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Solo trip report May 20-27th

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New York City, New...
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Solo trip report May 20-27th

I rarely write trip reports but have been inspired by those of you who do! Here is day 1 and I will post the rest as replies on this thread.

Day 1 – After 3 ½ dry days in London, I arrived Monday evening by Eurostar to heavy rain. I stopped at an ATM and then the Relay at Gare du Nord where I purchased a Lebara sim. I remember some recent posts about them being difficult to find but they seem to have plenty so hopefully other stores have replenished their supply as well. I joined the taxi queue which was probably longer than usual due to the rain but luckily was protected from the elements.

Waited about 10 minutes and then was on the way to my rented apartment in the 11th. I used VIP and everything was as expected. The apartment was very clean and after a quick inventory check I set off to explore the area. The rain which continued to fall steadily slightly dampened (pun intended) my explorations but I was still able to get a feel for the area (love it!) and found a patisserie around the corner for my first treats of the trip. I am not usually a lemon fan but the Tarte au citron looked so amazing I couldn’t resist and I purchased a chocolate beignet as a back-up, you know just in case the lemon didn’t cut it. ;)

I then picked up dinner at an Asian traiteur just down the block from my apartment and headed “home” and opened up the bottle of wine provided by VIP. The wine was decent, dinner was good and the lemon tart was absolutely delicious but that did not stop me from eating the beignet as well! For anyone staying in this area, the patisserie is on Ledru Rollin, just off rue de Charonne and as I found out later in the week they made a nice baguette as well.

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1. Re: Solo trip report May 20-27th

Day 2 – It was raining again when I awoke (or maybe still?) but it wasn’t too bad and I had a full day planned so wasn’t going to let that slow me down. I headed to Blé Sucre which I had heard was amazing and it certainly lived up to expectations. I ordered a café noisette and a croissant and sat outside since the rain had stopped. The croissant was so light and flakey, just heaven and dangerous since this place is only a couple of blocks from the apartment. On the way home I stopped at Monoprix to pick up some supplies before getting ready for my much anticipated lunch at Septime.

Septime has been hyped up quite a bit and that always makes me nervous since I’ve been to a lot of restaurants that let the accolades go to their heads and start slacking off on quality. I am happy to say that is not the case here. I was among the first to arrive for lunch at 12:15 and was warmly welcomed and given a great table overlooking the open kitchen.

I opted for the Carte Blanche which is a 5 course tasting menu chosen by the chef. I was asked if I had any allergies or if there were foods I didn’t like which was a nice touch since in my experience there are rarely substitutions on chef menus. Since I had no idea what I would be eating I asked for wine recommendations and was promptly brought a lovely glass of white along with water and bread. By this time, the restaurant was filling up with a pretty even mix of French and English speakers.

The meal was really fantastic from the Ahi salad first course to the white asparagus velouté and on through dessert which was rhubarb with fresh strawberries & mint with a vanilla infused crème fraiche that accompanied it. Luckily, the waiters spoke English well enough to explain when I wasn’t able to understand in French. The waiters were all great (not to mention very attractive) and the one I discussed wines with brought me a complementary glass of red that went well with the perfectly cooked pork belly. I had some great meals during this trip but this was the clear winner!

I had booked a late afternoon cheese tour with Paris by Mouth and I had about 2 hours to walk off some of my lunch in preparation so I decided to make my way by foot to the 7th since it had stopped raining. My only other experience with a food tour in Paris was several years ago and I had been disappointed. We were in a group of over 20 people making it very difficult to hear the guide and impossible to squeeze into small shops or maneuver through the market as a group. The PBM tour was expensive but seemed to be priced in line with other small group tours.

We met outside of Erik Kayser bakery on rue du Bac which is where our guide, Meg purchased bread to accompany our cheese. Next we went across the street to Androuet where we learned a bit about becoming an affineur (sp?)and about some of the cheeses. We purchased about 15 different types and then walked over to La Derniere Goutte where there were stools set up in the back room for us.

We spent the next couple of hours tasting and learning lots of info on a variety of cheeses, what region they come from and some interesting stories. Patty from the wine shop spent some time with us as we discussed the wines we were drinking. There were 7 of us plus the guide which is the maximum group size they do. It ended up being all women and most of us were around the same age and traveling solo. At the end, Meg (our guide) packed up the leftovers for us to take with us and a few of us decided to go out for drinks in the area.

We went to L’Avant Comptoir which is a really fun but extremely small wine bar nearby(though I found out they are expanding this Fall) and then to a great lounge-y wine bar a Parisian friend who now lives in NYC told me about in the area. Before I knew it, it was close to the last metro of the night so after exchanging contact info, we all headed to our respective Parisian homes.

San Francisco...
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2. Re: Solo trip report May 20-27th

Lovely trip report! Thank you for sharing. I'm doing the market tour with Paris by Mouth next month (!). I'm also adding your meals to my ever-expanding list!

Saratoga Springs, NY
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3. Re: Solo trip report May 20-27th

Oh that sounds like a lovely trip so far! I can't wait to hear the rest of it :-)

North of Boston, MA...
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4. Re: Solo trip report May 20-27th

Looking forward to more, too. The PBM tour sounds wonderful! I'm always overwhelmed by the cheese choices in France/Paris. I think I'll look into it. Nice report; sounds like you're making the most of your visit.

MA
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5. Re: Solo trip report May 20-27th

Loved your report!

Gainesville, Florida
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6. Re: Solo trip report May 20-27th

I'm going solo in November so I'll be reading this report eagerly! Sounds like you had great fun!

New York City, New...
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7. Re: Solo trip report May 20-27th

Glad to see everything going well. Thanks for sharing.

melbourne
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8. Re: Solo trip report May 20-27th

please continue - i am enjoying reading this.

San Diego...
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9. Re: Solo trip report May 20-27th

The meal at Septime sounds wonderful. I have food allergies and I love the fact that they ask you about them and what you like and don't like. I've saved that info. Although I'm not sure how you were able to go to a cheese / wine tasting 2 hrs later but good for you! It sounds like fun and I love meeting follow travelers.

Please continue with more !

New York City, New...
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10. Re: Solo trip report May 20-27th

Thanks to all for the comments!

OMG Elizzie, I was so worried I wouldn't be hungry but that was my only option for Septime! If you go, make sure to call a few weeks in advance. I walked a solid 2 hours after lunch and it was about an hour or so into the tour that we actually tasted so my appetite had just started to come back.

rigbyjack, Paris is such a great city to travel solo and it is very easy to meet people if you want some company while you are there.

Cindy B, you should definitely consider the tour. There is so much to learn about French cheeses!

Cindy T, are you doing the marche d'Aligre tour with them? Please come back & report on it. I love that market.