A walk about Paris + Lunch at Le Comptoir

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.

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Instead, we explored Paris charming little flower market…

Before heading right across the street to one of my favourite Paris’ sight.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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The level of detail in each window is absolutely astonishing, and I could have spent the day admiring each one in awe.

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But my grumbly stomach had other plans…

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So after one last look at the Sainte Chapelle’s stunning stained glass windows, we crossed the river in search of lunch.

A walk about Paris | Cake + WhiskyLunch at Le Comptoir, Paris | Cake + Whisky

Eventually settling at Le Comptoir, ‘bistronomy‘ (bistro-gastronomy) chef Yves Camdeborde acclaimed restaurant.

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With its retro look and its sunny terrace, it’s not hard to see why it’s become a locals’ favourite…

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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.

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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.

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A bit of a Greek twist of the classic Steak tartare.

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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!

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And a little side salad, because greens never hurt!

Especially if you’re planning some rather indulgent dessert action afterwards!

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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?

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This stunning Coffee Crème Brûlée!

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Topped with a wafer-thin layer of crispy caramel, hiding a silky-smooth, intensely coffee-y set cream.

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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!

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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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A walk about Paris | Cake + Whisky

A walk about Paris + Lunch at Le Comptoir

Breakfast in Paris

If there’s one thing you simply must do on a trip to Paris, it’s pop out in the morning for fresh bread and croissants.

There are boulangeries on every corner, selling all the classics.

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Baguettes, croissants, pain au chocolat…

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Along with every other treat you could hope for!

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Including speciality bread…

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Pizza…

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And never-ending rows of beautiful cakes!

Pick up all your favourites (we couldn’t pass up Boulangerie Bo‘s beautiful cakes…), then take your haul to the closest sunny spot you can find.

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If you’re lucky, your local boulangerie might even have a built-in spot for impromptu breakfast picnics…

Breakfast in Paris at Boulangerie Bo | Cake + Whisky

Then, all you have to do is get stuck in!

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Coconut & wild strawberry tartlet, fresh & light as a (coconut foam) cloud

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Decadent Raspberry & pistachio tartlet, bursting with pistachio flavour and tart raspberry jam.

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Last but not least, the signature Vanilla tartlet.

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A delicate almond & vanilla wonder, with layers of vanilla whipped cream, almond marzipan & almond biscuit.

An absolute triumph.

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High on sugar we decided to walk it off at the nearby Coulée Verte.

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A unique space in Paris (but not disimilar to New York’s Highline), La Coulée Verte is a 3mi green belt built on top of the obsolete Vincennes railway line.

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Beginning just east of the Opéra Bastille with the elevated Viaduc des Arts, it goes all the way down to the boulevard Périphérique beltway.

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From the elevated gardens, you get a new perspective of the city.

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…and a little bit of a nosy into people’s flats along the way!

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Cake, nature & architectural wonders… The perfect start to any day of Parisian adventures!

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Breakfast in Paris at Boulangerie Bo | Cake + Whisky

Breakfast in Paris

On top of Paris

There isn’t one angle Paris doesn’t look majestic from.

But it’s especially beautiful from the top.

So on our first day in the French capital, we took it upon ourselves to brave the masses of tourists at Galeries Lafayette and climb to the very top…

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Where we were rewarded with this view.

From the Eiffel Tower, to the golden dome of the Invalides and everything in between, the whole of Paris of Paris is at your feet.

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There is a brilliant view of the majestic Opera building too.

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And if you’ve done your research, there will be many a monument you’ll recognize…

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As you’re about to head back downstairs, make sure you get a good look at Montmartre’s stunning Sacré Coeur church.

An intricate architectural wonder dominating Paris’ highest mound, it’s well worth it if you ask me!

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You might also want to take a moment to ‘Oooh’ and ‘Aaah’ at the Galeries Lafayette’s resident wonder…

Before going right across the street to one of Paris’ newest, yet most succesful stores.

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After having worked at Le Gavroche, then with the Roux family and French patisserie superstars Christophe Felder and Pierre Hermé, Christophe Adam opened L’Eclair de Génie in 2012.

There, he focuses on his favourite patisserie classic, the traditional éclair, which gets re-invented in a variety of exclusive and creative flavours.

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Taking the city by storm and leaving all Parisians (and myself) feeling like kids in a candy store.

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In the window, nothing but rows and rows of jewel-like éclairs.

Spinning head, beating heart and sweaty palms, far too uickly, it’s time to make a choice.

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Will you go for the meringue & cookie adorned yuzu-lemon éclair? The classic strawberry & raspberry éclair? Or maybe the temptalising vanilla & pecan nut one?

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Maybe you’ll succumb to the exotic charms of the above passion & mango éclair.

Or will the limited edition ‘Paris’ one catch your eye?

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Needless to say, choosing just one is a real challenge.

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Once you do, you’ll want to take your precious haul outside and take advantage of one of the city’s quiet little parcs.

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Settle on a bench in the sun and take your paper treasure chest out of its multicoloured bag.

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Take one last look at those éclair beauties (and maybe a few Insta-worthy pics), before digging in!

On top of Paris + L'Eclair de Génie | Cake + Whisky

Not only are L’Eclair de Génie the prettiest éclairs around, but they’re also the best I’ve ever had (and trust me, I’ve had a few in my French days).

Vibrant, perfectly balanced and with cleverly picked topping that bring that little textural plus, they’re truly a work of art.

So good in fact they deserve a little déclairation of love!

So make sure you pick a box up next time you’re in Paris (find all the stores on L’Eclair de Génie’s website). In the meantime, I’ll have my fingers crossed that they’ll soon come to this side of the Channel…

On top of Paris