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Speakeasies and things.

So as you know by now, I’m a freakish researcher and a lover of all things Paris. So before we left, I looked up EVERYTHING. And I found a few tiny bars that I thought we would love, and we wandered the streets until we found their hidden doors and all was fantastic.

I really wanted to try Little Red Door, as it has been touted for its lovely cocktails and dark and cozy vibe. We didn’t see it at first – it’s an unmarked door, but nearby is a tiny red door that serves as art and identification.

I wish I had more photos of this place – but as advertised, it was dark and cozy. We sat at the bar and met Piotr (Pierre in France, Peter in London, and open to whichever we wanted to use), a wonderful bartender who has made it his goal to work in the best bars in London, Paris, and Berlin before opening his own bar. He invited Justin to come back in the fall to run the Cannes to Nice marathon with him. (sigh) We also met the manager, Mark, who was friendly and helpful and excited and great.

We had fantastic cocktails and conversation with the bar staff, plus great snacks – including this tartare totopos, which was basically a tasty beef tartare served with freshly fried tortilla chips. It made us wonder why more places in Austin aren’t serving tartare with totopos. It makes sense, right?

paris-little-red-door-tartare-totopos

We planned to stop at Candelaria afterward, and Piotr and Mark had great things to say about it, so off we went. It’s just a block away (a very small block), and from the outside it’s just a taqueria. There’s a bouncer outside who will ask you (in French) if you want to eat or drink. We said, “Drink!” And so you walk in, past the diners at the tiny counter, to the door next to the stove, and enter a dark dungeon of cocktails and music and fun.

We had some great cocktails here – including a ginger gimlet which is on my list to recreate – and it was a lot of fun to people watch and dance and disappear into the crowd. They had this great light fixture on the way down to the super cool bathrooms. Why is everything so cool in Paris?!

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We had hoped to visit Le Mary Celeste and the Experimental Cocktail Club, but time was short and drinks were strong, so that was that. :)

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Le Rocketship

We fell in love with this little shop! It was a shop devoted to great design – from lighting to books to baskets to pottery. We found some really cool things there, plus tons of ideas!

paris-rocketship-shop

We loved that the shop had a tiny espresso counter with three stools. After shopping, we sat down and had a (very well made) cappuccino, and talked with the owner, Benoît, about life and design and books and more. He showed us some of his favorite new items, and we talked about life in Austin. Such a fun idea – he installed the tiny espresso bar so that he could talk with customers and get to know them. How great is that?

Also, tiny sugar cubes, and tiny glasses of water. Lurve.

paris-rocketship-coffee'

I really, REALLY wanted one of these rocketship lamps. They were a bit expensive, but they were so beautiful! I also loved the Space Invader stickers.

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Every part of the shop was beautifully designed and displayed. And these lamps! Just hanging by a cord that’s covered in yarn or fabric or other such beautiful things. We loved the idea of showing off the cord rather than trying to hide it.

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Justin had some great idea about this wooden thing at the entrance, but we can’t remember what. More importantly, the lamp on the table is just a light bulb on a cord that’s covered with a tube knit. WHAT.

paris-rocketship-yarn-cord

We bought a few books and paper goods (surprise), along with a beautiful ceramic cup made in the south of France. And then, just before going through security at JFK, it broke. I was heartbroken – okay, I was ANGRY – and I had to throw it away because it was now broken shards of porcelain.

Thankfully, Benoît had given us his card so we could keep in touch, and now he is sending me a replacement cup, all the way from Paris. I can’t WAIT to drink my coffee in it. And seriously, we’d love to work with Benoît on opening a Le Rocketship in Austin.

Les Bonnes Soeurs

Our first dinner was at Les Bonnes Soeurs, which was recommended by our apartment owner. It was a short walk away and was incredibly cute, with nearly every table full and the nicest waitstaff.

Another thing – we had heard horror stories about rude servers (and rude French people in general), but we never experienced that. We knew the basics, and started every conversation with “bonjour” or “bonsoir,” and were polite and excited and open to new experiences. It probably helped that I pick up languages and accents very quickly, and I already knew a lot about French food terms. Still, we had no rude experiences!

We started with a trio of pots: zucchini, salmon, and green pea. So lovely.

paris-bonnes-soeurs-apps

We shared zucchini and mushroom soup and seared bass with broccoli-potato puree. The skin on the fish was so crispy, and the fish so flavorful! It reminded me of the fish courses at F&D.

paris-bonnes-soeurs-dinner

For dessert, we shared the tarte tatin. Whatever I’ve tasted in the States has been nothing like this. The apples were so creamy, like an apple pudding or confit, and the crust so crisp and flavorful. Amazing.

paris-bonnes-soeurs-tarte

Of course all of this came with plenty of wine. Every glass of wine we had in Paris was great. And cheap. I really miss that.