Miznon

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The best seats in the house have got to be the bar stools at the counter, right in the middle of an organized chaos where chef dudes are chopping up vegetables with the kind of finesse that only comes with years of experience amid servers shouting out customer names over loud music and indecisive customers fumbling over what to order.

Like everyone else, I came for their whole roasted cauliflower — and was rightly blown away by something so humble yet ridiculously addictive. And then there was the pita. For someone who doesn’t eat pita elsewhere, I’m happy to stuff my face with the extra-fluffy pita bread at Miznon.

If you still have room for dessert, don’t forget to get the chocolate and banana pita sandwich on your way out. My only gripe: I wish they’d bring back those (complimentary) roasted chili peppers though. It’s just not the same with the chili dip.

Miznon
22, rue des Ecouffes, 75004 Paris, France

Elne

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So far the only town in France where we have spotted a family member’s name on a WW1 memorial.

Cloître d’Elne

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My second time in Elne, the town where the husband’s paternal grandfather is from, this time with my parents, sister and my mother-in-law. We spent a bit of time at the cloister next to Cathédrale Sainte-Eulalie-et-Sainte-Julie d’Elne with its beautifully-sculpted and well-preserved columns in romanesque and gothic styles before heading to the extended family’s for apéro hour and a hearty lunch of boles de picolat (Catalan-style meatballs).

Cloître d’Elne
Place de l’Église, 66200 Elne, France

Cirque du Fer à Cheval

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So glad we finally made it to le Cirque du Fer à Cheval this spring. We did an easy hike for 3-4 hours, wowed by majestic views of the largest cirque in the Alps and its spectacular waterfalls at this time of the year the entire way. Easily the most impressive nature reserve I’ve been to in France so far. Hiking boots a must as there are quite a few streams to wade through.

Irréversible (2002)

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Bit of east Paris cameo there with a scene in the 7bis métro line (Buttes Chaumont to Pré Saint-Gervais) but I’m pretty sure this is not what people look for when they want to watch a French film set in Paris. You’ve got Zazie dans le métro (1960) and Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain (2001) for that. Not a film for the faint-hearted either since not everyone could stomach the New French Extremity genre. It’s definitely one of the most intense and brutal films I’ve watched in recent years, progressing from dark destructive vengeance to the relative calm of bliss and happiness but unfortunately, as the narrative is in reverse chronological order, it ends up being bittersweet instead. The only consolation: le temps détruit tout indeed.

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