About a year ago, I picked up a trip to Paris. To be honest, I didn't really want to go on the trip. I wasn't feeling it. Perhaps I was feeling lazy and not wanting to speak French. Perhaps I didn't feel like having a two-night layover. Whatever the case, I was not feeling this trip at all. Little did I know that it would be one of the most memorable trips to date. Once we got to our hotel, a few of the pilots said that they were going to Le Relais de l'Entrecôte for dinner and that anyone was free to join. I'm always up for a great time and new culinary experiences, so I jumped on those dinner plans. Most of the crew got together for dinner at this restaurant. Unsurprisingly, I was the only crewmember there who spoke French. Anyway, this restaurant is an experience. Essentially, you're asked two questions, "How do you want your steak cooked?" and "What would you like to drink?" After the salad and bread comes the delicious steak-frites. Sirloin steak cooked to your desired temperature and perfectly fried shoestring frites served with this mysteriously amazing green sauce. The green sauce is a secret recipe of the family - no one will tell you what it's made of. But it's fantastic. AND you get a second helping. That dinner paired with a nice red wine was a great way to start off the night. Side note: Le Relais de l'Entrecôte is one of my favourite restaurants in Paris because of this layover. My husband and I went twice during our week-long stay in Paris last year.
After dinner, some of the crew went back to the hotel. And the rest of us went out. OUT. Since we had such a long layover, we decided to see Paris' nightlife scene. Mind you, I'm the youngest in this group by at least 20 years. One of the pilots knew Paris inside and out, so we followed his lead.
We checked out several fun bars in Paris - one of the pilots saw a mouse in one of them, leaped up out of his chair, and ran outside! But I will say that my favourite place that we visited was Le Caveau des Oubliettes. This bar is rather small for a music venue, but it is a jazz bar. The night that we went was Blues night jam session - over the few hours that we spent there, we saw so many musicians! And they were excellent. Honestly, if the singers had never spoken a word of French in between sets, you'd think that they were straight from Memphis the way that they were singing the blues! This bar gets crowded quickly and the drinks are pricey, but the music is worth it.
One particular part of this experience that I really enjoyed was exploring Paris by night. The streets were empty. The city was quiet. We walked past Notre Dame in all her glory at 0100. So peaceful. No crazy tourists. No selfie sticks. No guys selling cheap souvenirs. Just the church. Quiet in her place in the city at 0100.
The next day, the same group of us got back together for lunch and sightseeing, since one of the pilots had never been to Paris. Did all of the big monuments. Ate great food. Had a lot of espresso. Ate dinner at Le Relais de l'Entrecôte again, because who wouldn't? Rode the Métro a lot and had to correct the abhorrent pronunciation of the stops - it's "See-tay" not "Sitty" (Cité).
This trip made such an impression on me. I got to see a different side of Paris that I hadn't experienced. I got a new respect and love for the city.