Paris: 18eme arrondissement
My Paris blog saga continues with the 18th arrondissement of Paris. We ventured up to the hilltop district of Montmartre twice: once for fondue and again for an autumn wine festival beneath the Sacré-Cœur. No trip to Paris is complete without a night at Le Refuge des Fondus. This cheery (and tiny) fondue restaurant is situated on Rue des Trois Frères just a short jaunt up from métro Abbesses, where the streetlights glisten against the damp cobblestones that once greeted the footsteps of intellectuals like Dali, Monet, Picasso, and van Gogh. The menu here is simple: red or white, meat or cheese. The former refers to your wine options, which is promptly served in baby bottles. If you're looking for a fine-dining experience, this is not the place for you. But if you want to partake in a boisterous, familial ambiance and cook your own food in boiling cheese, look no farther. Without fail, dinners here end with a side ache resulting from excessive, giddy laughter (and maybe the carbo-load).
We happened to be in Paris in time to experience the Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre, an event which celebrates the tradition of wine-making in Paris and the harvest season. We rode the métro up on the second to last evening of the festival, which also happened to be Emilie's birthday (huzzah!). After taking Rue Norvins past the iconic Le Consulat and Place du Tertre we found the entrance to the festival on Rue Mont Cenis. White tents housed vendors of the region's meats, cheeses, and wines, all available for tasting and merriment.
It bears mentioning that these duck sausages were A) incredibly delicious and B) laced with the spiciest mustard of MY LIFE. On several occasions I literally had to check for a nosebleed. Never have I ever experienced such savage intensity from a condiment.
The evening culminated with a spectacular fireworks show, which we watched from the steps of the Sacré-Cœur overlooking our city.