Ah Paris – City of Love (and clichés).
When I travel, I normally steer clear of tourist traps and crowded “must-see” sights, guided tour buses and money wasting attractions, as much as physically possible. I especially make an effort to see a city like a local the second time around. Paris is absolutely gorgeous and the views never disappoint. Anyone who loves to travel and wants to feel the things life can offer – go to Paris now! This city does not lack in culture, culinary vibes and that “je ne sais quoi”.
I was 21 when I first fell in love with Paris. My eyes and heart was just so full. I took in Paris with open arms and stomach! This was the place I tried such amazing quiches, that I made the effort to perfect my recipe to match the same flavours and sensations I had during that first bite of French quiche.
While I love Paris in all its beauty and smelly metro system, the second time around I was over it pretty quickly. An afternoon rekindled the flame I yearned for but it was time to say good bye. I’ve seen it all and did not want the sea of people and tour groups to ruin Paris for me. I wanted to keep my memory of it as pure as our initial encounter.
Eat like the French.
We stayed in a beautiful palace where Henri IV once lived with his family. During our stay at the palace hotel, we had an amazing 4 course French dinner. We started with an amuse bouche of tomato followed by prawns with a thin crispy sheet of deep fried pastry and a side of fresh salad.
The main star of the meal were these beautiful lamb chops accompanied by mouth watering baked aubergine. I need make a point that this exact dish right here is the reason that I have started to appreciate lamb. My whole life I’ve never had any interest in lamb because of its gamey taste. It never appealed to me and in fact I was a bit hesitant to eat this at the time. But, c’est la vie, I ate it and I am so glad!! For the first time ever, I ate lamb that tasted amazing! Of course I found it in France. It was extremely juicy, no taste of game in sight and super tender. I fell in love. I realized I’ve been eating the wrong kind of lamb. I’ve discovered that fresh lamb (butchered fairly recently) is very important in order to avoid that gamey taste. I also needed to cook it myself and at medium-rare. I was so happy to finally be able to enjoy lamb.
Versailles [the Prettier Sister].
We spent most of our time exploring Versailles which was about a 30 to 45 minute drive south west of Paris. Oh how I loved Versailles so much more! Walking the old royal streets of Versailles felt majestic and true French. I loved everything about this tiny city. From the restaurants, cafes, boulangeries, to the immaculate gardens of the palace where you can easily get lost in for hours, perhaps a day!
Before coming to Canada, J actually lived in various parts of France. He primarily lived in Versailles so he knew the area very well. It was so nice to see the place where he called home for 3 years (yes – I make him speak French every now and then so I can enjoy the accent). He took me on a quick drive by of his old flat then we explored the market at Place Saint Louis with his lovely sister. Everything about the market was quintessentially French. We bought a pint of fresh strawberries and took them with us to the palace gardens where we just nibbled every morsel of its juicy red flesh by the fountain. I couldn’t think of a more perfect French afternoon – we were just missing the wine! Fear not though – we ended up buying a couple of delicious ciders and drank them by the lake near by.