Paris - All the Steak Frites in Saint Germain

Boulevard Saint Germain

This blog has been woefully neglected for past several years, I just haven't made the time for it. I do feel badly about it, mostly because I have so many unfinished posts sitting in my drafts folder! Post full of memories and photos and, I think, useful information for travelers. A friend is planning a trip to Paris this fall and her excitement reminded me of all the beautiful food and sights I want to recommend to her and, really, anyone. Said co-worker has visited Paris before and loved the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood, recommending I visit the famous Cafe de Flore which, like the Saint Benoit location of Relais de l'Entrecôte, is located in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood. Maybe I'll get to that blog post too...

At Relais de l'Entrecôte Saint-Germain, choose a seat near the huge, open windows for prime people watching opportunities.
The famous steak frites at Relais de l'Entrecôte Saint-Germain in Paris..

The food at Relais de l'Entrecôte is very good and extremely plentiful. But more than anything, the restaurant is a fantastic spot for people watching. When the weather is nice the large windows are left open. This creates a balcony-like seating arrangement for the window seats, which overlook the narrow streets of Saint Germain. I arrived unfashionably early, just as the restaurant opened in order to snag a prime spot. And I'm glad I did. By the time I left the restaurant was packed! Bustling with locals and tourists gathering for lunch on a beautiful, sunny day.

Meals at Relais de l'Entrecôte begin with a light salad topped with a mustardy vinaigrette and a small handful of walnuts.
Meals at Relais de l'Entrecôte begin with a light salad topped with a mustardy vinaigrette and a small handful of walnuts.

Meals at Relais de l'Entrecôte begin with a light salad dressed in a mustard vinaigrette and a handful of walnuts. Like the salad, the menu is simple. The one and only entree option is steak. You may request how your meat is cooked and, of course, what you would like to drink. Thin slices of contre-filet are drenched in the restaurant's signature sauce. It's a buttery affair, laden with herbs (tarragon, I believe,) wine, and a hint of liver. A generous helping of frites are heaped alongside, golden and, to my taste, slightly over-crisp. But they soften beautifully after some quality time in the dreamy sauce. Just as you finish your portion, efficient waitstaff arrive with more food, offering additional steak, extra pours of sauce, and piles of frites.

The steak and frites were plenty but I couldn't resist ordering something sweet to finish off my meal. While the main menu is brief, the selection of desserts is epic. Le Relais de l'Entrecôte is renowned for their elaborate towering sundaes and piles of chocolate drenched profiteroles. I chose a slightly simpler option, sablé de fraises au citron, a buttery shortbread cookie topped with lemon curd, strawberries, and a scoop of ice cream for good measure. It was (relatively) light and all around delightful.

After stuffing myself with enough protein to last a good 24 hours, I headed out towards the nearby Musée d'Orsay. What a beautiful space! The museum is housed in a converted train station. It's jam packed with Impressionist masterpieces alongside epic canvases from French academy artists. But if you're too full for an afternoon of art, try a peaceful visit to the Church of Saint-Sulpice. And make sure to stop at the nearby Pierre Hermé shop to pick up a macaron or canelé on your way home.

Le Relais de L’Entrecôte - 20 Rue Saint-Benoît, 75006 Paris, France
Pierre Hermé - 72 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris, France

The Musée d'Orsay was once a Railway Station.


Paris - All Around the Eiffel Tower

A young buy dribbles a soccer ball past the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.

While the Eiffel Tower may be crowded, full of tourists and souvenir hawkers, it remains an absolute must see in my book. Up close the elegant metalwork of the tower is powerful. And the surrounding gardens offer peaceful green spaces that balance out the crush of visitors. I didn't go up, but I wouldn't be opposed to doing so in the future. But I would make sure to plan to visit at a slower (does that even exist?) time.

Crowds of visitors gather beneath the Eiffel Tower to marvel at the monument's strong yet delicate design.
A couple readies themselves for a wedding photo session in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
A sunny day at the Eiffel Tower, crowds of visitors picnic on the green lawn of the monument.
Glittering fountains decorate the plaza in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.

Choosing a restaurant around the Eiffel Tower can be a daunting task. I ended up at Cafe Constant, a charming corner spot just a few streets away. I found it recommended frequently for its lunch prix fixe meal. I enjoyed three beautiful courses for just €18. A cold ham roulade with salad as an appetizer, crisp roasted chicken with homemade chips for the main, and a gorgeous arrangement of meringues, fruit, and custard for dessert. Run by a Michelin star chef, it's a popular spot that doesn't take reservations. I hit it at the after lunch sweet spot, when most of the crowds had cleared out. It was a lovely lunch and felt like the perfect pairing to my Eiffel Tower visit.

A delicate dessert of berries, cream, and meringue at Cafe Constant in Paris, France.
A first course of Ham roulade and a light salad at Cafe Constant in Paris, France.
A main course Juicy roast chicken is complemented by crispy chips at Cafe Constant in Paris, France.
A refreshing glass of rose complemented a Prixe Fixe lunch at Cafe Constant in Paris, France.
A delicate dessert of berries, cream, and meringue at Cafe Constant in Paris, France.
A small coffee to complete the Prix Fixe meal at Cafe Constant.
Petty cabs ready for riders at the Eiffel Tower.
A view of the Eiffel Tower from below on a sunny day in Paris, France.
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