I left off where we were getting ready for our Thanksgiving Dinner. But wait. I need to backtrack a couple of things.
Given the fact that the hotel’s lighting was horrific (I’ll be writing about that later), I managed to clean up nicely for dinner. I’m wearing the Chloe by Envy Wigs that my husband gave me for my birthday and a $7.00 faux leopard collar from Forever 21!
First—I’ve gotten a couple of inquiries as to who Daniele was. She’s the husband’s aunt who was his second mother—in my case, she turned out to be my French mother—the two of us hit it off and remained very close to each other until she passed away. This will give you a background click the link please to read “Paris Without Daniele”
Secondly, while we were practicing the fine art of “flauneuse” or, in his case “flaneur” by roaming the streets, we were discussing our dinner plans for the next three evenings. On Saturday and Sunday, we would be having dinner with family so it left Friday blank.
Allard Restaurant–now owned by Alain Ducasse–recipe creator of the Gourgeres that I make!
We were having this conversation as we passed by the restaurant “Allard” and Bonaparte suggested we call for reservations. Me, being the aggressive, assertive American suggested walking into the restaurant and making reservations on the spot. With my husband telling me in his extremely heavy accent that was now becoming increasingly more difficult to understand told me “Eezz jus’ not don—ou ‘av tew cawl zhem”
I opened the door to the restaurant and he followed.
And we made reservations, on the spot, for the next evening at 8:00 PM.
Score one for moi!
Now we can get back to Thanksgiving!
We had dinner at Restaurant Paul—which is nestled on Place Dauphine. This is our neighborhood place. In the summer, it’s quite lively with seating outside so diners can catch a glimpse of the goings on outside and keep a mental score of the boule games that are a constant.
The restaurant was quiet on this Thanksgiving–then again, we made early reservations at 7:30 by the time we left, it was garnering a crowd.
It’s a quiet and welcoming restaurant during the winter. Very cozy and warm and the food remains consistently good. The menu isn’t a large one—which is a good sign. And so, we sat down to our Thanksgiving Dinner of ….
When dining out, we have Kir rather than the Kir Royal–simply because the restaurants don’t use good champagne and when they do, the drinks cost a fortune. Frugal travel tip!
After a round of Kirs, I started with my favorite appetizer. Squid and Mushroom in a foam sauce–this is the third time I’ve had this and it never fails. I hope it never disappears from the menu.
He never strays from the pack of snails. The husband enjoyed some escargot
And yes–my rebellion was combating turkey with Steak Tartare! And it was heavenly!
Bonaparte went with something fancier than my steak tartare. He had some sort of steak and a fancy potato. I was too involved in my raw meat!
The restaurant always adds a dish of their small cubed potatoes which I’ve adapted and make at home!
No pumpkin pie to finish off this meal. Instead a dark apple tarte which was divine!
Happily satisfied with dinner, it was time for a stroll along the Seine to Pont Neuf and back to the hotel!
With a slight mist in the air, the view of Pont Neuf appeared even more ethereal and mystifying. There is something on the spectacular side when strolling through the streets of Paris in the evening after and during a light rain. The city shines and the reflection of the buildings from the street lights makes it all look like a dream…and it’s the perfect preparation for slumber.
Pont Neuf at night–I can’t count the times I’ve crossed this bridge over the past 13 years..
The lighting is mesmerizing..
And I love the view across the river of Daniele’s old apartment building. I’ve got nothing but wonderful memories of my time spent there and I’m still pinching myself to validate that it was never a dream!
Black Friday in Paris is Crazy—but first a little stop.
Oh the discounts were heavy! Up to 30 percent off but before we go shopping….
My husband had an appointment with the Donation Jacques Henri Lartigue, the National Foundation for his grandfather’s photographs. We woke up and had the French version of a Continental Breakfast at the hotel and called an Uber to take us to the far reaches of Paris where the Donation is housed.
Our little table at the hotel…
A very inviting and quick “help-yourself” breakfast. I felt right at home…
Most likely the healthiest meal I’ve had in months. Why–even that little pastry was filled with apple!
TIP: In Paris? Make sure you have the Uber (they pronounce it “Ew-Beahr”) app on your phone. I love me the G-7 Taxi cabs but you can get an Uber quicker and every driver we had was great!
The meeting lasted about an hour with Monsieur Lartigue and the woman from the Donation discussing business. Luckily, when we left, it wasn’t raining yet but it was a bit damp. For me, it was perfect because I love walking around on a gray day—there’s no sun to bother the eyes.
The Donation Jacques-Henri Lartigue is in the far stretches of Paris but it is nestled in a quiet and charming area..
Check out the potted palm trees. I thought I was in Morocco but when a cold gust of wind hit me I realized I wasn’t!
While Bonaparte and this woman were discussing business, I was having a look-see…
Renee Perle, the muse of my husband’s grandfather. I don’t know who had more beautiful hands–Renee or Barbra Streisand!!!
A quick walk to the Metro and we rode to Galeries Lafayette. I wanted to see the Christmas Decorations. Galeries Lafayette on Haussmann is one impressive department store. And the Christmas Décor never fails to please. Although, I have to admit, the decorations from two years ago raised the bar higher than any year. Still, the lights, the decorations and the fun didn’t fail!
Another break from the rain as we left the Metro and headed up to Galeries Lafayette. Take a look at what Parisiens are wearing please. Nothing fancy just very pragmatic outerwear choices!
Here we are at Galeries Lafayette on Haussmann! Home of some truly magnificent Christmas decorations!
View of the “tree” hanging from the domed ceiling..
It’s hard to see but there’s strings of tiny lights and IRL they looked beautiful!
