Bilbao…More Than A Museo Continued…

Saturday morning the weather gods were once again on our side with bright blue skies, decent doses of sun and no wind. First on the ‘to do’ list was a visit to the Mercado de La Ribera – markets are always on our to do list & this market came with some words of high praise.

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Mercado de La Ribera, Bilbao

The market opened in 1929 and used to be housed in a glorious old art deco building but has recently been modernised. It is the largest indoor market in all of Europe to which I can mos def attest. As much as we love markets, it is always a tough visit in that so much of what is on offer we cannot buy as we lack any cold storage. But it is all here folks in spades – we are not sure how the people of Bilbao can possibly buy and consume all the food that was on display. The seafood was blinding in its fresh brilliance and variety. And the meats were the same – Spain is especially good in all things pork and the charcuterie here would possibly make the French a bit envious. We did manage to grab a sweet, fat stick of salchichón for the train ride home – score!

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Mercado de La Ribera, Bilbao – Fish! Fish! Fish!

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Mercado de La Ribera, Bilbao – Estupendo!

We had decided to go a wee bit museo hog wild and plunked down the dosh for a double ticket – the Guggen and the Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao. And our experience with this museum was the polar opposite to the Guggenheim – the art was spectacular and enthralling and we could take pictures! The focus of this museum is Spanish painters or artists and we got seriously lost in time here which is what you hope to do in a museum. So if in Bilbao, do yourself a serious art favour and spend a chunk of your time at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao (Bodega Urbana is a 5 or less minute walk away for a delish post or pre museo lunch visit – and of course wine).

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Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao

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Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao

We felt s bit peckish after our inspiring art tour, so we made a bee line for Plaza Nueva, again, armed with some postcards to be done and some thirst & hunger to be quenched…hard to believe sitting outside in just a shirt in February in the Northern Hemisphere.

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Mid Day Break…

Saturday night was yet another big pintxo quest and fest…we love this way of eating – have a nice stroll, spot some tempting morsels laid out on a bar top, pick your fave & wash it down with a vino tinto. Repeat. Your appetite is satiated at a much more healthy food consumption level than the sit down feed most folks usually do.

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Pintxo Fest

Armed with our trusty list we made the rounds….and the folks were out this Saturday night given the absence of the wet stuff and a reasonably mild temperature. And we gave it the good old college try – sampling the wares & vinos at Gatz, Motrikes (grilled stuffed mushrooms to die for), Kuku Soak, La Viña del Ensanche and Gure Toki to name but a few…

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Though we like our ‘hot top spot’ lists, we also greatly enjoy a bit of spontaneity and a smidgen of free will or discovery and we were most lucky on this trip to come across a few gems. While weaving in and out of the Old Town laneways, we noticed a happening area across the river near Calle San Francisco. We dutifully crossed the bridge and found ourselves in a clearly up and coming hipster street. Our first stop was El Perro Chico where we were pleasantly surprised to be served El Pájaro Rojo vino (Mencia grape) from Bierzo as the house tinto, an excellent drop and not standard bar juice. We had a peruse of the menu and ticks all our boxes – worth coming back to Bilbao to just eat here! And directly catty corner to El Perro Chico was the super hip Bar Marzana…we will return here. And you should too.

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El Perro Chico…

Returning to the Casco Viejo we got a wee bit lost and landed in Saltsagorri – a vermut bar! What excellent hosts these folks were and the taberna was packed with rowdy, fun crowd. Put it on your lists people – this is a seriously local hole in the wall.

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Saltsagorri, Old Town, Bilbao – Vermut Bar!

But our night was still sort of young (we’re sort of old) so why not a rock concert? Hound #2 had spotted a listing in one of the local entertainment guides for a group called the Reverendos that was playing that night at a venue close by. So off we went – a Basque blues band, who knew? But way fun and rock’n music and an excellent venue.

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The Reverendos….

And you might be surprised to hear but we’d worked up another appetite so we decided to close out our Bilbao stay on a high note and make a return visit to Cafe Iruña to savour the most tasty & spicy Pintxo Moruno – lamb kebabs cooked over a wood fire by Ahmed. These are worth a detour from any place you find yourself in Bilbao – a decent portion of Spanish food lacks any real kick or intense flavours but this had it all.

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Cafe Iruña, Bilbao – Pintxo Moruno…Super Yum.

So for not expecting too much and fearing we may have overbooked our needed time in Bilbao, we came away quite enamoured with this Basque city….so much so we plan to make a return trip before we depart Spain for New Zealand.

