Saturday, September 6, 2014

Day Six: Picnic & Wandering

Today, I slept in (it's not easy to sleep on a Friday night in Paris when your window looks out over boul. St.-Germain!  Between the late-night carousing, the sirens, and then the car alarm that went off every minute or so from 6-6:30am, I didn't get too much sleep...)  I checked my email, worked a bit, and packed myself a picnic lunch, then headed out, stopping briefly at a local épicerie to pick up a petit pain and a plum, and strolled across the pont du Carrousel.  I found a nice bench in the shade and people-watched for a while while enjoying the picnic -- very Parisian, just bread, cheese, charcuteries, olives, and fruit.

After eating, I wandered for a good long while -- up to the Palais Royal, into the Église St.-Roch, up to Place Vendôme, to the Opera, into H&M (found a new shirt and some socks, neither of which I'd packed enough of), and through the Galeries Lafayette (boy, does that place make me feel déclassée...).  By that time, I'd had enough wandering for the time being, and hopped on the subway back to Odéon, then remembered it was time for goûter!  I also remembered where I had seen gelato, so I strolled down to Amorino for pistachio, mango, and Speculoos gelato -- yummy!

I went back to my room, cleaned up, and relaxed for a bit, then changed and went out for the evening.  I have to admit, I'm doing OK with being on my own in Paris for the most part, but it's a bit intimidating being out alone on a Saturday night.  It is much less common here to see people dining alone than in the U.S. -- people almost always travel in pairs (very occasionally larger groups, but I would estimate that nearly 90% of the groups I saw at restaurants were pairs, with a few larger groups, and even fewer single diners).  And there are even fewer single women.  But oh well.

When I was in Greece, I tried ouzo, so here in Paris, I figured I had to try pastis at least once  It's a lot like ouzo - anise/licorice flavored and very strong. It comes as a golden liquid, served with water and a glass of ice.  You pour it over the ice and add water to your taste.  It turns cloudy when it hits the ice, which is a pretty cool effect.  I'm not much for hard liquor, but if you like sake or other high-proof liquors (and don't absolutely despise licorice), you would probably enjoy pastis.

The bar where I ordered the pastis also served dinner, but I figured I'd try something different, and remembered that I'd strolled past an area of small bistros south of boul. St.-Germain, surrounding the marché St.-Germain-des-Prés.  I ended up at a tiny restaurant called Le Petit Vatel on rue Loubineau, and had poireaux vinaigrette, which I thought would have something to do with pears, but it was actually leeks.  Ah well, that's the adventure of dining in a foreign country.  It was challenging to cut (very fibrous and I only had a butter knife), but quite tasty.  Then I had a rumpsteack mi-saignant, perfectly cooked, which came with mashed potatoes and a variety of steamed vegetables, all simple but very tasty.  I asked the very friendly waitress for a recommendation for cheese, and she brought a Saint-Marcellin -- very creamy and a little on the strong side, but delicious.  A glass of Viognier with the entrée and a Côtes du Rhône with the steak rounded out the meal perfectly.

A wonderful end to a relaxing day!

No comments:

Post a Comment