The Bombardier, Paris, France

In the morning I’d gone on a Hemingway’s Paris walking tour hosted by Paris Walks. Highly recommended. As we were walking through the Latin Quarter hearing stories of Hemingway and Joyce amongst others, I was taking notes of potential places for lunch.

One bar, called The Bombardier, near the Pantheon and Saint-Étienne-du-Mont church took my fancy.

The Bombardier is a typical English pub and has a decent selection of English beers and food but I ordered the plat du jour which was a chicken wing salad which was decent for €12.

For desert I ordered a Chocolate Mousse which was the desert du jour.

The selection of beer was quite good and I ended up having 3 pints. A Courage Directors, which is a run of the mill bitter, then a McEwan’s Scotch Ale followed up by a Innis & Gunn Rum Finish / Rum Cask / Rum Aged which was the best beer of the day for me.

However, the service was unfortunately sub par. Midway through my meal I ordered another beer however the waitress just forgot about it, I had to follow up to get my drink.

And again later on, I’d ordered a fourth beer from the same waitress, and I waited, and waited, and waited. In the end I got sick of waiting and just went up to the bar to pay the bill, and there was the waitress watching videos on a laptop. Terrible service.

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Bull’s Brothers Pub, Saint-Michel, Paris, France

After a day out being a tourist you need somewhere to relax and have a beer while decompressing.

Bull’s Brothers Pub in Saint Michel was that place for me.

During happy hour (4pm til whenever) you can get pints of Belzebuth Blanche and Königsbacher Pilsener for €5 and €6.

I probably ended up here 4 evenings during my week visit.

Staff are friendly but busy… so it can take a while to get table service but if you are looking for a local during your visit, this is a good place.

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Les Balkans, Saint-Michel, Paris, France

After walking probably 10km around Paris during the day I ended up back at Albe Hôtel and after a rest I decided to try another restaurant close by to the hotel for dinner.

Unfortunately I decided to eat at Les Balkans, right next door to the hotel.

I was earlyish so I didn’t expect too many people there, but I was the first, and only patron it would turn out, while I was there.

I ordered a salami pizza and a beer.

The pizza was very underwhelming. Not much flavour and quite oily.

What really turned me off was the lack of service. The waiter and the chef just stood at the bar talking. They didn’t notice that I had finished my beer so didn’t ask if I may want another.

After I finished my pizza, they didn’t notice, and I had to frantically wave to get their attention so I could pay and leave.

Do yourself a favour, avoid this place. There are so many decent restaurants within 100m where you will get great food and decent service.

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Castel Café, Paris, France

My first full day in Paris saw me wake up at a relatively sane time and after the continental buffet breakfast at Albe Hôtel I decided to go for a walk.

And walk I did, along the left bank of the Seine from St Michel to the Eiffel Tower, only straying from the river due to all the construction that’s taking place.

I went up the Eiffel Tower last time I was in Paris so I didn’t stop this time but just milled around, taking some pictures before deciding I was feeling a little peckish.

On the south side of the tower is Avenue de Suffren with a fair number of cafes.

As it was only around 11:00am lunch service wasn’t started yet so I opted for a 2nd breakfast.

Castel Café is your typical Parisian cafe with tables inside and on the footpath outside. As it was quite cold I chose a table inside but next to the window so I could see the world go past.

There is a breakfast special that gives you a juice, a coffee and pastries & bread for less than €10.

I think that this would be a great place to sit outside on a warm Paris summer evening.

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Pizza Sarno, St Michel, Paris, France

After a quick snooze at Albe Hôtel after the flight from Hong Kong I was looking for some sustenance. Luckily the area around Saint Michel is full of bars and restaurants so I didn’t have to go to far.

I did a bit of a walk around the neighborhood to see what options were on offer before deciding on a small pizza restaurant called Pizza Sarno, more because there were tables available and there was an English menu more than anything else.

While I went through the menu I ordered a Kronenbourg 1664.

I finally chose an entree serving of the bruschetta as well as a penne arrabbiata main course which arrived in about 10 minutes… just in time to order another beer.

The bruschetta tasted great with the tomatoes just oozing flavour.

The main sized penne was a large dish, I actually thought I wouldn’t be able to finish it, but the pasta was cooked to perfection and the sauce was superb (not too spicy) so I ended up finishing the dish, and mopping up the sauce with french bread.

All round a great meal.

And yes, and the irony that my first meal in France was Italian is not lost on me! But atleast I had French beer.

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