It is 11 years that I am living in Paris but I have never experienced this city from a tourist point of view; I avoid the Champs Elysée whenever I can (which isn’t too hard), never had the nerve to get up the Eiffel Tower and it was only last year that I saw the Mona Lisa in person (the audioguide in the Louvre is amazing!).
And it’s 3 years since I somehow succeeded to legally binding the best (most handsome, kind, generous, caring, patient, supportive, loving) man walking on this planet to me.
We wanted to do something special to celebrate our wedding anniversary and naturally we think either of just going out for dinner or spending a long weekend somewhere. We couldn’t decide on either of the two and came up with the crazy idea to spend a weekend in .. tadaaaa .. Paris! Our journey covered 5 Metro stations and took about 25 Minute from home door to hotel door. Yes, we are not doing things by half, we booked a hotel.
where to stay?
It is not the first time we stayed in Hotel de la Paix near Montparnasse (for one reason or another) and it’s always nice to come back. The staff is super friendly and welcoming, the rooms are a bit small but charming and clean. It even happened twice that we were granted an upgrade and they are not stingy when serving booze late at night.
However, after checking in and listening patiently to the friendly Paris advises the reception guy gave us, we started our sightseeing program.
What to do?
First activity: Burger King! A relict from the days, when they weren’t represented in France and we only could have BK when being on vacation. I don’t even really like it but I still can’t help on getting something there whenever I can.
We planned on visiting the Musée d’Orsay that day and so we did! To be honest, we are not very interested in art, and museums are
never rarely on our agenda when traveling; we are more in to walking around, having an afternoon drink coffee, watch people, walk some more, check some stores, have a first drink, enjoy dinner.. you get it. However, that didn’t feel quite right for Paris and we chose to walk a new path: culture!
Tip: buy your ticket online if you want to visit the Musée d’Orsay late, the ticket counter closes at 5pm
The Musée d’Orsay is located in a former railway station and exposes mainly french art from 1848 to 1914. It holds not only paintings but sculptures, furniture, and photography, however the collection of impressionists is really outstanding. I leave the detailed art talk for others but it should be said that even clueless visitors like us did have a good time. We could identify that in our poorly skilled eye the art of Renoir is rather a “nay” while Gustave Caillebotte is definitely a “yay” and Auguste Rodin’s “The Gates of Hell” are just beyond all judgement.
Where to eat and drink?
Three hours and one obligatory (soft!) drink later, we left the Musée d’Orsay and had an unhurried walk through the first and second arrondissement. The plan was to end the day in a bar that actually turned out to be one of the best bars I have ever been to.
You’d easily pass by Mabel if not knowing it’s there or if not by chance being up for a grilled cheese sandwich. What’s link you might ask? Well, this prohibition style bar lays hidden behind a grilled cheese sandwich store, without any sign on the shop front that hints to the excellent drinks you can have in the back.
Mabel’s is primary a place to drink Rum and a perfect place to celebrate an anniversary. The selection is outstanding but far more interesting are the cocktails. You won’t find any of the commons like Mojito or Pinacolada but instead ingredients that you might have hardly ever heard of or would associate with a cocktail (Togarashi? Patchouli? Barrel-Aged Coffee Bitters? Fenugreek? what?). Their compositions are really opening a whole new spectrum of taste without being too odd! And that’s not only my humble opinion; Mabel is one of the top bars of the world!
The Grilled Cheese Sandwich cover is not only a funny idea, they actually do sell them and they are pretty good! But everything with pulled pork, cheese, bread and a good portion of butter can only be good, right? (unless you’re a vegetarian, but contrary to many places in Paris, they do have a veggie option)
Tip: if you are interested in Rum, check out my husbands blog les rhums de l’homme a la poussette; he writes in french but the translate button is quite alright.
As Mabel’s cocktails are really really beautiful; another photo 🙂