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Bilbao Scenes…

 

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Bilbao…More Than A Museo.

Bilbao is the real Big Smoke of the Basque Country and for many, many years it was (probably still is) its industrial heart. Bilbao was the centre for iron & steel production, boat building, fishing, etc…and it used to be that the hotels in Bilbao gave discounts only on weekends as the majority of their trade came from business folks staying over on weeknights to negotiate trade. But it has changed and is still changing with a significant turning point being the opening of the famous Frank Gehry designed Guggenheim Museum in 1997.

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Hound #1 Having a Snooze on the Train to Bilbao

So the Hounds decided that Bilbao was worth a decent squizzy, so we hopped on the local yokel train from San Sebastián. And local yokel was a wee understatement, it appeared to us that we made a stop about every 10 minutes or so and in some towns, like Deba, we made 3 stops in about 90 seconds. Oh well, the scenery (you skirt the coast for quite a ways) was estupendo.

We had booked ourselves into the Casual Gurea pensión and what a prescient choice that was – minutes from the train station (we were backpacked up) and smack dab in the heart of the Casco Viejo (Old Town) and pintxo action central. Highly recommend Casual Gurea for a Bilbao stay over – great staff, sweet rooms with wooden floors & baths, a balcony and an affordable price…and they allow pooches! But FYI, they are doing some renovations at the moment like putting in an elevator – it’s 3 floors up – but that was not a bother for us three.

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EL TXOKO was smok’n…

We arrived in the late afternoon so the few train snacks we had consumed had not done the trick. And with dining time quickly slipping away to closing time, we hit the restaurant right at the entrance way to our pensión – El Txoko. Txoko is the name given to the somewhat infamous Basque male gastronomical societies where, up until recently, women were forbidden (now they are allowed to eat, but not cook).

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From Top Left, Clockwise: Goat’s Cheese Salad, Grilled Fresh Mackerel, Creamed Green Bean Salad and Duck Confit

This was another of Spain’s menú del día deals to make ya squeal – €10.50 for 3 courses and a half bottle of Rioja. We now had the fuel to explore Bilbao and we were sufficiently armed with helpful gastronomic guides (mucho thanks to Amy @ RestlessFork blog…we hit all your suggestions) to navigate the Old Town laneways…

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Zuga, Plaza Nueva, Bilboa – Pintxos of Excellence

Our first port of call was Plaza Nueva but it really should be called Pintxo Plaza. A beautiful square quite reminiscent of Constitution Square (used to be a bull fighting square) in San Sebastián that is pleasantly sprinkled with a decent variety of comestible establishments.

We stuck out heads in Zuga first (dogs allowed – yay!) and the delicious pintxo display drew us in. We started out on a high as this was – by unanimous vote – the best pintxo of the trip. An almost fist sized chunk of glistening tuna topped with a fresh salsa & sitting on a tangy vinaigrette drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Worth a trip back to Bilbao…

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Cafe Bar Bilbao, Plaza Nueva, Bilbao – Fun Joint

Next on our list, Bar Bilboa, was just down the square and highly recommended by our friendly pensión host. Spot on he was – mucho friendly & helpful staff and perfect pintxos. Yet another reason for a return to Bilbao….

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Victor Montes, Plaza Nueva, Bilbao and a Selfie @ La Olla…

Then on to one of the old fellas of the Bilbao pintxo bar scene, Victor Montes. Victor Montes is most def ‘old school’ but in a very good way – an elegant blend of bar, restaurant, bodega/wine store and all around warm atmosphere. We finished the evening with a nightcap at La Olla & headed home to get ready for a day in Bilbao…

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Scenes of Bilbao

Friday manaña found us on a wee mission as Hound #2 had broken her phone…so we went in search of either repair or replacement, but snuck a few sights into the search. One of which was the Alhóndiga Bilbao, originally a massive wine warehouse that was built in 1909 but recently renovated with the design help of French Bad Boy Philippe Starck. It is a full function space with art & culture exhibits, cinema (they were featuring a Buster Keaton fest), restaurants & bars and sporting activities. We found the rooftop, glass bottomed swimming pool of most curious interest.

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Alhóndiga Bilbao: Roof Top Glass Bottomed Swimming Pool: Philippe Starck Designed Pillar

Hound #3’s usual vice on visiting a new city is, of course, wine stores and Bilbao was no different. After 2 disappointing no shows (the stores had shut down), we hit pay dirt with Bodega Urbana. A perfect mix of wine store, bistro / restaurant and wine bar – a fun option was the ability to make your own blend (and label) from the various varietal tanks on site. We tasted the house Petit Verdot – rich & velvety on the palate – and snatched up a bottle (as well as the Syrah).

