France, International Travel

Paris – Parks, Picnics, and Breweries

France Trip – Day 4

September 11, 2019

It was a sleep in kind of day after the late night yesterday. The plan for the morning was to picnic at Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, as we had read that it offered great views of Paris and it was the ‘central park’ of Paris (not sure what that means exactly). We already had the jambon cru (French prosciutto) and cheese, but had to pick up a couple items. On our walk to the park, we hit up a Boulangerie for a couple of fresh baguettes and a Carrefour City for crunchy snacks (goat cheese flavored chips and emmental cheese puffs), an Orangina, beer, and a single serving size bottle of Rose that comes with its own plastic cup. What more could you want for a picnic?!?!

The park was absolutely splendid! We found a little spot on the pelouse (grass) and set down our picnic blanket (yes, I carried it all the way from home, taking up precious suitcase space). It was such a fantastic time – we enjoyed our ham and cheese sandwiches with our wine and beer in the warmth of the Parisian sun. There are many things I love about picnicking at a park in Paris. But one of my favorites is just being in harmony with all others enjoying the park, getting to, for a moment, pretend we are local Parisians too.

After lunch we explored the park, which has a cupola, called the Temple de Sybille, at the top that allows for great views of Montmartre and Sacré-Cœur. We then discovered through google that there was yet another park nearby that had even better views of the city, Park de Belleville (about 1.5 km away, 15 minute walk). While the park was not nearly as nice and well kept as Buttes-Chaumont, it was higher and had nice views from the top. We arrived in time to witness the filming of a guy doing some parkour – free show!

At this point, the sun had depleted our energy, so we headed back to our little apartment to rest, recharge, and plan the evening. After scouring Lonely Planet,we decided to check out a Parisian artisan brewery named BapBap in the XI arrondisement.

We met a fellow traveler from the states who recommended a couple other Parisian breweries and then a very cool Canadian couple who work at Parallel 49 Brewing in Vancouver, BC. We ended up chatting with them for a while and lost track of time, leading to a very late (for us) but very timely (for Parisians) dinner at around 9:30 pm. After leaving the brewery, we walked around the neighborhood and stumbled into a little restaurant called Les Cuivres, which we picked because it was buzzing and very chic looking. It ended up being a great find, we shared various starter plates: empanados d’épinard, oignons, et fromage (spinach, cheese, and onion hand pies), bruschetta, beignets de brocciu (fried doughy cheesy mashed potatoes), and mozzarella panée (mozzarella sticks). Plus Chris was able to keep enjoying BapBap beer (a blonde this time) which they had on tap.

After dinner, we decided to walk to a metro stop further away to allow dinner to settle before getting into bed (at this point it was 10:45 pm or so – way past my 9 pm bedtime at home). As we walked, we were amazed at how many people were out hanging out, having dinner, having drinks with friends so late on a Wednesday night! And then we were blown away when we arrived at Place de la République and there were two distinct areas with DJs and people dancing to Latin music, in the middle of the plaza ! I wish I could be as cool as the Parisians! Their energy was contagious, but it was past 11 pm and I knew we had to get up early the next day so it was time to bid bon nuit à Paris for today.

Photo credit: Carina, Chris, and Carina’s dad.

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