Weekend Wanderings

Having escaped to Provence for the bank holiday, I was looking forward to spending a proper weekend back in Paris. After saying goodbye to my friends from school on Friday night, I came back to the apartment to begin the weekend’s excitements with an after-work/school drink with Sophia. We decided to explore the area a bit, and stumbled across an atmospheric bar just off Rue du Temple. There were about ten different Mojito options on the menu, so we were obviously very happy!

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We then headed over to Rue de Forres for the most delicious dinner at Café Pinson, a place I’d heard about on some of my favourite Paris blogs/Instragram pages, Hip ParisRue Rodier and Paris In Four Months. This café is right up our street: the menu is vegetarian, gluten and diary free, and the dishes are displayed in a glass cabinet to help indecisive diners make their minds up – perfect for me and Sophia. Café Pinson is a bit like Mildred’s in London; the food is super healthy, but that doesn’t stop it from being completely delicious. It was hard to believe that the melt-in-the-mouth chocolate mousse was almost completely guilt-free! Weirdly this was our first meal out together, and it was definitely a great place to begin our gastronomic tour of the city.

Saturday morning was lovely and sunny, so I made a little detour on my run to visit the much-Instagrammed Rue Crémieux. This little street is found just between the Bastille and the Gare de Lyon, and it is full of beautifully colourful houses. So cute!

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Sophia and I wanted to take ourselves out for a spoiling Saturday brunch, so we crossed the river to look for somewhere suitably delicious. We worked up a large appetite on the way, stopping at second-hand bookstalls by the Seine, and a lovely old Perfumier in Saint Germain called Buly. The old-fashioned bottles were beautiful, and the smells were absolutely divine: a place to take our mums to when they come and visit!

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After looking wistfully in the windows of the Café de Flore, Ralph’s and Ladurée, we headed to Bon Marché to satisfy our growling tummies at the Rose Bakery. This was a very good decision. The food was great and the service was excellent – when they bought Sophia the wrong dish, we were given a free side salad and a chocolate cookie as an apology present. We wandered around the beauty department and then crossed to road to visit the Grande Épicerie, one of my favourite places ever. This is basically a cross between a luxury food hall and an everyday supermarket; gourmet deli counters intersect with cereal isles, and people do their weekly food shop while us tourists munch our way around the parma ham testers.

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After a coffee in a classic French café, we popped into the beautiful Église Saint Sulpice for a quick look. The church was lovely, but our favourite part was the Rimbaud poem printed on the wall outside. Obviously we both had to have a photo in front of the poem!

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We then headed off for a wander around the Jardin de Luxembourg, which was looking seriously beautiful in the sunshine. We sat down by one of the fountains to watch the world go by while munching on our Rose Bakery cookie: the little kids playing with toy boats were really cute, but my favourite people to watch were the lone readers, lost in their books.

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After stopping for chocolate supplies, we started to make our way back home, although we couldn’t resist a quick visit to the famous Gilbert bookshop on Rue Saint Michel. So many French books – I will definitely be spending an afternoon there at some point!

Supper was a big event chez nous: it was time to try out Sophia’s new spiraliser. To please my many fans who have requested some DeliciouslyEliza food posts, even though I know that no one is actually interested in what I ate for dinner, I have put the recipe for our insane courgetti at the bottom of this post. All I will say is that courgetti is going to be a regular feature in our apartment over the next few months!

As if Saturday wasn’t busy enough, we decided to exhaust ourselves even more on Sunday. I persuaded Sophia to join me in the Insanity class at Les Berges, and we had quite a nice time jumping up and down in the sun with thirty other enthusiastic exercisers.

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We then tested out our new smoothie machine at brunch time (recipes also below), before heading out for a walk up to the 18th Arrondissement. Although it was a sunny day in August and we knew Montmartre would be heaving, we decided it was time to face the crowds and do something a bit more touristy. We climbed up to Sacré Cœur, our legs aching after the workout and the long walk there, stopping to take the compulsory touristic photos at every level. Sacré Cœur is the third church I’ve visited in the last four days – good Catholic girl that I am – and, although it is absolutely stunning, I actually think that the Église Saint Roch was my favourite. The beauty of Sacré Cœur is somewhat disturbed by the security guards shouting at photo-taking tourists and the noisy souvenir vending machines. However, we fortunately arrived just at the right time to hear the organ play and the nuns sing, which was really amazing.

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Rejuvenated after our church visit and a quick coffee stop, we headed even further north to visit La REclyclérie, a bric-a-brac market we had read about on the Do It In Paris website. This turned out to be quite disappointing: it’s a great idea and the warehouse-style café was pretty cool, but in reality it was just a fairly sub-standard car boot sale. It was fun to try something a bit different though, especially after our touristy visit to Montmartre.

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As we seemed to have walked all the way to the end of the metro line, we decided that the walk home might just be the end of us, so we took the tube half way and then wandered home via Canal Saint Martin.

IMG_5803 We had a quiet Sunday night, making Shashushka for the first time and settling down to my favourite ever French film, LOL (not the Miley Cyrus one), with our yummy new Pana chocolate.

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It was the most perfect weekend. We achieved a huge amount: loads of touristy sights and food, and I feel like we covered at least half of the city on foot! We’re already looking forward to next weekend, which we will hopefully spend exploring the Marais a bit.

Recipes 

Banana smoothie:

1 banana

1 date

a chunk of cucumber (length of a finger, I’d guess)

Handful of spinach (we used frozen cubes)

glug of almond milk

handful of oats or spelt flakes

large spoonful of almond butter

spoonful of mixed seeds (we used linwoods blend)

two ice cubes

Green Smoothie:

half an avocado

Handful of spinach

Chunk of cucumber

glug of almond milk

spoonful of yoghurt

one date

spoonful of almond butter

spoonful of seeds (linwoods)

tiny teaspoon of wheatgrass

couple of almonds

2 ice cubes

topped with flaked almonds and more seeds

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Cucumber spaghetti with Italian-style sauce:

2 courgettes

5 cherry tomatoes, halved

handful of black olives

one clove of garlic

basil

feta

The method is almost two simple to bother writing out. Spiralise the courgettes, then cook the garlic in a saucepan with some oil before adding all the other ingredients except the feta (we also added a spoonful of shop-bought tomato pesto). Season the sauce and leave it to stew while you cook the courgettes for a couple of very short minutes. Drain, then top with the sauce and extra basil. Voila – the easiest dinner ever!

Shashushka:

1 tin tomatoes

handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped

1 red pepper

2 mushrooms

large handful of black olives

chopped coriander

Clove of garlic

2 eggs

feta

paprika

dried herbs of choice

salt and pepper

Method:

Another ridiculously easy dinner. Fry the garlic in some olive oil then add the mushrooms and cook until tender. Add the chopped tomatoes, pepper and olives, followed by the tin of tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, a large handful of coriander, and a large sprinkling of paprika and your herbs (we used ‘herbes de Provence’). When half of the tomato sauce has reduced, make two small dips in the mixture and carefully break in your eggs. Leave to poach in the sauce, then sprinkle with feta and extra coriander before sevring. Toast s0me bread if you like, or use iceberg lettuce leaves to mop up the yummy sauce. Delicious!

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