Turning 40 isn’t something many of us look forward to. However, Evan made it a little easier for me by booking us a European vacation as a birthday surprise! Three nights in Paris followed by three nights in Rome! We saw SO much and walked many, many, many miles. Well, I guess we walked many kilometers being in Europe and all:)
Our adventures in Paris took us to Sainte-Chapelle, Notre Dame, the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Musée de l’Orangerie, Musée d’Orsay, a stroll by Napolean’s tomb, the Arc de Triomphe and more. One of my favorites was Sainte-Chapelle. If you’re not familiar, it’s an old church with the most beautiful stained glass windows I’ve ever seen. Another highlight was the Musée de l’Orangerie. I didn’t take any pictures (I think I was in awe), but the museum holds eight large Water Lily murals painted by Monet. You can see for yourself using the museum’s virtual guide here.
The food? THE FOOD. I happily survived on bread, steak and wine. Sometimes it’s hard to take a moment to snap a picture when a delicious plate of food is set in front of me. Can you blame me? Here are some of the wonderful delights I did manage to capture.
We stopped for a mid-day bite outside overlooking the Fontaine Stravinsky near Le Centre Pomidou. The fountain was a long pool with multiple brightly colored, playful sculptures within, each spewing water. Along one side of the fountain, there were several restaurants all with outdoor seating. After lingering around browsing the menus, we caught sight of a few plates being served outside Dame Tartine and our choice was made. I had the Provancale Tartine – a hefty slab of toasted bread smothered in roasted veggies and goat cheese, served with a small side salad. It was fantastic!
Café Saint Placide was a quaint spot just around the corner from our hotel. We had breakfast there twice. The first morning we both devoured a simple breakfast of coffee, fresh squeezed orange juice, croissants and a baguette smothered in butter and jam. You read that correctly – croissants AND a baguette. Yes, please! The following morning it was nearly noon so we opted for their lunch menu. I had the Saveur salad. It doesn’t look like a ton from the picture, but half way through it looked as though I hadn’t eaten a thing!
On our second night, we dined with family at a lovely restaurant, Le Soufflé. As the name suggests, they make…soufflés! Divine, heavenly soufflés. Here is a picture of my dinner before they poked a hole in the middle and poured in a delicious cream sauce with chicken and mushrooms.
I happened to pick one of the few desserts on the menu that wasn’t a soufflé, but I wasn’t a bit disappointed. Salted caramel ice cream! Are you drooling yet?
For our last meal in Paris, we went to a small restaurant that had gotten rave reviews on Yelp, Le Bistrot d’ Henri. We sat out front and enjoyed the cool night air. I couldn’t leave Paris without another steak, so I ordered the flank steak with shallots and potatoes gratin Dauphinois. For dessert, chocolate mousse! I’m not a huge chocolate lover, but I can never pass up chocolate mousse. I didn’t even stop to take a before photo, lol.
After dinner, we headed back to the hotel for a final nights rest before heading to the airport in the morning. Next stop, Rome!