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Top Left, Clockwise: Bodega Urbana Poster, House Vino, House Vino In Bottle, Wine Store

With no quick phone fix, it was time for some culture – so off we toddled in search of the infamous Guggenheim Museum (the Guggen to the locals)….

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The Guggen…

If I am really honest, and I am, the best thing about the Guggenheim is still the building. Stunning on this almost Spring day with the sun beaming down on its titanium sheets & framed against a deep blue sky…awesome and ageing like a true beauty. The best art on display was a fascinating exhibit called ‘Making Africa‘ which we were so lucky to catch its last few days.

To be continued…

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Bilbao Scenes…

 

 

El Carnaval 2016…Who Knew?

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Par for the course here in Basque Country…this poster started to make an appearance all over Hondarribia a few weeks ago. And as usual, no date or time or place or info on what the hell is happening. Just the words ‘INAUTERIAK’ and ‘2016’ and a funny looking man. When we asked our mates at our local cafe, Amona Margarita, they said “It is the carnival, of course…big event with parades, music, floats…this Sunday.’

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The Folks Begin to Gather…Billie None Too Plussed…

It was looking like a particularly ugly day weather-wise with very cool temps and a high probability of some form of precipitation…not parade weather by a long shot. So we bundled up & headed for the guessed at starting point for the parade – Alameda Plaza. It was supposed to kick off at 10:30AM but hey, this is Spain so more like a bit after 11. It finally kicked off at 11 but moved at a snail’s pace with frequent stops & starts. We saw a couple participants with hip flasks – smart folks as they most def needed it!

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Spanish Inquisition (Nice), Batmobile and Western Saloon Boys

Loved the Spanish Inquisition float…the two dudes at either end would crank the winches & the arms & legs would stretch while the head bobbed up & down & let out a series of blood curdling screams. At least they have a sense of humour….

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Lots of Dancing (and Freezing) Folks….

And we had it all here folks – dancing surfers, rocking bikkies and ancient flappers (both men & women)…We ran into the flapper group much later that night in Hotel Obispo’s bar and to say they were a wee bit happy would be an understatement. One of the ‘women’ (big burly Basque hombre) dragged Hound #2 out on the dance floor to a Queen medley & when he returned her to the bar, made eyes at me. Funny mate…

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Curious Bill Wants A Look…

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Fanciest Float Of All…And VERY WELL Choreographed.

Here’s a wee clip of the Army folks tap’n their toes…

And the Bikie Folks are pretty cool too…

 

 

Paris Birthday Bash…The End.

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We’d been hoof’n it for several days now, so a ride on the Metro was in order to give our shanks’ ponies a wee rest. We’d read that dogs were allowed on the Metro…but they had to be in a bag. Ruh roh…so we brought with us an old, flexible overnight bag to see if Hound #1 was game. I won’t say he liked it, but there were no real complaints to be heard. He got a snack for being such a good boy…

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Metro Madness…Dog In Da Bag.

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We made a beeline that morning for a  market we’d read about in the 15th Arrondissement called the Rue de Grenelle Marché. Things looked initially bleak as we seemed to be walking forever and as yet no sign of market folks. But not to worry, you could not miss this market even if you were totally blind as this was HUGE!

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The Rue de Grenelle Marché – 15th Arrondissement

Located underneath a bridge or highway overpass, this market stretched for block after block with every imaginable food option on display, multiple times. When we travel to someplace like Paris it’s a dream to rent an apartment for a month or so to take full advantage of the markets food-wise and save your wallet a bit of pain from being forced to eat out. Though that said, the Paris markets we visited did not strike either of us as ‘cheap’.

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The Rue de Grenelle Marché – 15th Arrondissement

After satiating our market tastebuds @ Rue de Grenelle Marché, we wandered in a direction to have a halfway decent view (bit overcast & misty) of the Eiffel Tower – so Paris & French & oh so expensive. Along the way, we eyed a busy pedestrian street across the boulevard – let’s have a look…

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Rue Cler – O La La…Rue de Food & Wine

Rue Cler was not on our radar in any way, shape or form – but what a find! A lovely no-cars/motorbikes walkway with all the food & wine & sweet shops that Paris is renowned for and busy as. You have to say one thing for the Parisians, they do love their food and get out to support the small local shops in force. A lesson to be learned by the rest of the world…

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Pooped Pooch, Pooch @ the Palais Royal, Pooch @ the Louvre, Lovely Toulouse Latrec Metro

On Hound #2’s ‘I want to do this’ list was a visit to Montmartre & a climb up to Sacre Couer to hopefully have one of the best views of Paris you can have without paying 15 euros a person for. And it was (as the pic at the top of the Eiffel Tower will attest) – except for all the bloody tourists (including us). It is always sad to see such a historic & iconic area be overrun by tat & bric-á-brac shops, buskers & hustlers.

