Most Americans have at least heard of Bastille Day, July 14, which marked the beginning of the French revolution in 1789. The Bastille was the infamous prison which was the prison that was symbolically linked to the end of the arbitrary rule of the monarchy and the beginning of democratic ideals. This monument stands where the prison was and is now the site of markets, demonstrations, a traffic hub, and numerous cafés.
Since part of the reason for the revolution was food, and most notably bread,
I headed over to Café Des Musées for lunch in the nearby Marais. Filled with a truly international crowd, including Japanese, Australian, and French tourists and locals. I loved that the waiter asked if I spoke French rather than assuming that I did not; I realized when some local Japanese came in that they were used to locals who may look like tourists and tourists who may look like locals, so they never made judgments. That attitude made me smile, as much as the fact that they opened a new bottle of wine for me once I asked for a glass of red, and actually gave me a taste to approve before serving me (of the house red whch was less than 5€ or $7)!There are five locations of this Café in the area, so if you're in the 3rd or 4th arrondissement, this is a great place to come. They have set menus from just 13€ (about $18USD).ôte de boeuf (steak), but the lamb special caught my eye and for 24€, this delicious tender roasted lamb with a side salad, roasted onion, and potatoes was presented to me by the chef himself! The meat was lightly salted, the fat was crisp, and the bone portion was so good I wanted to pick it up and chew on it (but I didn't, somehow I cut off every sliver of meat with a knife and fork). This was a very hearty portion (for Paris) and I still managed to finish every bite. Service was efficient and friendly, a rare combination in any capital city, so I would come back.
I wanted a crêpe to make up for the really bad ones I had on Île Saint-Louis, so I walked around and found a small stand called OH 58 where I got a wonderful crêpe a sucre (with sugar). It was tender, hot, perfectly sweet with a hint of butter and only 2€ (about $3USD). This stand is directly across the street from Monoprix, on Rue Saint Antoine, about two blocks from metro stop St. Paul.
Place des Vosges with its impressive arches, sheltering art galleries and restaurants overlooking the green square in the center.
A bit of video inside the Place des Vosges looking back to the arches from inside the square.
The top of this church looked "normal",
but the entrance had red doors!
I saw a store specializing in Bordeaux with HUGE bottles called La Maison des Millesimes in the 6th arrondissement. Their prices were not great, but if you want something rare, this is the place to find that rare vintage or cru if you can't find it anywhere else.