Our days in Paris featured a number of unforgettable moments and wonderful surprises. We never knew what we had in store for us and every site and every experience was new. But there was one constant. There was one thing that became a beautiful ritual for us. Well, as much of a ritual as a one week stay can provide. Every evening we would arrive at out hotel, freshen up, and stroll to a new restaurant for a nice, halcyon, and unquestionably French meal. It was the perfect way to end each day – by nestling in among the Parisien locals and soaking up the atmosphere while enjoying cuisine that would forever be considered high points of our trip.
On one such evening we found ourselves walking down a beautifully lit cobblestone backstreet in the 7th Arrondissement. Armed with a Trip Advisor map and a make-believe sense of direction, we found our target – Le P’tit Troquet. The facade was small and it would be easy to miss if not for the script scrolled across the door and picture windows. But there was something incredibly alluring and undeniably attractive about it. It resembled a lovely place snatched from another era. The lights from the inside shot out through the windows cutting through the late evening shadows and giving the building an inviting personality.
So in we walk, already smitten by the place’s charm but without a reservation. We were greeted by a lovely young man who welcomed us and led us to a table in a beautifully decorated back room. He was warm and authentic and we genuinely felt that he was thrilled to have us there. He spoke good English which was a blessing to these two French language novices. He told us about his visits to Florida where he did humanitarian work. He asked about our thoughts of his city. He then helped us navigate the small but appealing menu for that day.
My wife and I both started with a wonderful shrimp entrée. It was delicious and a perfect lead in to the even better beef bourguignon main dish. I ended with a cheese plate, my first real indulgence in the country’s exquisite variety of fromage. It was a lesson in French gastronomic tradition and an eye-opening expose of my very basic and inexperienced palate. It was also a fabulous way to end our meal.
By dinner’s end we weren’t ready to leave our corner table. We had fallen for the quaint and cozy atmosphere. We felt welcomed and appreciated by our sincere host. The food was delightful to the point of being a high point of our trip. We walked out of the restaurant sharing smiles and full stomachs. Night had fully fallen and the soft lights seemed a little brighter. We made our routine Paris night stroll recounting the satisfaction from our meal and the experience. We left Le P’tit Troquet behind nestled on its hidden little side street. But it left with us impressions that have stuck with us well after our trip ended.