The goal today is to try to have lunch at La Bistro Paul Bert. You have to get reservations months in advance, and we didn't do that, but supposedly they will let you in for lunch if you go stand in line when they first open so that's what we do.
It works! We are ushered to our table without any trouble. Contrary to some reviews online our server is friendly and has no problem explaining the menu to non-french speaking tourists.
And what a menu it is! For our starter I get escargot and mushrooms in a pastry shell; Lee chooses the pate; the accompanying bread is excellent. I get the sole with lemon and butter for my main; it's cod with veggies for Lee. And for dessert Lee has the Paris Brest, I have a chocolate macaroon. Brest is a coffee cream on a pastry, mine is chocolate cream filled macaroon. Mine is just crazy rich. It takes a lot for me to overload on chocolate, but in this case I do. Then we have coffee. It was a great meal but it takes forever to get the check.
We think there is some nuance we miss in the check receiving department, either that or we are just not lingering sufficiently over our lunch. The server, who up until this point has been attentive but not obtrusive, is now only seen fleetingly as she scurries back and forth, prepping tables for new customers, and bringing other customers their meals. She is very busy and it doesn't seem to be a priority to get people out of the restaurant. They only serve lunch from 12-2, so maybe once you have a table you are supposed to sit around and relax until two and not bother them. We almost do that anyway, but being antsy American we aren't so good at the relaxing part.
We end the afternoon with a self guided walking tour of the neighborhood behind the Bastile. There is an abandoned elevated railway that has been made into a park, much like the Highline in NYC. In fact The Highline was inspired by this Parisian park, which is older, quieter, with more roses and other flowers. Beneath the railway the brick supports have been enclosed and turned into shops and artist studios. We walk along the street and window shop, then climb the stairs to the elevated park and walk back. Tired, we will eat the rest of our bread and cheese in the apartment tonight, pack, and head to Istanbul tomorrow.
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