The say it’s the most romantic city in the world, so imagine how picturesque it is when the snow falls in Paris. The Tuileries Garden all covered under a white blanket, the tip of the Eiffel Tower barely visible, the roof tops heavy with powder. It’s a dreamy postcard look. But also imagine how it is when your partner says he hates Paris before you board the Eurostar. Romantic trip? I think not.
Yet, with toil and good food I managed to convince the Italian that Paris isn’t so bad after all. I had 24 hours to prove my point and I wasted no time.
After an hour’s delay on the Eurostar and with certain suspicion that we both had contracted the norovirus, we were off to a shaky start. But no toilet visits followed and the coast was clear – apart from the pavements, which were covered in slippery snow.
We headed to Colette for lunch. For those not in the know, this is a design concept store covering three floors. There are clothes on sale, which you can only dream about ever owning. Luckily, there are cheaper items too, so you can indeed leave with a Colette bag. With tables squeezed as close as possible to each other, the café is not a place for those who can’t eat in the presence of strangers. I liked their water bar menu, with a selection of over ten different still and sparkling bottles (just in case you desperately want Fiji Water) and I loved the arty tablecover. Very cheerful and child-friendly.
As my French isn’t up to scratch (4 months living in Montpellier did nothing) I unsuccessfully ordered tuna steak with maché salad. Only, it was tuna fillet in a tin can. Very tasty and very innovative, but not what we were after. We also shared the burratina with a photogenic black tomato.
After finishing up, the Italian (who’s currently on the strict Dukan diet) exclaimed that we would have to go for second lunch, as this wasn’t enough. If you want a hearty meal, I say, order the burger. Or don’t go to Paris on a diet.
Next up, was tea and cake at Rose Bakery, close to Montmartre. By this time, we’d already visited some inspiring design boutiques in the Marais district. Merci, another concept store, but more accessible than Colette, was a definite highlight. The Italian bought a pair of stylish safety matches boxes and I lusted after pretty much everything.
So to Rose Bakery, where we were supposed to have our second lunch. I ordered a lovely, moist pistachio cake with Jasmine tea and the Italian… couldn’t eat a thing. As they had stopped serving lunch, there were only cakes on the menu. As you understand, the Dukan diet does not allow cakes. Not many diets do.
Before we had dinner we therefore had to do a pit-stop at a random bistro so the Italian could have an omelette.
As the snow fell, we got ready for Chez L’Ami Louis. I had been promised giant slabs of foie gras, a mountain of the thinnest French fries and a gigantic roast chicken. The Italian had been before and he was nearly salivating as he shared his fond memories. For this dinner, the diet had to be put on hold.
The restaurant is on an inconspicuous street and is nothing more than a rustic bistro, founded in the 1920’s. Curtains cover the windows so you can’t look in and inside, it can’t get more intimate, with only a handful of tables. The interior hasn’t had much of a refurb since opening, I dare say.
The interior however, is not the point. The point is the food and the wine list. The menu is concise but I couldn’t re-iterate much if you asked me. I know snails featured and lamb, but we knew what we wanted, the chicken to share. This is a strange dish as you wouldn’t normally order chicken in a restaurant. This, on top, is a chicken for €85. What you get however, is a whole chicken so moist that you probably will never have anything like it. It’s swimming in gravy that could be eaten on its own, or possibly by baptising the skinny fries. The fries disappeared with a ferocious pace, they are easy buggers to consume. I obviously couldn’t finish all of the chicken, nor could the Italian. The foie gras starter with toast made its mark and the Pomerol wine, too.
Defeated we left the restaurant. It had stopped snowing and Paris was insanely beautiful as we whizzed past the Place de l’Opera and Place Vendôme. I wondered how anyone could say that Paris is, and I quote, ‘a s***hole’.
The next day, the Italian admitted; Paris is ok. Biggest win of 2013, so far.