A view from a lower angle..
Looking down at the cosmetics area.
This line was the most astounding sight I saw at the store. This line stretched from that back wall through the length of the store. Note the woman with the beverages. The entire line was Asian people–men and women and it made me remember that the movie “Crazy Rich Asians” is on my must-see list! It was astounding. There is no way in hell I would wait on a line to buy a bag. That’s crazy. Period. C.R.A.Z.Y! Hmmmm what was my husband looking at?
Time to look at more decorations!
But first–lets take a look at the shoes! These shoes. OMG. If only I could afford a pair of Dior shoes, these would be mine! Toile we meet again….
As we walked around the shoe area, the husband asked me if I needed a pair of shoes. Excuse me? You ask me that question and I’ll never say no! Stopping by the Repetto area, the sales had diminished any ballet flat I liked in my size.
See those black booties next to the black pumps? Those are the ones I got and at a 30 percent discount.
This young woman thought of everything. She knew I was traveling and replaced the shoe box with a shoe bag. I like that!
But I did manage to get a pair of pointy-toed, black booties which my shoe wardrobe was lacking. And might I add, the Geox area employed the greatest sales assistants. In my broken French, I managed to get a smile and great help and off we went, with my boots in hand!
That billboard ad is greatness–you would never see it here because I’m sure it would offend someone! *eyeroll*.
The windows at Galeries Lafayette were a hit with spectators this year..
A bit of window entertainment and a spot of sun peeking through made for a pleasant walk to a taxi stand. And we were off to the office of Zazi Films.
And in my most humble opinion, this could be, quite possibly, THE most beautiful window display I’ve ever seen in my life. Shoes. I almost fainted! This is a stairway to shoe heaven!
Zazi Films is the office of the film company Daniele and her husband Yves Robert create d. Situated off the Champs Elysees, the office is in a building just feet away from the busting avenue. It always appeared to be small with rooms in the back that were empty except for boxes of memorabilia. Bonaparte’s cousin, Hugo Gelin, now a movie director had a vision to open up the offices and make them light, airy and modern and boy—did he do a fantastic job!
It was cold but I had a wooly scarf and my Wren wig to keep me warm. And minimal makeup. When in Paris…..
Bonaparte taking a walk down memory lane and onto the offices of Zazi Films..
Ahhh..the infamous Zazi logo…
The renovation of the office is remarkable–it’s so light and airy and a bit youthful now–the new regime…
Bonaparte’s cousin Hugo had a tremendous hit with this movie–we were lucky to be in Paris for the premiere!
And it was nice that some old touches were left …
A stop at Monoprix to pick up some essentials and a few stocking stuffers and once again, we were allowing our feet to lead the way back to the hotel for a bit of rest before our dinner at Allard.
Walking along the Champ Elysees to Monoprix. The crowds were out for Black Friday!
I have to add—and this is important. Please don’t ever be intimidated by the “smoke and mirrors” that you see in many blogs and Instagram photos of Paris. Women do not prance through the streets in fancy clothes. They don’t walk in picturesque poses throughout the day. And I swear, I see more designer bags in the US than in France.
Note how people are dressed. They are freezing their tiny French behinds off! Lucky for me I have an ample American butt with more fat–so I wasn’t as cold as them!
There is a pragmatism in the way the French dress. It’s now late fall into early winter and the biggest trend I’ve seen is the donning of puffy coats and jackets. I honestly cannot stress this enough. Parisians have style, yes—they do. However, most of them are dressing for warmth and comfort right now!
These little sacs from Monoprix are a great stocking stuffer or small gift to hand to friends. Throw them in your purse and they open up into a reusable shopping bag and for a few euros, the price couldn’t be better!
And that’s what makes me happy. I didn’t have to drag a “wardrobe” with me. I stuck to the same basic theme. Black with a touch of camel or jeans.
I stuck to the same outfit I wore the night before. Who the heck was going to see me anyway? Trust me, when you are traveling for a short jaunt, you don’t need to pack a ton of clothing!
Dressing for Allard, I stuck to basic black. The vibe in the restaurant was very casual. It was homey and the atmosphere was welcoming and staff friendly and cordial.
Time to check the menu…
Our Amuse Bouche was Alain Ducasse’s Gougeres–can you believe it? I make them all the time…and
…little nuggets of cucumber in a light dressing!
Bonaparte started with a Pate en croute which he loved so much that I only got but a morsel!
I had foie gras with a jelly and toasts and I ate every last crumb!
Not one to play it too safe when it comes to a good dinner, I ordered the beef cheeks and they were incredible. I can’t say I’ve ever had anything quite like them. The texture was smooth and they were soft as buttah—and the sauce. The. Sauce. The second I put that sauce in my mouth I had an instant memory of a beef stew that my mother made because I swear the sauce tasted the same and it was so comforting to me.
I ordered the beef cheeks–old school French comfort food and boy was this comforting..
I would order this again and again and again…it was that good!
Bonaparte had the steak a poivre and ……. he’s become a bit spoiled by American beef. The steaks in France are a bit tougher but tastier and he likes his beef more tender. Still, he loved and ate every morsel.
Bonaparte’s Steak au Poivre–and he said the sauce was out of this world fantastic!
Dessert was Floating Islands and it was, hands down, the best floating island dessert I’ve ever had. Ever!
I would love the chef’s recipe for this insanely delicious Floating Island!
I do recommend a dinner at Allard if you are in Paris and want a comfortable place with great food!
This was a great way to end a rather busy and ambitious day—don’t you think?
What will Saturday bring? I’ll let you know in Part Three…..
Here’s a little ditty from the window display at Galeries Lafayette!