Où est le…

June 9, 2009 at 9:11 PM 8 comments

I only have a little more to get through in recounting our trip to Paris, so hopefully I’ll be able to get back to “normal” posts this week.

Sunday we had a relaxing morning and did the whole bakery thing again before heading to Hillsong Paris. Our previous experiences with Hillsong Churches were just through their worship music, which we often sang at our church back home, the Austin Stone. We have really enjoyed their music, but their church was a different story.

1. It was hot and French people seem to not wear deodorant. Hot, sweaty, stinky people in an emclosed room without a/c in late May = bad news bears.
2. The worship seemed forced/fake.
3. There was nothing deep about what we heard.
4. It was distracting to have the service in 2 languages (French & English) at once.

After being there through 40 minutes (the first 35 being songs), we left. The more we sat there, the more aggravated I found myself. I can’t even place why I was so annoyed, but I was.

Since our plans for the day changed a bit, we improvised and went to Parc des Buttes Chaumont (a park) in the 19th arrondissement. We had a great time walking around the park and enjoying the views, but we got warm pretty quick. I believe it was around 90 that day, and keep in mind air conditioners are few and far between over here. We got a brief respite from the heat by grabbing popsicles on our way to the metro when we were done at the park.

Next, we tried to go to the Catacombs, and it took us FOREVER to get there. We tried to take a regional metro line that’s typically faster; however, it was probably a bad choice. The train was packed. I mean packed. When it pulled up, John got on first, and I was worried the doors were going to close before I could push my way on. I could just see us getting separated, and I panicked a little. He pulled me on and made sure I was safe, though. 🙂 I shouldn’t have worried about the doors closing too soon, either. Two or three rows of people pushed their way on behind me as well. We were packed so tight in this little standing area (with no moving air) that I couldn’t lift my hands up or move at all. We will never ride those regional trains again. Yuck!

By the time we got to the Catacombs, it was about 3:45 PM. We hadn’t had lunch yet, but we decided to go ahead and get in line and just eat later. A few minutes after getting in line, some guy who worked at the museum came to the back of the line and told everyone that they were closing at 4 and we would not be allowed in. What? You mean I stood in line and AFTER I got in line you’re going to send me away? Aren’t you people into educating the public? You shouldn’t turn people away!

Those were my thoughts for Mr. Mean Parisian Museum Docent. Of course, I didn’t say any of that. I believe my exact reaction was “you’ve got to be kidding” followed by crying off to the side while John hugged me. I think I was more frustrated by the day and the way in which the man went about notifying us than by the fact that we couldn’t get into the Catacombs. So what did we do instead of the Catacombs? Yup, McDonald’s. It was nice to finally eat lunch even if it was 4 PM and we were eating nasty fast food. We followed our unhealthy “lunch” up with a short walk down a side street where we stumbled upon an AMAZING ice cream shop. It was Italian, so I guess it was gelatto, though I think it tasted more like ice cream than gelatto. I had the best coffee-flavored ice cream I have ever had in my life at this place. Yum! If you are ever in Paris and are by the Catacombs, it’s down the sidestreet across from the McDonald’s (which is on the same street at the Catacombs).

At this point, we’d already had quite a day, so we went back to our hotel to relax for a bit and regroup for dinner. John got on TripAdvisor and found out there was a popular little steak place right by our hotel, Le Relais de l’Entrecôte. According to Wikipedia, “the restaurant is owned by two sisters and one brother of the Gineste de Saurs family, which specialise in the contre-filet cut of sirloin and serve it in the typical French bistro style of steak-frites, or steak-and-chips. L’Entrecôte, founded by Paul Gineste de Saurs in Paris’s 17th arrondissement near Porte Maillot. Now run by one of his daughters, the restaurant is widely known as L’Entrecôte Porte-Maillot. It has a second location in Barcelona, as well as three additional locations operating under licence, two in London and one in Bahrain.”

I’m glad John did some research and found this place – it was delicious! We stood in line on the street for about 20 minutes before getting a table. During our wait, we saw some poor guy get his wallet or cell phone stolen from his dining table on the sidewalk. Yikes! Needless to say, when we got our table, I wrapped my arms through my purse for the duration of our meal.

Once we were seated, the waitress came up to us and with no menu in front of us, she just asked how we wanted our steaks cooked. So this is for real – the place ONLY serves one dish. Crazy, right? She brought out wine for us (per our order) and a small salad. Then came the steak and fries. Oh. my. gosh. The fries were good, but the steak was phenomenal! The sauce on top really made the dish. The entry on Wikipedia says the sauce is a butter sauce made from chicken livers (ok, it sounds gross but I didn’t know this at the time, and hey, it was DELICIOUS!), fresh thyme, thyme flowers, full cream, white Dijon mustard, butter, water, salt and pepper. For a picture of the steak, go here. I wish I could have it again right now!