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Montmartre – Sacre Couer

Once we’d descended from the mount on high, a snack & a beverage seemed in order. And as it does not take to many steps to stumble on to a wine store in Paris, we ambled into Le Rouge et Le Verre. A bit of language confusion ensued but we finally sorted it out that, because of licensing, we needed to order some food to have some wine. No problema. Two glasses of a rich & savoury St. Joseph Rhone red were poured and a plat of charcuterie was delivered. We were now powered up to march on…

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Rouge et Le Verre Wine Store…Excellent Charcuterie Plate & Vino…Hound #1’s Cheated.

Our final day in Paris called for a bit of culture, so Hound #1 was left behind for s snooze and we hopped on the Metro headed for Musee d’Orsay. We like the Musee d’Orsay over the Louvre because it is a bit more manageable – and that’s not to denigrate the lovely Louvre. But when you have just an hour or two, Musee d’Orsay hits the right art spot.

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Musée d’Orsay

And we were not disappointed – we were some of the first folks in queue so we managed to have some sections of the museum to ourselves. An absolute fave was the mind-blowing Impressionists collection on display – all the boys & girls were there…Cezanne, Renoir, Manet, Gauguin, Cassatt, Rodin, Lautrec and my personal fave – Van Gogh. Had to be a couple of billion dollars of art in this one exhibition. And you can get so close & personal – see the brush strokes. Stunning.

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And post the museum, one more market to do – Place d’Aligre. This is a mixed market with half being food and the other half a flea market. I went for the food and Hound #2 was attracted to the flea. It is reputed to be one of the cheapest markets in Paris and it appeared so…but it is 100% fruit & veggies so you will not find cheeses or charcuterie or meat or fish here. But the street that the market is hosted on is another of Paris’s block of delectable comestibles. There is small but well stocked indoor market that covers all the bases and a stroll down either side of the street will bring you to several wine & cheese stores, butchers and fishmongers. We stocked up on some saucisson for the train ride home…

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Marché Place d’Aligre – 12th Arrondissement

Well that’s Paris and my & Billie’s 60th – it was a great combo!

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Paris Birthday Bash…The Middle…

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Day #2 in Paris happened to be my actual birthday but first, armed with a well researched but short list, we set off to find a decent cuppa Joe. Paris, despite its well deserved reputation for many of the finer things in life, struggles to cook up a decent coffee. Having lived in New Zealand and then Australia for a number of years, our coffee palates are finely tuned machines.

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Coffee and Port – What Could Go Wrong?

Out of 5 possible destination candidates, we fingered a place called Cafe Loustic in the 3rd Arrondissement. With their motto, “We aim to be one of the best espresso bars in the world”, ringing in our ears, we had to give it a go.

Well, not really a serious challenge to the baristas & cafes Down Under – they can sleep easy. And it was a strange vibe too — a bit aggro with a customer’s-not-always-right chip on the shoulder. The barista actually refused to make a requested coffee because they simply are not made that way if made correctly he said. Ouch.

But it was worth the visit as right next door was Portologia – a sweet establishment that was all about Port & related spirits and staffed by very kind & informative folks. One fella spoke no English but the other one did, so a fun Port discussion ensued. We mentioned we had just been in Porto and he queried us as to whether we had visited their sister store there & in fact we had! Small world…

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Birthday Lunch @ Richer

Next up was the Birthday Lunch – we had narrowed down the choices to a small few & at the top of the rankings was Richer in the 9th Arrondissement. The restaurant’s description banged all the right drums and after a speedy perusal of the outside menu, we went in.

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Birthday Billie Got a Few Table Scraps…

Paris, as many folks will know, is a wee bit on the pricey side for most things including food & beverages. You won’t break a sweat dropping €100+ ($167NZ, $109US, $154AUS) for an very average bistro lunch & vino. But Richer was worth every Euro and more. A place after my own heart and a menu very much in the same vein as my old place in Lyttelton New Zealand – London Street. A tres simple menu of 4 starters, 3 Mains and 4 desserts which clearly follows the maxim of doing a few things exceptionally well rather than a lot of things mediocre.

