Quartier Latin, French Onion Soup and a Sparkly Tower

Quartier Latin, French Onion Soup and a Sparkly Tower

Even before I arrived in Paris I was excited to explore the city. Working full time would leave me my weekends free, especially if I got my planning done at work, and I wanted to use those free weekends to do as much as I could.

Today was my first day doing just that! I had a vague idea of where I was going and what to expect, maybe, but I had no particular plan or route, just to wander and lose myself in the streets of this wonderful city, and maybe discover something great.

I met with a friend for my first time exploring Paris, more specifically a part of Paris called the Quartier Latin (Latin Quarter) which is in a heavily student-populated area thanks to numerous university buildings in that area. We started at Place Saint Michel and immediately headed off down a side street. Being Sunday, everywhere but the bars and bistros were closed, so unfortunately we couldn’t go into any of the many bookshops that make up a fair amount of the shops, but it was interesting to wander around and see the area.

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We managed to walk our way out of the busy area and down some quieter side streets which led us to the river, so we decided to walk along the river and then cross a bridge into the Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries Garden) and up to Place de la Concorde (Concorde Place). We then realised we were really quite hungry so headed back the way we had come to find somewhere to get some food.

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We walked back into the back streets and happened upon a road with a whole load of bistros serving French food. They all had really good deal menus, and we eventually chose one which had an ‘express’ menu (like a basic menu) which included a starter, main and dessert for only 10 euros! For my starter I had French onion soup, and I finally got to tick something off my Hello France: Five Things I Want To Do list! It was every bit as amazing as I was expecting it to be, and I am deathly serious about saying I could happily eat it every day. The onions were super soft, and paired with the French bread and melted, grated cheese it was just divine. For my main I had steak with a pepper sauce which was yummy. I am having to get used to the French levels of cooking a steak, as they don’t seem to be the same as the English, but despite being a little undercooked for my liking it was still lovely. Finally for dessert I had chocolate mousse which I had been wanting to eat for a couple of weeks. Unfortunately I have no photo but it was also really nice.
The bistro itself was small, but a nice place. They also serve raclette and fondue meals which I definitely want to try at some point! A couple on the table next to us ordered a raclette but the flame didn’t seem to want to work and in trying to fix it the waiter managed to set the table and a chair on fire, which was pretty funny! He didn’t seem to bothered…maybe it’s a regular occurrence!!

After our very reasonably priced meal, we went for a hot chocolate in good old Starbucks. We then jumped on the RER C (an inner-city train) to go to the Eiffel Tower to see it sparkling. We walked along the river to the tower and it started sparkling as we got to just the right point. It was insanely beautiful, absolutely mesmerising. Almost surreal! It sparkled for five minutes and then stopped, and we went for a walk around the Champ de Mars gardens. We managed to unintentionally spend an hour walking around the gardens, and as we walked back towards the tower to go on to Trocadero to get the Metro, the tower started to sparkle again. It was just as amazing the second time round, and I guess everyone else thought so too – we spotted a couple properly sucking face (not even an exaggeration) which continued for at least 10 minutes. Shocking behaviour. (It was hilarious!)

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To finish our evening we crossed the river and walked up to the Cité de l’Architecture, which was a good place to get a few more photos and also where we got on the Metro to go home. It was a tiring afternoon/evening, and we did lots of walking, but I had a great time and really enjoyed just being out and about in Paris.

(Sorry for the Eiffel Tower spam but it’s just so amazing, I couldn’t help but take a billion photos! They’re a little blurry, so I want to take my tripod out one night to get some better photos.)

Next weekend I am going to the Chinese New Year parade on the Sunday, and my Saturday is as yet unplanned, so maybe I will go for a walk into Montmartre and explore a little bit more in my area. If you have been to Paris, or if you live in Paris, and you have somewhere you recommend, let me know!

Until next time,

H x

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5 Comments

  1. 17/02/2015 / 1:35 am

    Chocolate mousse. Yes.

    Those are beautiful photos, Hannah! The Eiffel Tower, as usual, looks absolutely stunning, but I still can’t get over how magical it looks all lit up like that—wow! Definitely on my bucket list. I’ve never been to Paris, so unfortunately I have little knowledge of good tourism spots. Although the Louvre is a must, if you’ve yet to go there!

    • hlou14
      Author
      17/02/2015 / 6:53 am

      Ahh thanks so much! I’m glad you like them. I took about a billion but most of them were blurry so I think next time I’m going to take my tripod out with me!
      The good tourism spots in Paris are super easy to find. It’s definitely worth a trip one day!
      I have been to the outside of the Louvre but have yet to go inside. I’m here until the end of July though so I have plenty of time. 🙂

  2. 17/02/2015 / 10:01 pm

    Ah I miss French onion soup and the steak 🙁 ! At least I have unlimited tortilla and manchego at my disposal to make up for it for now 🙂
    The Eiffiel Tower is just incredible from every angle, at every time of day. You can never take too many photos of it!

  3. cedric
    18/02/2015 / 3:37 am

    Salut Hannah, je suis Cédric et je vis à Paris. Je te souhaite tout d’abord de bien profiter de ton séjour ici :).
    I’m sure you would do great on your own but i can give you a few hints on my favorite places to envoy …
    I ‘ll pass quickly on the museums because i am of the lazy kind but to sum up Paris looks like a big museum heh : louvre, pompidou, musee d’orsay, chateau de versailles, palais de tokyo… huh i’m already tired thinking of it !.
    I’m more of a wanderer and a drinker so if i had to choose …
    – One garden / parc : les Buttes Chaumont 19e : hills, (artificial) lake and the most beautiful sunset of paris in summer with the cafe la Rosa Bonheur on top.
    One canal : le Canal Saint martin 10e (ok there’s only one haha) : the banks of the canal are the ultimate rendez-vous of the parisian youth to chill and have drink(s) when the sunny days are back ( and so many restaurants and bars there, for example le Comptoir General)
    – One library : la BNF (Bibliotheque Nationale de France) 13e : if not for the library itself, for the surprising location !
    – One cool cafe for afternoon or brunch : la Recyclerie 18e, porte de clignancourt : an old lil train station renovated , great place and surprising initiatves … the neighborhood is quite poor but its safe. And a lil further the famous “marché aux puces” of Saint Ouen (juts netx to Paris)
    – One river : la Seine (what else ?) : picnicing on its banks on ile saint louis in summer …. ahhh
    One inhabited hill for the beautiful streets and smelling the perfume of the old paris : Montmartre
    – One inhabited hill for drinking and partying : Menilmontant , more diverse and popular, more relaxl, cheaper, less crowded (i leave close and i love it)
    – One “bobo but nice” area : le marais 4e, the jewish, gay and fashion district, very nice to walk except on weekend when its crowded… push firther up north and you ll reach Rue de Bretagne , of the same kind
    – One restaurant : uff too hard to choose , i let you discover
    well thats it for now , now i deserve to sleep

    Bonne découverte !

    • hlou14
      Author
      18/02/2015 / 7:49 am

      Bonjour Cédric, et merci beaucoup!!
      You are so kind to write such an extensive list of things you suggest that I do, and I will definitely try to get to all the places you have mentioned! I especially like the sound of the café in the old train station, and all the summer activities. I can’t wait for the sun to come back 😉
      Encore une fois, merci beaaauuuuucoup, et je te souhaite une bonne journée. 🙂

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