ABF & I covered so much ground in Paris that I'm amazed we found any time to eat. We were so intent on taking in as many sights (and sites) as possible that we often just grabbed food wherever we could find it.
After seeing the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the cathedral of Notre Dame, ABF & I found ourselves wandering through the Latin Quarter. It was insanely, dazzlingly busy, so we wandered a bit past there to the quieter, calmer, Boulevard St. Michel, which is one of the boundaries of the Quarter (along with Boulevard St. Germain). There we popped over to a cafe with outdoor seating, La Fontaine St. Michel, in Paris's 5th Arondissement. It's, as you may have guessed, around the corner from the actual fountain of St. Michel (photo of it at the end of this post!)
We picked an outdoor table and immediately started drinking as much water as possible (hello, Americans!) I then ordered an appetizer portion of les escargots. Oh yes I did! In case you can't tell from my photo, I was extremely geeked out to be using the tongs and tiny fork--the quintessential accoutrements (can you stand all the French, people, CAN YOU!?) to a classic French dish that this American can only seem to stomach while abroad.
One of my first experiences in Paris, lo those many years ago (Sept 1999--what?!) was eating escargots (yes, snails). They were buttery, garlicky, and melt-in-your-mouth delectable, and quite the opposite of what I had expected. I decided that I'd have to dare myself (She Who can Still be Squeamish) to eat escargots again as soon as I got back there. Done!
ABF had 1 or 2 as well and thought they weren't that bad. Not as garlicky as I'd hoped, but the rich parsley topping was a nice touch.
ABF ordered a sandwich sandwich, nothing too fancy and he seemed to enjoy it. I remember it having mayonnaise and mustard, if I recall correctly, but I can't remember what was inside, and neither can he! I do know that he enjoyed it and the bread was glorious--as all bread IS in Paris, non?
For my entree, I went for a perfectly Parisian pairing--quiche with a tossed green salad in a creamy, garlicky dressing. This was lovely!
The cafe seemed to have a lot more locals than tourists, which was fine by me. Prepare yourself for plenty of cigarette smoke, too, but at this point we were getting (almost) used to it. This was a great place to fuel up for another night of walking through one of my favorite cities. Service was a bit stuffy, kind of what you might expect in Paris, but it just lends to the charm, I say!
If the nearby Latin Quarter is too crazy for you, amble on over, enjoy an espresso, then wander past the fountain and take in gorgeous views of the cathedral of Notre Dame and more...ah Paris, I miss her already!
La Fontaine St. Michel
11 Place Saint-Michel
75006 Paris, France
01 43 26 54 31