What can be more satisfying than breaking away from the familiar and the habitual and making surprisingly pleasant discoveries?
Today, we decided to explore the St Germain de Pres area -- a bit out of our usual haunts. We started at the St Sulpice church -- beautiful and historic and enthralling, even if you haven't read Dan Brown -- and went through the small alleyways, rooting out new sights and new experiences.
By lunchtime we were still in the area and were overwhelmed with the number of small bistros, creperies, traiteurs, brasseries offering all sorts of cuisines.
We passed by the iconic Brasserie Lipp and Les Deux Magots - made famous by Hemingway, James Joyce and all those famous writers and philosophers of that era.
Hmm, interesting maybe but not today.
Behind the St Germain church, we came upon this small but cheerful looking bistro with a very attractive name -- La Rhumerie!
Almost all small bistros, brasseries and cafes offer formules or prix fixe menus -- one attractive price gets you the meal of the day with a salad thrown in and sometimes, even dessert.
The usual formules range from as low as 9 euros to a high of 17 or 18 euros. Quite reasonable for lunch or dinner.
La Rhumerie is no longer as full, the lunch crowd has thinned out and we snag a nice table right by the window -- where we can people watch and they can watch us as we eat our lunch!
La Rhumerie is modestly sized but cozy and comfortable. As in any bistro of this type, the small tables and chairs are squeezed so close to each other.
The food is caribbean -- from the Antilles. Hence the name "La Rhumerie" -- there are bottles and bottles of rum lining the bar.
Jay ordered a brochette de poulet or chicken kebab and it was accompanied by a large fresh green salad, with avocados and a very tasty avocado dip!
I order the salmon and crab quiche which came with the same heaping mound of green salad. The quiche was very tasty and light -- such a healthy lunch!
It was healthy until I ordered the beer! A chilled glass and a cold bottle of 1664 rounds out my lunch very nicely. No rum for me -- even if the place is called La Rhumerie!
After lunch, we wander around through the side streets of St Germain de Pres and we come upon the Village Voice, an english bookshop, quite a rarity in Paris.
Naturally, I have to go in -- and once I'm inside, well, I have to buy a book.
One of my favorite quotes goes "When I have any money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes".
After spending a day at St Germain de Pres, it's time to go back to the apartment on Rue Berthollet.
We need bread for breakfast tomorrow and this time instead of heading off to our little boulangerie along Rue Mouffetard, I decide to continue this day of exploration and go the opposite direction towards Rue Claude Bernard.
And there, right at the corner of Berthollet and Claude Bernard, just a few paces away from the apartment, I see this cheerfully lit boulanger/patissierre/chocolatier!
Why hadn't I noticed this before?
At the entrance are cakes, tartes and sandwiches -- there are fresh vegetable and fruit salads in small plastic tubs for take away. On the window you can see humongous meringues and pains de chocolat. They even have a chiller for wine, juices and other beverages.
pastries and sweets -- I must remember I came in here just to buy a baguette for breakfast tomorrow!
And buy a baguette I did -- but I couldn't stop myself from indulging in a pain de chocolat and two large macarons -- one mocha and one framboise.
They're delicious -- and a sweet ending to a day of new discoveries and wonderful finds!