“Paris is always a good idea” Audrey Hepburn

Recently my husband and I were very lucky to enjoy our first trip to Europe. We flew to Paris for four days, then to Rome where we met the Oceania Cruise ship “Riviera”. We spent 10 wonderful days cruising the Mediterranean, stopping at various ports in Italy, France and Spain. After returning to Rome we then went to Florence and Venice, where sadly, we left beautiful Italy.

Our first stop, Paris, was amazing. So many beautiful places and so much to see. Four days only really scratched the surface but we managed to fit a lot into those days. We arrived around 3pm so checked straight into the Tourisme Avenue Hotel. The room was very nice and the staff extremely helpful and friendly.

After a quick freshen up we headed out to have our first real view of the Eiffel Tower, having only glimpsed it from the taxi window. I know we’ve all seen a million photos of the tower but I was still stunned by the size and magnificence of this structure. It truly was breathtaking. We had tickets to go to the top the next day so decided we would just have a wander. We walked to Le Palasi de Chaillot. The fountains were not turned on and as it was so hot people were paddling in the water to cool off. We decided to go back to the hotel as we were tired from the long flight, have a nap, then go out for dinner, but we didn’t wake up until midnight. Oh well, we’d start fresh the next day.

The next morning we had breakfast at Cafe Suffren, which was close to our hotel. It was a continental breakfast, coffee, orange juice, a croissant with jam and half a buttered baguette, served by a grumpy waiter. First bite of the crusty bread and creamy butter and I was in heaven. The croissant was light and buttery. I left there very happy.

We walked back to the Eiffel Tower for our tour. It was a little scary going in the lift to the top but the view when we arrived was so worth it. You could literally, see for miles, magnificent.
As we had booked a Dinner Cruise for that evening we thought a light lunch was a good idea. The Cafe Montpanese looked inviting. We found a table outside and sat down to “people watch” like everyone else. At another table we saw a couple enjoying a Charcuterie Platter, it looked delicious. So a glass of Chablis for me, a beer for Claude and a platter of cured meats, crusty bread and more of that tasty butter. Mmm, life’s good.

That evening we walked down to the Seine River for our cruise with Bateaux Parisiens and boarded the “Diamant”, near the Eiffel Tower. The cruise started while it was still light at 8.30pm and would return at 11pm.

We were shown to our table near the window and it was beautifully set. We started with a glass of champagne each and cheese puffs. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of the food that evening but it was the best meal we had in Paris. For the entree we both had Prawns and new vegetables, vinaigrette with coral. The prawns were cooked beautifully and the fresh crispy vegetables were bathed in the delicious vinaigrette. While waiting for the next course there was live entertainment, a very good trio, bass, keyboard and vocalist. Our mains arrived, I had the Fillet of beef with creamed morels and Claude chose the Duckling breast with figs, sweet and sour sauce. The beef was cooked medium as requested and very tasty. Claude thought the duck was succulent with a aromatic flavour. While enjoying this wonderful meal we passed beautiful scenery, L’institut de France and went under the Pont Alexandre lll.

L’institut de France
Pont Alexandre lll

When the desserts came out the presentation was impressive. My choice, Vanilla and strawberry vacherin was a little too sweet for my taste but if you took away some of the outside shell of meringue the middle was delicious. However I suffered a severe case of dessert envy when I saw Claude’s ChocoBlanc entremets. Layers of dark, milk and white chocolate sponge and mousse topped with a dark chocolate glaze. It looked rich but was so light and delicate. Not long after dessert the cruise was coming to an end but not before we were treated to a final view of the Eiffel Tower, aglow with sparkling lights, the end to a wonderful evening.


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