All that said - I loved Paris. The food was great, the people were lovely, and it had a much more relaxed, fabulous vibe than London (which is coming from somebody who LOVES London). I had never been to France before, so this all came as a delightful surprise.
Our first night in Paris we stopped at a little brasserie across from the Palais de Luxembourg and had a huge meal of roast chicken (for me), beef bourguignon (for the H - listening him try and pronounce bourguignon was hilarious), and delicious crepes with poached pears and pear ice cream for dessert. And a bottle of wine, obvs. We practically had to roll back to our hotel (we were fortunate to be staying right in the Latin Quarter, near everything. Rolling was possible).
In addition to making crepes a daily habit, we also made croque monsieur/madame -s a near-daily habit as well. They never disappoint, and they're filling without being heavy. We also indulged in a lot of dessert, including this chocolate mousse with gingerbread cookies.
We spent an afternoon at Versailles, which was just insane. I could've been French royalty, is all I'm sayin - those people know how to LIVE. We wanted lunch while we were there, but this mean woman cut in front of us and bought EVERY SINGLE SANDWICH. I'm not kidding. So we had a lunch of desserts. It sucked. Or something.
I also ate a lot of red meat on this trip. I can remember our trip to Spain, when I was in high school, and I believe I ate quite a bit of red meat on that trip, too (my mother will be sure to correct me in the comments if I'm wrong, I've no doubt). The food in Spain was just too weird for my unsophisticated palate at the time - too many sea creatures with heads for my taste. That wasn't the case in France, the meat was just GOOD. Never the best cuts, always full of flavor and cooked to perfection.
I also ate a lot of
The H also tried duck for the first time in Paris, and fell in love. This duck had a nice crispy skin, and a great mustard-based vinaigrette. Rich and wonderful.
The H planned a tour of Reims and the champagne region, and we were fortunate to get a nearly-private (just us and one other couple) tour of the Billecart Salmon winery. We got to try three different champagnes and see all of the inner workings of the place - it was AWESOME. I love champagne so the trip didn't disappoint,and it was nice to get out of the city and see some of the gorgeous countryside.
After our day of drinking champagne and not eating, we decided to continue drinking at Au Sauvignon in Montparnasse and eat nothing but cheese and bread for supper. Which, now that I think of it, could have contributed to my love of France . . . moving on . . .
Our last night in Paris we dined at La Closerie des Lilas and the food was incredible. Our appetizer consisted of a puff pastry covered with some kind of honey glaze, artichokes, tomatoes, greens, and (gulp) chicken livers. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. I will try anything once, and those livers were DAMN tasty (when I wasn't thinking about WHAT they were). I had a great steak (again!) and the H had duck (again!) in a cherry sauce, with a macaroni gratin. We had a salted caramel parfait with ice cream and candied macadamia nuts for dessert. Again, I could've rolled back to the hotel. We had to get up early for our flight to Rome the next day, but we certainly left France on a high (and full!) note.
Paris was truly incredible and I hope that we can go back. If not, the H ordered us a case of champagne from one of the other wineries we visited (Ernest Remy - where I failed to take pictures during our tasting) so the memories will live on in the bubbles forever! Or until we drink it all!