So here goes with my quick round up of a beautiful city, can't wait to go back.
I didn't take any pictures of the meals I had during the work part of my stay but I would recommend the brilliant (and very typically Parisien) Chez Prune (36 Rue Beaurepaire, 75010) bar for atmosphere and great wine, we ate at Philou (12 avenue Richerand, 75010) one night where I had a brilliant cassoulet and we all shared a huge and delicious chocolate fondant pudding. I mostly hung around in the 10th arrondissement which is a great neigbourhood, with lots of restaurants, bars and also very chic (but sadly out of my budget) clothes stores from independent designers.
Du Pain et Des Idées - I'd already walked past it the evening before and saw a queue snaking around the corner, so it had to be my first port of call.
This little bakery is run by smiley friendly staff selling baguettes, breads, pastries, but with some inventive additions. I'd read up before I went along and their 'Pain Des Amis' seemed to be the one to try - a sourdough bread with a smoky flavour and a great crispy crunchy top. You can buy a huge loaf - which I would assume is for share with your 'amis' but they do also sell it in smaller portions.
I also picked up a couple of L'Escargot pastries - one with pink praline and one with pistachio. I do believe they are the sugariest things I've ever eaten - which is brilliant. The pink praline was my particular favourite as it had a mixture of caramel stickiness and crunchy pieces of praline amongst the flaky pastry. We tried again on Saturday morning to get some croissants but unfortunately they only open Monday to Friday - next time!
On the Friday evening we were both tired (in no way was I suffering the effects of too much good Bordeaux) so we just chose a bit of an unspiring pizza place across the road from our flat (Canaletto) - if you want to try a better pizza place The Pink Flamingo is fun and the American Italian owners are really nice, they have several branches in Paris (yes I ate pizza twice whilst in Paris!).
David Lebovitz. I'm afraid I was a bit of a superfan geek but I really do love his blog and the way he writes. I am now the owner of a signed copy of David's book, The Perfect Scoop. *grin*
After the book signing we headed to the trendy district of La Marais to have crepes and galettes at Breizh Cafe. I'd been recommended this traditional Breton cafe by a friend and been reassured it was very authentic and many of the ingredients sourced in Brittany - also crepes are great if you are with a vegetarian. It's tough finding veggie food in France! I started with a Kir Breton (breton cider and cassis) which is something I've never heard of and it works really well, something I am going to recreate at home.
The confit onions were my favourite part, so sweet and savoury at the same time, I also enjoyed the dippy egg and galette combo!
Saravanaa Bhavan, a vegetarian Indian restaurant just near Gare du Nord. The restaurant was absolutely heaving when we arrived about 12.30, we were told to find a seat where we could, and ended up sitting with others which totally does not appeal to Brits, but it was quite good fun in the end. It was chaotic but the atmosphere was buzzing - full of families - Indian and French, tourists, people alone getting a taste of home. A great place to people watch.
sooji. They have restaurants all over the world - including London and randomly Ilford which isn't too far from home!
After our meal we caught the metro to the Champs Elysees and walked down to the Arc du Triomphe including Jardin des Tuileries. There is a very touristy Christmas market down there where we had some pretty bad churros, I'm sure there are better Christmassy things to do in Paris, I would avoid that. The shops, however, were great and I managed a little more shopping before we had to catch the train back to London.