Buying Luke Nguyen’s book motivated us to think about our time in Paris – particularly our longer stays in 2005 and 2013.   In 2005 we stayed a week at a Citadines apartment in Saint Germain-des-Pres (very close to all the main tourist attractions);  in 2013 we stayed at the Mercure Hotel in Montmartre which was a comfortable room and reasonably priced for Paris.  What we did love about the Montmartre area were all the wonderful bistros – our favourite was Bistro Poulbot.

Montmartre has 2 parts – one area is full of fast food places and reminded us of any modern/urban space in most big cities + some parts grungy and unkept;  you’ll see the Moulin Rouge there in it’s rather faded glory these days – see photo below; another part is the more historic area with many restored buildings, leafy avenues, cafes, bistros, small galleries and of course the Sacre Coeur church on top of the hill (photo below of the view – taken near the church).  It was interesting walking through both areas of Montmartre although we mostly stayed in the more upmarket area in the evening as the bistros looked so appealing but weren’t overly expensive compared to the Saint Germain district.

Near the famous Sacre Coeur church in Montmartre with our guide – a University student in the last year of her History degree.  She was excellent – lots of interesting stories plus advice on good places to re-visit on our own, cafes and bistros to try, etc….a good way to start a stay as she gave us a general orientation of the whole area.  We walked around with her (in a small group) for an hour or so.

It’s getting late here in Australia so over the next few days I’ll post more photos, information and of course our fave French recipes.  Bonsoir!!

Bonjour!!  Sitting in our sunny Canberra courtyard writing this – May 2017…the autumn colours here are particularly gorgeous this year because we haven’t had much wind.  I’ll do a Canberra post one day soon!  Back to memories of Paris…

Most of these photos with grey skies were taken on our May 2005 visit to Paris.  The sunny photos (many around Montmartre) are from May 2013.

The Paris Metro…getting around by train is easy even without much French – our French is super basic (greetings + we’re often able to read a French menu…v important😉😋) & I keep meaning to learn more!  Even in 2005 most younger people in Paris could speak English and when we said we were Australian, that helped as they seemed to understand that opportunities to practise our French don’t arise often at home.  By now most of those young people from 2005 are approaching middle age – how the years fly by!  The one thing us humans all have in common – we all get old!…so with that in mind we’re looking forward to planning another trip to France in 2018.

In 2013 we used the trains even more than we did in 05 – even arriving by train from London which was convenient as the station isn’t far from Montmartre.

Photo above:

Even in grey weather Paris is still beautiful with splashes of colour and beauty sometimes – even near their main roads.  Photo below is my attempt to be Arty😉!…I do like this one – taken through a fence as we strolled around.


Photos above:  Tony in 2013…recently retired and looking relaxed!  Time for more travel/eating/cooking!  Montmartre had lots of cosy/casual bistros like the one in this photo.  The menus were in French but we always found that the staff were very happy to help us particularly if we got there early (as we did this time!) before they got too busy.  We were happy to go earlier after a busy day of sightseeing.  It was also nice to see a quiet bistro gradually come to life.  By about 9ish this bistro was buzzing.

Photos below:

Many of the dishes were not only delicious but the presentation was gorgeous…even a dedicated carnivore couldn’t deny that the plate below is appealing even if they might prefer the terrine in the next photo😉.  Even breakfast was beautiful…Chat Noir Cafe.

Photo below was our favourite cafe in Montmartre – it was so popular so we needed to arrive as soon as it opened.

Well the time has come to think about what we’ll prepare for dinner tonight…our local Fyshwick markets open today (Thursday-Sunday) so we’ll pop in there this afternoon.  These markets supply the freshest seafood – we prefer to buy the seafood sourced from the South Coast…a 2 hour drive from Canberra through beautiful countryside.  Something to consider doing if you’re ever visiting Australia.

Photos below:

These 3 dishes (all with French Vietnamese flavours) appeal to me…not sure if we can get Mackerel but our market has a great Asian grocery so items like Sichuan pepper (in the asparagus starter) + Thai basil should be easy to find.  I’ll note the ingredients & summarise method here later. These dishes come from the chapter on Paris in Luke’s book (photo top of page).

Last photo:

After visit to our market yesterday…both mackerel and sardines available but the kingfish looked great too so we decided on the dish with Passionfruit I mentioned in an earlier post – Raw Kingfish with Passionfruit, Lemongrass and Vietnamese Herbs.  I’ll pop in a photo from last night…I have leftovers for lunch now.  The recipe can be found at the end of the post on “Historic Hanoi”.