Saturday, March 29, 2008
Paris is my favorite city in the world, and I have been fortunate enough to visit two times before this trip. This trip was special, though, because it was the first time Joe and I got to visit Europe together. Joe had also spent time in Paris on two other trips, so we both had already experienced the main museums and tourist sites. This left us plenty of time to experience the best of Paris-- side streets, intimate cafes, and more authentic Parisan life. It was a fantastic three days, and the following pictures are only a fraction of what we did. I tried to focus on food pictures, but couldn't resist throwing in a few extras!
Let me start by singing my praises for French breakfast pastries. I'd never eat like this at home (or if I actually lived in Paris), but when vacationing I can't get enough of the delicious pastries. It was perfect timing when the day before we left for Paris, I read about Clotilde's favorite pastry shop on Chocolate & Zucchini. It is a new shop owned by Philippe Conticini, and it's located on the Place du Marche Sainte-Catherine. When I researched it more, I found out Dorie Greenspan had also written about it in her blog, and I knew I had to go.
We found the square easily enough, thanks to the indispensable Paris Pratique map booklet, but could not find the actual pastry shop for the life of us. I was frustrated and disappointed, but also hungry for breakfast, so we decided to find plan B. Pastries were still a must-have, and we knew we were in business when we walked into Miss Manon, located on Rue Saint-Antoine. It was impossible to choose, but I finally settled on one of my favorite French treats-- the almond croissant. Unbelievable-- dense, perfectly sweetened, slightly eggy, and for sure enough to last me until lunch! So the pastry situation turned out quite well in the end. If you're ever in this area, be sure to stop and see the Place de Vosges, too, because it's one of the most gorgeous squares in Paris (at least in spring when it's not too full of tourists).
Crepes were a must have, and mine had to be filled with Nutella (see what I mean about vacation eating?). We ate them while walking along the river near the Grande Palais and Invalides.
At one point we ended up near the Opera and the huge department stores, so I insisted we check out the food hall in Galleries Lafyette. This was one of those time when I hate traveling, because I wanted to take everything home to cook an amazing meal. Seeing that we were staying in a hotel, I had to limit myself to drooling and taking a few pictures. I can't believe I missed this on my past trips, especially since I'd been traveling with my mom on the other trips and she's a huge foodie.
We seriously spent most of our money on food around Paris. Since it was a little chilly, there were numerous cafe visits. Cheaper then a museum, right? We had some "cafe"- aka espresso, and also "cafe creme", which is the same as cafe au lait. The cafe below was on a small street somewhere in the Marais area. When in France, you must eat as much cheese as possible. If you want to be authentic, it's eaten after dinner as dessert. We just ate it whenever we felt the urge, though. This plate was at another unknown cafe in the Marais. The blue cheese was amazing- tangy, salty, and just melt in your mouth good.
The second afternoon we decided to relax in the room for a while in order to have energy for our nice dinner that night. A baguette, some wine, and a delicious piece of morbier was a perfect afternoon snack.
This post is long enough, so stay tuned for Paris: Part II.