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Almost vegan in Paris/Bordeaux

October 12, 2009

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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9 Comments leave one →
  1. October 12, 2009 10:59 am

    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. Anonymous permalink
    October 13, 2009 3:40 pm

    Looks like each day was as exciting as the next!
    CJLF

  3. scoperta78 permalink
    October 15, 2009 12:33 pm

    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. October 15, 2009 2:34 pm

    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. October 15, 2009 4:28 pm

    mmmm, Nutela and wine, now that’s a good combination!

  6. Ken permalink
    October 19, 2009 12:15 pm

    I’m not sure which is most impressive – your descriptions or your photography. Both are great.

  7. January 16, 2012 7:12 am

    I realize this is an OOOOLLLLLDDDD post, but I saw Paris and had to read! We were in Paris and Orleans back in October, as well as Gent and Brussels in Belgium. (Oh my goodness, I had my fair share of wine, too!!) Half of my husband’s Zimbabwean family live in Paris and scattered throughout France, Belgium, and the UK…so we kind of have free room and board when travel. 🙂 I also saw that you visited Germany and had fun at Oktoberfest. I am also German. Born in a town called Itzehoe. (Yes, it’s almost pronounced as it looks, hehe.) Had our trip just been a few days longer, we might have gone to Germany so I could visit my Oma and the rest of my mother’s family. My mother brought me to the US when I was still a young child. My father is American and was a captain in the army, stationed in Germany as many soldiers are at some point. Since I essentially grew up in the US though, I always felt kind ‘special’ as a kid because my summer vacation stories were about hopping aboard a plane and flying across the ocean to unknown lands. We celebrated German holidays and customs in my home when I was still a child, and I had that mother who didn’t speak English so well that everyone thought was just so cool, lol. 🙂 Can’t remember having too many vegan meals in Germany…we REALLY loved our meat and potatoes!! 😉 But I’m sure there are options a plenty in the larger areas.

    • January 16, 2012 8:31 am

      Trish, I LOVE getting comments on these old posts! I didn’t have many blog readers back then, so most people haven’t seen these, which makes me sad because they’re some of my favorite posts ever!

      How lucky are you to have free room and board in France and Germany! Can I come with you next time? 😉 My family is German (from Bavaria, mostly, but we have a cluster of relatives in Frankfurt too), but we don’t speak German (even though I was a language scholar, my specialty was romance languages, so I never got around to learning German, sadly! I still hope to do that someday). However, we do have a number of Germanic recipe traditions in our family – at least, I’m told they are, but by now they may not even resemble the originals – like my grandma’s “eierbrot” that’s our Thanksgiving stuffing, the povatica we eat at holidays, and some other sweet and savory goodies. Probably not authentic at all 😛 but we enjoy them!

      I absolutely fell in love with Munich (and the Bavarian countryside) during the short time I was there, and I enjoyed Cologne and Heidelberg as well. I’ve been dying to go back ever since – I’d really like to make it to Berlin, Hamburg, and Frankfurt next time!

      • January 16, 2012 8:49 pm

        Cool! Germany is a great country. If people would get the Nazi strero-type out of the way, they’d see they Germans for the most part are actually very warm and welcoming people. There’s lots of culture to experience, including African and Middle Eastern (tons of Turkish culture everywhere obviously). We were in Belgium back in October, and it was so much like Germany, I got a little homesick actually. My mother was originally from Hamburg. Most of the family now lives in Bad Bramstedt, which is north of Hamburg and also where most of my childhood memories are. My great-grandmother had a 2 bars and a hotel in that city that she’s had since WWII. She worked very hard, like 12-15 hours days or more, to keep the family going. But she has passed on, and we no longer have any of that in the family. Such a pity because the pub was my favorite place to hang out as a kid…go figure! I loved watching all the old men come in at like 11 in the morning and drink all afternoon.

        Next time we go to Paris, I’ll let ya know. 😉

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