Saturday, April 10, 2010

Trip to France (Paris-Spring 2010)...Saturday Night Bar hopping with local friends in Paris

The travel from Beaune back to Paris was very unpleasant to say a least. Because of so many canceled trains, the second train from Dijon to Paris was jam-packed and we didn’t even get the seat assignments. I could managed to find an empty seat, but the whole car was so stuffy. It even delayed further.

We finally arrived at Gare de Lyon in Paris. The group was dissolved and everyone went on his/ her way. Lynne and I were going to stay 2 more nights in Paris to have more fun!

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Our hotel this time was in St-German. It was another very cute hotel and the location was so perfect also. The weather in Paris was so gorgeous this evening, and there were so many people hanging out in the area.

Tonight, we met my friend Catherine and her boyfriend, Benjamin for dinner. They are Paris locals and I was so excited to get together with them. Catherine suggested we meet at Lavinia (3, boulvard de la Madeleine - 75001) for dinner, so we took a cab there.

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Lavinia is a huge wine store. I was amazed not only by the size of the store but also by the wide selection of their wines including premium and rare bottles. In the basement floor, they have some of the most sought-after wines over different vintages. They also have the tasting machines. You can by a card and choose wines to taste.

Upstairs is their wine bar. It's a really cool space, and you can buy and bring any wines from the downstairs wine store with NO CORKAGE FEE. I was so happy to meet lovely Catherine! I met Benjamin for the first time tonight. He was so nice and friendly just like Catherine and we became friends instantly.

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We enjoyed the very local-style Saturday night light (?) meal. The charcuterie plate was so delicious and so as 2006 Marc Sorrel, Crozes-Hermitage (blanc), which was Benjamin’s selection. Their "house" butter was AOC Beurre d'Isigny from Baie des Veyes area of Normandy! It got the rich natural sweetness and nicely intense flavor.

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After the wine bar, we took a cab to Hotel du Nord (102 Quai de Jemmapes – 75010) for more drink. We ordered Deutz, Champagne Brut, Rose. This is a restaurant/ bar and is very popular among locals. The place was completely packed with people.

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Night was still young. We went to another bar. It's called Cafe Bonnie (9, rue des Recollets, 75010) and it’s got the cute cat in the sign and the place is very bohemian-style. The bar’s owners are Catherine and Benjamin’s friends.

We ordered some cocktails. Benjamin had the absinthe! After the liquor was poured, a flat metal spoon was set on the glass and a sugar cube (wetted with more absinthe) was placed on top. Then, the sugar cube was set on fire. It caramelized and melted into the drink. Very interesting. The aroma was so big.

After midnight, the bar was so crazy packed and there were more crowd even outside.

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Someone had a birthday and they were celebrating with macaron tower. Even though I don’t speak French, after a few drinks, it was so easy to just make friends with the entire group!

What a great time I had! After the whole week in Burgundy, I felt I really needed something like this. Paris is so cool and I just love the vibe of this city very much.