Le Parvis Notre DamePosted: 07/16/2013
Hello and welcome to the first of my travel posts! I’m currently sitting in my room in London, but this post will be about the first destination of my Europe trip: Paris. These posts will probably be a bit longer than my usual restaurant reviews, and include more descriptions of entire days of sightseeing rather than just meals.
To start off, Dolph, Pickles, and I stayed in an apartment in the 18th arrondissement, which includes the famous district of Montmartre. Due to the convenience of the Metro system, we were able to navigate our way through Paris without too much difficulty, visiting the most coveted tourist attractions. Paris reminded me most of my birthplace, Seoul: the convenient transportation system, the river running through the centre of the city, and the many small shops and stores crowding the streets. It was a nice change of pace from Vancouver, which I consider more of a “Little Big City” than anything else.
Our first full day in Paris was spent exploring the Musée d’Orsay. Paris is home to what seems like a billion museums, with the Orsay housing a large collection of Impressionist paintings. I don’t have much of an artistic eye, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Van Gogh, especially Starry Night and Café Terrace at Night. I’d seen the former on a 2011 trip to New York and I was excited to see Starry Night Over the Rhone at the Orsay. Equally stunning as the artwork is the view of Paris from the top floor–it’s a welcome break if you’re like me and experience “art overload” after an hour or two at a museum.
Following the Orsay, we made our way over to the Notre Dame, pictured above. I won’t make an attempt to describe all the astoundingly detailed architectural elements or just the simple grandeur of this Gothic cathedral. After exploring the inside of the cathedral, the three of us found our way to the grandstand viewing area in front of it, where we proceeded to relax for a good chunk of time. Although the grandstand was annoying when we were trying to take photos of ourselves with the building, it was a perfect place to relax after a long day of walking and sightseeing.
And of course, a long day of walking and sightseeing should be followed by a hearty meal. It didn’t end up being such a hearty meal, because we’d had a late lunch after wandering inside the Orsay, and we’d also had some ice cream while sitting by the Seine. We decided to have a light dinner at a restaurant (and presumably tourist trap) called Le Parvis Notre Dame, where we got to sit on the patio and enjoy the slight breeze.
I wasn’t too hungry, so I decided on the Lemon Crepe (€5.80), which I for some reason imagined as something fancier than two crepes with lemon slices on top of them. I ended up just discarding those lemon slices, since the crepes were already saturated with lemon juice and therefore quite sour. The crepes themselves were a bit too rubbery for me, but honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from the restaurant considering its location and the prices. The crepes were by no means a filling meal, but it was satisfactory considering that I’d had a late lunch and an ice cream cone prior to dinner.
Pickles, meanwhile, had the Nutella Crepe (€5.80), which once again, was simpler than expected: just two of the same crepes with a blob of Nutella in between them. The Nutella wasn’t at all incorporated with the crepes, which we thought was odd. Like me, she thought that the crepes were overdone, since we both prefer crepes to be softer on the inside, and slightly crispy on the outer edges.
In addition to crepes, another food that comes to mind when you think of France is…Cheese (€4.80). Dolph had the camembert served alongside some toasted bread and a simple lettuce salad dressed with a mustard dressing. Her meal was definitely a good value, considering that she wasn’t very hungry. The cheese had an outer layer of skin combined with a gooey, rich inner layer, which nicely accompanied the chewy pieces of bread. The lettuce was decently fresh and added a nice element of vegetables to a meal that seemed somewhat carb-heavy (and how can you avoid carbs while in France?)
Our meal at Le Parvis wasn’t spectacular, but it was a nice end to our day of sightseeing. We got to sit on the patio and people-watch, and our waiter was friendly and accommodating. I liked the fact that he didn’t assume that we were from China or Japan (a common assumption while we were travelling in Europe). We didn’t eat out much in Paris, but I’ll definitely remember the friendliness of the service at Le Parvis despite the average food.
Le Parvis Notre Dame
3 Rue Arcole
75004 Paris, France