Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category
After a very long and food-filled first day in Paris, we got quite a late start on day two.
By the time we made it out of our hotel room, it was already past noon – so we started our day with another pain au chocolat as well as a jambon panini from the bakery downstairs.
It being a Monday, the crowds around the Eiffel Tower had quieted down a good bit, so we were able to find a quiet bench in the park to enjoy our breakfast/lunch.
And a macaron.
As you do in France.
After a short ride on the Batobus from Eiffel Tower to the Saint-Germain-des-Pres stop, we unexpectedly found the Ponts de Arts – the love lock bridge.
It’s insane how many locks there were on that bridge!
No, we did not add to it. Not really our thing.
From there, more walking, more wandering.
Wandering, but not aimlessly!
Ladurée Bonaparte was our goal today, to try the other famous macaron bakery in Paris.
We were there for the macarons, but if only we had time to try all the other beautiful sweets there! Everything looked so delicious, but alas, we only had 24 hours left in Paris, and a body can only consume so much in one day.
After making our purchases, we walked back to Saint-Germain-des-Pres, and took the Batobus to Notre Dame exit.
Of all the memorable moments we had in Paris, the one that sticks out most to me is the moment we walked into the plaza in front of the Notre Dame. The cathedral is spectacular – one can’t help but feel a sense of awe standing next to it.
As usual, we weren’t of a mind to battle the lines to get inside, so instead we wandered.
There’s a pretty little park behind the Notre Dame, so we sat in the shade a bit, and got into the macarons we bought at Laduree.
So which were better – Ladurée or Pierre Hermé?
Well, Ladurée’s macarons were a little more vibrantly-flavored, while we just slightly preferred the texture of Pierre Hermé’s macarons.
In other words… inconclusive! Guess we just have to go back to Paris and eat more macarons. You know, just to be sure…
After resting a bit (and sharing a few macarons), we took a little time to wander around Notre Dame island, before we went off to explore the other side of the river!
After a day filled with macarons, chocolate, tasty French food, and plenty of wanderings, we found dinner closer to home base.
We had walked by La Fontaine de Mars a few times already, as it’s on one of the little streets between our hotel and the Eiffel Tower.
When Son looked it up and found it had good reviews, it was an easy decision.
We were seated outside, which afforded us a nice view and a quiet meal. However, our table was practically in the street, which meant there were a few times we nearly thought we were going to get run over by a speedy passing motorbike or a car trying to squeeze down the narrow alleyway.
After perusing the English menu they keep on hand for tourists, Son decided on the confit canard (duck confit) – no surprise there.
Seriously, Son has had duck for every sit-down meal so far in Paris!
As for me, I got the Poulet aux Morilles (roasted chicken breast with morels and morel cream sauce). The chicken by itself was nothing special, but those morels! And that sauce! *swoon*
After dinner, we wandered just a bit more to walk off the meal, and go see the Eiffel Tower all lit up.
Paris is beautiful at night.
After a lovely lunch at Tourn’Bride, we set off to wander more.
Not even a minute after we set off, Son suddenly dragged me into a random patisserie on Rue Mouffetard – “We’re getting something here.”
Well! I’m certainly not going to complain when Son insists upon dessert.
After a quick browse through all the tasty-looking sweets at Les Chants de Blé (at the corner of Rue Mouffetard and Rue de L’Arbalète), we made our decision and then headed off to find somewhere to eat.
Jardin de Plantes fit the bill perfectly!
Gorgeous landscaping, and plenty of shaded benches were the perfect place to sit, try out some of the treats we bought, and people-watch for a while.
First, we sampled the eclair au café that we bought at the patisserie.
Unsurprisingly, it was fantastic.
Then we got into the chocolates we bought before lunch from Chocolat Mococha.
The passionfruit chocolate was incredibly tart, but quite tasty.
And of course we had to try the wasabi chocolate with sesame praline. We couldn’t taste the wasabi much, but the sesame was fantastic.
The Jardin de Plantes is lovely to walk through. It’s beautifully landscaped, and contains hundreds of different varieties of plants.
There’s also a huge greenhouse, which from the outside looks like it might contain an entire rainforest.
It looked like they required tickets to enter, so we passed on that this time.
Instead, we meandered around the rest of the Jardin de Plantes, and found… kangaroos!
Apparently there’s a small zoo attached to the gardens.
After wandering through the zoo, we made our way back to the river, where we took the Batobus back to the Eiffel Tower stop.
Before heading back up to our hotel room, we stopped at the bakery downstairs, and bought some more goodies.
Back up in our room, we sampled the pastries – the chocolate and vanilla eclairs were tasty, that canelle was a little weird, and the flan apricot was delicious.
(Vacation is a totally valid excuse to eat sweets before dinner.)
After emptying my bag of all the random souvenirs we picked up throughout the day (and, let’s be honest, resting and catching up on Facebook for half an hour)… it was time to be off for our next meal!
Chocolates in hand, it was time for lunch, just down the street at the restaurant the chocolatier owner recommended.
Tourn’bride was empty when we got there – although I imagine that’s to be expected at 3:30 in the afternoon.
We started with the rilette de saumon, which was quite tasty.
I can’t ever say no to escargot!
And ooohhhhhh my goodness the duck confit. With those crispy potatoes! To die for.
We tried their French onion soup, which was also excellent.
(Did I mention the escargot?
Overall, while the service may have been a bit brusque (although, what do you expect – we were probably interrupting their afternoon break!), the food was excellent.
And then we were off, to our next Paris adventures!
After nibbling on macarons, we set off in search of a street that Son had heard had a lot of good food shops.
I loved this wall, beautifully covered in a poem. If we’d had more time (and were my French better), I’d have easily spent an hour there, leisurely reading the whole thing.
We passed by the Musee du Luxembourg and the Palais du Luxembourg, as we made our way around the edge of the Luxembourg gardens.
From there, we meandered past the Pantheon, which sadly was under construction at the time.
A few blocks later, we found Rue Mouffetard, the street we were searching for.
There were all manner of interesting food shops we would have loved to have browsed through. Sadly, it being a Sunday when we were there, most of them turned out to be closed.
Luckily for us, we happened upon a chocolatier that was open – Chocolats Mococha.
Anyone who knows my mom knows that she loves chocolate, so this was a lucky find, especially since macarons would have never lasted the week (and multiple flights) until we’d be back at home.
Chocolats Mococha is a shop that features the chocolates of several artisans, each who has their own display of chocolates around the shop.
From exotic flavors like passionfruit, wasabi, or basil, to more everyday caramel and milk chocolates, there were dozens of flavors available for our choosing.
The woman working there was an absolutely sweetheart, and a huge help. Her English was about as good as my French, which meant communication was a struggle at times, but she apologetically powered through and helped us pick out all sorts of interesting chocolates to try, and to bring home.
We would have loved to try one of everything, but decided to be somewhat reasonable – after all, there were still all sorts of other goodies in Europe to eat!
But yes, obviously we got a wasabi chocolate to try.
Chocolates in hand, we were ready to be off – but first, we asked her for a recommendation for somewhere to eat nearby. She suggested a restaurant just down the street – she said she goes there for lunch, often.
So off we went to find lunch… which I’ll tell you all about, next week!