On my last day in Paris, I decided to go wander around Montmartre and the Sacré Couer. I'd been before, but it's one of my favorite areas in Paris and seemed like a good idea for another summer-like day. I was on the hunt for a croque madame, one of my favorite dishes, but never found anywhere that looked and felt especially right for it. I wanted to find a "good" one. As usual, the park and steps in front of the Sacré Coeur were full of people and it was a festive atmosphere. Most were watching a seemingly endless show by this guy standing on a post doing tricks with a soccer ball. His performance continually escalated, and eventually he was climbing and doing Cirque du Soleil style acrobatics on the light pole - still with the soccer ball! I went to meet my friend Eric for a beer afterward. We were both hungry so we walked to get some food. He suggested a Chinese place we were in front of, but he must have seen me hesitate even though I agreed. He clearly had a new idea in his head and asked if I was up for going to a different part of town. Of course I was. We went and got bikes from the rental stalls on the street, and the next thing I knew I was on a bicycle riding through Paris traffic and across the Seine. We ended up at a place called Le Relais de l'Entrecote in the Latin Quarter on the Rive Gauche. They serve only steak frites. It has a few locations and is hardly hidden or secret, as there were clearly tons of tourists there. But the steak frites were worth the crowds and the wait, as was the ice cream and sherbert dessert he ordered for us. I may never have gotten my croque madame, but I did get a unique and adventurous taste of Paris on my last day.
[note: apologies for blog posts before June 2009 that may not be correctly formatted]