Monday, October 12, 2009

Almost vegan in Paris/Bordeaux

The morning after our Seine cruise, we took a bus tour of Paris that culminated at the Eiffel Tower. It was stunning by day as well; imposing and industrial, yet lacey and almost delicate-looking.

We rode two elevators to the top, and marveled at the vastness that is Paris.

The views were skip-a-heartbeat breakthtaking, to say the least.

After the Tower, we hit the Louvre for a dizzying, whirlwind tour that barely scratched the surface of its contents. It is without a doubt the biggest building I have ever seen. We pushed gingerly through throngs of people to see such works as the Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, and good ol’ Mona Lisa. Afterward, we strolled through the grand, spacious courtyard.

I’m getting to the food! A group of us decided to cross over the Seine to le Quartier Latin in search of lunch. We spotted a place called La Crêperie, and crowded into their tiny upstairs. For years I’ve daydreamed about sipping an espresso in a French café, and that day, I got my wish.

My lunch was not vegan, but it was heavenly. I ate – get this – a Nutella-stuffed crêpe topped with salted caramel glace (ice cream). Ohh, sweet bliss. No regrets!

A walk along the river followed, and then we returned to our hotel. I went for a run, showered, and got dressed up, because that night, we attended a show at...

...Le Moulin Rouge! Oh, if only cameras weren’t banned inside. Sadly, I can’t show you the vegetable soup, ratatouille and rice, or chocolate torte I ate. The show itself was spectacular—lots of lithe, long-legged ladies (and some men) sang and danced “le can-can” in glamorous, elaborate costumes, and hilarious variety acts (a juggler, mimes, a ventriloquist) popped up every now and then. I loved it!

Oh yeah, and did I mention that we were given a bottle and a half of red wine and a bottle of white wine with dinner, plus a bottle of champagne during the show? There were five of us at our table, but I’m pretty sure Melissa, Greg, and I polished off most of it. Perhaps that’s why I decided to steal a baguette on our way out.

Our rather large group spilled out of the building and right into O'Sullivans, the cocktail bar next door. After that, we returned to the hotel, but made a beeline for the bar and wound up sharing several more bottles of wine before finally calling it a night. What an experience—an awesome show, delicious food and drinks, and great people.

Leaving Paris the next morning was one of the most bittersweet moments of the trip. My time there was really a dream come true. I promised her I’d be back soon.

We drove all afternoon to get to Bordeaux. It wasn’t quite as pretty as I’d pictured it – truth be told, it was a little grimy – but it had its charm. I took a 6.5-mile run around town to sightsee on foot. Their cathedral is gorgeous.

We ate dinner at our hotel, but I must admit it was one of my least favorite meals. The vegetable pot pie-type pastry they gave me was definitely not my thing.

Neither was the custard pie, unfortunately.

But no matter. After dinner, the whole horde of us walzed down to the lovely main square and took over a long row of tables on the terrace of a café. We sat there past midnight, admiring the cathedral glowing in the dark, talking, laughing, and drinking. There was one thing about Bordeaux that not only met, but exceeded expectations: their fabulous red wine. Cheers!

In the next entry, we say goodbye to France, but not for good! We will return shortly. In the meantime, we’ll wander south to SPAIN.

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  1. Your story brought back so many memories! I haven't been to Paris for about eight years. Now, I can't wait to get back there. My favorite city ever!

  2. Looks like each day was as exciting as the next!

  3. I really liked your Eiffel Tower (sans streetlamp, Photoshop would perfect it) image. It’s always a challenge to get something that monumental to fit into the frame, but I think you pulled it off.

  4. Our Moulin Rouge night was one of my favorites of the WHOLE trip. It really MADE Paris for me. And what could replace that pic of you with the stolen baguette??? I love it!!

  5. mmmm, Nutela and wine, now that's a good combination!

  6. I'm not sure which is most impressive - your descriptions or your photography. Both are great.