I had another Radisson Blu post to share. It was cheerful, boozy, and delicious. But I’m hot off the train from Paris, and I want to tell you all about our Parisian fun while it’s still fresh in my memory. My feet are so sore and I’m quite surprised we managed to fit so much into two short days. I told you all about my big long Paris to do list. I really did not think we would manage to tick through half the list, but the blisters on my poor feet will tell you otherwise!
We got into Paris late on Friday night. We took the Thalys train down from Amsterdam. If you’re traveling to Paris from Amsterdam, the Thalys is the way to go. You don’t have to fuss with security or passports, and the ride is smooth and relaxing. The Thalys train travels at about 200mph, so it’s just over three hours from Amsterdam to Paris. If you book in advance, you can usually get a round trip for less than €100. Taking the train is cheaper than flying, and you don’t have to worry about arriving at the airport two hours early to clear security, queue up, packing light, etc. To pass time on the train we drank beer and played on B’s iPad, and we arrived at Gare du Nord like clockwork three hours later.
After an uneventful cab ride we came to our flat. We stayed in the 16th which is a lovely neighborhood, adorned with beautiful 19th century buildings, large avenues, and some stunning views of the Eiffel Tower. The staircase in our apartment was my favorite (left) but we didn’t dwell in the building for too long. We literally dropped our bags, had a quick wardrobe change, and then popped downstairs to catch another cab.
Funny story – when we walked downstairs, we headed to the street and threw our hands in the air wildly, in attempt to hail a cab (you have to remember, we’re Amsterdam biking natives). After a minute or two of looking silly (and at least four available taxis passing us by), a cab driver finally pulled over – only to point out that there was a taxi stand RIGHT next to us. Embarrassing! We had a blushing stroll to said taxi stand . . . .
From the back of our cab we had some gorgeous views of the Eiffel Tower. At this point I think my mouth was plastered into a big Paris smile – excited and ready for the adventure to begin, despite the late hour. Although this wasn’t B’s first choice for a weekend city trip (he’s lived in Paris so it’s a bit ‘eh’ for him) I think he had the big smile on at this point too :)Our selected dinner spot was Au Pied de Cochon – a round the clock French pig joint.Au Pied de Cochon are open 24 hours a day, so you can get a big plate of fries and a pig leg at 3am. Our reservation was a bit more modest and and fell at 10.30pm. Despite the somewhat unconventional dinner hour, the place was packed and we were glad we’d made a reservation.Everywhere you looked were little pigs, big pigs, pig cartoons, and pig statues. We went super French and started with snails. I’m a big fan of snails, but I’m an even bigger fan of melted butter and french baguette. Luckily, all of the best snails are swimming with fresh herbs, garlic, and butter. So you start with a warm, garlic bite of snail, and then sop up the remaining butter with baguette. Bon Appétit! Our mains were also very French-classic. I went for duck breast . . . . . . and B went for ‘St. Anthony’s Temptation’ . . .. . . a breaded pig’s tail, ear, snout, and trotter – the famous, (and some would say) delicious Au Pied de Cochon special. I really wanted to like this dish. Hell, I had snails for my first course! But every bite just tasted like farm wax. B on the other hand loved the pig and scarfed it down in seconds. Despite not loving the pork, it was served with the BEST béarnaise sauce I’ve ever tasted. I was literally dipping fry after fry into this sauce, and the waiter had to bring us a second basket of bread because I used the first as a dipping vehicle. (I just googled the ingredients and am shocked to find it’s all butter and egg yolk, and I’m pretty sure I ate at least half a cup!)
Anyways, I still had my big Paris smile on when I went to the bathroom, and just thought everything looked so lovely, from the faucet knobs. . . . . . . to the door handles . . . which were little pig feet!After eating six snails, a duck breast, a pig ear, tail, snout, and leg (doesn’t that all sound so disgusting when lumped together?!) we hit the streets for a long walk home. It was 1am and all the roads were deserted. No one was at the Louvre. There were no tourists snapping photos at the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.Except me.If you’ve never explored Paris after midnight, you’re missing out. It might not be as fun as a Woody Allen movie, but it’s peaceful and romantic.And really, really pretty.On that note, it’s been a few late ones so I’m going to hit the hay. More Paris adventures to come!