Just when I had eaten enough, the waitress (by the way, all their wait staff are women and they wear black dresses with white aprons) brought out a refill for my fries. She followed that up with a tray full of more steak and “refilled” my steak. Whoa. So you’re telling me I can’t get free refills on my soda or water in Europe, but I can get a free steak refill at this restaurant in Paris? Sweet.

Though we heard the desserts were also great at L’Entrecôte, we already had other plans – reservations on the patio at Cafe de l’Homme with a view of the Eiffel Tower for dessert. Unfortunately, when we got there, the host told us we could not sit on the patio unless we ordered dinner. Keep in mind it’s now 10 PM. Dinner at 10? Are you kidding me? So John said he would order one plate and they let us sit there, which is ridiculous in the first place, because my reservations said for 2 at 10 PM on the patio with a good view of the Eiffel Tower for dessert. Why do people make this so difficult? Our waiter was no exception. I ordered in French, and I guess he just acted like he knew what we were ordering. One of our two desserts, a plate of exotic fruit, came out about 15-20 minutes later\ but we were missing the creme brulee as well as our two cocktails (an Irish Coffee and a B-52). John’s Irish Coffee came out and again, we were still missing the B-52 and creme brulee. After asking the waiter again for my drink, he was like “oh. you want a drink?” Ugh. Forty minutes after we sat down, my drink finally arrived. Finally, I asked “où est le creme brulee?” which was my best attempt at asking “where is the creme brulee?” Again, he acted like it was the first time he heard that we wanted a creme brulee. It came out 10-15 minutes later. What a hassle! The table next to us, a French woman and her granddaughter, were having the same problems so I know it wasn’t just because we’re Americans. They were there before us and had not received any of their food in the hour or so we sat next to them (they eventually moved tables after complaining to management).

Bottom line? Cafe de l’Homme has great views, terrible service and so-so food. Our recommendation? Grab some pastries at a bakery and a bottle of wine at a shop during the day and bring everything to the steps at Trocadero in the evening and enjoy a picnic there. It will be much more peaceful, you can eat at your leisure and you won’t have patio umbrellas obscuring your view of the Eifflel Tower and of the city.

Ok, whew! That was more that I remembered when I started this entry. Hopefully at least one of you out there enjoys this post. If not, I’m still glad I have it for the memories 🙂

See below for short slide show:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

– Sarah

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Entry filed under: Our Goings On, Travel. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Wrinkles, Sheets and Coffee Memorial Day

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jacoline  |  June 9, 2009 at 10:12 PM

    I didn’t know there was a Hillsong service on sundays…But I totally understand what you mean about fake and forced, I see that everytime I see Hillsong London perform…Ughh.
    As of the Hillsong church in London…I did like that church a lot. loved the service I was in….but I guess it depends on who’s speaking.

    Reply
    • 2. osarah  |  June 12, 2009 at 8:08 AM

      Oops I just linked you to this post. I forgot you already read it!

      Reply
  • 3. purejoy  |  June 10, 2009 at 3:48 AM

    tres jolie!
    it’s always interesting hanging out in paris. sometimes it’s the best experience, and sometimes incredibly frustrating. i’m glad for the most part you had an enjoyable time. my mouth was watering for that steak!

    Reply
    • 4. osarah  |  June 12, 2009 at 8:08 AM

      Yeah, I wish I could go back and have more of it. It was so yummy!

      Reply
  • 5. CN Heidelberg  |  June 10, 2009 at 10:19 AM

    We had almost the same experience at the catacombs in Rome! By the time we got there we were famished because we’d missed lunch, and it turned out they were not letting any more people in. We ended up having a bag of peanuts for lunch from the vending machine there and walking a looong way to a different catacomb.

    Reply
    • 6. osarah  |  June 12, 2009 at 8:09 AM

      Oh the woes of travel… 🙂

      Yeah, but really, it is frustrating when you plan your day to go do something and then it’s closed. Especially when you have walked/ridden the metro forever to get there!

      Reply
  • 7. hayley  |  June 14, 2009 at 3:13 AM

    Oh Sar,
    Your blog is so wonderful! It always makes me smile. Kudos for the cute bit about the steak refills. Europe is one weird place (trust me, I know!)!
    xoxo

    Reply
    • 8. osarah  |  June 14, 2009 at 3:40 PM

      Aw, thanks! I’m glad you enjoy it 🙂
      And yes…Europe is pretty weird, which means it’s always an adventure!

      Miss you!

      Reply

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