Last week I had the opportunity to go back to Paris for work where I represent Canada on a working group at the OECD. This is the third time in the past 18 months that I’ve been and so while the city becomes more familiar, I also feel less inclined to stay longer than I have to. This trip, I arrived early on Sunday morning and was headed back to North America by lunchtime on Wednesday. Despite that, I managed to pack in some successful meetings, dinners with colleagues and a bit of touring in the 3rd and 4th arrondissement (the Marais); an area where I haven’t spent a lot of time since I have typically stayed in the 16th on the other side of town.
Rue de Rosiers is referred to as ‘Falafel Row’ because of the many different shops specializing in this handheld dish and I went to check it out after visiting Bastille Market. The most famous of these shops is L’as du Falafel and the line outside suggests the power of the Internet’s ability to concentrate people in one place. I would estimate 200-300 people in line, something I had no interest in undertaking. I took my spot as the fourth person in line at Chez Marianne around the corner which by all accounts builds a good falafel and it delivered. From there, I wandered the 8km back to my hotel to work off the falafel and my jetlag.
It became apparent to me that I have never visited Paris in June before, since typically our meetings have been held in December – the crowds of tourists were insane. One night, since I wasn’t tired I walked over to the Eiffel Tower at midnight to watch it light up on the hour and Trocadero was still jammed with dozens of tour buses letting people off to go check out the view.
A trip to Le Cafe du Commerce in the 15th on our last night provided a nice glimpse of the classic Parisian brasserie. The rude service, cheap wine, and excellent duck dish demonstrated its authenticity.