Friday, September 21, 2007

Last Tango in Paris

It's our last night in Paris.

I wanted to go and do a last bit of sightseeing - in über-touristy Montmartre - but late at night, when the tourists aren't out and about. Alannah wanted to try eating at Chez Toinette, a highly heralded, small, family-run restaurant with very few tables.

Luckily, Chez Toinette is in Montmartre, and for the price, mindblowingly good.

Smoked duck breast salad, housemade duck foie gras, roasted duck breast, and (breaking the pattern here...) roasted rabbit with figs were the order of the day. Washed down with a fabulously fruity Côte de Provence red, this was a fantastic meal. Not too fancy. Not too simple. Just right. And well priced. So we hit up a cheese platter and prunes soaked in Armagnac for dessert. And the waiter liked us so much, he hooked us up with more wine on the house. Truly a brilliant dining experience.

The only lagging part of the meal were the irritatingly loud Americans seated near us, but once they left and the place filled with French diners - right around 11:30, of course - the atmosphere was nothing short of charming.

Somehow - probably with the help of the coffee and assorted sweets we were, again, hooked up with - we were able to hike our way up Montmartre in a roundabout fashion. After stopping at some cheesedick bar (the last one open) about midway to refresh with an overpriced beer served by sadly uniformed waiters, we made it up to the bright white basilicas of Sacré Coeur. Never mind the church, though. It's all about taking it all in from the steps there. With a couple hundred of your closest local and backpacker friends singing, playing guitar, and generally whooping it up.

It's amazing that the neighbors there don't complain, but when you have views like this, why would you bother?

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