Planning a birthday in Paris is tough believe it or not.
My birthday falls within a week of my moms which meant we would be celebrating two birthdays in the city of light. Luckily I didn’t have the daunting task of choosing my own birthday dinner location. Instead, that burden fell to my parents and sister who did not disappoint.
It has been a while since I wrote a Sunday Pranzo post. If you’re unfamiliar with my Sunday Pranzo Series, it is when I write about a foodie experience I had sometime in either the near or distant past. Sunday Pranzo itself represents the sunday family dinner that many cultures take part in on Sundays, especially Italians. My family, not at all Italian, take part in Sunday gatherings with good food, wine and the pleasure of reconvening at the end of week to share snippets of life over supper.
This post is largely snippets of my supper at Camelia in Paris – a 5 course meal to be exact with Rosé Champagne of course. Bollinger actually! Dinner was James Bond style that night – a surreal experience to be sipping Champagne in Camélia at the Mandarin Hotel with my family just down the street from the Louvre.
Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate so the outdoor dinning was closed to us. Instead we sat inside of what felt like a white tulip. Everything was pristine, poised and perfect.
It was our second night in Paris and I was trying hard to speak French with the waiters. I wanted to practice up while the bubbly was coursing through me and confidence was at its peak. The waiters refused. They spoken English and I spoke to them in French. Was I that bad they didn’t even want me to try or was this just policy at the Mandarin Hotel?
Its certainly not the place you’d often find us sitting – only when we want to really spoil ourselves. The last time I was at a place like this was in New York at Per Se trying to slap myself awake during the 4 hour dinner service. Not that the food was bad but I was simply exhausted after running around New York for 5 days staying up past midnight and up in time for the Today Show.
But I digress…
Here we were at Camélia in Paris and I was wide awake battling with the waiters in a game of linguistics trying to feel like I was indeed in Paris.
With a few more glasses of bubbly my determination wavered and I caved into my native tongue. Fine, I’ll speak English, I thought. But I will have you know that a few days later in a crisis to change train tickets in Reims I was complimented on my excellent French speaking abilities (at least I think that’s what she said?). I suppose under pressure my French becomes a bit more eloquent. Something within my brain channels those moments of stress when I was up in front of the class, singled out, as the Quebequoi teacher demanded me to recite my French verb conjugation. That time I succeeded.
Again, I’m off on a tangent.
Camélia is one of those places you’d expect to see the French president or a depressed Carrie Bradshaw if she kept dating that tortured Russian artist. Needless to say we were the loudest table of 6 there and unapologetic to say the least. It’s just how we are.
We love to laugh. And what better place to be ourselves than together in Paris?
As for the food, I think the photos speak for themselves. It’s Paris and there’s not much that isn’t good unless you stumble into the tourist traps.
Wondering where I chose to have my mom’s birthday dinner? You’ll have to wait for next Sunday Pranzo…
Share your foodie stories of all budgets and locations below with us. The point of Sunday Pranzo is to chat and share, like a potluck of stories.