Left Banksy

I picked up my bag at the Radisson Blu Metropolitan and navigated via Metro to the tony 1er arrondissement, home of luxury stores and fancy architecture.  The Palais Garnier is also within walking distance of the hotel.

The Palais Garnier.

The Palais Garnier.

The unassuming entrance to the Park Hyatt Place Vendome.

The unassuming entrance to the Park Hyatt Place Vendome.

The Park Hyatt is one of the most coveted properties in the Hyatt portfolio and I think a night here costs upwards of 800 euros!  Thankfully I had two free nights from the Hyatt credit card and there was availability during my stay, so I snatched those up very quickly as I was booking my trip back in February.  After checking-in and conversing with the front desk person (first in English, then gradually peppering “oui” and “non” through the conversation, and finally transitioning into full-on French) I was escorted into my room:

Such lavish digs!

Such lavish digs!

Definitely more than enough space for one person!  There was also a small box of butter cookies that I probably devoured in one sitting.  They were that addictive.  I also found amusing the two bottles of still water sitting on the wet bar counter that was replenished twice a day along with the maid service.  The French really take their water seriously.

After settling in (and watching Andy Murray delight the United Kingdom with his historic win at Wimbledon), I decided to hike over to the Rive Gauche and explore further.

The colonne Vendome erected by Napoleon to commemorate the Battle of Austerlitz.

The colonne Vendome erected by Napoleon to commemorate the Battle of Austerlitz.

XXX

Intersection of some of the most glamorous streets in Paris.

Pont 1

The Pont Neuf…which really isn’t that new.

Pnt 2

Le Pont Notre-Dame.

Pont 3

Et le Pont d’Arcole.

It was that time of day where the sunlight was coming in at the right angle to illuminate the face of Cathédrale Notre-Dame.

The lair of Quasimodo.

The lair of Quasimodo.

Even at 6 pm, the crowds were still trying to get into the cathedral.

Even at 6 pm, the crowds were still trying to get into the cathedral.

The southern rose window.

The southern rose window.

Youngsters partying it up with pounding techno music.  Silly Europeans...

Youngsters partying it up with pounding techno music. Silly Europeans…

First stop on the Rive Gauche was the Académie française, staunch defender of the French language.  Instead of using “software” and “email” they recommend “logiciel” and “courriel”.  Good luck getting the French public to say anything but “le email”.

The seat of authority on the French language.

The seat of authority on the French language.

Voltaire standing amongst some fleurs.

A devious looking Voltaire standing amongst some fleurs.

As I meandered through the jumble of streets behind the Institut de France, I came across the residences of some very famous historical persons.

The hotel where Oscar Wilde died amidst hideous wallpaper.

The hotel where Oscar Wilde died amidst hideous wallpaper.

The residence of George Sand, aka Chopin's partner.

The residence of George Sand, aka Chopin’s partner.

Such a typical Parisian street scene.

Such a typical Parisian street scene.

Richard Wagner wrote "The Flying Dutchman" in this house.  Wonder why he was composing about a Dutchman in Paris...

Richard Wagner wrote “The Flying Dutchman” in this house. Wonder why he was composing about a Dutchman in Paris…

Eugene Delacroix's former residence has been converted into the Delacroix Museum.

Eugene Delacroix’s former residence has been converted into the Delacroix Museum.

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Intersection of Rue de Seine and Rue de Buci, considered the heart of the Rive Gauche.

I liked how the Buddhist monk just strolled through my photo.

I liked how the Buddhist monk just strolled through my photo.

Peering down the restaurant-lined Cour du Commerce St. Andre.

Peering down the restaurant-lined Cour du Commerce St. Andre.

A bustling café.

A bustling café.

xxx

The long line in front of Le Comptoir du Relais St. Germain means it’s either really good or a tourist trap.  Apparently it’s the former as it is run by a famous chef by the name of Yves Camdeborde.  I didn’t have the patience to wait though (I think queuing at Wimbledon is enough for me).

By now it was 8 pm and I was starving.  Yet in a sense I was in the worst place possible to be hungry – because there seemed to be so many good restaurants in this area!  In the end, I returned to the Cour de Commerce and settled on a little restaurant called La Jacobine.

A cute little bistro.

A cute little bistro.

Le menu du jour.

Le menu du jour.

I liked how this place lets you pair different courses into a custom set.  In this case, I decided to skip the entrée and go with the plat + dessert combo.  Except there was a small problem.  I wanted to use my credit card, but the host told me that their machine was broken and that they would prefer if I used cash.  Unfortunately I only had 20 euros on me, and clearly that wasn’t going to be enough.  He was kind enough to hold my table for me while I went off searching for a BNP ATM machine.  Twenty minutes later, I returned flush with euros and ready to dig into some bistro fare.

For the plat I chose the duck confit.

For the plat I chose the duck confit which came on a bed of roasted potatoes, carrots, string beans, and zucchini.  Very hearty and very delicious.

And for dessert I chose the

And for dessert I had the house patisserie which was some sort of fruit crumble (I forget if it was apple or rhubarb or some other fruit) with a side of crème fraiche.

Again, this wasn’t the fanciest dinner, but the simplicity of the food made it really enjoyable.  Sure, you can go wait in line for Le Comptoir and shell out even more euros for a great experience, but that requires planning and patience.  It’s home-style food like this that I want to experience when travelling abroad.

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One thought on “Left Banksy

  1. Pingback: French Monk made regional products in Paris | Prête-Moi Paris

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