1:45pm: We’ve got our eyes on a French family restaurant but we have to hurry because they close at 2pm. La Bonne Excuse sits on a quiet little street, just a few blocks off Boulevard Saint-Germain, and t. Thankfully we make it on time, and the owner generously receives us and lets the kitchen stay open. We opt for the set menu, 23 euros for starter and main. Because of our lateness quite a few items on the menu have been sold out; I order a ham and melon starter (I'm sure the ham has a special name that I can't remember) and my friend orders a salad (probably also has some special ingredients), and we both get the salmon for main as it is the only option left.
2:07pm: The owner tells us that they chose the name, “the good excuse” in English, so that their patrons could have a good excuse to come to this otherwise modest street. The lady is extremely kind and after learning that we are exchange students, she starts speaking to us in French very slowly and translate whenever we don’t understand something.
2:20pm: The plates that come are presented in quite an upscale manner, resembling the plating and techniques seen in fine dining restaurants. And they taste really, really good. I especially enjoy the salmon, which has a delightfully crispy skin and exceptionally tender, soft, buttery flesh that is just cooked through. The owner says that the salmon is roasted, just slightly undercooked, so that when it's brought to us it's perfect and melts right in our mouths.
2:35pm: After feeding our stomachs it's time to feed our minds. Le Bon Marché is a good place to get your shopping fix without battling the tourist crowd. It's right next to Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and it has everything you need minus the craziness you see at other department stores like Printemps or Galeries. Seriously, if you're looking to actually have room to move around and try things on, check it out.
4:00pm: We pay Shakespeare & Co. another visit and this time I buy a book here - A Moveable Feast by Hemingway, a classically cliché cult book of the Shakespeare & Co. crowd who are obsessed with the Lost Generation.
4:30pm: Rumour has it that Karl Lagerfeld frequents Café de Flore. He even has a special page for it on his website. He says, and I quote, "C'est LE café rive gauche par excellence", this is THE ultimate left bank café. It's also one of those places that you hear everyone talk about, that pops up on almost every list of Parisian must-do's. I still don't know how I feel about it, though. It's a really nice place, but only if you sit outside, and waiters look stressed and aren't the nicest people you'd meet (maybe it's just a stark contrast with the lovely lady from lunch). The menu is also very pricey, with drinks like iced coffee and hot chocolate at 7 euros. Oh and, please don't order the iced coffee, it's terrible. The hot chocolate, on the other hand, is rich and creamy and very tasty. Can't say it justifies the price but I'd say it's worth the experience. And a fun fact - the café has also been offering its own literary prize for quite a few years now - this seems like a thing for historical cafés that hosted many artists and intellectuals in the past.
Le Mot du Jour