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From Top Clockwise: Noodles, Pumpkin Soup and Côte du Rhône.

My starter was, loosely translated by our waitress, as ‘noodles’. I wish more noodles came like this – a lighter take on a carbonara that had a hint of sesame with sweet fried shallot accents, a scattering of mushroom bits, sautéed seaweed and a perfectly cooked egg in the middle. I could have stopped here…Hound #2 opted for the pumpkin soup & we loved the way it was served with the actual soup being poured table side over the delectable bits which preserved their crispy texture. Our Côte Rhône Domaine des Espiers was a superb match…

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From Top, Clockwise: Dessert, Pheasant and Lamb.

For her main, Hound #2 chose a fowl that our waitress could only describe as ‘sort of like duck’ – good enough for us. We believe it was pheasant, but no matter as it was delicious whatever it was. Lamb was my plat du jour and a most interesting dish it was…slow cooked shoulder that was then shredded & reformed into a wee brick, topped with a crispy thin wafer and four tiny scoops of what I think was a beetroot/crème fraîche combo & a scattering of flavourful greens. And accompanied by roasted cabbage & melt in your mouth turnips. Estupendo.

Hound #2 declared her intentions to have dessert and so she did – a hard to describe light-as-air concoction that tasted amazing to me. For my dessert, I finished the Côte du Rhône…If in Paris folks, do yourself a favour and visit Richer or their other establishments – L’Office and 52. These folks know food and hospitality.

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A decent walk was on order post lunch, so off we went in search of another market on our list, Marché Saint-Martin in the 10th Arrondissement. Now we’re talk’n ‘market’ – a decent notch or two up from the Le Marché des Enfants Rouges as most stalls were here to sell food and not just feed your face.

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Top Left: Cheese, Fishies, Veggies and More Cheese.

We had in our possession a timely article from the Guardian’s Travel section on the up & coming area of Paris call South Pigalle. They were calling it the new ‘Soho’ of Paris so that scratched the right itch with us & off we toddled…

Our morning schedule always includes a coffee stop & we wandered the 3rd Arrondissement in search of another of our caffeine targets but stumbled across Café Pinson by accident – most pleasant place to kick up your heels and plan your next wander. We were soon struck with hunger pains that a croissant or pan au chocolate were not going to do justice to, so lunch was in the cards…

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L’Aller Retour’s Plat du Jour: Onglet (Hanger Steak)! Yay! Going, Going, Gone…

We had several options that were nearby but in our random walk we came across L’Aller Retour which by shear coincidence was the sister joint to the place we were trying to find. One glance at the plat du jour & the decision was made – Hanger Steak (Onlget in French)! And a price we could not quibble with – Hanger Steak, Fries & a side of veggies & glass of vin rouge for €11.40…Score! On to South Pigalle…

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KB Cafe & Corsican Joint

We once again, using our ‘trusty’ tourist map with nano font, got a wee bit lost but finally managed to track down one of the cafes our Melbourne mate Carolyn put us on to – KB’s  Coffee Shop. It looked sooooooo Melbourne-y and stood a good chance of passing the Melbourne taste test except….it was mid afternoon & they didn’t do decaf…Plan B was to stroll the foodie street Rue des Martyrs, do a spot of supply shopping and score a beverage. 100% success…

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Buvette – A Beverage & Dessert

Next on our South Pigalle list of to do’s was to track down a place called Buvette and other than the fact we were, by far, the oldest folks in the place, it was hop’n (they also have a New York spot). We managed to grab an outside bench to enjoy a glass of red (me) & a slice of lemon meringue pie (Hound #2).

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Paris Birthday continued….

Paris Birthday Bash…The Beginning

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Like anyone’s birthday, the day only comes around once each year & it is actually like any other day for all intents & purposes, but for Hound #1  and Hound #3 to hit the big ‘six oh’ (in dog years for #1) was an event requiring a wee bit more than a cake (or bones) with some candles. So Hound #2 sorted out a surprise visit to one of my fave cities – Paris.

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On Da Train – 1st Class…All Muzzled Up

And she splurged for 1st Class Train tickets from our humble abode in Spain to gay Paris…though Hound #1 did not think it 1st class to have to wear a muzzle. We raided our local fine food store Solbes for some lunch time goodies – jamón iberico, olives, prunes, selection of cheeses, bread (from our mates at Amona Margarita) and a wee cask of vino tinto…we be ready to roll.

