After many years of living Paris the beauty of the city is often lost behind the cloudy grey weather and daily train-train*. Often I find I must make a concerted effort to find the time to take advantage of this beautiful city.
Yesterday, a sunny day, I decided to steal a few hours in town. First stop: the Passerelle de Solferino, a small bridge across the Seine from Musee D’Orsay to the Tuilerie gardens, to admire the spectacular view up and down the river Seine. Second stop: A leisurely walk across the Tuileries Gardens to the Robert Frank photo expo at the Jeu de Paume museum.
Next – looking for lunch, always a favorite pass time: Down an alleyway behind the Tuileries gardens we stumbled upon Lesclure a small bustling French bistro, so bustling in fact, that there was no room for the two of us. This is the true Parisian bistro with the zinc counter top, checkered table cloths, back to back clients on long communal tables, a constant hubbub of diners and, of course, classic French cuisine. We will be back.
After a bit of flaner* et leche vitrine* including a stop at the English bookstore Brentano’s, and the Official Paris Tourist office rue de Pyramides for some brochures, and we ended up in the Japanese neighborhood. This small quartier behind Opera, nestled b/w La Bourse, Pyramides and Palais Royal, is replete with a plethora of authentic Japanese restaurants, shops, travel agents and supermarkets.
Yi-Ping, the Japanese restaurant on rue St Anne where we finally dined , strangely resembled a Chinese restaurant. A boui-boui* with smiling, albeit, non French speaking (but very Chinese) service and a tasty surprise. Steamed vegetable raviolis, Beef & mushrooms, and wok noodles with shrimp and veggies. Good food & a great price of 20€50. Note: This restaurant is not for those who want Hip ambiance, but for those who seek authentic ethnic cuisine.
Last stop Zen Zoo for our favorite bubble tea. This hip Japanese restaurant and Salon de The (tea room) is a hub of activity. They even offer tea tasting classes. Bubble tea is an odd, but delicious concoction. Hot sesame tea with milk & tapioca pearls for me and chilled Passion fruit tea with tapioca pearls for Alain. The food here is great too. It’s a bustling fast paced canteen and people watching at its best.
On the way home a little Moroccan hole in the wall caught my eye and I went in to get the card. The chipper owner, in the midst or preparing Oriental delicacies, explained that he has been there for 40 years and now only opens for the neighborhood regulars and those who want to bien manger (eat well).*
“No noodles here!” he said. He mentioned that if we wanted to dine in his restaurant, we had best hurry before he is off and retired, and we had also best call before heading in as he is not open on a regular basis but as his mood dictates. Another one for the list… Le Caprice – Fanfan et Laurette. Now we just need the time!
train-train* – Daily routine. Monotonous repetition of daily tasks and routines. French – Routine, repetition monotone des acts quotidiens.
flaner* – Verb. Walk with no precise destination in mind. Do nothing, and with pleasure. French – Se promener sans but precis. Perdre son temps avec plaisir, paresser.
leche vitrine* – Noun. Strolling along and looking in the windows of storefronts. French – fait de flâner dans une ville en regardant les vitrines des magasins
boui-boui* – Noun. Small inexpensive restaurant, canteen, hole in the wall. French – petit restaurant, gargote.