On our last day in Paris, we had a bit of a late start (due to a few too many cocktails, fireworks and having to walk across all of Paris to go home afterwards).
The plan was originally to climb the towers of Notre Dame, but when we turned up, the queue was already winding up half of Ile St Louis, so we decided to pass.
Instead, we explored Paris charming little flower market…
Before heading right across the street to one of my favourite Paris’ sight.
Hidden behind the golden doors of Palais de la Cité (the residence of the Kings of France until the 14th century, now used as Paris’ Court of Justice), the Sainte Chapelle is an absolute gem of Gothic style.
Built in only seven years, the Sainte Chapelle was intended to house precious Christian relics, including Christ’s crown of thorns, acquired by Saint Louis.
Besides the stunning white stone portal is the lower chapel, which served as parish church for all the inhabitants of the palace, which was the seat of government.
With low ceilings, richly coloured and decorated walls, the lower chapel is an excellent reminder of the religious and political influence coming with the possession of the sacred relics.
Up a flight of stairs, you’ll enter the upper chapel, adorned with the same fleur-de-lys ceiling and coloured patterned walls.
But nobody will blame you for not spotting them…
Indeed, the Sainte Chapelle most feature is its stunning stained glass windows, for whose benefit the stone wall surface is reduced to little more than a delicate framework.
Arranged across 15 windows, each 15 metres high, the stained glass panes depict 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments recounting the history of the world until the arrival of the relics in Paris in August 1239.
The level of detail in each window is absolutely astonishing, and I could have spent the day admiring each one in awe.
But my grumbly stomach had other plans…
So after one last look at the Sainte Chapelle’s stunning stained glass windows, we crossed the river in search of lunch.
Eventually settling at Le Comptoir, ‘bistronomy‘ (bistro-gastronomy) chef Yves Camdeborde acclaimed restaurant.
With its retro look and its sunny terrace, it’s not hard to see why it’s become a locals’ favourite…
The excellent selection of wine (including a stunning Bandol rosé) and delightful crusty bread probably didn’t hurt either…
But refrain from nibbling to much of it while you place your order, as the food itself is absolutely glorious.
Melt-in the mouth Daube de boeuf, with carrots and pasta.
Rich and indulgent, it had been cooked for hours, and was so soft a spoon could cut through it.
A bit of a Greek twist of the classic Steak tartare.
Served with aubergine purée, anchovy paste and grated feta alongside the traditonal capers and shallot, it was super fresh and the perfect dish to have on a sunny day!
And a little side salad, because greens never hurt!
Especially if you’re planning some rather indulgent dessert action afterwards!
Baba au rhum with Chantilly cream and praline.
The French classic, litteraly drenched in rum (much to the horror of the American couple having lunch next to us!)
But the cherry on top of this fabulous bistro meal?
This stunning Coffee Crème Brûlée!
Topped with a wafer-thin layer of crispy caramel, hiding a silky-smooth, intensely coffee-y set cream.
Everything a good brûlée should be, and then some more, much like the rest of the dishes at Le Comptoir.
Simple, to-the-point bistro food, celebrating the variety and seasonality of French cuisine.
‘Bistronomy” at its very best!
And just enough fuel to reach nearby Jardins du Luxembourg for a stroll around the breath-taking Sénat (the French equivalent to the UK’s House of Lords) building and a bit of a snooze on one of the park’s deck loungers…
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