Our arrival in Paris was none too welcoming – bucketing down rain and sadly, we had a 20 minute walk to our hotel (Solar Hotel – good eco establishment)…only to find out they had no record of our reservation. Most fortunately Hound #2 had a copy of our confirmation so the sweet hotel staff scrambled & we spent out first night in Paris in a single room. Better than out in the rain!

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Our Local Street – Rue Daguerre 14th Arr.

We based ourselves in the 14th Arrondissement and much of the pre-trip research turned up pretty much nada of interest except for a highly reputed natural wine store (read below). But we were very pleasantly surprised on our first night’s stroll to find Rue Daguerre only 100 feet from our hotel. Rue Daguerre was chocka with bars & restaurants to suit all our needs, but the long block between Rue Boulard and Avenue de Général Leclerc was a cornucopia of food & wine stores. And to paraphrase the Stealers Wheel tune – cheese store to the left of me, charcuterie & rotisserie chooks to the right of me, a couple of wine stores straight ahead, fishmongers behind me – here I am, stuck in the middle of food heaven!

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Rue Daguerre Continued….

As mentioned above, our research on the 14th turned up this little beauty – La Cave des Papilles. By many considered & respected vino opinions, this shop “has risen to become arguably the most dynamic, well-stocked and brilliantly curated natural wine shop in Paris”. I’d have to say I 100% agree…too many choices my friends, too many choices. But I made a few…and we popped the cork that night on the fresh & fruity Vaste Programme Les Maoû. Perfect nightcap to a long, wet day…

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Most Excellent Cave de Vin Round Da Corner…

Most happy to awake to a grey overcast sky that was not hosing down droplets. So off on our first explore of the trip…we Hounds (especially Hound #1 with his 4 paws) like to walk & Paris, like New York, is a damn decent walking city. We wandered & sauntered our way through the 5th & 6th Arrondissements to arrive at the Seine & Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris. We felt the need to have a squizzy as the crowds were thin at this early hour…

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Obligatory Notre Dame Visit

Then we made a bee line for a market that according to all the online info, but more specifically BuzzFeed’s blurb – “located in the Marais, Le Marché des Enfants Rouges is Paris’ oldest and most charming covered market. It is home to THE BEST Moroccan food in the city…”

Well to say the Food Hounds were unimpressed would be an understatement…it was very small by most market standards, had far more eatery stalls than actual stalls (2 fruit & veggie and 1 fishmonger) to buy food from and was no bargain by any stretch of the price dimensions. Oh well…

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The Marché des Enfants Rouges

By this time, with all the walking, we were becoming a group of starv’n marvins so lunch was next on the agenda. Disappointingly, our Fawlty Towers hotel wifi was inoperable for the first couple of days so we were navigating via a microscopic font sized tourist map, so numerous over shoots & retracing of steps were required. We first tracked down Au Passage, which superficially ticked all the perfect Paris backstreet bistro boxes but sticking a head into the joint revealed a kitchen still unpacking the morning’s deliveries & simmering stock on the stove. No lunch here any time soon. We tried 2 more eateries on our list but they had no appeal – one was a way over-priced, old bistro & the other a nice enough place but they had nothing on their menu we wanted to eat. So we high tailed it to the end of the block & grabbed a table at Chez Gladines

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Basic Bistro Lunch…

Chez Gladines was nothing too fancy but offered solid bistro plats & beverages at modest prices – a starving student joint. We started with a shared lardon & lettuce salad which was a meal in itself (Hound #1 had an awesome bacon dinner that night). And we each chose a French classic – pan seared magret duck breast for me, cassoulet for Hound # 2. All washed down with a cheap & cheerful Côte du Rhône. Excellent.

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Our Local…

We try, when we explore a new city or town or area for a few days, to find a ‘local’ – a place nearby to where we are staying that is friendly, affordable and covers lots of bases well (good coffee, lunch, drinks, dinner, wifi, dog friendly). This trip it turned out to be Cafe Colette – just a few block walk from our hotel offering excellent service & value for money. We shared the mixte assiettes plat of charcuterie, cheeses & bread for a light dinner one night  for a mere €7.50  ($12.5NZ, $8US, $11.5AUS) that we found hard to finish. In a city where pints of beer can run to €11 ($18NZ, $12US, $17AUS) , that’s a sweet bargain.

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To be continued….