There is something about Paris that makes me want a cigarette. Not that I smoke or ever have smoked, it’s just Paris. It’s street side cafes, lovely boulevards, and fashionable people watching make me want to stop, have a seat, order glass of Champagne and light up a cigarette like a Parisian.
We stopped in Paris on a 2 day layover between San Francisco and Dubai purely to eat, drink and stretch our legs. I am a big fan of “The Layover” App from the Travel Chanel and Anthony Bourdain so we picked a few places and got to work.
We stayed in the 4th arrangement, somewhere I found very little information about in my usual travel reference material but it is conveniently located on the river north of the Isle St. Louie. Google maps listed a lot of café’s/bars and fewer hotels, both promising signs. For around $130 per night we stayed at the hotel Le Compostile and had a tiny room with even tinier bathroom, but this is Paris so all rooms are tiny and there was free Wi-Fi, big windows and the central ‘local friendly’ location, I would stay there again.
Our First night walked 20 minutes through the 3rd arrangement, past beautiful clothing boutiques and groups of Saturday night Parisians. We stumbled upon a vintage clothing and furniture show and for 3 Euros checked it out, we were the only tourists. Our dinner destination was the Au Passage in the 11th arrangement, a restaurant I has seen on Anthony Bourdain Layover. Searching for half an hour it turns out we missed it by one block (finding it closed the next day) but jet lagged and thirsty gave up and soothed my frustration at Cuba Champagne with 3 fantastic “Mojito Especial” (Havana Club Rum, Mint, Lime and Champagne, heaven). Nicely liquored up we found a typical French café featuring live music and ate something I can’t get in California, Foie Gras. Travel lesson, when you are frustrated and lost, get drunk.
Our first full day started with Café, Croissant and a trip to the Marche San
German the largest covered market in Paris. We purchased the selection photographed, all delicious but that raspberry macaroon was to die for. The plan was to have a picnic in Luxembourg Gardens, but it was overcast and about 43 degrees so we picnicked in our room.
Sunday April 24th was Palm Sunday and we watched part of the service in Notre Dame, celebrating its 850 year anniversary this year.
That night we went to Le Avant Compatuer, every bit as good as the reviews promised. With echoes of “Anthony Bourdain came here” we enjoyed boudan noir (Blood Sausage) and Beef Carpaccio. The standing room only small plates and “Layover” Fans made for a friendly atmosphere. No trip to Paris is complete without seeing the Eiffel Tower, and why not at night for hourly twinkling lights, worth stopping for.
Monday is a tricky day in Paris, all the museums are are closed so tour groups flock to destinations like Montemarre and Champes De Elises, and both were packed. We walked, stopped and ate, then walked some more, then ate some more, then drank more and walked more, drank more, rinse and repeat. We carried on this way from the Arc De Triomphe back to our neighborhood the 4th arrangement, 8 hours of ‘Paris’.
A satisfying layover and excellent start to our trip, next stop Dubai.