Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Café des 2 Moulins

Have you seen the movie Amélie? I haven't, but perhaps I should now since having a great time at the Café des 2 Moulins. The very French Bistro is apparently a key part of the film as Amélie's place of work.

The intention was to walk to La Basilique du Sacré Coeur, which has great views over Paris. Unfortunately due to the snow that had turned to ice there was a chance of getting up, but not so much getting down without sliding on ones arse. Fortunately near the bottom of the hill is the Café des 2 Moulins.

Many of the bistro's bars  and restaurants in the area are named relating to 'Moulins' or 'Windmills'. One very famous one sits right at the bottom...
The Moulin Rouge

Snow is falling
Inside it is everything you could ever want from your typical French Bistro. A great wine selection, people huddled around small tables meeting for an after work drink, questionable service and good food. There is also a bit of a shrine to the movie.
The gnome has significance... apparently 

Shrine to Amelie
Of course first things first, a glass of red. As a rule of thumb I generally don't drink red wine out of the house (unless of course it's necessary) as I suffer from red wine lips - not an attractive look. Purple belongs on clothing, accessories and flowers - not your face. However, when in Rome...

Savouring the atmosphere and wine attention moved to the food and drink menus. It seems to be permanently happy hour everywhere in Paris. The cocktail list here was vast and very exciting, as was practising my French (the waiter didn't speak English - I quite like this fact).

The food menu was also a really good mix of traditional French Cuisine and more mainstream dishes. Personally I can't pass up a burger, still being on the hunt for the best one - more here). 
Café des 2 Moulins Menu
Cafe des 2 Moulins Burger
Bacon Cheese Burger
Also on the menu? Crème brûlée. Something else it would be sacrilege to turn down in Paris. The burger was good. It wouldn't make it into the top 5 burgers ever, but it was pretty damn good, if a bit greasy. The fries? McDonald's would call them French, so who am I to argue?

Overall this was a fantastic place to visit - even if you haven't seen the film. Aside from the shrine, the place doesn't seem to have been spoilt at all from it's popularity derived from the 2001 film, perhaps because it has been so long. It felt local rather than touristy and is great value for money. A definite visit if you find yourself in the area. And good luck getting up to the Sacré Coeur.

Apologies for the poor quality photos - good camera was at the hotel
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Monday, 28 January 2013

Paris: The Louvre and Notre Dame

Parisian architecture; I have become kind of obsessed. Walking around the city in the snow (I was surprised to hear it doesn't often snow in Paris, I figured it would more than in London) was pretty amazing.

From the base in Bastille the reception staff were pretty deterred by my desire to walk to The Louvre - pretty much begging me to take the Metro. From my experience of the London Underground, it's generally better to walk, who knows what you miss otherwise.

Turns out it was only 30 minutes - and there were some sites on the way...

A little squiffy

On arrival at the Palace that houses the Louvre it was a shame it was so grey. The grey building against a bluer sky would have been far preferable.

Can you see it through the archway at the bottom?

There is no denying it's pretty amazing, and I'm not ashamed to admit I was even more keen to go and have a look being a big fan of the Da Vinci Code. Yes Tom Hanks probably has a little influence on a few of the visitors there today.

I only took one lens - so the zoom wasn't ideal
Still trying to position photos better and get the most out of the camera - whist being very aware I may get mugged any second (I'm paranoid nowadays) was a challenge. As was the one un-gloved hand open to the elements so I could actually manage the camera. Brrr...How did I do?

After the Louvre (I was too late to go in, due to the 3.5 hour delay on the Eurostar) it was off to Notre Dame, again very walkable. Along the Seine children were pushing snow off the ledge above the - I guess - tow path on to un-suspecting tourists below. Funny and cruel at the same time.

Can you see the Eiffel Tower? Look very close in the centre

Having been a fan of the Disney Movie early on in life it was kind of apparent my appreciation of culture was pretty much marred by the Hollywood effect. Robert Langham was not kneeling at the resting place of Mary Magdalene and there was no hunchback at Notre Dame Cathedral.

There was no singing from these gargoyles - just icicles from their mouths.

Nevertheless - Hunchback or not, the place is amazing. One very nice surprise was the freedom to go inside, spend all the time you need wondering around and taking photos - while there was an actual service on ~(mostly I imagine filled with tourists). The acoustics were amazing. Two singers at the alter were singing, the sound was incredible.
Quite the intimidating job, yet amazing singing
Time for me to stop babbling on and just let you enjoy the view.

Loving the arches - clearly

Getting dark, loving the lighting

Across the street


Au revior Notre Dame
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