferences are and they concoct something for you.
This is officially my new favorite croissant place in the world. We popped in as we were walking from our hotel up towards Sacre Coeur and we each grabbed a plain croissant. The exterior was shatteringly crisp, the interior was airy and tender and flaky and buttery and everything the ideal croissant should be.
My first visit to this church, which was when I was in Paris with my sister, a bunch of West African men grabbed my arm and forced a poorly-made friendship bracelet onto my wrist and then demanded money. I've avoided this area because of this experience. This year, a West African man attempted to grab my arm and when I whined, "Don't!" and contorted my body to prevent him from touching me, he called me an ugly girl. I couldn't let that go so I had to yell, "I'm ugly?! Try looking in the mirror; F*CK YOU!" The trashy American in me is easily unleashed by other people's bad behavior. I'll leave it up to you to decide whether or not you think that's a good or bad thing.
It was a pretty chilly day; since the air was so moist, the cold really penetrated to our bones. So, we decided to find a place to grab a cup of tea. This little tea house was close by so we popped in. D went for her usual cappuccino while I went for the spicy chai.
For lunch, we went to La Pierrade, which is a little eatery I actually came to with my ex-boyfriend years ago because we wanted raclette. I was kind of thinking I wanted raclette and that's why we ended up here, but neither of us wanted to commit to such an aggressive quantity of cheese (they make you order it for a minimum of two people) so we just ordered off of the prix fixe menu.
D went for the French onion soup and the boeuf bourguignon (shoutout to Julia Child).
I got the escargots (which are compulsory anytime I am in France) and the duck confit (which I think is also compulsory). I soaked up every last drop of herby butter from my escargots tray. The duck was deliciously fatty with a crisp skin and worth every calorie.
For dessert, we both got the creme brulee. It was deliciously creamy and totally hit the spot.
We were attempting to hop on the metro to go to a cafe and maybe hit up a flea market or Christmas market, but there was a transit strike so a bunch of the lines were closed. (This also affected the rest of my trip because my train to Luxembourg was canceled and I ended up getting a refund on my €31 train ticket, which was fine, but it hardly made a dent in the €387 plane ticket I had to buy instead.
For our final meal in Paris, because the metro wasn't running and we didn't want to waste money on taxis, we went to Bar Deviant, which was just a ten minute walk from our hotel. I got a sparkling rose, which was extremely delicious and I need to try and track it down here in the States. I wrote down what it was in my journal - Cremant D'Alsace Rose Kleinknecht - and have already reached out to my local liquor store to see if they can get some.
This is a small plates kind of place so we picked five to share. We had the rosti mimolette (a crispy potato tart), choux persilade (a warm brussels sprouts salad), anguilles laque (a glazed eel bao bun), gigo d'agneau (a lamb roulade roast), and katsubun (a veal katsu sandwich).
Everything was delicious but I was particularly fond of the katsu sandwich, the spicy chili peppers on the lamb, and the brussels sprouts salad was really well-balanced with acidity and a fragrant and floral olive oil.
After dinner, we went back to the hotel room to pack and get ready. We both had early mornings and airplanes to catch - D to New York and me to Luxembourg - so we called it an early night.

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