MY PARIS | Cafe De La Paix
When Amber & I booked tickets for a day-trip to Paris, we knew that the day would be (or could be potentially) rushed. With a city as gorgeous and jam-packed with great sites, stores and neighborhoods- it was easy to try and cram the day full with amazing stops like Galleries Lafayette, brunch with local friends or stopping in a few museums.
But the good thing about traveling with someone you really like and know is that you can be honest with each other about how you want to spend your time. Luckily, we both had the same goals in mind: eat amazing food, take as long as we want since we wouldn't have babies with us and keep it simple.
So basically, eat great food and let the rest of the day fall as it would around that. We kept breakfast simple (yet amazing) with a stop at, in my opinion, Paris' best boulangerie (Du Pain et Des Idées) and a casual picnic from the market along the Seine for dinner... but lunch? Well, that we did in style.
For a long time, I've seen Cafe De La Paix sitting smugly next to the Palais Garnier, as part of the luxe Intercontinental Paris Le Grand Hotel. With it's iconic green awnings, distinctive signs and posh clientele dotting the terrace- it's been on my "If I'm ever cool enough, I'll go there" list. Well, without a baby... we were both feeling cool enough.
It would be fair to say that lunch here was the crown jewel in our girls' day to Paris. I wanted to give a full review of it, so that when you plan your next trip to Paris- you'll have all the details needed to decide if an afternoon here is how you, too, should spend your time. Pull up a chair and join us for our ladies lunch in Paris.
The prominent position just out of the Opera Metro station beside the Palais Garnier is a, undoubtedly, striking. The sunny terrace with posh waiters running around makes the scene even more... Parisian. You can eat on the Terrace for a bit more relaxed menu and service (though, it will be one of the fancier sidewalk cafes you can find in the city!), but we had reservations inside the main dining room.
The main dining room? Amazing. With painted ceilings, plush red velvet banquettes and fine china dressed on the table- it is a "pinch me" kind of place.
OKAy, IT SOUNDS PRETTY... BUT HOWS THE FOOD?
The food is amazing. Honestly, it ticks that "Fine French Cuisine" box in every perfect way. I'll give you a visual walk-through to prove it.
There is a seasonal set menu from the market that is available at lunch and pre-theatre which offers three courses for €53. While the regular menu was dotted with glorious options like oysters and grilled meats, I felt compelled to do some "travel research" and opt for the menu so that I could pass along the information to you here. We told our waiter that we wanted to try the menu, if there was anything we didn't particularly like and he said he would take care of us.*
(*I've never handed over my dining before- as I'm typically a bit of a control freak over my food. Think Sally in the diner from When Harry Met Sally. But hey, I was baby-free in Paris with my friend at a gorgeous restaurant. If there was ever a time to go with the moment, it was then.)
While we waited for our first course, a little amuse bouche arrived at our table. Gorgeous. Perfect.
From there, the first course arrived: "le jardin du printemps"... which, naturally, means "Spring Garden." Now I've never eaten a spring garden before- but this gorgeous bowl of color seems to do a pretty amazing job of living up to the title. A light puree of greens crowned with bright vegetables and flowers that was so light and fresh.
Next came the main: turbot- because nothing says "ladies lunch" like simple white fish and beautiful veggies. Cooked simply in butter, the fish was perfectly cooked and the right choice for the meal.
And of course, after that dessert descended on our table like an angel from heaven. It was a creation that only the French can create that somehow combines art and flavor. Wild strawberries, cream, homemade salted shortbread... We were in pain trying to finish it after being so stuffed, but you'll be glad to know that we persevered and ate every bite.
While we were moaning over how full we were, coffee arrived... alongside a plank of about a dozen gorgeous handmade sweets like macarons and tarts. Obviously, it was hard work to pay them all the respect they deserved and eating them all. But we aren't quitters, so we rallied.
And it would be a pity to talk all about such beautiful food and fail to mention the exceptional service. It's not everyday that the chef comes out to personally say hello! The entire staff was so kind and helpful- it made the experience all the sweeter! (They didn't even seem to mind that we were the last people to leave the dining room after rest of the bustling lunch crowd had long left.)
WOULD YOU GO BACK?
Yes. Definitely. It's a great spot to spend with someone that you'd love to enjoy a long meal with. It's not to be rushed, but if you're with someone that you want to spend some good time with in a perfect place, Cafe de la Paix is pretty hard to beat. I'd love to take Tyler back there for a romantic dinner out in Paris or waste the afternoon away with a girlfriend there again.
Or, in a dream scenario, stay above at the Intercontinental's hotel in one of their balcony suites and meander downstairs to the Cafe de la Paix for brunch after a lazy morning in bed. (A girl can dream, right?)
Thank you, Cafe de la Paix for treating us to the *perfect* lunch for our trip. We left feeling significantly chubbier and blissfully spoiled.
Find more of my favorite places to eat here in my PARIS TRAVEL GUIDE.
*images original to Aspiring Kennedy