Living the Parisian Life

This year’s annual visit to Cannes Film Festival was exciting for a lot of reasons. From being planned at the last moment to getting the visa on the day of departure to mom and mine’s first solo trip together, this trip was full of surprises at every step. Also since mom hadn’t been to Paris before I thought it would be great to cover some of the old and nice cafes of Paris.

It was difficult getting vegetarian food at these cafes for mom (this is before I turned vegetarian) but there were quite a few options available. In this blog, I have listed the cafes that I went to while exploring Paris, again.

  • Café des Deux Moulin– This was the first cafe we went to since we were on a walking tour in the area of Montmarte and if you have seen the movie Amélie, you would surely want to experience the place where the film was shot. It is a popular cafe bustling with tourists and Amélie fans getting their pictures clicked around a corner designated to the movie’s art. The food is reasonably priced. We had a glass of wine and some Crispy de Serrano, hot cantaloupe on toast with fried veggies. The cantaloupe on toast can be a blast of sodium for people who are not used to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole– Looking to have a feel of the 18th century Paris? Then Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole is the place for you. A cafe cum restaurant, this cafe is situated very close to the Notre Dame cathedral and was built around the same time as the cathedral. It was once home to the Church priest and there are rooms that still exist on the second and third floor of the cafe. They do rent it out to travellers but do not advertise because they don’t wish to commercialise the stay. This cafe, although situated in a tiny little corner will immediately grab your attention thanks to the colourful decor and an array of vines beautifully decorating the windows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even the interiors are thousand years old, the staff believes in maintaining                              the legacy. It was a little past lunch time when I visited the cafe but I had a                              nice lunch with chicken breast, salad and a glass of wine. This cafe is a                                        must visit for all photography lovers.

 

  • Café de la Rotonde– Another old brasserie frequented by artists like Pablo Picasso Diego Rivera, Alexandre Jacovleff, La Rotonde is a famous cafe in the Montparnasse Quarter of Paris. I was lost while finding my way to the cafe and when I asked the owner of a small pancake shop nearby, he was really happy that I am going to this cafe. Sitting outside on the street under umbrella, sipping wine, witnessing the crowd go on about their lives was fascinating, so to speak. I went for a tuna salad and a glass of wine. The staff was the best part about the cafe; impeccably polite and quick.

 

 

 

 

 

  •  Shakespeare and Company Cafe– I have to admit but out of all the cafes, this is one of my favourite. Situated at a walking distance from Notre Dame, one of the favourite bookstores in Paris, now also has a cafe right next to it. Had I not been with mom, I could have simply grabbed a book from the bookstore and sat in this cafe for hours, doing absolutely nothing. Such is the vibe of the cafe and the people who frequent it. They mostly serve vegetarian food so I went for a avocado bagel sandwich and a hummus pita platter along with some fresh pressed fruit juice. And when you are at Shakespeare and Co., how can you resist the temptation of buying some books?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Le Verre Luisant Cafe– A local friend of mine took us to this cafe near Chatelet. The manager of the cafe was American and he was really happy to have Indians at the cafe. It was a quaint little cafe located at the corner of the street from where we witnessed a beautiful colourful sunset while enjoying our pasta and burger. The menu is all in French but the staff is extremely helpful with their suggestions and the ambience is all young and energetic.

There were a lot many cafes that I wanted to visit but couldn’t due to my limited stay but I am sure I will visit them again during my next trip. Lastly, every time I return from Paris, it has become a ritual to get different croissants so that I can relive the Parisian life for a few more days in Mumbai. I was lucky to find Du Pain Et Des Idees, a very popular and amazing bakery near my hotel so that I could pack fresh croissants right before my flight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Goan Holiday

Goa is synonymous with Las Vegas for Indians and it stands true to that identity since Goa is all about letting the fun side of you have an unimaginable time. I have been to Goa several times in the last few years, for both work and vacation in equal ratio. Most of the times, it has always been about visiting the same old stereotypical locations that almost every second tourist flocks to which kind of sickened me and I had started to despise the fact of visiting Goa for vacation fearing the crazy crowd. Until, this time when I had to visit Goa yet another time for work and was extending the trip by a couple of days cause I simply needed a break.

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The view from Marriott Goa

And I couldn’t have asked for a better holiday. I had gone to attend a film market as part of my work and was staying in the heart of Panjim near the casino hub. I have always wanted to visit a casino bar and during all my visits, I have never managed to. I stayed in a hostel called Zostel in Calangute. It is situated in a small unidentifiable corner of Calangute, not too far from the beach and just the perfect place in case you are looking for solitude and privacy. Zostel hosts backpackers from all over the world and is a great place for people to network and bond on the go. I have never stayed in a hostel before cause hygiene and clean surroundings is a big concern for me. But this was quite a surprise considering it has started only 2 months ago, this place is already giving other places a run for their money. But one thing the owners of the place are clear about is that Zostel is not meant for tourists, it is meant for backpackers and solo travellers who are looking at bonding with other people and having an experience. You got to try the place in order to believe me.

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Zostel, Goa

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The people at Zostel had told me that there were a couple of French cafes around Anjuna and they are a must try so the next day, I was at this quaint little cafe Artjuna which is hard to miss if you are speeding on your bike. It is one of those places where you can just chill and relax the entire day while gorging on yummy coffee and French croissant and hummus. Another cafe I went to was Baba AhRhum, the name feels completely Yogic but trust me once you reach there, you will fall in love with the place for what it is: the space, the decor, the food, surrounding and the feel. The cafe is run by a French couple who manage the entire chore of the place. It is a must visit if you are looking for some lone time and good food. Their speciality is croissant, crostinis and bagels.

Entrance of Artjuna

Entrance of Artjuna

Hummus platter at Artjuna

Hummus platter at Artjuna

 

 

 

 

 

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Baba AhRhum

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Baba Ganoush

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Chocolate Croissant at Baba AhRhum

Library in Artjuna

Library in Artjuna

 

After all the hogging, it was time to go to the beach and enjoy the cold waves by the feet. I chose the rarely frequented Morjim beach and Hard Rock Cafe was my go-to-shack. The water wasn’t that clean but it was isolated and I thoroughly enjoyed playing in the water. This was duly followed by ice cold Kings beer.

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Morjim beach

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My next stop was Thalassa in Vagator. I can swear by all the Gods, living and dead that this is perhaps the best place one must visit in Goa if they want to enjoy the most prettiest sunset of their life. You got to book this place in advance to get the best table by the beach view. I spent some 3 hours at this place sipping on some great Chatet Rose wine and lots of yummy food with feta cheese that added to the flavour. While I was lost in the tranquil of the vast ocean in front of me with the sun casting different hues over its surface, lot of people around me were so busy capturing pictures on their phones that they were missing out on the real beauty of the place. If you are looking at a place to unwind, then this got to be it.

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Uninterrupted view at Thalassa

I was keen on visiting Ashvem beach too which is another quiet beach in Goa but couldn’t cause it was time to return home. All the places I went to were located far away from the chaos of the city which I think makes them alluring and special.

In 3 days, I experienced a Goa that I hadn’t before and it indeed is one of the best travel highlights of 2015.

 

All images ©Kainat27