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Hey winos, how are ya?
I’m great, thanks for asking. Mostly because I’ve just come back from Paris, where Ruth and I went on a little research excursion to see what the French know about wine. A lot (but not as much as Dan, obv). The pair of us spent two days bopping up and down the rues, sticking our noses into any cave à vins that took our fancy. It was essentially the greatest work trip in the history of the universe. Want to have a fantastique time in Paris too? Don’t worry. I’m gonna tell you where we went.
My trip started at the princely (and unnecessary) hour of 4.30 a.m. to catch our 7 a.m. Eurostar (thanks Dan). I’m a psycho about being early for any form of transport. Have been caught more than once lying about the estimated wait time for an Uber and forcing my friends to stand on the pavement in the rain for ten minutes. Anyway. Got to St. Pancras with an hour and a half to spare and then stood around anxiously glugging my coffee until Ruth arrived at the sane and correct time of 45 minutes before the train left.
After a long recuperative sleep across the Channel we headed straight from Gare du Nord up to Montmartre. The weather was grim but Ruth insisted we walk. Ruth likes walking, as it turns out. The things you learn about people on holiday. But I forgive her, because it was on said walk that we stumbled across Sapajou, a wine shop and restaurant that smelled like something I wanted to eat. We’d just missed lunchtime but made a vague (and untruthful) promise to the owner to come back for dinner. We did not go back for dinner – Montmartre is far, man. You should though, it’s right here.
Lies told, we moseyed up the road to Rock Bottles, a wine and record store that I would describe as just like Dan’s except the floor was polished. Ruth and I played bottle bingo for a while, patting ourselves on the back for all the ones we recognised, before getting down to investigating all the ones we didn’t. I picked up a little Bourgogne Aligoté by Margaux Rivaux which my housemates and I decimated last night in front of the White Lotus season two finale (yes, I know we’re behind and yes, I know Jennifer Coolidge dropped a total spoiler in her Emmy acceptance speech. Ta Jen).
Monzo account considerably lighter, we went back down the hill with a vague aim of Nouvelle Athènes, but ole Ruth eagle eyes spied a restaurant across the road while I had my nose glued to Google Maps. Glad she was paying attention, coz it was one of the most delish lunches I’ve ever had. Sea bass ceviche with feta, daikon radish, pomegranate seeds, shut the front door. Crémant for me, Aix-en-Provence red for her. The place was popping off at 1.30 p.m. on a Tuesday. Made me wonder what kind of job I could do where I could have a bottle of wine with lunch and then I remembered that I literally have that job. Heh. If you like nice food you should check it out – Fichon. Don’t mind the scaffolding.
On we walked (and walked and walked) down to Charonne to hit up Septime La Cave. It’s just as good as you think it’s gonna be. Also vibes upon vibes. There was a guy in there standing at the counter, taking a business call while mainlining saucisson and red wine. How do I become French? Are you French? Would you like an English wife? HMU. Septime is teeny tiny but that just makes you feel even cooler for being in there. Banging staff, let us try all kinds of junk, really knew their stuff. Loved it, 12/10. Also spied a Noble Rot poster on the wall and discovered that my mate who lives in Paris is the only person in the world who hasn’t heard of Chin Chin. What a sheltered life she leads.
When we finally peeled ourselves away from Septime we sauntered round the corner to Giclette (google translate that if you want a lol, or just lol away if you’re French and already know what it means). It was cute AF and also cheap AF. I also love the tradition we came across a lot in the places we went where you just said what colour wine you wanted and they poured you whatever they felt like. No bottle showing, no grape bragging, just, oh you want a pét nat? Voilà, a pét nat. Shut up and drink it. Who are we to argue with the masters?
Dinner was at Le Petit Keller right next door, which we’d stumbled upon on our walk (I GET IT, you’re SUPPOSED to walk around Paris) and interrupted what was evidently the owners’ lunch break by barging in and asking to reserve a table earlier in the day. Grabbed a bottle of orange (can’t remember what it was but it tasted a little bit like this one, floral and lush as hell) and some Japanese-French fusion tapas. What a concept, sounds like some gimmicky pop-up but actually was ridiculously good. Minus 0.00001 point for the woman sitting next to us who told us to stop talking so loudly. Be quiet in a restaurant? Je pense pas. Actually gonna stick the point back on because she didn’t work there and also we were being loud. Fair.
Guess what we did on day two? I’ll tell you: walked. We marched from Belleville down to Jardin des Tuileries – yes, thank you for checking the distance, I’m aware it’s only an hour – where we were guilt tripped into getting a coffee at a place that Ruth incorrectly thought she could run into and use the toilet without being spotted. Parisian waiters are no joke, they have eyes in the back of their head. Coffee was lush though so who cares. Sun was finally out so we basked in that for a while before realising we hadn’t drunk a glass of wine in over twenty minutes and immediately headed up to Oberkampf to rectify the situation.
Aux Deux Amis has been on my list forever, and she did not disappoint. The people there were an absolute treat, the food was crazy good and the service unbelievably fast, which worked for me as I was already getting antsy about missing our train (three hours before it departed). Ruth had boudin noir (blood sausage) in potato purée which looked amusingly identical to the dessert I had (chocolate ganache in crème anglaise). Tasted different though.
Lunch inhaled, we made a quick stop at La Cave de Belleville so I could add some weight to my bag, which I did in the form of an Alsatian Sylvaner by Vignoble des 3 Terres and a pét nat by Cantina Furlani, thanks to the staff’s patient translating of my rambling French into great recommendations. They also had a cheese cabinet that was calling my name but I didn’t want to get kicked off the Eurostar for stinking out the place so I left the cheese behind and we walked (😊) back to Gare du Nord and back to Blighty. Bummer. But for thirty-six hours in Paris you’d be hard pressed to beat it.