|Lunch at L'Office with lovely Erica|
But surprise surprise. Thanks in no small part to the top floor apartment I stayed in with the panoramic views of the WHOLE of Paris (as I keep telling everyone) and the instructions I was given on where to find the good cheese, wine, bread and coffee places (and the lovely neighbours!) I found a good little neighbourhood beat there. Cat in the courtyard, ambling down rue Lepic, bonjours all round from the shopkeepers. I was like flippin' Amelie for a moment there. I still gave Sacre Coeur a wide berth, but I found some lovely streets to wander and some places I liked a lot, both there and in the 9th down the hill. I know you can't really say you "found" anything in Montmartre - it's all been seen and done and the paths are well trodden - it reminds me a lot of Notting Hill, including having had an extremely popular film set there that cemented its ubiquitousness on the tourist trail.
But I wasn't homesick for the 3rd while I was there. I went there twice to meet friends and felt quite happy going back; up the hill to watch the light of the Eiffel tower sweep across Paris and past the window. In the bedroom I could open one eye from bed and see across to Montparnasse, my eye landing on a different landmark each time. From the kitchen I could see Sacre Coeur up the hill and from the living room everything across to La Defense, then to the left the top of the Eiffel tower and the Pantheon. It was like being in the sky. I was pretty into that view.
So that was good. Here is a small list of addresses in the 18th and 9th.
Le Grenier à Pain (Abbesses)
38 rue des Abbesses, 75018
Fougasse. Is all I'm saying. The head baker won the 2010 Gran Prix de la Baguette for best baguette in Paris. I don't know about that, just get the fougasse.
The fromagerie in rue Lepic, 75018.
Can't remember the name - it might just be Fromagerie Lepic - but it's opposite the Cafe des Deux Moulins made famous in Amelie. Unfortunately that cafe now has huge posters of Amelie everywhere and is frequented mostly by tourists. The coffee there is mediocre. So go to...
62 rue des Martyrs, 75009
Okay this is exactly like an Antipodean stylee cafe in London or Berlin and everyone has their laptops out. It's not Parisian at all, and their flat white (there is no way to say flat white with a French accent I discovered) was kind of like a latte, but wow, all the attractive people walking past with their extremely attractive dogs was what sold me on this place. Extremely good people (and dog) watching.